Why America is tearing itself apart and who benefits
Lately I've come to realize that the reason why people are so divided in this country is your high school history class.
Let me explain.
Everyone in this country is divided by identity these days. Race, gender, sexual orientation, it seems people are looking for ways to be different without actually being different. Liberals pretend that these are the only identities that matter.
I say pretend because their concerns rarely extend beyond our national borders. On the rare occasions when it does extend outside of America, their hypocrisy is exposed. For instance, there was all sorts of wailing and tearing of cloth about whether Afghani girls could attend school. However, when those same girls get blown to bits by American drone strikes, well, liberals just didn't have the time.
Of course there are other important identities. Nationality and religion are two big ones for conservatives.
But they are just as big of phonies as liberals. For instance, conservatives love to tell you about how they love the freedom in this country. However, if some group that they don't approve of wants to exercise that freedom, conservatives have absolutely no qualms about taking that freedom away.
Every single protest by liberals is "dangerous" and "violent". So they pass laws that make it legal to drive your cars into and over protestors. Want to protest an unprovoked war by America? Then you are "unAmerican".
The common thread here is identity. Well, identities are created and defined by history.
And that's the problem, because no one knows LESS about history than Americans. For decades now, we've been building our political and social structures upon identities that we are mostly clueless about.
It reminds me of the catholic church in the middle ages giving mass in Latin, when no one listening in the pews spoke Latin.
This widespread ignorance has led to all sorts of misconceptions and faulty assumptions, which has ended with a nation that screams at each other. Both sides completely convinced of the purity and righteousness of their identity. Both sides ignorant of the many flaws in their convictions.
One of my favorite examples is the Tea Party Movement.
Conservatives were out there protesting high taxes based on the example set by the Founding Fathers at the Boston Tea Party in 1773.
Except that the Tea Act of 1773 that led directly to the Tea Party wasn't a tax hike. It was a tax CUT for a multinational corporation. It was essentially a government bailout for corporate mismanagement, and a good lesson in the dangers of unregulated capitalism.
Yet the Tea Party Movement argued for what those who actually attended the Boston Tea Party would have opposed.
This is a nation that hasn't picked up a history book since high school. Except for a small percentage of people who took an undergraduate class in ethnic or gender studies, which creates a whole other problem.
That problem comes in the form of only being informed about one side of an issue.
For example, if you said "America is founded upon slavery and genocide" you would be 100% correct. This is a fact, and it isn't even debatable.
Many conservatives would call it "critical race theory", it's not. It's just "history". Even your badly flawed high school history books will show that "America was founded upon slavery and genocide". If you don't want to hear it, then you are being a snowflake.
That part liberals got correct. Then liberals blow it by making flawed assumptions about the other side of the topic. One thing I've heard countless times online and on TV is blacks were enslaved and whites were the slave owners in this country, so if you are white then your ancestor was a slave owner and whites have always been oppressors in history.
Let's start with pointing out that science defines race in one way, and society defines it in an entirely different way. There was no such thing as a "white race" until at least the 17th Century, and even then it was defined by a ruling class as a way to divide the working class against each other.
Then there is the fact that at the time of the American Civil War, only around 1% of the population owned slaves. So it's better than even odds that the white person you are talking to did NOT have ancestors that owned slaves. I know that mine didn't. I've done the research.
Finally, it's important to point out that in world history, if you want to see the face of the biggest enslavers of black Africans, then that would be other black Africans. By far. It's not even a contest.
But white men have always had it made, amirite? No!
Maybe 1% of white men have had it made. During the middle ages 99% of white men lived short, brutal lives, most often as serfs. During the industrial revolution what was the skin color of the children that worked in those awful factories and mines? You guessed it, white.
And what was one of the biggest slave owning societies in history? The Roman Empire, which enslaved whole societies through military conquest. Since the Roman Empire conquered Europe, those slaves were generally white.
So when exactly was this Golden Age for 99% of white men?
These are just a few of the many, many examples of how our identity-based society is built upon false assumptions, stereotypes, and sometimes outright lies. This is perpetuated because of our ignorance of our own history.
I believe that a lion's share of the reason for this ignorance is how history is taught in school.
You learned history as "Great White Man did something on this date at this place. Now memorize it."
Not only is that the most pointless way to learn history, it's also the most boring.
It takes all of the meaning out of those historical events (i.e. it ignores the 'Why'). It focuses on the wrong things because it ignores the popular movements that always precede those events (i.e. before some wealthy white guy stepped in front of the crowd and took credit). It wrongly mythologizes these "Great White Men" in history. (For instance, did you know that George Washington was one of the WORST generals in American history?)
And it generally discourages people from ever re-examining history.
How and why did we get into this terrible state?
I've learned that when something doesn't make any sense then I should look at what ISN'T being talked about. Who or what is being ignored.
That's when I realized that there was one identity that no one is talking about. Both liberals and conservatives are pretending that this identity doesn't exist, despite it being the biggest one of all - class.
Even when we were just colonies of Britain, this place that we now call the United States was experiencing working class revolts against our wealthy elites. Following the American Revolution we continued to experience working class revolts that generally revolved around the labor movement.
Our nation is rich with the history of working class movements that have fought back against the wealthy elites. It's a proud history.
But you would never know that from listening to liberals or conservatives. Not that it's their fault. They are usually ignorant too.
Even the way that identities are thought of, as oppressor and oppressed, is wrong.
If you think of the native Americans, you think of victims. Well, they were victims. That is true. But they also fought back and won huge victories. At the Battle of Wabash a quarter of the entire American Army was wiped out. Did you ever hear of that battle?
If you think of African slaves brought over to the new world, you think of victims. And they were. But did you ever hear about the Haitian Revolution? The only completely successful slave revolt in the history of the world. These slaves killed their white French slave owners. Then they defeated the invading armies of British and Spanish empires. Then they defeated an army of black slave owners in Haiti. And if that wasn't enough, then they wiped out an enormous French army sent by Napoleon.
These former black slaves weren't victims. They were destroyers of empires! Did you know about them?
If you think of women in American history you may think of them as victims. But did you ever hear about Mary G. Harris Jones? Aka Mother Jones. She was denounced on the floor of the United States Senate as the "grandmother of all agitators". During a trial in 1902, a prosecuting lawyer, with great theatrics said, "There sits the most dangerous woman in America. She comes into a state where peace and prosperity reign ... crooks her finger [and] twenty thousand contented men lay down their tools and walk out." Mother Jones wasn't a victim. She was a total bad-ass. Did you know about her?
I could go on.
My point isn't to downplay any of the injustices and crimes against any of these identities. My point was to ask the question, "Why didn't you know about these inspiring examples of your chosen identity?" Why weren't examples like these the first things that you think of when you thought of your identity?
It's almost as if some powerful group doesn't want you inspired. Doesn't want you to think that you could defeat whole empires. Doesn't want you to believe that one day you'll be denounced on the Senate floor as "dangerous" for leading a march of poor children to the White House.
It's almost as if you've been manipulated by a group, well, let's call them the ruling class.