Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Final Solution:The New Civil War

If you’re a baby boomer, they’ll be the memory of a day, week or month, some watershed event that marks the moment when the counterculture changed your life and created and transformed your relationship to your parents and/or any representatives of the older silent 50’s generation that preceded you. It might have been the assassinations of JFK, RFK or Martin Luther King. It may have been the violent attack on protestors at the Chicago Democratic Convention or maybe it was the music of the era that was transformative, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Stones. Perhaps you simply regarded yourself part of the Woodstock generation. Martin Buber talked about I-Thou versus I-It relationships. The depersonalized I-It may have described your relationship to those whose humdrum existences (for instance the famous character in The Graduate who recommends "plastics' to Dustin Hoffman) seemed totally irrelevant to your life. Your new bibles were books like On the Road, The Prophet by Khalil Gibran or R.D. Laing's The Divided Self (which was more a primer for the time than some people might have liked to realize or admit) and you found yourself worshipping  at the alter of gurus like Timothy Leary. Today you may also find yourself growing alienated from a whole demographic of people who seem to uphold a totally different worldview that you, but the difference is less predicated on youth and age or appearance (short or long hair) or even matters of lifestyle like sexuality (though abortion is one of the big issues in the current divide). Those who support the agenda of Donald Trump or other right leaning populist candidates in France, England, Germany and Italy are the new “It” for a generation weaned on the globalism and humanism of modern liberal politics. The counterculture of the 60’s was a civil war and before that was the actual Civil War in which many Americans died. Now we're in a totally new civil war which is characterized by the complete eclipse of bipartisanism. It’s war all right and there are few turncoats brave enough to cross the aisles.

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