Identity politics…

If one thing can be singled out to be the cause of America’s problems right now, it’s “identity politics.” Consider this the antithesis of “melting pot,” or the idea expressed in the Constitution that “all men are created equal.” (Unfortunately, back in those days, the word “men” didn’t refer to blacks or women; today we’d be more politically correct and simply write “persons.”) “Identity politics” is more like adding the famous “…but some animals are more equal than others” from Orwell’s Animal Farm. “Melting pot” expresses togetherness or synthesis in the abstract; “identity politics” expresses just the opposite, and it’s often all too real, not abstract. People crying out to be heard, equating that to seeking and expressing their own identities, form tribes of similarly thinking people. These tribes can become violently fascistic because those who want to blend in and live in peace and good will with their fellow human beings far outnumber them.

The goal of pulling together has been morphed by some into the goal of tearing apart at all levels—national, state, and local—and even worldwide. Since the sixties,the U.S. mostly used to be the champion of the first goal, at least inside the country (our actions outside are often questionable). While my novel Survivors of the Chaos expressed my fear that these divisive attitudes could destroy the country, the cause of this destruction in the novel could now be called “identity politics.” The world will become Balkanized into homogeneous identity groups we might as well call tribes.

Radical fanatics are a dime-a-dozen—I saw them in a New Jersey diner on CNN, in Charlottesville, and in Barcelona—but there are clever, power-hungry, and warped people who manipulate the fanatics. One subgroup can be found in Breitbart’s current and ex-staff members, some of them still among the White House staff like Julia Hahn, Stephen Miller, and Ben Shapiro. Another subgroup of fanatics is AntiFa; their credo of meeting KKK, white supremacist, and neo-Nazi violence with more violence goes against the credos of Gandhi and Martin Luther King. And the violence can be found just in the words of fanatics too.

Fanaticism is a mental aberration. Sometimes the lines between it and simply having a political, sexual, or religious preference become blurred, especially when those preferences become so strong that those holding them want to attack anyone who doesn’t. It also feeds off superstition and ignorance. I’d prefer that people understand history by not toppling monuments, simply adding plaques explaining the pros and cons of that person’s life. Or placing them in museums like the Holocaust Museums where we can encourage people not to forget the sins of human history on this planet when human beings do violence to other human beings.

Fanaticism creates icons of history but does little to promote understanding of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Surrendering to fanaticism is often touted as free speech. BS. If everyone in the 1940s had surrendered to it, the Nazis would have won the Second World War.

Recall Rodney King’s famous words: “Can we all get along? Can we, can we get along?” Identity politics can become the fanatical way of saying, “No, we can’t.” But it’s self-destructive to say that. Let’s answer his questions in the positive. We’ll have a better world that way.

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Rembrandt’s Angel (a mystery/thriller from Penmore Press). To what lengths would you go to recover a stolen masterpiece? Scotland Yard’s Art and Antiques Inspector Esther Brookstone goes the extra mile. She and paramour/sidekick Bastiann van Coevorden, an Interpol agent, set out to outwit the dealers of stolen art and recover “An Angel with Titus’ Features,” a Rembrandt painting stolen by the Nazis during the Second World War. Their efforts lead to much more, as they uncover an international conspiracy that threatens Europe. During their dangerous adventures, their relationship solidifies and becomes a full-blown romance. This book is available in ebook format at Amazon and at Smashwords and its affiliate retailers. It’s also available as a print version at Amazon, B&N, or your favorite bookstore (if not there, ask for it). See the review and interview at Feathered Quill.

And so it goes….

 

3 Responses to “Identity politics…”

  1. Scott Dyson Says:

    Still here and still reading when I can.

    Don’t have a lot to add except for weighing in on the monuments. I have always felt that putting statues of confederate generals in public buildings was a form of honoring them. In a sense, it is worse than honoring your enemies; it would be like putting a statue of Judas in the Roman Catholic church, or Benedict Arnold, or any of a multitude of traitors.

    They can be remembered for their part in U.S. History (and a museum is the perfect place for it) but no state in the Union should honor traitors to our country. I personally feel that naming parks and buildings after traitors to the U.S. is inappropriate as well as honoring them with statue placement.

  2. Scott Dyson Says:

    might be a comment in your spam filter…

  3. Steven M. Moore Says:

    Scott,
    Welcome back!
    Inre monuments: it can be a little crazy. Somehow Columbus is above Stonewall Jackson. I’m not sure about museums are good, though, if the theme isn’t “Look what these jerks tried to do to the country.” Germany still has a few old concentration camps to remind them about what Hitler and his cronies did.
    Trump mentioned Washington and Jefferson as slave owners. While we can’t forget that was wrong, it occurred at a bad time when it was still accepted. What they did to set this country on a steady course far surpasses these transgressions, while what the Confederacy did was try to undo what had been accomplished.
    A fuzzy boundary to be sure….
    r/Steve