Humans are an abundant, easily replaced natural resource. An ever-growing collective, eagerly waiting to be coddled, angered and frightened into submission. Politics, in essence, is the art of capitalizing on these emotional instincts. Appealing to the best and worst elements of human nature, cultivating a base of useful idiots, and then skillfully leveraging that primal energy to eradicate anyone who disagrees with you.
Locked in a never-ending war against itself, America’s political machine is fueled by petty bickering and outright hatred. Tragically, the former hope of the free world has devolved into a nation torn apart by polarities, with each demographic fighting tooth and nail to reach legislative superiority. To help you make sense of this masochistic madness, here is a guide to the fundamentals of American cultural warfare.
Although staring at an election-day map of red and blue reveals a divide reminiscent to the civil war, the current incarnation of American social conflict has contemporary origins. In particular, the above speech by Pat Buchanan is hailed as a defining moment in the Religious Right’s passive aggressive crusade, effectively laying the groundwork for decades of bigotry and resentment.
Fresh off the heels of the cold war, right wing politicians found themselves in need of a new enemy. Someone to ostracize, dehumanize, and of course, bombard with holier-than-thou rhetoric. Fueled by an evangelical fervor, bloated righteousness and delusions of grandeur, the GOP mobilized an army hell-bent on preserving the mythical virtue of white America.
Seducing the Lowest Common Denominator
Despite their obedient defense of cold-blooded Machiavellian capitalism, the average republican earns a working class wage. This begs the question: how do you trick peasants into fighting for the interests of the 1%? Simple, you distract them from the realities of their own mediocrity by appealing to the most illogical aspects of human existence (faith and prejudice).
No longer is it sufficient to disagree on the issues. The opposition must be transformed into evil incarnate, characterized as depraved agents of Satan determined to corrode the very foundations of a godly society. Do you agree with a liberal about something? Tough luck. Good Christians don’t cooperate with baby-killing sodomites.
Fortunately, the reality of American society doesn’t match the abysmal portrait sensationalized by the media. Even in small towns throughout the bible belt, you’ll find individuals from all walks of life co-existing peacefully. Truth be told, it isn’t too uncommon to witness Duck Dynasty rejects and butch lesbians harmoniously chugging beer and watching NASCAR. In light of this, elected officials quickly realized the importance of being proactive.
The surge of radical voices in congress is often attributed to the growing tension of the left-right political axis. Be that as it may, no region in America subscribes completely to one ideology. Red states have plenty of latte drinking hipsters, and blue states possess a wealth of gun-toting hillbillies. For this reason, the political elite on both sides of the spectrum are compelled to artificially inflate electoral divisiveness.
While the practice of gerrymandering spans America’s entire political history, modern technology increases its effectiveness tenfold. Utilizing third-party firms and proprietary software, state election committees scan census and polling data, often completely ignoring geography as districts are re-arranged to ensure landslide victories for the ruling party.
Whether it’s liberal domination in NY or the unstoppable reign of conservatism in North Carolina, getting caught up in a tabloid-worthy scandal is one of the only things capable of stripping power away from most lawmakers. This provides very little incentive for compromise. If anything, it encourages the kind of flamboyant obstructionism that’s become the hallmark of modern politics.
After all, what’s the point of taking political risks when your small base is kept satisfied with regurgitated partisan cliches? That said, stacked districts aren’t solely to blame for America’s great cultural divide.
Rise of the Millennials: Hide Your Kids, Hide Your Wife
Culture, much like life itself, is subject to long-term evolution. As teenage angst blossoms into practical adulthood, each generation heralds cataclysmic shifts in consciousness. From women’s suffrage and the abolition movement to gay marriage and legalized cannabis, the establishment typically ends up surrendering to an often vindictive youthful vibrancy.
However, unlike their predecessors, millennials have never been restrained by geography and cultural differences. Raised nursing on the teat of technology, answers to every question have always been just a few clicks away. Despite the best attempts of parents and priests, sheltering millennials from existential woes proved impossible.
Hitting puberty during the Bush administration, Washington’s corruption and the “Moral Majority’s” hypocrisy were made apparent at a very early age. Tech savvy adolescents around the world took refuge online, indulging in a pleasant blend of pornography and cultural exploration. Not surprisingly, talking points and poorly crafted propaganda proved to be no match for the onward march of the digital age.
Why Has Thou Forsaken Me?
Although God might not be dead yet, evangelical Christianity is certainly terminally ill. According to Pew, church attendance has plummeted all across the nation, with 32% of citizens under age 30 claiming no religious affiliation what-so-ever. Of course, the millennial backlash against the GOP further intensifies the downward spiral of Evangelicalism.
From business to entertainment, Generation Y increasingly calls the shots. Each billion dollar idea and viral video grant us more control, steadily loosening the omnipotent grasp of both God and government. However, despite the claims of paranoid conspiracy theorists, the new state of affairs isn’t the result of Marxist, homo-erotic cultural hegemony. Hollywood’s capitalistic drive, alongside this growing absence of faith, have culminated into the perfect storm for secular reform.
Atheists and homosexuals have always existed. Sex has always sold, and artists that fail to be provocative tend to fade into obscurity. What’s the key difference now, then? Social networks, online multiplayer games, and media outlets like YouTube expose budding millennials to every possible demographic, significantly reducing their bias in the process.
Conclusion: Evolve or Die
As with any revolution, remnants of the past tend to kick and scream until their dying breath. While a great number of baby boomers embrace the 21st Century with open arms, many are utterly incapable of navigating this strange new world, with each cultural advancement and technological innovation serving as a gloomy reminder of their growing irrelevance. Confused and terrified, fight or flight soon sets in
I believe the murder of teenager Jordan Davis provides the perfect symbolism for America’s culture war. Agonizing over youth lost and years wasted, the politically vanquished are left blindly attacking everything they fail to understand. On the bright side, the majority of this primitive demographic will be dead within a few decades. Thank the lord for small favors, eh? Hallelujah.