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Those who debate politics and current events have had increasing difficulty describing what they see. The terms we’ve used in the past (liberal vs conservative, Democrat vs Republican, and so on) seem to be less helpful these days. I have long thought that the real division in our country was more ‘rural vs urban’ rather than ‘Republican vs Democrat.’ But I’m starting to think that we have devolved from the egalitarian republic designed by our forefathers into something not unlike the European feudal systems which our forefathers were trying to escape.
Until recently, I have read arguments supporting this view of ‘elites vs everybody else’ with some skepticism, because I didn’t really understand what exactly that division was (I still don’t) and I didn’t consider being lectured to about global warming by a professor at the University of Nowhere as a phenomenon worth discussing. Who cares who those people are or what they think? But for some reason, Roger Stone’s recent arrest had a big impact on me. I think that was a significant event in our nation’s history. Either that or I’m just now catching on to what’s been happening for a long time.
I viewed his arrest as significant for a few reasons. Certainly not because Roger Stone is important (he’s not) and not because he is falsely accused (it appears that at least some of the charges against him have some merit.). He was released on bail a few hours later, so nothing interesting happened while he was in custody, either. This arrest wasn’t even a surprise for Mr. Stone. He had reportedly already agreed to come in to be booked, with his attorney present, whenever they called him. He knew what was coming, and had already agreed to cooperate.
What I found so significant (and terrifying) was that his arrest involved the cooperation and coordination of three very powerful forces: First, the FBI, who apparently made the decision to arrest Mr. Stone. Second, a SWAT team of some kind that made what should have been a routine arrest of a wealthy elderly man look like a military operation, including military uniforms and weapons. And then the third participant in this event is what I find most concerning: CNN. A military unit is told by our federal government to invade the home of an American citizen. CNN is offered a chance to participate. And they agree to participate in this coordinated attack? That borders on astonishing.
In the first Gulf war, reporters for “60 Minutes” famously refused to help the American military by telling them what they had seen, saying that their ethics as reporters forbade them from taking sides in any conflict. They portrayed themselves as simply neutral observers – cosmopolitan citizens of the world with no allegiances except to the truth. However, many people have viewed our news media as anti-American for years, often with very good cause. So the media claims to be neutral, and many others claim that they are anti-American. But no one in recent memory has claimed that our media are pro-American, actively aiding the efforts of the American government.
And now CNN is cooperating with the FBI and its military units. Why?
The simple answer is that elite career government bureaucrats and the media view Republicans as more evil, and more of a threat, than Muslim terrorists or foreign nations who are professed enemies of the United States. If the FBI had organized a military raid on the home of Hillary Clinton to take her and her email servers into custody in the middle of the night, I doubt that CNN would have agreed to cooperate. Of course, such a scenario is ridiculous. Which, of course, is my point.
Donald Trump is hard to like. He’s a man of many talents, but also of many flaws. I used to think that he was generating such hatred from the media and other components of the Democrat political machine partially because he had recently changed from Democrat to Republican, but also because they didn’t like him as a person any more than I did. But I’m starting to think that’s not right.
Trump is extremely wealthy. He’s a very powerful man, but he’s just not one of them. He’s not one of the elites. He looks on them with disdain, and he’s very vocal and crude about it. He doesn’t look like Mitt Romney. He doesn’t talk like Bill Clinton. He didn’t work his way up the political structure like Nancy Pelosi. He enjoys, and overindulges in, fast food. He puts ketchup on his steaks. He just walked in off the streets from Queens (not the upper east side of Manhattan) and took over – forcefully. Despite his wealth, he’s not an elite, and he must be removed like a cancer. No matter how damaging the cure is, the elites must do everything possible to rid themselves of this cancer. Imagine it from their point of view. It sort of makes sense.
It makes sense to Mueller and his supporters. It makes sense to the FBI. It makes sense to those who run the military extensions of federal agencies. It makes sense to Hillary Clinton. And, it apparently makes sense to CNN and our media.
The Republican party presents itself as representing the interests of the middle class. Small businessmen, factory workers, farmers, construction workers, etc. The Democrat party presents itself as representing the interests of the less fortunate. The homeless, illegal immigrants, various minority groups, etc. It seems odd that when those two parties combine to form a government, that what we end up with is a government that represents the interests of the elites, against all the groups that both parties supposedly represent. How does that happen?
What brought all this up is an article at “The Federalist” sent to me by @12handicap this morning. The author, Jesse Kelly, states that America has become so impossibly divided that it actually makes sense to divide the country into two parts. He even has a map in which he proposes new boundaries of these two new countries.
It’s typical, in times of peace and prosperity, for factions to argue about topics of less and less importance, and eventually for countries to be divided into smaller and smaller pieces to allow for more homogeneity and less internal conflict. And then, when times of war and crisis inevitably come along, it is just as typical for these formerly bickering neighbors to join together and form huge alliances, putting aside their internal conflicts to better deal with external threats. So I view a certain amount of this type of bickering to be expected during times of plenty, such as this.
But Mr. Kelly’s map got me thinking. If the true divisions in our society are the elites vs everyone else, where on earth would you redraw those boundaries?
The three organizations that cooperated in the raid on Mr. Stone’s home – FBI, SWAT team, and CNN – all three of those organizations recruit members from all over the country. “The elite” is such a vague term that I’m not really sure what it means. And I’m certainly not sure what it’s geographical boundaries would be.
Which means I’m not sure how this can be fixed.
The more entrenched “the elites” become in their position against the American people, the less likely it seems that we can return to the typical partisan arguments of the past. We may have already reached the point that Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt dreamed of – the point where elections don’t really matter all that much.
And if that’s the case, we can’t vote them out. And we can’t redraw boundaries, because this is not a geographical phenomenon. This train would appear to have no brakes.
You can understand why some feel that the “Just burn it all down” strategy is our only viable option at this point. Hillary Clinton’s role model, Saul Alinsky, promoted radical destruction of the status quo to lead to the inevitable revolution. As a conservative, such drastic actions make me uncomfortable. But cancer treatment can be much worse than uncomfortable sometimes.
So what do you think? Has American politics devolved into ‘elite vs everyone else’ as some have been suggesting for some time? If so, can this be fixed? Or is Mr. Kelly right – this just cannot end well, and we should start to think about how to carefully dismantle the United States? Not a happy thought.
I was having a great day – watching my kid play basketball on national TV, enjoying a beer, trying to decide what to snack on. And then @12handicap sends me a link. And now I’m in a crummy mood.
Thanks, @12handicap. Thanks a lot.
We even lost the dang basketball game…