I have lived in New York City and environs all my life. This makes me anAmerican, if a marginal one, if you ask much of the rest of the country. I would like to think that with effort, commitment, and persistence, I along with others could hold the nation to its announced Liberal Democratic Republican ideals and set it on the right path. That’s what I would like to think. I am not sure this is worth the effort anymore.
Much of the democratic Left — of which I think myself a member — is beholden to the story that the USA is basically a decent-spirited nation, that it’s virtues are those of Lincoln, or Whitman, or Emerson, democratic and open at heart. You see this narrative at work in many Left historians and philosophers, from Howard Zinn to Richard Rorty: that it is only a wealthy, plutocratic elite that has suppressed ordinary folk from day one, and that one need only develop the appropriate class consciousness or pragmatic solidarity to reclaim our political birthright.
I now am beginning to think this is nonsense. You put it well by insisting that not only the elites but the citizenry has become corrupt. I shake my head when I read those who are Left-of-center, or even just plain Left, say that things are looking good because only 35–40% of the electorate supports Trump and the Republicans, and kind of makes a Biden win likely. Those 40% numbers aren’t encouraging: they are appalling. Forty percent, or thereabouts, is not disturbed that Trump and his orcs have deliberately abandoned any attempt at a national COVID-19 policy, a sine qua non of actually dealing with the medical crisis adequately, and which will probably approach, if not surpass, 250,000 deaths by election day. The United States of America has not just lost its mind. It has lost its soul. And it makes me wonder if it ever had one in the first place.
Nova Scotia is looking more and more attractive by the day. If they’ll have me. And if I live so long….