Whenever I write anything about America, I have to take into account that it is actually two countries, and these days it’s becoming more and more transparently obvious.
One America is made up of literate, intelligent, generous people who see America for the melting pot country that it really is, and willingly embrace the addition of people from other lands and cultures, because they know that this is what makes their country so desirable to people from around the world. They also know that these people will work hard and bring skills and intelligence to the country that only add to its appeal and ultimately to its success in the world.
The other country is made up of people who are pretty much exactly the opposite. They tend to believe that America is a country that was founded by white Christian people and that that is the way it should be. They resent anyone who disagrees with them, which is pretty much everybody in the Other America. A lot of these people have been manipulated into thinking that way by right-wing zealots. But most of them feel that way because that’s the way their parents think and the way that their communities act, and so all they are doing is carrying on a tradition.
And if you add to this the fact that the vast majority of these people have never traveled more than a couple hundred miles from their homes, they hold onto those beliefs, which are constantly reinforced by right-wing politicians.
So what you end up with is Two Americas. One defined by its progressive and egalitarian nature and the other is defined by its regressive pro-white Christian nature.
And now with the incredible proliferation of communication, these Two Americas are easier to see than ever. And in the middle of it all, you have a government that is divided in the same way as the country because people really do get the government they deserve.
One side of the government wants to have programs that lower the cost of health care, make emigration to the country easier, lower drug prices, close tax loopholes to get the wealthy paying their fair share of taxes, develop alternative energy sources before carbon emissions start choking the world to death, and work to keep America in the forefront democratic nations,
The forces in opposition oppose all of that but don’t really appear to have any solutions in mind, because their politicians have been co-opted by big business, big pharma, and big fossil fuel energy. And for some unfathomable reason, have the support of almost everyone in the Other America. So their only interest is in preserving the status quo.
And so it sits. The most prosperous nation on the face of the earth with no social safety net to speak of, no control over drug prices, virtually no support for alternative energy development no universal health care, no sane national gun laws, and a Supreme court that has become completely politicized, leaning to the right.
But most importantly, what these Two Americas are lacking is a way to get back to being one, at a time when One America could set an incredible example to the world of how a real democracy should function.
All this petty bickering that has split the country has also sent a message to the world about just how fragile a system real democracy can be.
I wish I could tell you I have an idea for a solution, but the fact of the matter is, I have seen nothing to indicate that a solution is even possible. But then again, America is famous for pulling rabbits out of hats, so who knows? What I do know now is that Two Americas is definitely not better than one.