How Come Americans Are So Angry?
Oops! Germany just voted the Social Democrats back into power after four years of Merkel and what had been touted as yet another democracy shifting towards the Right. I mean, what’s going on here? I thought that liberal democracy was under siege. I thought that the forces of reaction, racism and anti-immigration would reshape Western politics for God knows how long.
And where exactly is our good friend Donald Trump, the leader of the worldwide shift towards Fascism and White-only, Christian rule? I assume he’s waiting to be invited to cut the ribbon when Ford opens its new, $11 billion factory to build all-electric cars. After all, wasn’t it Trump who brought back all those well-paying manufacturing jobs?
I used to think that the difference between liberal, as opposed to conservative media was that the conservatives had a political agenda whereas the liberals just represented honesty and truth. After all, liberals believe in science, they believe that government’s a good thing, they believe that women should decide whether their bodies should be used to maintain and nurture the human species, and so forth and so on.
I don’t think that way anymore. And I don’t think that way because as the political pendulum swings back towards the middle, which is where it has more or less always sat in the West since the Marshall Plan rebuilt Europe after World War II, the people who develop and maintain the liberal perspective on politics just can’t seem to give up the agenda they have created and nurtured over the past four years.
What does that agenda consist of? It consists of the harebrained notion that our government and our political system is still facing an almost existential threat from the Far Right; a threat that wasn’t extinguished after January 6th but will continue to grow and infect the body politic every day. The latest example of this nonsense comes from Evan Osnos, whose book, Wildland, The Making of America’s Fury, is yet another attempt to remind all of us comfortable liberals about the anger and rage out there in the hinterlands shared by all those poor, White people who have been left behind.
Incidentally, it’s not just White people who are giving up on the American dream. It’s also Black people trapped in miserable, inner-city ghettos who are turning their backs on American the failure of a system that allowed a cop to kneel down and crush the neck of a poor, Black guy named George Floyd.
Can we somehow restore peace and tranquility in America after four years of Donald Trump? Osnos isn’t sure that we can do it because the gap between those who have made it and those who have failed may have just become too wide.
I’m going to leave the analysis of Osnos’ political perspectives to people who know more about politics than I do, but I will comment briefly on what Osnos has to say about the role of guns and the increase in people arming themselves to express all their fury and rage. Osnos quotes a video by Colion Noir, a Black, pro-gun enthusiast who was a totally-contrived video personality on NRA-TV: “They’ll be coming for the handguns – these aren’t new tactics. Hitler did the same thing in Germany.” [P. 390]
Maybe disarming civilian populations isn’t a new tactic, but what really isn’t a new tactic is the ‘slippery slope’ nonsense about how gun control leads to liberalism, which leads to fascism, a marketing scheme which the NRA has been peddling for the last 50 or so years.
The real reason that the NRA hired a Philadelphia lawyer named Collins Idehen, changed his name to Colion Noir and got him to prance around on NRA-TV with an assault rifle in his hands, was because the gun industry woke up back in the 1990’s and realized that old, White men who enjoyed hunting were no longer buying guns. So, the gun makers tried to develop new markets – women, non-Whites – except all these great ideas failed. Colion Noir now peddles t-shirts on his website, that idiot Dana Loesch competes with every other loudmouth for the same AM shock-jock audiences on i-Heart radio.
Guns? Who cares about guns?
Most of the gun guys I know own assault rifles because with imported ammo they are fun and cheap to shoot. You can also pick one up for around $500 bucks. These guys were as embarrassed as everyone else when the Nazis paraded through Charlottesville with their AR-15’s. They didn’t feel any kinship with the ‘militia’ dopes who paraded around the State House in Michigan and then tried to kidnap the Governor out of her house.
Osnos admits that the number of guns being sold continues to increase but the percentage of homes which contain guns continues to go down. Did it ever occur to him that maybe a Pandemic gives every gun nut in America an excuse to buy another gun?
But when you have decided that America is on the verge of political anarchy or worse because so many people have lost faith and refuse to subscribe to the common good, you have to make the facts fit the narrative rather than the other way around.
Know how much we are learning from all these books that explain how and why Trump represents the lunatic, right-wing fringe? About as much as we learned from all those books which claimed that Obama was born in Kenya, or Afghanistan, or some other God-forsaken place.