Lately, we are being told that America is divided and should try to heal. “Reasonable” folks, especially conservatives and Republicans encourage me to do so. I find it increasingly impossible. More than that, I think it is an irresponsible course of action.
I believe in science, enlightenment values, tolerance, and American idealistic patriotism of the fifties. I worked most of my life, am grateful for our country and culture, admire capitalism, and like to consider myself decently open-minded, well-educated, and aware of my own faults. Furthermore, I think this is a wonderful peak of world civilization, even though it faces existential threats from climate change, automation, nuclear-armament, and civil strife. I like to believe there are ways to continue the long climb to paradise.
The “other side” frightens me. It appears to be composed of self-victimized losers who apparently cannot find good jobs and blame everyone but themselves. It is funded by nostalgic fat old people who think their thirtyish drugged children are just having fun down in the family basement where they live and constantly play violent video games while caressing firearms and dreaming of a cleansing apocalypse. Why should I try to “heal” with such vicious racist louts who have enclosed themselves in a cult mentality that despises me and has no desire to change?
I curse the enablers who have tried to forge that mob into a power base, much as the French aristocracy and bourgeoisie did with the poorest peasantry (to their ultimate chagrin) before 1789. Some “conservative” cable personalities are demagogic spokespersons who ignore truth and decency to improve ratings. Some companies mindlessly fund wretched bigoted politicians simply out of habit against possible increased regulation. Well-meaning intellectuals put up with it all because they consider it free speech.
Unlike many of my peers, I am worried about the glorification of our military. That has turned into a pretty good, pretty elitist job, with lots of benefits. Not least of which is increasingly becoming part of the militarized police departments when soldiers leave the service. I know we need the armed forces. I continue to regard them as a necessary evil. I have never disliked soldiers themselves, but like the founding fathers and Eisenhower, I mistrust the institution.
What can I do? Life is complicated, but lately lazy people want it simple. Slogans like “stop the steal,” “black lives matter,” or “lebensraum” are far more effective than well-thought-out four-hundred-page philosophic tomes. I am afraid the answer is I cannot do much. But of all my limited available actions, refusing to “heal” with the other side probably remains the most viable.