We Are Not Polarized but Shattered

And the picture on the puzzle box is missing

by Mike Meyer ~ Honolulu ~ November 23, 2020

Our societies are fracturing. The US is no longer a nation united in anything but anxiety and disgust politically and divided into those struggling to stay healthy in a pandemic and those who are refusing to do that. That is only two lines of fracture. There are widening lines that include blatant racism, xenophobia, and sexist bigotry.

We see the signs of support for slavery and religious justification for gender exploitation with conscious advocacy for human suffering by denying women their inherent rights to control their own bodies. These are all closely related evils.

The shared ideal of future progress, well-being, and expanded human rights assumed to be a core value of the Amerian culture has been completely shattered. This has opened the chasm between those denying any future while demanding a return to the past for reasons that are not understood.

The mistake of seeing the American cultural and political collapse resulting from a simple polarization blinds us to the challenge of restoring or even repairing our shattered structure. We need to see all of the pieces to begin placing them in order again.

The gaps perceived between polar positions are, in reality, a spider web of chasms that deepen and bisect the others. What has been called American Idiocy on the pandemic shows the impossibility of understanding this a simple divide between two positions.

The gap is presented as between those who do not want to risk death for themselves or their families and friends and those who want to die for the economy or maybe for a psychopathic narcissist. Their exact goals are not clear. The total denial of modern science and public health extends to the death beds in COVID ICU’s with complete denial of the cause of their suffering and rage at a conspiracy, illogically, that is killing them.

At this point, the denial group is succeeding. We will have well over 400,000 thousand deaths by January and a crippled economy being made worse by the pro-death group demanding pandemic countermeasures be abandoned. These people and their version of sociopathy will not go away with Donald Trump.

This has opened a growing chasm between those with access to high-speed internet services for information, business, and education and those without. Elementary children are taking the biggest hit as they must go to school because there is enough in the poor or no access group who do not have the option of avoiding the pandemic that sickness and death in families or further damaging their children’s future is the only choice.

Online education is the future, but that only applies to those with the equipment and connectivity to do online education. And even if they have the first two requirements, they are out of luck unless they have at least one parent working from home. And that does not consider the added burden on the parents working from home and suddenly mentoring their kids in class all day.

There is a growing chasm between those who have a job and those who don’t. Within that are those who are forced to work in unhealthy and pandemic threatened positions and those who moved, almost painlessly, into full virtual employment. This is now a strong indicator of the future of their children, as noted above.

At a broader level, we have people who feel they have a future and those who do not. You can go through the divisions above and see which groups may have a future. People who do not have a future are not only unhappy but angry and increasingly bitter. These people are easily snared by opportunists willing to play on their fears and anger. We’ve just come through four years of that, and it seems to only worsen with no significant changes.

Even with Trump being forced to back away from the absurd accusations in his massive tantrum, we will not see reversals among the confused but many who double down in denial and fear for their own social networks. As many are saying, unless this changes, these people become free agents ready to join the next neofascist snake oil salesman that finagles a national audience.

This leads us to the larger split between those who know we have a gruesome planetary future because of our mindlessly exploitive past and refusal to eliminate greed, resource exploitation, and endless growth and those who refuse to accept that reality. Even those who understand this may be in the group above forced to destroy our planet to feed their families with no other options available. To save their children’s future, they must demand that destruction accelerates to survive. These fractured pieces are smashing into each other repeatedly.

Human society in post-industrial cultures, American as a lead example, is not polarized but fractalized. Fractals are a form of chaos. Polarity is bipolar with only two options. We’ve used that to define the US break up for so long that we have blinded ourselves to our fractured pieces' diversity. In the most extreme cases, America is the lead example; we have a puzzle, but the master image is damaged, and the pieces don’t seem to fit together anymore but are replications of each other.

But not everyone is suffering. The neoliberal, predatory capitalist economic system is designed to funnel all assets to the smallest possible group of owners. We know that the billionaires have made years of incredible profits in ten months with no sign of any slowdown short of active government intervention that is impossible until January and unlikely even then.

But below the billionaires, the 20% are the new precariat class of the anxious but well off who haven’t been devasted or even badly hurt. Their suffering is the hardship of not socializing or seeing grandchildren or friends while facing a changing work environment and facing family conflicts at home.

This has become a personal dilemma for my wife and me because we and our children and grown grandchildren are lucky enough to be working professionals closer to the winning side. While the lockdowns and isolation, obviously we do not live in Trumpistan, is a social hardship, we have discovered we really don’t need all that stuff we rushed around to look at and buy.

The announcements of new vaccines that will be distributed over the next year or two are excellent news. But we are worried that we will have to go back to the old life and don’t want anything to do with it. What does that mean, and why do I feel that way?

Like many people, we hear it from our families and others; this is a much better life with less stress, time spent with family cooking more natural and healthier meals, and time to clean out all the junk that clutters our homes.

We converted to fully or almost full online work and a full move to online shopping with home delivery. It will be good to travel and to see our grandkids every week, but that works virtually until the pandemic is under control planetwide. The dark shadows are the future that will only get worse for most people and is already terrible for many.

We are doing everything we can to support communal responsibility. We are ready to give up even more as the old exploitive economy needs to be shut down, but we still have had what can only be called the pleasant discovery of how little all of that material wealth is required. But still, we have had it, and others will never get it.

And the others, what else do we call them now with Trump disappearing, want to destroy everything to prove that, I’m not sure what that proves.

But to have hope to make up for the tremendous suffering of a collapsing economy. This economy is collapsing in terms of human survival, not in terms of greed to the greedy and planetary destruction; we need to bring America’s 72 million idiots back into 21st-century humanity.

The chasms are now on all sides of us. Unless we bring this together, we will be like polar bears on fractured and thawing ice.

Educator, CIO, retired entrepreneur, grandfather with occasional fits of humor in the midst of disaster. . .

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