Narratives

To the Editor,

A word about society and politics: like a lot of people I have been puzzling over how we got where we are and in the course of doing so, I have been reading a lot more conservative material than I used to.

It appears we are a country of two very different narratives. One is that with demographic change, diversity will increase and as whites become a minority, the country will change - possibly for the better. The decisive election of Obama was a welcome sign to many that our country was increasingly prepared to go in such a direction.

The other narrative, stated only explicitly by extremists, but indirectly by a host of others, is that this is a white country and should remain that way indefinitely. Others can come, but they must accept the idea that whites will be ultimately in charge.

Conservatives describe the current situation as a "culture war" and view Affirmative Action and the Obama presidency as the disastrous first steps on a slippery slope. They are intent on undoing everything and anything that has Obama's name attached to it. They want history to show that he did absolutely nothing. Trump is not their ideal leader, but he's what they've got.

In one narrative the white male, in particular, is a savior; in the other increasingly a villain.

Just how these narratives will play out remains to be seen. I'm not terribly optimistic. Instead of being a unifying event, the Obama presidency shook a lot of opposition out of the woods.

Perhaps the Trump presidency, like the disastrous goveenorship of Sam Brownback in Kansas, will tilt the field back in the other direc- tion. We'll see. He may turn out to be more pragmatic than his initial behavior has suggested.

As for "false news," Trump clearly operates on the basis that the best defense is a good offense.

In politics, "truth" is what people want to hear, he clearly believes, and that involves saying a lot of things that don't have much basis in fact. To head off criticism of that approach, why not quickly first declare that everything else is false and declare those who serve it up are enemies of the country? Don't defend yourself: attack everyone else. Alice in Wonderland.

While polls show Trump the person is very unpopular, they also show that far more people than like him approve of the direction in which he claims he wants to take the country.

Interesting times,

Skip Martin


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