Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Looking At Politics These Days

     If you stare into the dumpster fire that is current U.S. politics for more than a few seconds, it starts staring back with crazy eyes.  Not to mention tweeting, counter-tweeting, polemicising and viewing-with alarm. 

     Alarm is not unwarranted.  This country is dealing with a degree of open division unmatched since the run-up to the Civil War.  When the population of a country becomes so at odds with one another, bad things can follow --  except, possibly, in Canada; when I was much younger, an independent Quebec seemed inevitable.  Somehow they evitated.

     Americans are not Canadians.  Nobody here's much inclined to say, "Sorr-rey," and try to patch things up.  And the loudest voices are yammering at everyone to pick a side.

     Really, we don't like to pick sides; historically, we have done so with great reluctance.  The United States was late to join both World Wars and staved off our own Civil War until it boiled over.  The war in Vietnam muddled along precisely because of waffling.  Is our present mess about to bubble over?

    Say what you wish about our current President -- you will anyway, after all -- but the man has a tendency to pour gasoline on fires that would be better extinguished.  He's the most visible but he's not at all alone. People spat over which group is pushing division the hardest, farthest and/or loudest, much like children trying to blame a fight on one another.  It takes two (or more!) to tango and a hell of a lot of people on all sides are walking around with a rose in their teeth, an ear cocked to the distant beat.  Drums or cannon?  I can't yet be sure.

     With all its flaws, we've got a nice country here.  Break it and it won't go back together easily, if at all.


Anonymous said...

"With all its flaws, we've got a nice country here. Break it and it won't go back together easily, if at all."

Maybe an amicable divorce is in order. Pick a side, move to it and stay out of each others politics. States rights and all. If you want me to stay out of your life, you stay out of mine too.

It wasn't too far back when adults demanded our children grow up and act their age. It appears many of us forgot that and still act like we're still six and rant and hold our breaths until we get our way.

RandyGC said...

I know we are of a similar age, so perhaps it's a difference of where we grew up*, but I recall the late 60's (my earliest memories of public events) and early 70's as much more publicly and loudly divided than today. For instance I haven't noticed the National Guard running full scale riot control exercises in the town square (as happened in my hometown in the late 60's). Or the local college being shut down due to student protests.

I wonder how much of the feeling about how bad it is today is due to modern media? Back then you had to actively seek out the crazies on both sides. Now days it's hard avoid them 24/7.

Don't have an answer, but it's a question that keeps popping up in my head.

*(For instance, growing up in rural Iowa, we students couldn't figure out what the fuss on the news about busing was. Except for the townies that walked to school, EVERYONE rode the bus. Obviously a student in, say Boston, had a different perspective)

Roberta X said...

It is not the width of the divide that frets me so much as the sharpness of it. Go back to those halcyon days of Presidents Jonson and Nixon and the party lines were a lot more blurry; the two main parties tended towards the center. Now it appears that the parties themselves are increasingly embracing their own fringes.

Glenn Kelley said...

The Parti Quebecois still exists and was the govt in Quebec as recent as 2014 . There are 10 members of the Bloc Quebecois in the federal parliament .Quebec separatists sit in the federal house .
Our system allows for inclusion even if you don't want to be included . There are 5 parties with elected members in the House of Commons .

The support for separatists is aging out . There will always be an element that wants to separate but if you can live and work in your own language and not face discrimination for it most people have better things to do .

Roberta X said...

Glenn, it's the "Our system allows for inclusion..." part that I was pointing to, well, that and the fact that despite a level of scary stuff that at least equalled the (less-focused) political violence in the U.S. in the 1960s/70s), Quebec stayed in; there was no war. There certain were -- and are -- very hard feelings; visiting Quebec on vacation when I was middle-school age, it was explained that our visit would be much, much nicer if people knew our Anglophone family was from the States. This indeed proved to be the case; my little brother's efforts to speak French didn't hurt, either. (Apparently, his accent and grammar was hilarious.)

I am increasingly doubtful that U.S. politics will allow any such accommodation of fundamental differences in outlook -- and there will likely be at least one more response here from someone pointing out how "*They* started it," for pretty much wildcard values of "they." Doesn't seem to be any interest at all in ending it, other than the two extreme pushing one another off a cliff.

RandyGC said...

Point taken

Anonymous said...

Good commentary, as usual. I, like your first poster, am down for an amicable split. I have no desire to shoot anyone, but I also have no desire to remain where I am not wanted.

Roberta X said...

"Amicable split," as purple as this country truly is? Wish all you like. Not among the possible outcomes.