There was an interesting editorial posted today in China's Global Times reflecting on comments recently made by Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck. The text can be found here.
Chief Beck noted that the US had effectively "broken into tribes, where all of a sudden it becomes more important who your parents are, what the color of your skin is, than whether or not you are an American." Beck is correct, although if he believes this is sudden then he hasn't been paying attention for the last three decades. Since the 1990s, Americans have been in an unbroken series of culture wars and social alienations of numerous kinds, but loosely referred to as political correctness. The Chinese Media made note of this fact:
"The division in the country has long gone beyond race and parties, but reaches into ordinary people's lives. Over the years a growing number of controversies involving things like homosexual marriage, abortion, religious freedom, and even transgender toilets has constantly emerged. And US citizens are not simply divided into two groups, but a variety of small circles...where one group's consensus can be in sharp contrast to another's and nobody is willing to compromise or even talk to opposing groups."
The Chinese editors are absolutely correct here. We would add to their observation however that these small circles still continue to operate within a larger sphere---which profits politically and financially off the division. The Global Times point to the success of the Trump Campaign as illustrative of this phenomenon:
"Donald Trump, who has literally won support by supporting hatred and division...has also spoken the public's mind. His support-rate well illustrates that the sentiments of a great many can be instigated easily by differences, without thinking of trying to compromise or fix them."
In complete fairness though, the Clinton and Sanders Campaigns have been just as guilty---if not more so---than Trump's at doing this very thing. The American Corporate Media is far more sympathetic to the Democratic Party, and favors the divisions and hatreds promoted by the Left. Be that as it may, however, the Chinese editors again make a valid point. The political parties in our country are not interested in uniting anybody or finding common ground or solutions.
"Such divisions are universally present." the article continues, "but have generated a serious challenge to the Western system. In the multiparty system, bashing one's opponents, fighting for 'change' or to 'make our country greater' seems to have become the priority in political games, which aggravates social division and provides a breeding ground for extremism."
They are again correct in this assessment. Probably the last US presidential election where ideology actually played a significant factor was the 1984 contest between Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale. Since that time, elections have revolved around personality cults and vague slogans---such as the ones the editors mention---which have no substance but appeal generally to certain interests.
It's an interesting phenomenon as well that elections have become more divisive and more violent in direct proportion to becoming less ideological. This is only natural: in a free society, the losing ideology in election believes that events will either vindicate their positions or that they must adapt if proven wrong themselves. In a system driven by personality cults and social cliques, a person's politics becomes an integral part of his self-worth or social definition. Formerly, we would see a political opponent as mistaken or misguided; today we see taught to regard them as enemies or subhumans. Note how quickly Americans in the past reconciled even after extremely divisive national events like the American Revolution, the US Civil War, or the Vietnam/Watergate Era.
The motive power behind this national division is Cultural Marxism, which has taught Americans that the personal is political. Cultural Marxism is the underlying premise in most political, media, and academic pursuits today and is rotting our culture from the inside out. The Tribalism to which Chief Beck refers is symptomatic of a culture in severe decline. Sociologists long knew that when a Civilization declines, it regressively devolves to earlier stages; hence the level of the tribe is below that of a nation. Extremism is the natural concomitant of tribalism; it too is a devolution from National Identity into Identity Politics. Tribalism has its own stages of progress and dissolution; racism is one of its lowest and least developed stages. As one Manosphere writer recently said "Your skin color is your uniform" which is nothing more than what the most primitive savages believe.
To bring genuine 'change' or 'greatness' back to American culture is going to take more than voting for this or that candidate. It's going to take a fundamental change (or more accurately, a reformation) in American thinking in general. But, as the Chinese editors point out, the will to do this seems completely absent from our public discourse (as evidenced by the fact that it is being discussed in the Chinese media, but not ours). Whether we, as a nation, really still have the will or not is a dubious question.