“How does generation after generation of hate, distrust, anger, and wounded pride affect the lines of evolution?”
LOCAL VOICES: “The Art of Seeing” by Michael Milton
NOTE: What follows may be offensive to many. It was not my aim to antagonize. America seems to be caught in some kind of fevered dream, a futuristic vision by Edgar Allen Poe. I am not a scientist nor a biologist, and what I have been ruminating on of late is entirely speculative, and, sadly, not the least bit uplifting. I will, to the best of my ability, not be pejorative towards any social/political/religious stance, but I already sense that will be impossible.
Lee Drutman wrote in the New York Magazine that Americans “…have been retreating into our separate tribal epistemologies each with their own increasingly incompatible set of facts and first premises, each heavily racialized, in which there is no rational debate or middle ground compromise… no cross-cutting identities with everyone’s personal sense of status constantly on the line.”
Hillary Clinton’s use of the moniker “deplorables” in one of her campaign speeches was impolitic to be sure, but was it altogether incorrect? Her exact quote was, “You know, to be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of “deplorables;” the racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic—you name it…but the other basket are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures.”
Back to Drutman’s observation; we see the stark divisions he outlines cutting through the cloth of our society; between liberals and conservatives, Christians and Jews, blacks and whites, gay and straight, men and women.
The “deplorables” of Secretary Clinton’s first basket are, for want of a better word, haters. Many haters are generationally nurtured to hate, but my speculation here goes beyond that. I wonder if, after generations of that sort of nurturing, hate simply become one’s nature? In other words, does hate become a thread in the evolutionary process?
“The ‘deplorables’… are, for want of a better word, haters. Many haters are generationally nurtured to hate… I wonder if, after generations of that sort of nurturing, hate simply become one’s nature?”
What if our country has evolved roughly into two different species?
Shake your finger in the face of a Neo-Nazi all you want. But what if that person has no choice in his belief, and his DNA now pulses with a programmed loathing, then your finger-shaking and moralizing would be a little like shouting at a cow to stop mooing while demanding it recite poetry.
What were the factors that forced human evolution many millennia ago? Weather. Food availability. Meat eater or vegetarian? Research says we are STILL evolving, and at a faster pace than our ancestors could have ever dreamed of.
To be grossly overreaching, what if folks in Secretary Clinton’s first basket– those predominantly made up of folks living below the Mason/Dixon line– are evolving differently than those living north of the line? Why not? The “nature” part is there; dramatically different weather, hot and sticky days encouraging more generations towards sedentary lives.
The diets of say, Mississippi or Alabama, are built largely around what has become the famous “southern” diet, fried foods, lots of pork, lots of fat, high sugar intake, white breads (no pun intended.) Red states are poorer economies by and large, less interested in organic farming and vitamin balance and more interested in inexpensive, mass produced vittles.
Another aspect of “nurture” began back before the signing of the Declaration of Independence when the slavery question remained unanswered, left for a later re-examination once we were safe from the hungry maw of the British Empire. One group despised slavery, one group protected it. A horrific war was fought to erase slavery but the war did not erase the spirit amongst many of our southern brethren that always felt it to be a just and reasonable institution.
How does generation after generation of hate, distrust, anger and wounded pride affect the lines of evolution? Some opine that Neanderthals were killed by homo sapiens. They looked different. Homo sapiens could fish, Neanderthals didn’t. Climate change favored the former, isolation and cold worked against the latter. Whatever the cause, evolution was at work.
What if, at the end of the day, there is no possible reconciliation because the cow will never recite Poe’s “The Raven?”
I understand this isn’t simply a North and South issue. States across the nation have pockets of bigotry, meanness, and lack of compassion. Perhaps the effrontery some feel at having had to endure eight years of an Obama—a black man—in the White House has its roots in some evolutionary shift that began before the Civil War, rendering a portion of our population seemingly unreasonable and unhearing. I’m not saying it is right. I’m just wondering, can that be changed?
This is all crazy, I know. But we live in crazy times. I seek to find some understanding of our American era. There is every possibility of this being the most enlightened, democratic, compassionate era ever experienced on the face of the earth. America is great with vision, enormous wealth, creativity and drive. How is it possible that from both sides of our national barricade comes such a torrent of violent thinking and actions?
It is no wonder to me that Game of Thrones is so popular: Winter is coming, no doubt. But can the United States of America survive it? I, for one, am not so sure.
The gun-toting, gay-bashing, N-word-screaming, Jew-hating, women-beating, poorly educated members of the first basket of “Deplorabis Haterus”—or whatever new Latin name we might to identify this new species– should best be left to their own devices, in the other States of America.
Because unless we can learn how to ask on both sides, “How may I help you?” we are lost to the possibilities our united nation holds.