Surely this wasn't what
One need not revisit the mountains of purple prose that greeted Obama's ascent to the
In 2004, he emerged from the political wilderness to proclaim at the Democratic convention:
"The pundits like to slice and dice our country into red states and blue states: red states for Republicans, blue states for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too: We worship an awesome God in the blue states, and we don't like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the red states."
While the government was never actually much interested in libraries in the first place, it does seem quite interested in how people worship that awesome God these days. From forcing nuns to pay for birth control to suggesting at the
Perhaps this attitude toward Americans the president once described as bitter clingers explains why pollsters say we're more polarized than ever.
Of course, listening to Obama and his defenders, the polarization is all one-sided: The president's opponents are dogmatic ideologues and racists -- even the ones who voted for him in 2008 and then came to their senses in 2012. That strikes me as delusional nonsense, a transparent and pathetic attempt to put all of the blame for the president's failure to fulfill his mission on others.
Still, it doesn't explain why the president's own side is so angry at America itself.
There's a revealing tendency in most liberal and left-wing histories of
I think we are seeing something similar in real time. Every day we hear more and more about "white supremacy" -- a shmoo of a concept that does the bidding of those who wield it with an alacrity and elasticity that defies logic or reason. Outside a few feverish chat rooms where losers peck out their frustrations on spit-soaked keyboards, there is no white supremacist agenda in America, but that doesn't stop the drumbeat. Rather, the drumbeat intensifies, setting the pace as in the bowels of a Roman galley ship, as everyone pulls the oars faster and faster in search of imagined monsters beyond the horizon. It inspires social-justice warriors to dig up long-dead Confederates who thought they could hide from us in the grave.
At the recent Netroots Nation conference, activists strived to make parody impossible. Former
Filmmaker and poet Jess X Chen, meanwhile, was cheered for telling the audience to take heed: "I think that the honeybees are trying to warn us." Yes, the bees. They are warning us of the oppression of "yellow, black and brown working-class communities who hold up the spine of America." Colony collapse disorder is a real problem to be sure, but I doubt most apologists agree that it demonstrates "white supremacy over people of color," and that "Western civilization" itself is "unsustainable."