By Tom Demerly for tomdemerly.com
There’s a new American bigot. It’s not who you think.
They rail against the opposing view in broad generalizations. Their toxic vitriol was seen in divisive arguments as old as the American Revolution, the civil rights protests and into today.
They’re just different people now.
The new American bigot uses rhetoric that supports their entrenched fears far to one side of the political spectrum- and doesn’t budge. There is no room for new ideas. There is no suggestion of moderation. They are always right, even now that they are left.
Through recklessly flailed social media driven by shallow thinking that feeds deeply entrenched prejudices the new American bigot wields a mighty and grossly prejudicial voice.
The new American bigot is the polarized Democratic left, a sexist (yes, that’s right), exclusionist, entitled demographic whom, in the wake of an election that didn’t go the way they planned, is throwing their toys.
It’s easy to understand. Gen X’ers grew up with promises of a new American Dream fortified with equality and fairness and a sewn-in silver lining. They got 9/11, three wars and the worst recession in history. They were on the fast track through their 30’s and 40’s but now enter their mid 50’s pissed off. The new American bigot didn’t get what they were promised, gave birth to an even more disenfranchised and entitled generation of malcontent millennials and are rudely awoken from the American Dream gone bad. They tried to build their dreams on the backs of American workers whose jobs were replaced by robots and shipped overseas. In many cases those dreams did manifest, but the people upon whose backs they were built on set off a new alarm clock, waking the now-disappointed American left from their American dream had while sleeping in a house of cards.
The bizarre thing is the new American bigot likely got what they wanted over the last ten years, but a big part of America who got left behind in the recession doesn’t like what they got. So they hit the political reset button through that great democratic equalizer, the electoral vote.
In many cases the new American left is as much a national embarrassment as the right. Entitled and enraged as other countries rocketed past us on gross national product, education and diplomacy.
For Democrats still grumbling about the Republican rout in this past election, it doesn’t fit with your previously stand-up doctrine of responsible social action and high-road advocacy for the downtrodden, even if much of it was lip-service from your “Lake in the Woods, from the $400’s” mans’-palaces.
The people who got left behind over the last eight years are tired of getting the crumbs left over after long lines of bureaucracy from government handouts while banks and giant corporations got massive bailouts that lined the new left’s pockets.
For the last eight years the left wore the crown, advanced up the social and economic ladder. Someone was pushed down under the reverse-discriminating, exclusionist race to make two centuries of wrongs right in only two terms. That is neither possible nor just without someone being left behind. The people who got left behind may not have spoken up by occupying Wall Street, marching on Washington or rioting in L.A. and Atlanta, but they shouted on Election Day.
The people who were pushed down voted their way back up. That’s the very ethos of American Democracy. Following this election it’s left the left constituency more than a little butt-hurt. Welcome to America.
The greatest embarrassment about the new American bigot is they are built on a legacy of truly graceful and enviable social action that catalyzed their movement when it started; Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama. These left-leaning leaders took the high road, rose above when their opposition went low. Their philosophical descendents could learn something from them.
But they haven’t. Not yet.
The American Bigot never changes their rhetoric, but they do change their demographic and political orientation. In the last 30 years the American bigot has evolved into something outwardly different, but thematically similar: Ugly, uncompromising, exclusionary and prejudicial.
If you didn’t get what you wanted in this last election- and half of America didn’t- don’t take to social media proliferating propaganda and throwing stones. Even if you believe the right built their campaign on that- don’t lower yourself.
Instead, rise above. Propose solutions and execute on them. Write letters to your lawmakers both local and in Washington. Take up the cause of the great liberals and left-leaning heroes of our time. Honor their legacy through action, don’t discredit it with whining. As you know, the stakes are high for equality, the environment and diplomacy. Those critical agendas now rest mostly with the left, and they are more important now than ever.
When they go low, you go high. Let your inspiration for peaceful and civil action be a model of unity like Martin Luther King, not harbingers of hate and polarity you so vehemently despise.
Don’t become one of those you spent the last 30 years voting against. Left or right, it doesn’t look good on anyone.