In which I am overly self-referential.
Back in October of 2003, I made the claim that 2004 would end up looking like 1968. I think that's when I first trotted out my now overused West Side Story analogy.
The thought started here
There's a definite rumble coming. There's gangs lining up on every side; the terrorists here, the protesters there, the pro-war people, the Jew-haters, the Death To America crowd, the extremists and Bush haters; it's showdown time in the back alley!
We've been dancing too long. The tension in the gym, all decorated with flags and anti-flags, depending on which side you are standing on, well, its become unbearable. We're gonna rumble like it's 1968.
I followed that up a week later with this thought
about the left:
bq. They have become a large, swarming mass, making a giant buzzing sound, just waiting for a reason to go all out. An election year gives them that reason.
In July of this year, I called what the U.S. was experiencing a social civil war
bq. Welcome to the social civil war, where we are all soldiers, all victims and all losers, no matter who wins the election.
I was thinking this over last night and I realized that perhaps my prediction for an 1968 style uprising or a civil war wasn't totally off base; I just had my dates wrong.
Ok, so the reality of civil war may be far-fetched, but the ideas are out there, floating around, making their way from obscure blogger to major media columnist. Secession is the word of the day. And while a few people on the right are diving headlong into this swamp of an idea, it's mostly being bandied about by the left. Jesusland, indeed. Papers like the Boston Herald
are letting their columnists entertain thoughts of civil war and secession. This is not something just being played out in the sewers of Democratic Underground. Secession is the new black!
It's interesting to watch the red state/blue state gang fight heat up. I've already heard arguments over which side would have better health care and which side would be more economically stable. You may think it's the tree hugging hippies vs. the God-fearing fascists, but you'd be dead wrong about that. Hell, it's not even a blue v. red thing anymore, as the Northeast is now claiming superiority over the south
, totally taking the west coast and the heartland out of the civil war equation. It can be mighty confusing and someone needs to make a scorecard to keep track of which state is joining which secession movement.
I honestly thought the great divide
would come before the elections were held. I thought we would lapse into a civil war sometime during the summer, complete with deathly riots and martial law. I assumed that once the election was over, no matter who won, the anger would subside as we got on with the business of getting our country in shape and sharpening our respective parties up for the great knife fight of 2008.
Boy, was I wrong. The rage is only starting to heat up now. The whole past year it's just been set on simmer. Not only is no one turning the flame down
, they've turned the gas up even higher.
The thing is, I have no horse in the race. And that's what frightens me the most. While you would think it would be a good thing to just be an observer in this rumble, it's not. It's like standing in the middle of two bulldozers bearing down on you and having nowhere to go. You're an obstacle, a bump to be razed, a fly to be swatted.
Where do people like myself go in this overblown gang fight? People like Michael Totten or Roger Simon, who do not define themselves as red or blue, tree hugger or God-fearer, north or south, heartland or LaLa land. Everyone seems to be moving to their side of the line, but I don't know where to go.
It's not that I really want to pick a side. But it's strange feeling disinvited to both parties. If the right really wants to embrace the notion of Jesusland, even to a lesser extent, I'll be pushed out of the fold. I've already been pushed out of the left and although that was mostly of my own accord, the door still hit my ass on the way out.
It's not easy being in the middle. You hear the slings and arrows buzz past you from both sides. While you're ducking the stones being thrown from the left, you get hit in the head with a bullet from the right.
If I had to absolutely make a choice, if America was physically splitting down the middle and one side was blue and the other red, I think you know where I would go. The left has become too ugly, dark and dangerous to ever think of siding with them again. I've seen reasonable people slide so fast into the depths of vitriolic insanity that I they became unrecognizable within mere weeks.
In a way, I'm astonished at what I see happening to this country post-election. Even though I predicted that it would become this ugly and divisive, I thought I was engaging in a bit of hyperbole most of the time. But it's here and it's real and it's out there
. It's moved away from the blogosphere, away from the fringe elements that meet in dank basements making subversive flyers. It's out here in our daily newspapers, on our news shows, on the afternoon drive radio.
So here we have the left engaging in mockery and ridicule, further alienating themselves from the rest of the world. That the two memes swarming the left - Jesusland and the notion of them being reality-based (as opposed to what?) - tells you something of their attitude towards the rest of you.
But they aren't the only problem. Because now I'm suddenly a target not just for the left, but for the right. I'm being told I must fight the good fight, rethink my stance on gay issues, abortion, the definition of family and religion. I'm seeing the first hints of alienation. They got my war on terror vote. I was part of them for this whole election cycle, working side by side to get Bush elected. And now that the election is over, I've been given a put up or shut up demand. Bad enough to get the bullets from the opposing party, I'm now being eased out the door of my own.
So what happens when the civil war takes place and the blue secedes from the red? Where do I go? Where does anyone like me go? Will it be like fifth grade gym class, with me standing on the sideline wondering if anyone will want me on their dodgeball team? It didn't really matter which team I was on, anyhow, as I had no friends at all. Everyone hated me. Wheee! It's fifth grade all over again, except this time, the fate of a nation is at stake. Please, let me just end up on the side with the stronger kids, then.
Will we have to choose a side ourselves and just become a stranger in a strange land or do we find a small, unused island and just go there to wait it out while the unhinged fight it out with the moral crusaders?
It's so easy to get caught up in all the anger-fueled adrenaline that's floating through the country right now. It would be so easy for me to just pick up a knife and join in the fight, even if the red guys aren't going to accept me wholly. But that's not what I want. That would make me no better than the great unhinged masses that are calling for assassination, dead soldiers, terrorist attacks, riots and civil war. They seem to be getting swept up in this hurricane of bile and violence and it's fascinating, if completely revolting, to watch.
As much as my Republican compatriots are trying to drag me into their lair, at least they're not coming to a street fight with nuclear bombs. But, hey, whatever gets your point across, right? Means to an end and all that. Personally, I'd rather hang out with the folks in Jesusland than with people who think the idea of starving all red staters to death is funny. But that's just me.
Anyhow, someone let me know when the sides are finally drawn up. I think I'd like very much to go back to just reading comic books and playing video games and letting people with less anxiety issues than I worry about the world. It's not like I can do a damn thing, anyhow, when I have no place to stand in this fight.
Further reading for your enjoyment.
For the comprehension impaired, I'm not saying that I think secession will ever be anything more than just bloated post-election braying. It's the cutting animosity rising out of the talk about it that worries me more.
And more further reading here.