Just not the way we wanted or hoped for. Because instead of a high-minded exchange about history, economic, public policy and culture, out NCAR has arrived as a zombie horde of raving, "post truth" Trumpshirts who are openly bigoted, immune to reason and damn proud of it.
The boundaries of our NCAR are a little ragged and, since this is the United States of Loud Opinions, any conversation about anything will inevitably be alloyed with a hundred other issues. But for the first time since the 1860s and the 1960s, we are squared off into two, clearly defined, irreconcilable and diametrically-opposed camps: Conservative bigots, morons (and the exploiters of bigots and morons) marching under the banner of a florescent orange liar and con man...
...and everybody else.
There is no Sensible Center here anymore -- no "Both Sides".
There is no longer any meaningful category of "American people" except geographically. As I wrote ten long years ago:
No “We” in America – Part I
For a long time now, the casual invocation of the term “the American people” when explaining what we as a nation do or do not believe, or will or won’t stand for -- especially by the Right, but also by the Left -- has been pissing me right off.Because at the moment, there is no more “We” in this country.It breaks my heart but I believe the strategic and relentless poisoning of the public well by the likes of Republican Lee Atwater, Republican Newt Gingrich, Republican Rush Limbaugh and Republican Karl Rove has done its work. And other that geographical, there are no more categories in this country to which we can apply the term "Americans" any longer...
Once the rage-drunk bigots and imbeciles and their collaborators in the media are defeated yet again by the rest of us, maybe we'll get back to having intelligent debates over other important matters, but I doubt it. I doubt that anything short of a comprehensive rollback of anything that remotely smacks of "Republican" will give us back our national adulthood and equilibrium and get us back to having grown-up arguments over reasonable marginal tax rates, structural racism, expanding national health care, demilitarizing our cops, disentangling ourselves from ill-advised alliances an commitments around the world, global climate change, and so forth.
And I would love that.
I would love it if I could box this blog up and get back to meaningful public policy debates without being smothered under the dead weight of 30 million screeching Republican idiots being whipped into targetable mobs by domestic enemies like Fox News, Hate Radio and The Breitbart Collective.
But we're not there. Not by a damn site.
Right now we're just barely holding Little Round Top by our nails.
Right now we're marching towards the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
And you cannot, cannot, cannot be on both sides of that conflict.