Sunday, October 17, 2004

 

Alternate Universes

The Democrats in recent months have made a claim that there are "two Americas." I think that what's actually happening is that Americans are living in one of two alternative Universes.

In the Bush Universe, John Kerry is a Demon. His puffy coife hides horns, and his gaunt, pale face betrays emotional coldness. These Americans listen to Rush Limbaugh on the radio, are outraged at degenerates like Howard Stern, and watch "Sex in the City" with a sense of high moral disapproval. They watch Fox News, read The Washington Times, and frequent newsmax.com on the internet. They are largely Christian, and believe wholeheartedly that the United States is a Christian country. They think abortion is a horrendous sin. They read authors like Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity. They believe that 9/11 was a direct attack by a foreign enemy, and that military action against that enemy is wholly justified. For months now, they have traded e-mails, articles, and blog entries among themselves that in the aggregate prove to them that the Demon Kerry is unfit to lead. They think George Bush is a man of character, that he is strong on defense, that he has created 1.9 million new jobs, and that he is best suited to be Commander in Chief.

In the Kerry Universe, George Bush is a Demon. His unnaturally close-set eyes betray a simian lack of intelligence. These Americans listen to NPR on the radio, are outraged by hypocrites like Rush Limbaugh, and watch "Sex in the City" laughing at the jokes and identifying with the characters. They watch Dan Rather, read The New York Times, and frequent salon.com on the internet. They are ecumenical or of lapsed faith, and believe in freedom of religion and separation of church and state. They think abortion is a personal choice and an important aspect of population control and family planning. They read authors like Paul Krugman, Al Franken, and Molly Ivins. They believe the war in Iraq is right-wing imperialist adventurism that has nothing to do with 9/11. For months now, they have traded e-mails, articles, and blog entries among themselves that in the aggregate prove to them that the Demon Bush is a menace to American values and priciples. They think George Bush is despicable, that his record could hardly be any worse, that 2.3 million jobs have been lost during his first term, and that having any other person in the Oval Office would be preferable.

The strange thing about today's media and culture is that it is so possible for any of us to live in one of these Universes and not be "touched" by the considerations so important to the other. Another conservative friend of mine wrote to me the other day saying that whenever anyone has claimed that Bush has told lies, they are unable to cite any. To me, of course, you have to be existing in a parallel Universe to be unaware of Bush's many untruths: the secrecy and dishonesty of his administration are unprecedented. My point here is not so much which one of us is right, but that we could both be intelligent, informed members of the same society and hold such utterly opposite opinions.

If it's true that we, as a society, are more divided than ever before, it may be because we are, to a greater extent than ever, not the same society at all. Maybe we are many different ones, living in the same land under the same flag.


© 2004 by quotidianmeander.blogspot.com / all rights reserved



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