“It’s me versus you, and I ain’t gonna be the one to lose”.
The new sounding board for today’s white American is one that is more of a mirror for Donald J. Trump, and his “good old boy” mentality. He took the White House, after all, by promising white isolationist Americans that he would “bring back the good old days”. By this, he meant the days when it was okay to segregate minorities, and put women back in the kitchen where they belonged.
What has taken the country by surprise, is the willingness of so many Americans to accept bigotry, hatred, sexism and racism, in return for their precious coal mining jobs and small town streets lined with sandwich shops in lieu of noodle houses. The overwhelming motivation in much of America is the idea that they can go back to the days when minorities were kept in their place, and whites ruled the country. Think Ward and June Cleaver.
Many are left to ask how people can be so biased, even angry, enough to even consider voting for candidates who openly support white nationalism, hatred and support for the very wealthy at the expense of less fortunate Americans. The theme lies in the notion that it’s “every man for himself”; the Lifeboat Ethics made famous by Garrett Hardin. At an individual level, Lifeboat Ethics speak to the concept of the “haves” and the “have-nots”, or in this case, the “isolationist white Americans” and “everyone else” if you were to ask Donald Trump.
As someone who once was exposed to many such isolationists (in this case, American gun owners), I heard stories about how Americans yearned for the days when they could walk down the street to the local pharmacy, buy a piece of candy, and wander down to the creek to spend the day reading a book or going for a swim. The days when Americans treated each other fairly and with respect because they were all white, God fearing people. The days when kids said please and thank you. The days when everyone attended the same church.
Isolationists now feel threatened by the influence of immigrants; influence that started many years ago, but only now has gotten the attention of Americans who feel that their way of life is doomed. The “american way” is giving way to what they feel are multi-cultural misnomers about how we can all learn about each other’s culture. No doubt, today’s politics are making huge headway in their goal of getting the isolationist American as mad as hell, with the type of “us versus them” rhetoric that fuels anger and disdain for people of differing cultures, races, sexual orientations or backgrounds.
If you’re on the side of America who is familiar with multiple cultures, then you might find yourself wondering how Americans can hate other Americans so much. In a nutshell, it’s a combination of mis-information, supported by the rhetoric of anger and hatred, and led by a president who is more than happy to be behind the wheel of a bus that garners divisive attitudes towards our country.
Understanding both sides of the debate (which really shouldn’t even BE a debate) in America can be confusing, and will never really make sense. The “we versus they” mentality drives us further apart, and when it’s fueled by hatred and lies that cause people to want to fight for their values, then nobody wins.
At the end of the day, the only values that survive in a climate like today’s, are the dollars and cents left in the pockets of the wealthy, while the rest of America, white or otherwise, is left to fight among itself for what’s left at the bottom of the pot...
... at that point, we will all become the “have-nots”...