Tuesday, November 16, 2021

What Kind of Marriages Do Americans Have?

Are The Americans (either on TV or in reality) schizophrenic? Or is our polarized society like one of those marriages where no one caves into the other’s desires--for fear of being dominated in such a way as to lose their autonomy? The radical centrists, those die-hard middle-of-the-roaders willing to cross the aisle at all costs are actually the most threatened because of their willingness to relinquish control. You’ve perhaps encountered this kind of quandary in a domestic or business situation. You drop your defenses in order to make peace only to find that your “adversary” claiming you're giving up control of something which was never yours. It’s very easy to feel put upon when your offering of the olive branch isn’t even acknowledged. Though 10 Republicans finally voted to support the Infrastructure Bill, the real negotiation took place between moderates in the Democratic Party and progressives, afraid they'd be screwed on the social safety net legislation. But here's another way to look at it.  Maybe division is the Shavian "life force." That's what makes horse races is the expression. Remember Hegelian dialectics? Perhaps what's going on in the country is more understandable on a cellular level, where organisms grow through mitosis and meiosis. On the subject of cellular life, here is The New Yorker's Nick Paumgarten ("What a Feeling," ll/8/21): "It is not inconceivable that the rest of the body (brain, hands, heart, lungs, digestive tract) is merely an elaborate and sometimes clumsy apparatus for the nourishment of the mitochrondria--that it is the mitochondria, and not Homo sapiens, who rule and foul the earth."

Read "White Meat, Breasts" by Francis Levy, Evergreen Review

and listen to "I'm Doing Fine Now Without You Baby," by New York City (1973)

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