Setting the Table

In the last couple posts (here and here), we established this general framework: our country is being artificially split into two warring factions, mainly due to our electoral machinery (winner-take-all) and the partisan media that feasts on the resulting confrontational style of politics. As economic conditions on the ground deteriorate for regular people, narrative theodicies arise to explain why things are so screwed up, and who is to blame. These stories, which I described as Dreams Dashed (the conservative variant) and Dreams Derailed (liberal version), have several common characteristics: they are emotionally charged, with compelling heroes and villains; they are … Continue reading Setting the Table

Stories of Dreams

Last time, we looked at the three-part structure of the Divided America complex: Winner-Take-All electoral machinery creating the two-party political landscape; partisan media using that duopolistic scaffolding to inflate their culture war balloons; and an economically desperate public willing to imbibe this us-versus-them story because it makes some narrative sense of why things have gone so horribly wrong. At the end of that piece, I suggested that before we could even think about changing the underlying electoral apparatus, we need to get some immediate economic relief to regular people, to turn down the heat on the simmering (boiling?) partisan rage … Continue reading Stories of Dreams

America Divided

The recent events in Charlottesville, and President Trump’s seesawing responses to them, have once again thrown the issue of a divided country into high relief. As the usual tale goes, there is a Liberal America that yearns for an expanding sphere of acceptance, empowerment, and opportunity, with a full embrace of a diverse, multi-voiced future. On the other side, Conservative America desires a rebirth of the abandoned values that used to make the United States a stable, prosperous, and knowable place: faith, common language, loyalty, patriotism, and traditional roles (gender and otherwise). But is it really possible for a huge, … Continue reading America Divided