Daily Bread for 7.19.23: For (Too) Many, Yes, It Is ‘Gut-Level’ Hatred

Good morning.

Wednesday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 83. Sunrise is 5:34 AM and sunset 8:28 PM for 14h 54m 04s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 2.6% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1977, the world’s first Global Positioning System (GPS) signal was transmitted from Navigation Technology Satellite 2 (NTS-2) and received at Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, at 12:41 a.m. Eastern time (ET).

Thomas B. Edsall writes ‘Gut-level Hatred’ Is Consuming Our Political Life:

Divisions between Democrats and Republicans have expanded far beyond the traditional fault lines based on race, education, gender, the urban-rural divide and economic ideology.

Polarization now encompasses sharp disagreements over the significance of patriotism and nationalism as well as a fundamental split between those seeking to restore perceived past glories and those who embrace the future.

Marc Hetherington, a political scientist at the University of North Carolina, described the situation this way in an email to me:

Because political beliefs now reflect deeply held worldviews about how the world ought to be — challenging traditional ways of doing things on the one hand and putting a brake on that change on the other — partisans look across the aisle at each other and absolutely do not understand how their opponents can possibly understand the world as they do.

The reason we have the levels of polarization we have today, Hetherington continued,

is because of the gains non-dominant groups have made over the last 60 years. The Democrats no longer apologize for challenging traditional hierarchies and established pathways. They revel in it. Republicans see a world changing around them uncomfortably fast and they want it to slow down, maybe even take a step backward. But if you are a person of color, a woman who values gender equality, or an LGBT person, would you want to go back to 1963? I doubt it. It’s just something we are going to have to live with until a new set of issues rises to replace this set.

Yes, so it seems. It’s not true that every critic is angry, or that every critique is motivated by hatred. It is true, however, that populists who engage in dominance and submission rituals or throw fits at public meetings are overwrought and under-thought. They don’t have a concept, let alone a practice, of the maxim that the hotter the temperature, the colder the person.  

This intensity has grown as populism has grown; it will not recede until populism recedes. 

Drone Captures Mount Fagradalsfjall Volcanic Eruption:

This stunning drone footage shows the extent of the lava flow from the Mount Fagradalsfjall volcanic eruption in Iceland, which began last week just 25 miles southeast of the capital city of Reykjavík. Icelandic authorities have warned people to stay away from the area.

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1 year ago

I went out for a fish-fry at a favorite crossroads saloon in rural Iowa county a while ago. When I walked in the door, I was hailed by a casual acquaintance, a stone-mason named Dave, that had built a friends house.He was pretty drunk and telling me what he really thought.

Here is a curated, yet non-comprehensive, sample of what he considered manifestly unfair:
·        Mexicans are bad. They take our jobs and carry disease.

·        Teaching about the racial history of the US is bad. CRT, although he could not define it when asked, is polluting the minds of American children, and must be abolished.

·        Transgendered American people are an affront to nature. Real men have dicks!

·        Gay Americans should have no power in America. They are bad people. Pete Buttigieg taking parental leave after his recent adoption is an example of why gay people should not be having kids.

·        He has a special loathing for Chinese. They took all of our jobs. They are dirty communists and have no freedom. He ranted on China at excruciating length.

·        Natural gas is the cleanest fuel extant, and wind and solar energy are hoaxes invented by tree-huggers. Stage-3 nuclear is the best of all. Climate change was invented by the libs.

·        There is only one God, and he is a Christian God. No other Gods are legitimate.

·        He has lots of guns, and knows how to use them.

·        He is absolutely convinced that Trump won in a landslide. The Dems cheated to win.

·        Muslims are inherently evil. They should be exterminated and never allowed over the American border.

·        Nancy Pelosi is manifestly corrupt and belongs in jail.

·        Hillary started the war in Syria. She is one of the most evil persons to ever be in American politics.

·        The Democrats are controlled by big corporations. Republicans are not. Oddly enuf, George Soro’s name was not mentioned.

·        Blacks are responsible for way too many unwed-mother-spawned children. They are inherently bad people and should be banned from any sort of political power in America.
Pretty much every other sentence had declarations about how much he valued “Freedom”, or at least his definition of it. I asked him where he got his information. Newsmax and AM hate-radio was his answer, although he didn’t call it “Hate Radio”. He marinates in the local Clear Channel (now iHeart Radio) right-wing yakker outlet (1310AM) all-day-every-day, while he is laying stone. Shit goes into his ear, and then is excreted thru his mouth, with no analysis applied. He hears it—He spouts it–He fervently believes it. If Dan Bongino told him purple Kool-Aid was the best ever, he’d drink it by the gallon, without even wondering why it tasted like bitter almonds.
The conversation with Dave was a vivid exemplar of the futility of basing an electoral strategy on converting blue-collar Republicans to Democrats. It will never happen. He, and they, are way too aggrieved, and racial animus is the very essence of their existence. He was drunk enuf to tell me, unsolicited, what is deep in his heart. It wasn’t pretty…
All of which was another data point for me, reinforcing my realization that Trump is not the problem. He’s the symptom of a much more serious disease. He’s just the visible part, rather like a scab is just the visible evidence of syphilis. There is no putting a merkin over what the Republican party is. Trump just was crass enuf to say out loud, and make it socially acceptable to air, every dark thought permeating the soul of way too much of the country.
Trump didn’t start this, but was savvy/ruthless enuf to exploit it. It’s far from over yet….

Dave didn’t convince me, and I didn’t even try to convince him. There is no way to bridge this gulf.