Hopefully when the sun rises tomorrow we can be done with the false narratives of hillbilly elegy and “it’s the economy,stupid”
Why do I say that? Because the narratives reduce any human to a really silly data point. They don’t give agency to those people claim they do and they don’t expand ideas and notions of humanity. These narratives usually showcase the close mindedness and shallowness of experience of the authors. Each human is a unique nexus of everything that came before them and everything that is now. Each human is expanded or reduced in how we refer to them in discourse and rhetoric and daily exchanges with them.
The politics that stink to high heaven isn’t the politics of red vs blue but of fully realized human vs marketing widgets. Voting blocks and coalitions of dehumanized middle classes. Trivialized histories and identities. And really pathetic slogans like we share more in common than we differ.
I have lived for extensive periods of time in 5 different states in America. All different regions. From sparse suburbs to big cities to little cities. To tightly integrated urban centers, mostly white dudes like me neighborhoods, neighborhoods mostly devoid of dudes like me… tiny apartments, shared houses, giant houses, and so on. I’ve spent a great deal of time in the Midwest, the rust belt, Lower Manhattan, west coast up and down, Great Lakes… spent long stretches in farm towns and vacation destinations. Ports of entry, towns long past their prime. I’ve had long conversations with old friends and strangers and workers and bosses in libraries, offices, parking lots, bus rides, houses of worship, hospitals, nursing homes. I’ve been in board rooms all over. ICUs. Witness stands and rooms. I’ve traveled internationally, not as much as I would like or should, but have been in cities, rural areas, colonies, slums, universities, high tables to burned out schools for special needs.
We actually all do have significant differences in our lives. We have significant shared experiences and interests too. You can’t tally them up. You can’t claim to have figured it out. The second you form statical statement about a person and drop the actual human from your mind you’ve missed it.
The story of humanity and society is the collection of every single human that ever was or will be.
We aren’t here to win or lose or defeat evil and triumph over our enemies. Those are pathetic and very limited goals that never last.
We aren’t here for any particular purpose. We are living breathing process. And every thing we organize should be similarly held in awe and humility. The work is never done. The arc of justice isn’t out there. It’s within us.
This is not a campfire get together moment I’m talking about. I am 100% for rebuking trumpism and hate and grifting and bad interpretations of game theory and Darwinism. I am 100% for participation by everyone all the time in this thing we call a fully realized life.
This election today isn’t about economic theory or consumer confidence. It’s far deeper and more existential. Americans have an immature sense of connectivity and the future and of death. It is a culture built around manifest destiny and a strange obsession with alleviating acute pain. Unsurprising for a nation built from the almost awake youth of the world in the 1700s that struggled and found success first through dominance and oppression. That has run its course.
My travels and movement around this country has led me to believe integration of the new and courage in the face of uncertainty is all that matters. That is the key to life and the key to society and the key to self governance.
We must become what we are not. And we must start now.