The Divided Nation and the Widening Chasms Charles Elias Chartouni/January 10/2021 شارل الياس شرتوني: الأمة المنقسمة واتساع الهوة
“Why not to get to know some people outside your political bubble…., You’ll probably meet some very fine people who will teach you volumes about strong community, grit and resilience.” Arlie Russell Hochschield
Analysts and Commentators are striving to define the nature of what happened on Capitol Hill, January 6th 2021, and foresee their impact on national political life.
Is it an insurrection, is it a violent outburst to display the long standing estrangement growing at the heels of the lingering cultural wars, the widening circles of ruptured globalization, the unmaking of the national narrative, and the recasting of political life around the blurred markers of a dissipating bipartisan political culture.
Fortunately, Republicans and Democrats were unanimous in their condemnation of the political derailment displayed by the violent tantrums on Capitol Hill, their attachment to the constitutional rotation of power, and the foundational myths of the American Republic.
Whatever might be the outcomes of the debate on the impeachment of President Trump, the overriding focus on the immediate political repercussions, and the incoming transition acknowledged by the outgoing President, there are very few accounts on the purview of these highly significant political outbursts, besides the hackneyed political correctness revolving around the compounded themes: of white nationalism, jingoism, racialism…., as if American society has not logged decades of political, legal, civic and moral achievements towards an inclusive democracy that transcends the ballasts of history and its tricky meanders, and American Democracy is not paradigmatic and emblematic of Modern times in every respect.
The mere relegation of this act of rebellion to a mobster frenzy is a mere ideological prevarication and a deliberate misrepresentation of facts, the “fabrication of factuality” is not the preserve of “white supremacists” while it aptly applies to the alternative narratives of the identitary left, its ideological blinkers, self hatred and anti-American rhetorics.
Obviously, the Trump style of governance like any other populism (on the right or on the left) has very tenuous relationships with institutional politics, nonetheless, it reveals their downside based on oligarchic retrenchment, cultural estrangement, faked pathos and debased democratic credentials (Politikverdrossenheit).
The politics of “Make America Great Again” and its tweeting shortcuts are no hazard especially when you end up with 74,000,000 ballots and a divided landscape which features the current state of American politics.
The source of awe and exhilaration is not Trump per se, it’s “the unity of the great crowd of strangers gathered around him. If the rally would speak, it would say” we are the majority”.
Added to a promise to be lifted up from bitterness, despair, depression, the movement, as Trump has increasingly called his campaign actors, acts as a great antidepressant. “ (Arlie Russell Hochschild, Strangers in their Own Land, Anger and Mourning of the American Right, New Press 2016).
The mayhem of Antifa, Black Lives Matter and left mavericks were not substantially different from those exhibited on Capitol Hill, neither in violence, nor ideological extremism and questioning of civil concord, both feature the unraveling of the covenantal civil religion, and the disparagement of democratic civility.
President-elect Joe Biden has to deal with the monumental task of bringing the American political life to its conventional bipartisanship, away from the sectarian overtones of political extremism, at both ends of the political spectrum, avoid claptrap political correctness, the delusions of fraudulent political messianism and retribution politics.
The Trump administration has come to an end, but the 74,000,000, who cast their ballots to it are still on the wait with their grievances, political agendas and political geography and still at a distance from Beltway politics and its priorities.
The events of last Wednesday are not the marginal upshot of hoodlum outbreaks, it’s the symptom of a long range estrangement, “ I was humbled by the complexity and height of the empathy wall, but with their teasing, good hearted acceptance of a stranger from Berkeley, the people in Louisiana, showed me that, in human terms, the wall can easily come down and issue by issue, there is a possibility for practical cooperation. Left and Right in Congress”. ( Strangers in their own Land,… )
* You can read my previous articles on American elections, November
8/15 2020, on my Facebook mural.