[Solved] Was Any of this Inevitable?
I've been going through a lot of the predictions on this site lately, including the remote viewing exercises and there are certain things I've noticed. Predictions of the U.S. going more local and abandoning the federal government have been on the site for years and now I can see it starting to happen. The shutdown will make the federal government a very unpopular employer in the future which will only hurt it. The 2020 presidential race (God help us) is according to the remote viewers going to be another Republican - this will disenchant large parts of the populace who want to have a more compassionate and fair country - thereby precipitating a turn inwards away from the feds. I can see how this will happen and now I am wondering if this was all inevitable. As an outsider I have been observing American politics my whole life, and it always seemed vicious, horrible and just evil. Issues like abortion, LGBT rights, and medicare for all were things that in Canada were not fought over - they just were and we lived relatively peacefully. But America always had the air of a war zone where different factions were tearing each other to shreds. And when I moved here in 2016 I decided I needed to know why this country feels like a such a mess. Que up the history books - on all subjects ranging from slavery, to immigration to cultural narratives - and I began to form a better picture of all this.
Culturally this has never been one country but at least two if not more different ones. I get this information from books like Albion's Seed by David Hackett Fischer and American Nations by Colin Woodard.
Historically this country was founded on the twin crimes of Native American Genocide and Slavery and that history has never been reckoned with. And now watching the news and seeing revolting acts of smugness and bullying coming from white people (I myself am white) at people of color (the covington high school incident was just one of many) and the way white conservatives belittle others (Tomi Lahren - to Cardi B and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez) makes me realize that we really have nothing to say to each other. One side is compassionate, empathetic, caring and wants to have a society that is fair to everyone and not overly judgmental. The other side assumes that if they win someone else must lose. When Cardi B posted how much tax she pays Tomi Lahren immediately assumed that she was complaining about it when she actually wasn't. There are built in assumptions from conservatives that we are all as selfish and narcissistic as they are - they cannot see that we are not all this way.
So my question is - was all this inevitable - does greed eventually lead to collapse? Will the United States actually fall apart or just technically but not legally - could any of this have been prevented?
Hey Natalie, Wow! loved your post! I don't know the answer, but the Reverend William Barber gave an amazing speech yesterday,and talks about a lot of the issues you have raised here : https://youtu.be/vnHxPOEnu28
I usually don't listen to preachers, because most of them are hideous monsters from the pit of Hell. But Mr. Barber is different. He might be an actual saint.
Three years before Thomas Jefferson died, Congress approved the Missouri Compromise of 1823 - an early move that led to the Civil War - and Jefferson went to his grave with the conviction that the US was a cursed country. He was mainly thinking about the schisms surrounding slavery, but as you note, Natalie, this country has been at war with itself over issues of identity and culture long since Appomattox. A driving factor in all of this (in my opinion) is that the ideal of American democracy was ahead of its time. In reality, Western culture, and, by extent, modern globalized society, has been in the grips of a paradigm of empire. We can see the aspirations towards empire in American history when we look at Manifest Destiny; our occupation/annexation of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Panama, Hawaii, and the Philippines; and our approximately 600 overseas military bases. Basically, while we've tried to live up to the ideal of justice and liberty for all, in reality we've imposed our will and enforced injustice throughout our history, as have many other nation states.
Algonquian Indians use a term - wetiko - to describe the Age of Empire, with wetiko translating as "sickness". For all the talk about a "new civil war" and the "collapsing American empire," I don't think a devolution of the federal government needs to be a bad thing. I'm a fan of E.F. Schumacher's seminal 1973 book Small is Beautiful, wherein he details how a return to localized problem-solving is the best antidote to the avarice of our contemporary imperial mindset. The converging crises of politics, economics, and climate that's convulsing the entire world right now is sounding the death knell of the age of empire, and all of the vitriol we're witnessing (in the US and abroad) is a response to the fact that the stories we've been telling ourselves about power, ideology, and our place in nature are falling apart. But the upside is we have a chance to evolve and craft new stories of belonging, and we can start by truly getting to know the small places we inhabit in all of their facets.
So I would say that yes, the discord in the US is inevitable in the sense that it's symptomatic of a dying paradigm that had to end at some point. But other countries are going through their own versions of partisanship as we wake up from our collective "sickness," and national boundaries will probably look a lot different 50-80 years from now as people look more inwardly. I see the United States remaining as a loose coalition of allies rooted in a shared history and ideal; many Native American tribes were members of diplomatic confederacies before the US came into being (most notably the Iroquois of the Haudenosaunee League), so a model already exists for what a decentralized America might look. I don't know how to ensure that US states/regions with more sovereignty will respect the rights of minorities in the absence of a strong federal government and justice department, but I think abandoning an imperial mindset begins with admitting that we as individuals don't possess all of the answers or know what's best for everyone else.
In the past, I have spoken on here about the vision I had of the U.S. splitting into five regions by the late 2020s.
There was another one I received of each state splitting up in the 2020s too.
I personally do not want to see any of that happen because goodness knows what other chaos that could bring.
Hopefully, it was all just an allegory or my anxieties getting the best of me.
I have a close friend who is Indigenous American and a Pagan Priestess. She and I have a saying we throw around a lot that kind of sums all this up:
"It's as if the entire country was built on cursed land."
We share a theory that the genocides and slavery are at the root of the problem, that the natives cursed the lands they were displaced from, which boomeranged on them and resulted in more genocide. Overall, though, it is the invasion of the Europeans on this continent that is responsible for the considerable evil that persists into modern times.
Right on Natalie! Yes, yes, yes!
Way to go Unk p! (And a hahaha as well)
And Coyote, your mind and memory are so wonderfully sharp and well pointed and are of such immense benefit here.
Carmen, you echo and remind many here so please keep on sharing your thoughts!
And Laura, you're always encouraging me to think and more often than not, to agree.
I live right near the Southern Border.
Native people here have a saying: "We never moved over any borders, the borders were moved over us."
Oh wow echec_et_maths, so much to say. Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to this thread. And Laura I hope you are recovering well - your quote about borders moving over people is so true in so many different ways - It literally happened to me. I was born to an ethnic Russian family in the soviet union. As a toddler all of a sudden we became stateless briefly because we found ourselves outside the borders of Russia once the Soviet Union collapsed. Millions of people in places like Moldova, The Baltic's, Kazakhstan and others are still there - ethnic Russians who are now citizens of other countries or in some cases stateless - all because of the political upheavals in those regions. And the same is obviously true of regions of the United States like Texas and California where Spanish speaking people and indigenous tribes have been living long before the United States showed up and absorbed them.
In regards to karma - I read somewhere that the million plus Syrian refugees that Germany has taken in is a karmic debt that it owed after the actions it took in the Second World War. And while that's a tempting analogy for me to believe in, I still have skepticism because of the growth of far right populism and anti-immigrant sentiment in Germany and in particular Austria, as well as the fact that 1 million Syrian refugees doesn't erase the 6 plus million people that the German government murdered and ethnically cleansed during the Nazi era.
American racism is also something that I struggle to really understand. Growing up in multi-cultural Toronto I don't have the same instinctive reactions to black and Hispanic people (I'm half Hispanic myself) that I have observed many white American's have. I remember my wedding, where my husband’s extremely vanilla family from all over the United States waffled between interest and a quiet disdain for my more colorful relatives and their appearances and languages. My mother was having to answer questions about the Soviet Union that she didn't want to. What I observe time and time again are white conservatives and even some liberals being extremely uncomfortable with historical truths that make their country look bad. An example is saying that since your family were northerners you had nothing to do with slavery. But the truth is that cotton grown in the south was used in manufacturing in the north and so everything was so intertwined that everyone was in some way culpable. This isn’t to say that we as individuals are responsible for crimes committed by our ancestors before we were born. It’s not as simple as that. I think it’s more of an understanding that we need to let go of our egos and desire to appear good before others and critically examine our histories and our lives. I’m sure I am not descended from saints. And I am sure that I am no saint myself. And while stories of family members committing atrocities have not come down to me, that doesn’t mean that it couldn’t have happened – and I wouldn’t cover it up if I knew about it. Fear is at the heart of all this, fear of what though – losing face? Losing a cherished narrative about our selves and our society in place of a narrative that tells the truth, however ugly that truth can be.
I can go on forever but recently a lot of things have begun to be apparent to me in ways that previously they weren’t. We watched the HBO series Chernobyl and I was upset in ways that were deeper and more profound than any program on television had ever made me. One phrase that was used a lot during that series was that a lie creates a debt to the truth, and eventually we have to face our truths – lies cannot save us. This was said in reference to the Soviet Government lying about the extent of the radiation around Chernobyl but it applies in every facet of life I think. Climate change denial is the most obvious current example I think of. The truth is that the climate is changing and we are at fault. Our lies don’t change that one bit, and the day will come when the debt we owe to the truth will be due.
I could go on forever but my computer is deciding to crash and I may very well not be able to string together the above tangent into a cohesive message. Thank you guys for bringing this back up. I hope you feel better Laura!
Thank you, Natalie! Hope your computer survived!
I agree with what you say, and have observed it myself. I identify as "white" but am very frequently mistaken for "brown" - latinx, arab, persian, moroccan, etc. So I have made my observations from both sides of that particular coin.
I traveled in Northern Europe in 2017. The only place where I couldn't wait to leave was Austria. It's pretty, but what a horrible, racist bunch of people! Easy to see how Hitler was originally from there. On THREE occasions in my 4 day stay there, I was mistaken for "the help" or an employee, and was spoken to very rudely - first in German, then in German-accented English, and once in German-accented Spanish. My husband was gobsmacked when I told him. I never thought I'd say this in my life, but it was a relief to return to Munich! I will never return there.
I tried to watch Chernobyl, found it too upsetting after a few minutes.
And I now refer to it as Climate Chaos, since change indicates a slow, steady process, and that's not what's going on here.