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What has happened to US? Pane 1a: HOODWINKED BUT HARDLY DEFEATED

Hoodwinked. How and how to escape the thrall.

Hoodwinked? Anybody with two eyes and a brain can see that the US is divided very deeply, as deeply as it was in 1861 when the Confederacy opened fire on Fort Sumpter.

Funny. I hardly ever meet up with a streetfighter version of Sean Hannity or Dr Rachel Maddow I’ve seen bumper stickers, some window decals, an occasional lawn sign. If you listen to the news and the politicians, everyone in the United States is either angel or devil.

Right, I’m wary of devils being around. You never know these daysif yuou are about to step on yet another political landmine until it is too late unless you are wary and hold back. It is not OK any more to be in error and apologize. So, with some, I parse my words when it comes to politics. But I’ve always avoided talking politics with strangers anyway, it is just that now it feels llike the choice is not mine any more, unless I am willing to pay a large price.. Some may like it hot so to speak, but it is not my cup of tea. Never was. Many do want robust debate but apparently the all-out, no-holds-barred, but we are going to have dinner tonight anyway debating of days gone by is just a memory now.

I can remember my parents’ monthly cocktail party with old friends. I heard afterwards that Bill was upset by what Jane said about his need for status as a Republican (what my parents were) or how Muriel and Jack, devoted New Deal Democrats, thought the Republicans in the group too wary of civil rights, and so forth. They discussed heatedly, but they all kept coming to those discussions at the monthly cocktail parties year after year. I wonder today if I am lucky or cursed to have known that political climate.

But i have a duty to participate. Democracy: use it or lose it. We are already all too close to the latter. I have to speak out about what I think I have learned, about my opinions, but not in attack. It is my duty to conscience, to this country and all who have struggled, suffered, died to keep the experiment alive and moving. It is my duty.

So, in that spirit, just what is our political constellation, once we turn off the 24-7-365 news that needs to attract viewers to stay on the airi and turn off the politicians whom Mark Twain called the only native American criminal class.

While trudging the hopeless, dusty path of the Big DIvide, I stumbled onto proof that the Big DIvide does not exist outside the Beltway.

We do after all know how the political landscape actually is segmented, and we know it in detail, and with very solid grounding. I read about it in Die Zeit online just around the time of the 2018 midterms.

https://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2018-10/us-wahlkampf- washington-demokraten-republikaner-spaltung

It upset the applecart of all my assumptions about American political sentiment. It gave me hope — but it showed that if we want out of this dreary, dead mess in DC, we the people will have to get up and get going. Now.

It is all there to read, but it has not been talked about very much in the US. Imagine my surprise…. I was unable to google up any US talk about this more than a few sentences no matter how hard I searched. I first read about it in the reputable and very thorough German weekly online paper, Die Zeit (Time or The Times) in an article called Americas Exhausted Majority.


Is it that important? You bet it is. But you judge for yourself from what comes next..generally about these two questions:

  1. The actual political segmentation of our country: what is it and how is it that we are set up to be hoodwinked by autocrats?
  2. What are we going to do about it?

WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO US? PANE 1B: HOODWINKED. How? What is the real segmentation of our country politically?
A study published on 1 November 2018 comes to a very different conclusion than the one we are being manilpulated to believe. Instead of a split society, the study, Hidden Tribes: A Study of America’s Polarized Landscape [https: hiddentribes.us/pdf/hidden_tribes report.pdf, documents the US today as a society with highly nuanced political segments. I am summarizing here. The whole study is fascinating and ought to be crucial to political campaign planning. Get it and read it, and then do something — speak, write, volunteer for canvassing, party office work, whatever.

From the study:

 
The segments have distinctive sets of characteristics; here listed in order from left to right on the ideological spectrum:– Progressive Activists: younger, highly engaged, secular, cosmopolitan, angry.– Traditional Liberals: older, retired, open to compromise, rational, cautious.– Passive Liberals: unhappy, insecure, distrustful, disillusioned.– Politically Disengaged: young, low income, distrustful, detached, patriotic,conspiratorial.– Moderates: engaged, civic-minded, middle-of-the-road, pessimistic, Protestant.– Traditional Conservatives: religious, middle class, patriotic, moralistic.– Devoted Conservatives: white, retired, highly engaged, uncompromising,patriotic.

The Study Summary: from Die Zeit.online

In welche Lager teilt sich die amerikanische Gesellschaft? =

Into which camps does American society divide itself?

Key to graph:
versteckte Stämme—hidden tribes
politische ausgeklinkt —politically disengaged
traditionelle Konservativen — traditional conservatives
passive liberale — passive liberals
Moderate – moderates
traditionelle Liberale—traditional liberals
progressive Aktivisten— progressive activists
hingebungsvolle Konservative — devoted conservatives
  1. THE BOTTOM LINE:
  2. Traditional Conservatives+Devoted Conservatives+Progressive Activists: the political leatherlungs, 33% of the electorate
  3. The Exhausted Majority, the rest: 67% of the electorate. The ones who want this to stop, will find common ground and are ideologically significantly more flexible.

“The relevance of the segmentation is evident on a wide array of subjects, from issues of race and prejudice to gender and sexuality. Progressive Activists, the most liberal group, and Devoted Conservatives, the most conservative, show strong degrees of consistency within their ranks, while being almost perfectly at odds with each other. Middle tribes, by contrast, orient themselves incrementally on the ideological spectrum.

Further evidence of the relevance of core beliefs and their associated tribal identities is that tribal membership predicts differences in Americans’ views on various political issues better than demographic, ideological, and partisan groupings. This can be seen on subjects such as approval of President Trump, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and approval of the modern feminist agenda. On these questions and many others, the differences between the most ideological segments are greater than the differences between, for instance, self-described “strong Republicans” and “strong Democrats”
…..
“ Members of the Exhausted Majority are considerably more ideologically flexible than members of other groups. While members of the “wing” groups (on both the left and the right) tend to hold strong and consistent views across a range of political issues, those in the Exhausted Majority tend to deviate significantly in their views from issue to issue.Furthermore, the wing groups, which often dominate the national conversation, are in fact in considerable isolation in their views on certain topics. For instance, 82 percent of Americans agree that hate speech is a problem in America today, but 80 percent also view political correctness as an issue. By contrast, only 30 percent of Progressive Activists believe political correctness is a problem.”
….“

Yet it would be a mistake to think of the Exhausted Majority merely as a group of political centrists, at least in the way that term is traditionally understood. They do not simply represent a midpoint between the warring tribes of the left and right. They are frustrated with the status quo and the conduct of American politics and public debate. They overwhelmingly believe that the American government is rigged to serve the rich and influential, and they want things to change.With that said, there is nevertheless one segment within the Exhausted Majority that matches the traditional understanding of centrism: the Moderates, who comprise 15 percent of the population and whose views are consistently very close to the center of public opinion.The Exhausted Majority may be the key to countering polarization. Traditional Liberals and Moderates instinctively support compromise. Their voices would be strengthened if the Passive Liberals develop greater confidence in the value of their participation. On the other hand, the Politically Disengaged are at risk of being drawn into polarizing us-versus-them narratives, especially given their comparatively high levels of distrust and suspicion.”

The study characterizes these groups as hidden because they seldom occur as part of the daily discourse, the extremes are much more likely to be heard.  “The people at the extreme ends of the spectrum are more strongly interested in politics and are more likely to use the social media to announce their opinions.”’ says Miriam JuanTorres, one of the study’s authors.  “They understand the political discourse as something binary and perceive the respectively widely separated opposite side often as just a caricature.”

Hidden Tribes Links:

https://hiddentribes.us/download-report

https://hiddentribes.us/midterms-update

https://hiddentribes.us/quiz

What to do?

Last night I saw a new documentary on Amazon Prime about the history of liberal and conservative. If you would classify yourself in any one of the Exhaused Majority groups, you must see this. All I will say is that we need to get ourselves loose from the tastemakers because the divide into the concrete of which the political preachers have buried our political feet, does not exist. We have been hoodwinked, and hoodwinked hard.

Read a foreign, well respecrted newspaper. Die Zeit has a good englilsh verson online. The knowledge and insightfulness of their reporters are impressive, without an axe to grind.. And you get to hear a different point of view, see how Germans respond to our doings here, and read a bit about our most important European ally (or now, with the clear distaste that the Germans show for our President and his cronies, an ally at a distance.)

Or google how to handle situations like this–and find the good list in Psychology Today:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-practice/201807/8-highly-practical-tips-bridging-the-political-divide?amp

Better yet, get a copy of On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder. This is the bible of democratic citizenry wanting to prevcent dictatorship in their own country. Kindle version available.

What if we all decided that we were fed up with the slanting, editorial comment posing as reporting, suggestive innuendo, character assassinaations and lies of the so-called News Media?

What if we in the finely nuanced dispersion of the real USA decided to ask others what they believed, why and tried to find common ground rather than being on attack or defense all the time?

Do we want our country and history back?

Well, what are we waiting for? Any or all of the actions suggested by any of the sources I’ve seen can do the one thing that will turn the tables: energize us, . the Exhausted Majority. Accepting this debacle does not mean being a speedbump. Remember: American ends in I CAN.

COMING UP:HOW OUR CULTURE MAKES US VULNERABLE TO AUTOCRATS.: PANE TWO: OUR CULTURAL INVENTORY, PART 1: SHE’S OUR QUEEN TOO..

COMING UP: OUR CULTURAL INVENTORY, PART 2, THE P-47 THUNDERBOLT SYNDROME