Culture is one of those words that can have numerous definitions or connotations as it were. The most obvious is the Arts and manifestations of human intellectual achievement. That being said it is also the cultivation of bacteria, tissue, cells…an artificial medium containing nutrients. How devilish are the implications of that ascription? It actually gives you a sad but true insight into a sickness known as Ted’s Head.
Now my son Scott and his wife and kids are moving to London in August for at least two to three years. It will be interesting to see if they undergo culture shock. That is the personal disorientation one undergoes by living in a new place and having to adapt or at least accept new ways of looking at life. Out of your comfort zone. Hmmm. That will probably be ameliorated somewhat by their understanding of the language but our first visit will be more than intriguing.
To wit they are selling their cars and will traipse around the city on the Tube, busses or taxis. They are going to rent an apartment rather than buying. No nice yard to play in but rather avail themselves of the numerous parks that abound. Their adopted country will have a queen but that just might prepare them for our future political state upon their return. Princes, earls and duchesses are a dime a dozen there. But then again don’t we have royalty on Park Avenue and Rodeo Drive? They think so.
Of course if things get out of hand we will have culture wars. This is actually quite serious and where we find ourselves right now. Over a period of time we develop tendencies and philosophies that if not challenged become more and more imbedded in our psyches. As we become more and more entrenched those isms, they cause us to cede any rational thought and the result is polarization.
The most obvious is the rift, chasm or gulf between traditionalists/conservatives and progressives/liberals. If it was purely relevant to pulling a lever in the voting booth that would be fine. But in recent decades fueled by political rhetoric and hate radio we clearly line up on one side or the other 24/7. Pat Buchanan put it best in a speech at the Republican convention in 1992 when he said “We are fighting for the soul of America”. Further on he chastised the base by saying “we can not tolerate the efforts of the Clintons to change our society.” Whether he is right or not, it doesn’t exactly leave wiggle room when trying to bring a country together.
Abortion, guns, privacy, drugs, same sex marriage, capital punishment, pornography, right to die, right to live, immigration, fracking, political correctness, global warming, the environment, Israel, the Middle East,Russia, China, Al Quaeda, drones, Guantanamo. Phew! That’s just the opening salvo from one side or the other. I dare you to tell me you don’t have some very strong feelings one way or the other on each of these. Now here is the interesting part. Can you say you are solid red or blue on each and every one of them?
The great equalizer is saying you are economically conservative and socially liberal. The pundits will tell you that is a copout. I say it is a beginning. Stats say that the country is becoming more and more centric or independent. The lunatic fringe is becoming more vocal but seems to be losing its way and ergo its supporters. I think or I should say I hope that the prospect of gridlock for many years to come is depressing for more and more of us. The inability to compromise is not necessarily cultural for most of us but rather institutional to serve the very few.
At its beginnings the Tea Party had merits. It was a group of interested citizens not political wing nuts. They wanted to cut the impact of government and give the country back to the people. I didn’t disagree yet. But then they hooked up with the Republican party. Politicians latched on to the band wagon and it became the vehicle for more maneuverings and less action. Another neat idea run amok in the cesspool of DC. Their innocent strivings fell prey to the realities of today’s political world and the far right. Too bad.
Whether it was Buchanan or Clinton who put polarization into the petri dish of the body politic doesn’t really matter. It’s there and its virility is going unchallenged. On this Fourth of July weekend I really take offense. I don’t like anyone telling me what to do as you well know. Let’s have our own petri dish and grow something without the powers that be. Let’s demonstrate that there is a middle to everything. I like that culture. Hope you do too.
Ted The Great
Factoids: None. I am going to have Vodka and Tonic and cook out. Cheers.