Wednesday, November 13, 2013

America: Our two nation status

Our Two Nation State
I read two articles today that highlighted some disturbing and disconcerting insight into the political temperature of our country in 2013.

Both articles could be titled the two Americas.

By many accounts, we are not just two countries -- one red and one blue -- we are two distinct nations, with two distinct cultures, travelling on two different Acela trains and speeding in opposite directions.

One nation, for lack of a better word, is progressively becoming more progressive. For sure, one nation is speeding to the destiny Martin Luther King envisioned in the historical I have a dream speech:

Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring -- when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children -- black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics -- will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

The other nation, fundamentally speaking, is racing to become a more religious: A Christian fundamentalist nation; a nation that loathes government -- especially when out of power; a nation that rejects diversity; and a nation that values freedom to govern by the mandates of States Right -- and we know that chapter of our shared history!

The first article, written by Richard Cohen (Washington Post) provides a glimpse into the Tea Party mindset when viewing the unknown and unfamiliar:

Today’s GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled — about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts — but not all — of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all. (bold print is my emphasis) read entire article

Did you catch his contradiction?

In the beginning of the paragraph, he rejects the charges of racism; and by mid-paragraph he tells us -- to paraphrase -- true blue Americans gag at the sight of racial diversity.

The second article -- from illuminates the nature of the American great divide and how this divide is deeper and more permanent than many believe.

After last Tuesday’s creaming in the Virginia governor’s race, and with Tea Party negatives creeping toward 75 percent, the political punditry class has divided itself into one of two camps: those celebrating the demise of the Tea Party versus those forecasting its inevitable end. Who’s right? They're both wrong, because it’s not a movement. It’s a geographical region, and if history has taught us anything, southern folk are a pugnacious bunch.

Despite political feel-good rhetoric, there are two Americas. Not just ideologically, but geographically. That’s what still makes this country unique among other Western democracies. America is two distinct nations with a distinguishable border that runs the breadth of the country from the Mason-Dixon line across the southern border of Pennsylvania, finishing in some Baptist church somewhere in rural Texas.
The Tea Party is overwhelmingly Southern. Michael Lind, author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States, writes, “The facts show that the Tea Party in Congress is merely the familiar old neo-Confederate Southern right under a new label.” If you include Texas as a member of the Old South (banning tampons from the state house earns the Lone Star state that honor), nearly 80 percent of the Tea Party’s support comes from the former Confederate states. So, stop calling it a movement. source
And the author continues:
While movements and ideas may die, a land mass does not, and while that southern land mass is occupied by a people who are willing to destroy the country in order to get their way, and while the GOP remains dependent on its "Southern strategy," the South’s fixation on everything related to controlling race, sex, religious practice, abortion laws, and dismantling the federal government will remain the revolutionary fervor of not only the Tea Party but also the GOP.
The trend lines in America are moving against the South thanks to increasing urbanization, the "browning of America," and the declining place for religion in American life. These are great challenges to the South’s way of life, and southerners don’t like it. So don’t expect one governor’s race in an off-year election to read as an obituary for the Tea Party. As much as the media and the GOP establishment would like you to believe Chris Christie, a moderate only by Tea Party standards, to be the presumptive nominee, the neo-Confederates are more likely to pick a gay atheist from San Francisco. source
My country Tis of thee...

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