American politics will be perpetual until grievance ceases to be identity.
I almost convinced a neighbor to get vaccinated day before yesterday. He's a good guy. Heart of gold. Works hard. Loves his mother. Dad died of COVID. So did his aunt. But he "ain't getting the shot." In the course of the discussion we touched on
- Removing Robert E. Lee's statue
- Drug abuse
- Gay marriage
- Biblical slavery
He wasn't going to give up his unvaccinated status because it would break up his Burger King Commemorative MAGA Cup set.
A larval theory
As we slowly, cautiously, delicately honor and accept the heritage of ethnicities and cultures other than whiteness in the United States, those without an ethnicity or culture other than whiteness are seeing their ethnicity and culture compared for the first time. And they are being told tales that do not jive with their politely scrubbed and polished inherited knowledge. And this is heresy, this is sacrilege, this is an assault on their well-being.
Did some Ancestry.com deep-diving recently. I'm 1/4 Belorussian Jew, 1/16th Belgian scam artist, 11/16ths slave-owning plantation WASP. Seen the slave rolls. I have an ancestor that owned nothing but children. I have another that owned slaves so far back he owned them in New York. Now - I hate my family. They're terrible people. So I can go "lol well of course we picked up the hoe as soon as we were forced to put down the whip." I can observe that having our assets turned into citizens provided some serious downward pressure on our mobility, which is about as pure as justice comes. But if I was proud of where I was from? Yer goddamn right I'd triangulate a way to find the bright side of owning five children.
When your political alignment shifts from "what I believe" to "who I am" your political spectrum includes populism and fascism. And since well before 1776, "who I am" in American politics has included the belief that some people aren't really people. We've been able to tamp it down from time to time, but I can tell my buddy - who was 120 lbs overweight, then was 80lbs overweight, then his heroin addict brother got out of prison last week after four years so he is now 88 lbs overweight - believes he's going to beat COVID where I didn't. He used to see me jogging every morning and when I told him that I straight up can't anymore because of COVID, his whole rationalization was there to see - "it may have killed my dad, it may have killed my aunt, it may have almost killed two of my buddies, but it didn't kill my brother therefore I'll be fine because I'm better than this guy."
Yang tries to build a coalition of beliefs. Biden and Harris won because as a country, more people identified with them than anybody else.
Identity needs to be refreshed every time it's challenged. And we've got way too many people in this country who want to challenge the idea of the United States.