You Got to Be Kidding Me!

The Second Civil War?

Posted in Politics by Stacy McMahon on September 11, 2008

I enjoyed the satirical movie by that name back in 1997, and the idea of fighting over politics seems just as silly now as it was then. Still, this piece by Phyllis Chesler brings up some interesting issues.

“I have lived in both [the urban liberal and rural conservative] worlds. I still do. There are good people on both sides of the great divide.”

So do I. So do a lot of people — this line calls the rest of the essay into question right away.

“The entire convention, especially the last night when Obama spoke, was the equivalent of a rock concert. To many people, especially younger people, this is what moves them, what is real. Only celebrity, “spectacle,” performance, and popular music have authority, are familiar, and command their respect.”

“rockstar” is a popular Obama meme. I didn’t watch the conventions, just the candidate speeches, so I can’t speak to that. I can, though, say that I’ve always thought a lot of younger people have an unhealthy focus on pop culture. If you find that a political party is calling your allegiance because it knows Simpsons references, you might want to take a step back (not that there’s anything wrong with Simpsons references per se… My kid already says d’oh!”)

“In 2000, when President Bush won (others say “when Bush stole”) the election, the Democrats became enraged, some say “deranged.” That rage has grown. If McCain wins–I predict that the cultural wars will not only intensify but will turn into the beginnings of the next Civil War in America.

What do you think will happen after one side wins and the other side loses? Will blue or red states want to secede from the union? Will there be more violent and ugly confrontations upon encountering ideas and practices with which one disagrees?”

There are already violent and angry confrontations, friends disassociating from one another over politics, and as we’ve seen the last couple weeks, even the media who once held themselves above the fray have stripped to their undies and jumped in the mud. I’m not sure this is going to lead to another Fort Sumter, if only because I can’t think of many people with enough motivation to go that route, but the slide into intramural bitterness and hate does seem to be accelerating lately. One thing’s for sure and certain – another squeaker in November won’t be a good thing.

Commenter “Polly” says it well:

“I feel I’m caught between the two Americas, and if there were a Civil War, I wouldn’t know which side to take.

The democrats seem to be moving ever farther to the left and republicans to the right. I don’t understand why democrats cannot see that we can be fair and tolerant of other cultures, but look at the reality of a culture of violence that is right now being promoted throughout most of the Islamic world. I heard only yesterday on NPR a female Islamic doctor speaking about her Muslim friends. They all studied and interned in NY, but were “satisfied” that 9/11 was the right and justified action against the US. Why must democrats always support the underdog in every case. When Israel was a struggling nation of Holocaust survivors, they were all for them. Now that Israel has, in only 60 years, been able to transform their nation into a strong, stabel democracy, the democrats run to the side that vilifies every action Israel takes.

Why must the republicans try to insert their personal religions into government policy? I am religious myself, but see no reason to impose my beliefs on others. I agree that we must remain diligent in our fight against ratical Islam (which today is most of Islam), but we must also acknowledge when we have been dead wrong in the invasion of a sovereign nation.

Now I don’t know who I should support: a misogynistic party with the smooth-talking politican that has literally done nothing of consequence politically in his life–or: the well-tested politican who was willing to give a nod to the women of the US, but whose party supports laws opposed to women’s rights.”

I wouldn’t know which side to take either. The suburban/rural right contains people who are truly good and decent to other people whom they know personally, but don’t think very hard about how they live their lives or the consequences of turning their social mores into public policy. The urban left contains people who are truly thoughtful and intelligent in the way they live their lives, but provincial and insular in regard to the wider world outside their neighborhoods, and grossly intolerant of those who disagree with them. I’ve always enjoyed having a balance of both worlds, and would really not like to live in either one exclusively.


One Response

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  1. Clint said, on September 11, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    I find both sides to be a rather hopeless false dichotomy.

    Gun’ hatin’ liberals or Gay hatin’ conservatives …. ugh.

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