In my unending quest to find something reasonable in this wacky world, the phrase “Culture Wars” keeps popping up. Culture has a number of definitions from a sort of artistic class to a medium to grow bacteria. I am going with: The attitudes and behavior characteristic of a particular social group.
If you think about it, this presents decades if not centuries of thinking a certain way. You grew up rich or poor. A working family or elite. It can be your school or your church. It is our way of life or better yet how we grew up, if indeed we have done so.
It is part imbued and part acquired. Rarely does one think about how they got here. That is until they are threatened. The haves want to keep things just as they are and the have nots can’t wait to get out of their predicament. We construct breaking points from which we will not deviate such as abortion, racism, LGBTQ, and sexual freedom to name a few.
It goes beyond the definition of mere differences. People are adjudged good or evil.The enemy. These are not grey areas as a rule. No middle ground. Our religious history has been at the forefront of acceptable behavior for millennia. God of whatever sort says you have to act this way or you will not get to the promised land.That gives us orthodoxy and the ability to punish for transgressions. It has been that way for a long time.
Enter stage right, the secularists or progressives. They want to turn this comfy world upside down. The Enlightenment has given us permission to think outside the box. Maybe I am just as good or even better than your god. Perhaps we can have a new morality and the schism begins.
Traditionalists are scared to death. To defend themselves they may have to recite and justify their beliefs. Their ability to do so really depends on how well they learned them or even better yet how well they have internalized them.
Don’t panic yet kids. The progressives are in the same boat at the other end of the ocean. Rarely do they dig down to consider the outcomes of their beliefs. They just want a different world. But they are on a roll and people are listening to them. They too are scared to death that their day in court is fleeting and they better make the most of it. Their gains are precious to them. The nature of our society makes all this seem beyond critical. There is no turning back for either side.
There are poster children everywhere. The glitterati don’t do themselves any favors. Examples of greed and opulence are everywhere from the Mansions section of the WSJ to movie stars to captains of industry. The downtrodden are displayed for all the world to see from our borders to our barrios. Every week brings a new call for the righting of injustice. Both are valid but with a fair bit of theatrics.
You see there’s not much of a story without a villain on either side. We inflame people’s passion by personifying the crime. Politicians are the best at doing so. If you are for immigration we trot out the latest pictures of desperation at the border. If you are against it we show the mug shot of a rapist or killer who has an Hispanic name. We play each situation like an A flat. Both sides are maestros.
In our current state there is absolutely no room for negotiation. To do so would be a betrayal. Of what you say? The very foundations of our Constitution whether you are trying to enforce the electoral process or storming the Capitol in defense of freedom. Each has different interpretation. If we cannot try to find some sort of common ground of any sort, we are destined to fail and probably wind up in another Civil War. Hyperbole? I think not.
We are dealing with two separate and distinct cultures. Two entirely different ways of looking at life. And we all want our way to be the survivor. We are petrified that our side is going to become extinct. We have upped the stakes to the point where neither side can envision backing down.
Our cultures are the root cause of our divisiveness. Each side had strong and weak points to ponder. There is no known impartial arbiter to sort this out. We have to do it for ourselves and that is beyond difficult in our too busy world. We have to realize, and yes admit, which sides of our tenets make no sense whatsoever.
Studying and understanding our own culture as well as others will take deep diving and mature thinking. It is a lot sexier and visceral to shake your fist and curse some politician out rather than have an in-depth conversation. Social media with its implied anonymity and shoot from the hip repartees only add fuel to the fire. We need statespeople and they are few and far between.
What can we do? In simple conversations. In our everyday dealings. The snide remarks and innuendo have got to fade. The intransigence will get us nowhere. At least try to have the discussion or have the balls to speak up against insipid remarks of all sorts. Just listen if even for a moment.
If I sound at wits end, I am. I see this thing spiraling out of control. I hate war. You should too.
Ted The Great
We are now doubting our institutions will act in our best interests. It runs the gamut from business to government to religion to education.
The last president to be perceived as working in the country’s best interest was George H.W Bush. Many suggest we have to go back to a community level to achieve any progress.
Critical Race Theory
I could keep going on and on…….
Change is inevitable. Every day and every person is different. You can fight it or embrace it. Not easy..
We are the sum of our stories. The good, the bad and the ugly. What are yours?