What is the point of not reading the news? It began as a protest – or was it me hiding from a change in the world that I did not want to face? Nevertheless, the choice has given me an opportunity to ask people – anyone who will let me call – what’s happening in our country. And it is clear that what is happening is Trump – Trump – Trump. But that has been true for a year – more.
We – Americans – are in three camps: One does not care what happens. The young skeptical ones – recent Millennials—see government and news media as a sucker’s game, not worthy of their time or consideration. It is all fucked up so why bother. Let’s just make as much money as we can and get on with it. This camp may have a point, but it is a sad one – without agency or hope. It is also a lazy one, an immature one, one that they will be outgrow — hopefully.
The other two camps are in an opposition that does not within ideas but in the gut – and that is where the punches land – not where we think and decide – but where we feel fear and dislike and confusion or the other camp. To define that opposition is to define the history and culture of the United States of America. My camp had thought we were moving towards a morally superior place – where races get along and sexual preferences are accepted and women are equal to all other humans and medical care is available for all and the economy engages in real ways with the global trade realities and the eroding environment is finally being considered. You know liberal heaven.
But it was never true – we are not close. We continue to be – two camps – and arguments of both sides are not reasoned but are fully felt – in the gut – a feeling embedded in the American dynamic. We can thank Donald Trump for waking us up to truth of America. And the other camp is not merely an out-of-work, white, uneducated, male demographic. A young, poor, single Hispanic mother called into CNN. She is a resident of Texas – a daughter of illegal Mexican immigrants – related to illegal Mexican immigrants . She voted for Trump. More important than any reasoned arguments she may have, she feels a need for the Trump Nation — a gut feeling based in a fear of the other and how unfair the system is. The masses out there are invading her home. She does not feel safe. The pride she had in American economic and military strength (which she never too part in) is fading; her pride in a Great America is being ruined by those others and those that run the government. Feeling great is the bulwark against fear.
Of course the other camp – the one I belong to – sees Americans differently. Not going to get into that here. The big question is, what do we do? Clearly we cannot continue for long on Trump Nation and call ourselves a Democracy – at least that is clear to me. But we cannot long endure if we remain in our separate camps. Though we see a worthy society in very different ways I do not believe we are all that splintered. I am not speaking of or to the Alt Right Fringe – the Nazi-like ranters – there is no hope for such haters of the non-white to be brought along. But for the rest of us we need to start a conversation –many conversations. Not yelling but sharing and attempting understanding. Winning is not the goal – only deeper understanding. As a nation we need counselling and the space and time – the public spaces – to do so.
News media can help out in establishing factual bases for such conversations, but they need to change and what that change is must wait for another blog.