America, the Neo-Tribal Nation

It is unsettling and sad to witness what is happening in our great country today.

Never in my lifetime—and I’m older than Methuselah in dog years—have I ever witnessed such hysteria over the occupant of the White House. No, not even during Watergate—in which a real crime WAS committed, albeit a two-bit burglary. I covered the fallout from the Watergate break in, so I know of what I speak.

What bothers me about the frenzy on the left is its capitulation to identity politics rather than to the rational and intelligent liberal ideology that used to define the Democrat party.

What attracted me to the Democrat party when I was young was its issue-oriented, logical approach to dealing with the nation’s social and economic problems. I can still remember a time when voting for a Democrat didn’t mean you were embracing socialism and by definition, extreme loathing and disgust for anybody who was not a Democrat.

Sadly, those days are gone given the Democrat party’s apparent embrace of socialism and identity politics.

What do I mean by identity politics?

It means that each of us belongs to a sub-group defined by race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc. Let’s look at the behavior of the Democrat party in the last couple of Presidential elections. Instead of focusing on broad issues such as jobs and income growth, Democrats catered to members of different sub-groups, promising to give them power.

Did Hillary Clinton offer the middle class an agenda for which they could vote? No, she catered to sub-groups hoping that they would coalesce enough to send her to victory. It didn’t work.

In essence, Democrats apparently want to divide us into competing tribes, each with its own agenda, its own set of grievances, and its own view of what America should look like.

The problem with that is this: if one or two tribes win, then the others lose. The result is now a country that is tearing itself apart, ripping away the very fabric of our nation, and destroying the excellent idea that makes America unique in world history.

Look at what it says on the nation’s Great Seal: “E Pluribus Unum”—Out of Many, One.”

Think about what that means. Out of many peoples, races, religions, languages, and ancestries has emerged a single people and nation.

We used to talk about America being the great melting pot—a fusion of different cultures, ethnicities, and nationalities.

That is no longer politically correct. Today we are taught there is no need to assimilate, to “become an American.” Instead, we each have our own identity: African-American, Mexican-American, Transgender, LGBT, Muslim, Evangelical, Jew, Democrat, Republican, etc.

This is neo-tribalism, in which we are identified by what sub-group or tribe to which we belong. We are no longer “Americans.” We are something else.

That means instead of thinking about the whole and the many, we think about ourselves and what sub-group we belong to first and the country last, if at all.

It means that instead of allowing reasonable debate about issues, those who belong to a sub-group JUST WANT TO WIN. Debate is no longer a means to a solution. In their minds violence, rioting, burning, destroying property, shouting down those who don’t agree with them, and ignoring freedom of speech is the new modus operandi.

Concepts that we were once taught to respect and cherish such as freedom of speech, the rule of law, the nuclear family, patriotism, adherence to religion and belief in God are under assault by a profane and secular left.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marilynne Robinson has said it very well:

“At the outset, we were fortunate to have a group of people write essential documents that gave us a good deal to think about.  And I think that a lot of the higher quality of American discourse, when it has been high, is out of respect for the fact that these are valuable things that impose respect for people of other views.

“And, at this point, things have deteriorated to the point that it is morally wrong to have an attitude of presumptive respect toward someone you disagree with. That’s just bizarre, and it’s obviously not a formula for civilized society.”

I am saddened when I hear those on the left say that our Constitution is no longer germane, that our traditions are not noble, that our Bill of Rights is irrelevant, and that we do not live in an exceptional country.

I remember listening to what President John F. Kennedy said during his 1961 inauguration speech. It still resonates with me today. (Yes, I saw that speech on TV and I would have voted for Kennedy were I old enough to vote back then).

“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

I took those words to heart. I joined the U.S. Army and served four years gathering intelligence for the National Security Agency. Others joined Kennedy’s Peace Corps and went to third world countries to help people produce clean water, build decent housing, and eliminate illiteracy.

I am proud of my service to this country. I hate seeing it ripped apart today by self-centered politicians and others who put their political party and themselves before country, who feel it is acceptable to ignore the results of a legitimate election, and who want to use any means possible to remove the candidate they didn’t vote for from office.

That is exactly what we see today when Democrats howl for Donald Trump’s political lynching—which is what an impeachment is.

The way to remove a president from office is with the ballot, not by decree, violence, or a political coup d’état.

I hope it is not too late.