We are at an unprecedented moment in America right now. The rise of identity politics has become a phenomenon not just in America, but in the West in general. Identity politics is shaping the politics of our time and poses a significant challenge in particular to the United States, a multi ethnic country with identity lines more deeply etched than in more homogenous societies. The concept of the melting pot has worked for a long time, but I am no longer optimistic for the future because of demography and the far left’s manipulation of identity politics. Because the left leaning Democratic party is out of control, they have become so weak and insensitive that they have lost all sense of rationality when it comes to politics and social issues. Most Democrats have moved so far to the left, operating like a militia, so that it feels like freethinking, free speech, law and order, equality under the law, and the expression of new ideas have become foreign. Anything that does not align with the far left’s interpretation of social justice thinking is deemed racist, sexist, transphobic, enslaving, or oppressive, even if is the complete opposite of such a claim. Democrats are playing with identity but fail to recognize their ploys are actually hurting people and damaging our society.
Freedom of speech gives people the right to say what they feel, but it also gives other people the right to point out if they are being offensive. Freedom of speech does not mean a speaker’s word cannot be criticized; it just means that an individual cannot be silenced. In fact, dialectic positions undergird democracy and public debate underpins freedom.
In a times when millions of Americans have lost their jobs, health care remains an uncertainty for many, workers are laboring longer hours for lower wages, and the planet is facing catastrophic environmental change, it seems that too many in the Democratic party are more concerned with criticizing those who do not agree with them. Democrats need to start focusing on issues that truly affect Americans and not lose their minds whenever someone does or says something that is not aligned with their ideology. Democrats fail to subject their ideas to challenge thus disrespecting free speech and becoming victims of their own weakness.
The United States of America is a melting pot in which different cultures, African American, Latin American, Asian American, Native American, Muslim American, and feminists, all have their own values, histories, and identities separate from one another. So the question is, what holds these groups together regardless of their different background and values? The answer is the American law that make everyone equal binds them.
Historically, identity has only really been a question for non-dominant groups in society. If an individual is a member of the dominant group, his or her identity is taken for granted precisely because it is not threatened. But the combination of demographic shifts and demagogic politicians has transformed the landscape of American politics. Now, white identity has been fully activated and in the process become the scapegoat for all ills.
White Americans have lost their majority and with it their cultural and political power. This fall is also tied up in the belief that whites are experiencing reverse discrimination now. President Trump, for sure, exploited identity politics as an effective political strategy to win the election. Even though not every white politician chooses to exploit identity politics, since Donald Trump effectively employed this strategy, other white politicians are going to be tempted to follow his footsteps. But Democrats have taken the strategy to a new level in making every event the outcome of a national xenophobia. Because the Democratic party has gone so far to the left and does not have any constructive policies or initiatives to contribute to American interests or to solve its problems, then conservative and patriotic Americans will need to cry “enough” of the Democrats and their labeling.
We are living a postmodern era in which the big narratives of religion and political ideology have collapsed. The dominate ideology and values have been replaced with a crusading desire to right perceived wrongs and a weaponization of identity, both accelerated by the new forms of social and news media. Narrow sets of interest now dominate the agenda as society becomes more and more tribal with the casualties being crucial. Today identity politics means putting American society into atomized groups which they weaponize against each other. What the Democratic party is doing right now is replacing the segregation of the past with the segregation of the present. The new versions are called “diversity“ or “black lives matter,” which is more than identity at birth or being black, white, Latino or Asian. They take on the mantle of the oppressed purchased from the oppressor, the main schism now.
Every major religion and nation once approval of slavery. Arabs owned slaves, Africans owned slaves, Asiatic people owned slaves, and immigrants owned slaves. Slavery existed in every part of the world. At the time, slavery was practiced through different means; people were enslaved through kidnapping, abduction, wars, trading, and debts. Today we call it modern day slavery with such manifestations as labor and sex trafficking. Slavery was a global fact of life, but, ironically, white men ended slavery. There is no doubt that slavery is wrong and evil, because all people are free since God Almighty created them. But in modern times nothing is seen as more evil. In fact, the American slavery of the past is denigrated more than sex trafficking, even of children, in the present. No media show nightly scenes of children being held and abused but one scene of racial injustice will be aired repeatedly every night for weeks. (To be continued)
Dr. Aland Mizell is with the MCI, SETBI and a regular Mindanao Times.You may email the author at:firstname.lastname@example.org
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