Whores for Unity
Patriotic Whores Unite
Let us not follow vulgar leaders
Who exploit the fear of death
And promise the bliss of salvation.
If we are truly happy,
They will have nothing to offer.
- Deng Ming-Dao
Teasing ideology out of the post-mortem for mere human behavioral psychology, President Trump likely thought he was firing loud political blanks by challenging the transfer of power. He wasn’t, and managed to shoot a hole in a precedent set in 1801 when the ruling party willingly handed over the reins. The right-wing mob he whipped up on the 6January didn’t come out of the ether, but was a reaction to an earlier violent left-wing mob, itself goaded on by the right. Since both mobs think that they are the righteous reaction to the other, we could chicken and egg this thing back to about 20 minutes after the Romans overthrew King Tarquin, and established the Republic. Or we could all just come back down to earth.
President Biden’s talk of ending this “Uncivil” war and bringing the nation together is a breath of fresh air. Granted, you can never tell with a politician, but he seems to genuinely mean it. The problem is that national unity isn’t up to Biden and is beyond an executive order. It’s possible that the now all-powerful Democrats and the chastened Republicans in (hopefully) loyal opposition will break the habit of a lifetime in the cause for an inclusive America, but that isn’t the smart bet.
What hope there is for some semblance of national unity isn’t in Washington at all, but with us. To quote P.J. O’Rourke, “Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy the whores are us.” The hope lies in not dismissing other points of view with cartoonishly broad strokes. You can disagree with someone without calling them a monster. If your worldview is so fragile that it can’t survive simple manners, then perhaps that worldview is the problem.
Ideological purity is a great way to pick a fight, but it rarely leads to a solution. Practically, you’ll win more adherents by simply letting the other guy say his peace. You don’t have to agree. Humans are strange, cerebral creatures: We want to talk it out. From urban slums to rural rustbelt, we want to feel that we’ve been heard. Debate, however, requires a rebuttal at least marginally anchored in logic and reality. So leave it to academia, then, to inject the convenient notion that certain unfashionable demographics were entitled to neither express an opinion nor defend themselves against accusations of hate.
It's no wonder that their opposite number in the crazy Olympics picked up the same strategy. If this deranged logic was a legitimate blind-spot within the ideology, it would be one thing – but both sides know exactly what they’re doing. The fight makes people feel important in a way that the solution never will.
The true believers on either side of this carnival are closer to each other than either wants to admit. They are like a restless and idealistic teenager who walks into a whorehouse only to find his dear, sainted father at the bar – and then spends all his time selling himself on the idea that Pop was only there to play cards. The kid might reconcile the grim reality against a golden myth and move on. Or not, and continue in a badly-fitted delusion, getting angrier as the story stretches thin.
And there is no president or legislative vote that can decide the path we take. It’s up to us whores to do the right thing. Of course, this requires some human understanding, and is therefore doomed.