Three Americas

If you follow the news at all, it's hard to escape the sense that we are three nations, under God, completely divisible, with liberty and justice for some. These three America's aren't like the two Americas that John Edwards used to talk about. Those two Americas are so well established that they have morphed into one depraved country in which the ruling elite so dominate everyone else that it hardly bears notice.

No, I'm talking about three different Americas, defined by attitudes and behaviors, not class and status.

The first of these three other Americas represents about a quarter of the population. These are people who believe in American exceptionalism in every way. We get to play by different rules, they say, rules that include killing each other at the drop of a hint, letting the poor die in the streets, destroying nature, and worse. They want god in heaven, guns in schools, blacks in chains, women serving men, and gays in hell, no matter what. They are Tea Party pure, convinced beyond a shadow of doubt that they are right about everything. God is on their side and they know it.

The second America, also about a quarter of the population, represents those who believe America could be a great nation if we would only step forward and clean up our act. They decry our culture of gun violence, our senseless wars, the omnipresent Big Brother, and our drift toward feudalism. These people support higher taxes, national healthcare, safety nets, and environmental stewardship. They are socialists at heart, but afraid to admit it.

The third America is everyone else. People so disgusted and fed up by the dysfunction of our partisan system that they have purposefully chosen to be uninformed and disengaged. If they vote at all, they are low-information voters, driven by a shallow understanding of policy and the cult of personality. These are the people who decide who gets into office.

As long as we have elections contaminated by the stench of big money, with news media perpetuating the practice of false equivalency, we'll continue to find our government swinging wildly from one extreme to the other. And it won't be long before our inability to act on strategic issues like climate change and income disparity puts us up against the wall with no way out.

Will we then act like civilized human beings and cooperate to create a new future? I doubt it. More likely, the three Americas will become even more extreme and dysfunctional, breaking down into warring factions where a violent minority of savages wreak havoc.

Comments

Simplistic, I know

But I had to write it in response to the spate of senseless gun deaths we see growing day by day.

____________________________________

We are not amused.

Not simplistic

Although I would say that "low information" half of the population may be getting smaller, with most of them joining the sensible 25% of us.

If there's one good thing this recession has accomplished, it's shaken a lot of people out of their complacent shells. Unemployment, upside-down mortgages, modest retirement savings pissed away by big banks, etc. A whole lot of people now have a direct connection to someone who's struggling economically, and the harsh measures Republicans are promoting/enacting are raising a lot of eyebrows that were formerly immovable.

Now, that may sound naïve on my part, but I honestly believe that a super-majority of Americans have the potential of being progressives. Maybe not street-marching sign-waving progressives. But I've never put too much stock in purity tests.

I agree with Steve

If we can keep up the momentum, I think the pendulum is swinging our direction again, but look out if we start making any headway, think Kennedys and King. That's what I fear, should we ever find that strong leader.

_______________________________________________

"...the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be."

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail

Me too

As soon as one of the extremist laws just passed hits home with the everyday North Carolinian (e.g., like the repeal of the 19th amendment in Texas thanks to their "voter ID" law), that will be the beginning of the end for the nutjobs.

We need to remain ever vigilant and activist in the meantime. The extremists will implode, and adult supervision will be critical.

-------------------------------------------------------
"What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers." -- Thom Tillis

American Exceptionalism

American Exceptionalism is based on what Democrats take for granted and hence ignore.

Individual liberty.

Individual liberty is indeed exceptional in human history but is also exceptional in the present. It is so exceptional that liberals/Democrats refuse to recognize it:

These are people who believe in American exceptionalism in every way. We get to play by different rules, they say, rules that include killing each other at the drop of a hint, letting the poor die in the streets, destroying nature, and worse. They want god in heaven, guns in schools, blacks in chains, women serving men, and gays in hell, no matter what. They are Tea Party pure, convinced beyond a shadow of doubt that they are right about everything. God is on their side and they know it.

No recognition of the individual, no recognition of individual liberty, no recognition that governance derives its power from the individual... Why?

Because at heart liberals and Democrats are thoroughly unAmerican.

It isn't about individual liberty

American exceptionalism is about superiority. That simply by nature of your birth, you are better/wiser/stronger than others not born here. That's not an individual trait, it's an individual claiming he has traits based on geography.

And there's something else about American exceptionalism that (true) Libertarians are against: the idea that we are morally and intellectually ordained to govern the entire world. It's what put us in Iraq and Afghanistan, and what's nudging the fingers towards the "fire" buttons in other countries like Iran and Syria. It's not far removed from Social Darwinism, frankly, and that took away the liberties of millions in Africa. Imperial conquest of labor and raw materials, masked in good intentions.

If you don't believe me, go ask a real Libertarian.

Exceptionalism is not ubiquitous

It is interesting that when given a choice between defining American Exceptionalism as,

(1) an embrace of individual liberty that is exceptional not only in the world today, but in world history, or

(2) choosing to define American Exceptionalism as being "...about superiority. That simply by nature of your birth, you are better/wiser/stronger than others not born here" which, and let's be honest, is a belief that all nations have of themselves and by definition can not be the least bit exceptional,

you choose the latter, hubris. Why?

Why would you choose to define American Exceptionalism in terms that the citizens of any nation might use for themselves? Why define exceptionalism as something ubiquitous?

Why do you choose to ignore that special exceptional spark that makes America great... individual liberty?

The answer is that you choose to deny American greatness thereby making yourself just another unAmerican Democrat.

You are the essence of the exceptional American

America's greatness is a figment of your own imagination. And individual liberty, taken to your extreme, is the source of more suffering, hate and misery in this world than anyone should ever tolerate. Our child mortality rates, our healthcare system, our prison population, our contribution to global warming ... the list goes on and on. If these are representative of America's greatness, then I'm all for the end of our toxic empire.

PS We put up with a lot of crap around here, but just to be clear, your judgments about who is American and who is unAmerican are bordering on intolerably obnoxious. Back off or you will be blocked.

____________________________________

We are not amused.

On unAmerican...

Will do.

Must be really easy feeling smug, superior, even

exceptional, when you get to define all the terms used in the discussion. Here's a definition for you ... "individual liberty" = anarchy.

But let's use your idea that "individual liberty" has made and continues to make America great ... But wait, I really doubt the Native Americans felt liberated when they were being displaced, murdered or dying of smallpox. I do not think Africans felt much liberty living under the lash or Jim Crow for 350 years. Until our 7th president, you had to own property to vote. Doesn't seem like there's much liberty there for the little guy to participate in the electoral process. And that just for guys, women didn't get the liberty of voting until the 19th amendment less than 100 years ago. Today, my vote does not count as much as I live in an extremely Gerrymandered state, and the SCOTUS has ruled that my speech is not as free to influence elections as one of the Koch brothers. My individual liberty has been curtailed.

You speak of a myth - "individual liberty". Please, .... try not paying your bills, or driving on the left, or not using any of the societal supports provided by government, try being an young African American male from a low SES household and try to go to college or even to buy skittles and a soda from a 7-11. You want REAL individual liberty then find a pot of money, buy some land, dig a well, build a house, make your own furniture, grow your own food etc. Notice that started with a pot of money, that opportunity starter that most people never get close to having.

Until you drastically improve your understanding of just what it means to be American, you have NO right to call another citizen of this country "unAmerican" (btw - it takes more than capitalizing an "a" in the middle of a word to make you American.)

I agree

The fight for liberty is an immensely difficult thing.

At times Americans have had to fight human history and the intransigence of Democrats in reference to our nation's swing to the liberation of blacks and Indians. It took the Civil War and another 100 years before Democrats came around to liberty for minorities.

At other times, such as now, Americans must fight for a future of liberty for all, not just blacks, Indians, and women.

Just consider what you:

If you think liberty is driving like an Australian then you do not know what liberty is and if you think liberty is found in the making claim that I have "NO" right to call out a citizen who has lost sight of what it is to be American then you are in need of self education in regard to liberty as well as freedom of speech.

Democrats who do not believe in free speech are just one reason Americans must fight for liberty today and in the future.

To be clear I would never tell you what you can not say. Why should it not be offensive that you believe otherwise?

American Exceptionism Sucks like Slavely

.It isn't about individual liberty *S

BS! American Exceptionalism is nothing but a retread of Orwellism DoubleSpeak in ancient and modern history.. from various Tyrants over a thousand years ..who hated individual choices or Freedom from the Peons or the Masses..

" All Animals are created equal, except some Animals are created more equal than other Animals" * Animal Farm