Opportunity For Reflection
Last updated 1/25/2021 at 3:03pm
Following the events of the last two weeks, it would be easy to express outrage against the “other side.” Rather this is an opportunity for reflection.
The U.S., as a federalist state, has historically demonstrated a bipolar tendency, exhorting individualism (U.S. exceptionalism), devolving power to state and local level, yet identifying itself as the world’s greatest democracy with global reach to impose its values – hubris indeed. Drawing home comforts from this mindset has proved harder over recent decades as the limits to economic growth have curtailed the attainment of personal and collective economic ambitions. The nation’s ability to sustain this mantra with any level of conviction that sells to Joe Q Voter has been sapped by education, health care, housing and income inequality for an ever-widening cohort of the population. Economic and social mobility has reversed in post–industrial America.
It is scarcely surprising, therefore, that the hardening of attitudes on both extremes of the political divide proved to be fertile ground for Trumpism. Laid bare is the disquiet of the white soon to be minority, a sizeable subset of who feel dispossessed of their erroneously assumed birthright. Betrayed by education and attitudes incognizant of alternative cultures, confronted by the growing voice of minorities aggrieved by decades if not centuries of economic discrimination, compounded by shifting social sands regarding sexual orientation, women’s rights and religious freedoms, this is a volatile cocktail which questions established thinking and norms which impact the day-to-day conversation in society.
In conclusion, the Trump experiment has exposed the deep-seated fears of white America that their history will be expunged while precipitating militant activism among a collage of blacks, LGBTQ, feminists and younger citizenry who see the opportunity to reset that history to their own narrative – clearly a dangerous Orwellian concept.
A line must be drawn, but that tape cannot be deleted. In truth and reconciliation, progress below that line must start with the prosecution of the Capitol rioters, the deselection of any legislator found guilty of inciting insurrection and Trump’s exclusion from future public office. Only then can the democracy repair project begin.