Thursday, January 22, 2009

The One United States Fantasy

Who is it that actually believes, deep in their heart, that this nation is not blue, not red, but simply united? Who is it that truly thinks we have entered a post-racial, post-partisan era? Is it the throng who gathered on the Mall, stood for hours in the freezing cold to be part of the indisputably historic and much welcome Inauguratsion of Barack Obama? Can’t be those people, whose wave of boos at the sight of George W. Bush on the scattered Jumbotrons took on physical proportion as it swept from back to front over the crowd. That is not rising above petty politics people!

Surely, the red-blue schism will change. This nation’s voting patterns have never stayed completely constant. The solid South that is now the last bastion of GOP strength was once, pre-Voting Rights Act, the rock on which the Democrats rested their national hopes. Excepting Pearl Harbor and 9/11, has this country ever, ever, not been riddled with division?

First it was big states v. small states, then Jefferson’s Democrats v. Adams’ Federalists. For cryin’ out loud, we had a Civil War! North v. South still remain, in a more peaceful form, and slave-owner/slave-master evolved into plain old black v. white. The divide even crossed our Northern borders, with the great battle which pitted Lynyrd Skynyrd v. Neil Young.

There’s always been rich v. poor, right Christians v. wrong Christians, all Christians v. Jews. Real Americans couldn't stand those dirty immigrants, like the Irish. Once the Irish were established, they as Real Americans couldn't stand the Italians and the Jews. Workers v. owners became a long standing battle, first with union victories then with conservative led union bashing and dwindling numbers of card carrying members. In the 1960’s the Generation Gap, young v. old, deeply split parents from their kids on the Vietnam War, drugs and music. And don’t get me started on East Coast v. West Coast rap, which took the lives of ‘Pac and Biggie.

And so it goes. This country will never rise above its internecine squabbles. We never have and never will. Yet, we keep going, sometimes with strength, sometimes weakly, but persevering and succeeding. Isn’t that, when all is said and done, what makes these United States so great?

No comments: