It’s certainly no big secret that we are living in a highly polarized society. Our pathological need to label everyone into neat categories has changed the political debate from one framed on policy and principles to something sharply focussed on identity and intersectionality. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and subsequent administration brought identity politics from the fringes of political discussion and placed it center stage where it has not only remained, but flourished and grown to it’s current untenable state.
We now find ourselves compelled to sort, label and categorize everybody into a hierarchy of intersectionality. In years past, the country was divided by party. Democrat and Republican. This division was easily identified based on ideas of policy, was a person more liberal or conservative in their thinking.
But,much like the single crack that sometimes appears on a windshield, this division began to spread. In addition to the party line, we added things like race, gender, ethnicity, social class and sexual preferences to the labels with which we have stratified ourselves. The acronyms and labels now work like some dystopian Dewey Decimal System whose sole purpose is to keep the people divided. You see, the single biggest threat to an over reaching, over powerful government is a citizenry that is united. The end result to this spiderweb of fractures is an ever expanding number of subgroups for more focussed on the tribalistic drive to improve their place in the hierarchy than they are focussed on the actions and inactions of government.
Social media has provided us the ideal lens with which to view this phenomenon in real time. Twitter, for example, is like a twisted LARPing of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Here, we see a microcosm of society in all it’s ugliness. Democrats, Republicans, conservatives, liberals, LGBTQRSTABC’s, POC’s, MAGA,RINO, resist……it goes on and on. And to each label we have assigned ideological criteria. If a person agrees that we have an immigration problem, or that free speech is being threatened, that person is issued a republican, conservative, or “maga” nametag. This person is expected to wholeheartedly buy into the ideology, without hesitation or second thought. This person is duty bound to hang onto every word, idea and action of the President as though it came from Christ himself, and to do otherwise is blasphemy.
Likewise, if a person thinks that the wealth resulting from ones hard work, innovation and investment should be obligated to ease the burdens of those in society that are unable or unwilling to build wealth of their own, they are labelled a liberal. The newly minted liberal is required to protest anything they deem offensive, demand an expansive social safety net, eliminate the border, and oppose any and every syllable uttered from the President’s mouth. To do otherwise is heresy.
The fracturing and subclassification has indeed led to some interesting, often humorous, tweet conversations between the two basic right/left divisions. Over time, however, a darker, less humorous type of conversation has emerged. This conversation is seldom focussed on political debate. More often it’s a protracted thread of ad hominem attacks, thuggery, baiting and profanity all intended to goad someone into a TOS violation to be reported and, subsequently suspended. This “mass reporting” strategy is made even more effective by the popular “follow back trains” wherein lists of Twitter handles are compiled to facilitate adding large numbers of followers, which are then encouraged to report perceived or contrived violations to Twitter Support.
Don’t for a second think that this shitty tactic is used solely by “free speech hating liberals”. Conservatives are just as bad, if not worse. If a conservative dares to exhibit a grain of critical thinking in a way that challenges the “MAGA” philosophy, he runs the risk of being labelled “fake MAGA” and voted off the island, only to be scorned, attacked, reported, or doxxed.
Many of these jackal-like groups exhibit no politics at all to speak of. They roam the twitterverse hoping to find an argument fir the sake of argument. They seldom, if ever contribute to conversation in a meaningful way, as their mission is to simply attack.
So you see, we have allowed ourselves to become a population of sycophants, zealots and fanatics. We cling tightly to our own ideas and seldom leave room to expand our thinking. We fight viciously amongst ourselves, while foolishly believing that because those in government may share our label, that they are working in our best interest. Make no mistake…the only thing that interests these politicians is maintaining their grip on power, and keeping the cash flowing into their pockets. They sit entertained as we fight amongst ourselves just as the Caesars were entertained by the gladiators in the Colluseum.