Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Fragmentation Of America

I don't normally link to Daily Kos because I think that everyone I disagree with will be too turned off by the source to go look and everyone that agrees with me will have seen the piece already. I'm not certain who SusanG is beyond the fact that she started as a commenter and earned her posting rights on a very well known site. Her piece from Monday is so well written that I have to share it.

She comments on the politics of fragmentation, of wedging us apart by our differences and building suspicion and dissension.
Consider how the Social Security privatization debate pits the young against the
old, how tax cuts pit the rich against the poor, how the immigration debate pits
underpaid native-born Americans against cheap laborers. Listen to the right-wing
rhetoric about the "war on Christians" and think about how feeding the paranoia
of the fundamentalists sets that faction up against nearly everyone else, even
tolerant Christians. Anti-intellectualism, railing against affirmative action
policies, labeling pacifists as "traitors" ... these are all divide-and-conquer
tactics, used and abused throughout human history.

Instead, she says, we should build upon our strengths and similarities. The truth is, every American can be sliced half a dozen different ways: by gender, by class, by education, by age, by region, by religion ... and in this day and age of niche marketing, even by whether we are NASCAR fans or latte sippers. And the Bush administration has figured out, if you slice us, ultimately you can dice us.
While she spends time decrying the way that things have become she also has a message of hope for America.
It's come down to this: Living our lives around a presumption of shared humanity
has become a rebellious and provocative act to this government, by definition
almost a felonious conspiracy. Attendance at a Quaker meeting hall can get you
wiretapped without a warrant. Calling scholars overseas can get you data mined.
She sees that presumption of a shared humanity as our best trait, something upon which we can build. Please, go check out the full piece.

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