The American Political Kaleidoscope
A kaleidoscope works to arrange random bits of glass into an endless array of patterns which are curious to the eye and marvelous to behold. This simple device changes randomness into order and visual artistry, just as government tries to focus the noise/hubbub of millions of opinions into a coherent body politic.
Pieces of glass are the stuff of kaleidoscopes; small constituencies the stuff of government. As you add more bits, patterns get more complex, harder to discern and less interesting. Similarly adding more constituencies changes polity and compatibility, yielding wider ranges of opinion, dissimilarity, and self-interest.
America has always been a melting pot compared with other nations. We absorbed people from around the world, managing to imbue them with our ethics and ideals. Times past they blended in, choosing to disappear into the populace. Except non-whites, particularly blacks. Indigenous or foreign, they’d adopt our ways and dance to our tune but still bear the caste of their ethnicity, making them seem different.
America went through major growing pains last century and around WWII attitudes changed. The roadblocks of racism began to fade, albeit grudgingly. We looked at ourselves anew acquiring a better, healthier respect for one another. We were evolving into a more homogenous people. We had partisan bickering, and ideological differences, but the system was working. The average Democrat didn’t hate the average Republican and the extremes on left or right didn’t hold sway over their party’s agenda. Agreements could be reached and progress made.
Like a kaleidoscope, government works to focus the will of the people, expressed by a multitude of constituencies, improving society at large. Small groups get chance to be heard, but it’s crucial they’re all on a page from the same book: the Constitution.
Not so long ago a majority of us shared this idea. We were Americans whether black/white, Democrat/Republican, male/female, young/old, straight/gay, white collar/blue collar, whatever. We knew right from wrong, justice from injustice, thrifty from wasteful, nationhood from globalism. We knew about duty, honor, man’s inhumanity to man, his frailties and the follies of his struggle to create paradise on earth. In the depths of human nature, a survival instinct should have told us our system worked and was arguably the best one by far -- but it didn’t.
- There are millions following a grizzled old Marxist who has yearned for socialism the past 50 years, despite of history’s proof that it doesn’t work, millions who would follow a naive political neophyte on the same path, mostly youngsters out of college who can’t see this person for what she is: a political and intellectual pothole on freedom’s road.
- The vast majority of blacks think their destiny lies on the left and their welfare and social justice depend on the progressive mindset, ignore the fact their streets, neighborhoods and cities are slums of impoverishment and crime, run the past 80 years by the left, think the party of Jackson all down through its iterations has been their stalwart patron/champion when all it did was seduce them into a plantation mentality.
- Almost half of us don’t think we need a wall on our border, don’t seem worried by the influx of illegals into our land, don’t care about sanctuary cities defying federal authority, about the tremendous cost of these individuals, don’t understand they’re a growing threat to public discourse, cultural integrity, print media, public health and way of life.
- Half of us believe abortion is a choice, a woman’s right, not the diabolical murder late term/live birth abortion truly is, that society must bear the cost, support the irresponsibility of those thinking it’s their right to behave any way they choose, that medical professionals should be forced to provide this procedure regardless of personal beliefs.
- Too many of us are comfortable with partisan-style justice with, right/wrong decided by tainted, prejudiced authority, majority opinion holds sway over the face of criminality, disillusionment or simple disappointment can speak to power with only ideological stance; due process (innocent-till-proven guilty) is ignored/abandoned to expediency or the heat of the moment.
- Voters/citizens aren’t alarmed by what’s happening on college campuses or grammar schools, don’t care children aged 5-10 are indoctrinated into alternative lifestyles opposed to conventional heterosexuality, think the favoritism of diversity is justified, that political agendas can be proffered in classes on every subject, faculties/administrations can be 90% liberal, are okay with hundreds of schools shutting down free speech if not comporting with leftist ideology yet still qualifying for big subsidies from Washington and don’t care that conservative tax dollars are used to this end.
- The survival instinct sees extremes left and right and how each handles their demands, grasps how neo-Nazis, skinheads, fascists and alt-right aren’t a tenth-part of Antifa, Black Lives Matter, socialists and the radical left, sees their positions on the democrat platform, sees these demands as beyond belief and way beyond the credos from which they came, sees they’re totally unacceptable from an American perspective.
Self-preservation evidently isn’t very high on our list. Radicals, home-grown or foreign, are accepted and accommodated in the spirit of brotherhood when in our heart of hearts we know many are up to no good. They hate our culture and want payback for ancient wrongs.
Multiculturalism, diversity, political correctness, unlimited civil rights,
Welfarism are just some of the concepts bringing us to this turn. We were on the brink of achieving an integrated, like-minded society, but now move toward a fragmented, self-interested one made up of colors, lifestyles, ethnicities, genders, and political ideologies all pulling their own way, opposing others, and in the main unaligned with American ideals.
The result is deadlock and political paralysis. Our left-middle-right voting model is stymied, dysfunctional under the onus of these conditional demands. To be Democrat, Republican or independent doesn’t matter anymore. Something akin to pixelated populism is taking over.
No kaleidoscope, or government, can make sense or be functional in this reality. There are too many pieces to allow for organizing by a simple device let alone an elaborate governmental edifice, too many incompatibilities amongst the people. There is no such thing as a collide-a-scope, but as you’ve probably guessed, I fear America is making one.
Al Shane blogs at Shaneview