What is It About the American Character?

“What is it . . . about the American character that allows the long con of our politics to go on and on. . .?”

– Ben Fountain, Beautiful Country Burn Again: Democracy, Rebellion and Revolution,  2018.

What indeed can we say about the American character that clarifies the tribal state in which we now find ourselves?

What is the “long con that goes on and on?

How do we base our party politics on letting “the voices of the people be heard” when they have been conned by leaders who “treat the bulk of American people with the very same contempt” they treat blacks?

I quote James Baldwin again on will of a people “at the mercy of an ignorance not merely phenomenal, but sacred”:

The will of the people, in America, has always been at the mercy of an ignorance not merely phenomenal, but sacred, and sacredly cultivated: the better to be used by a carnivorous economy which democratically slaughters and victimizes whites and Blacks alike. But most white Americans do not dare admit this (though they suspect it) and this fact contains mortal danger for the Blacks and tragedy for the nation. (“Letter to Angela Davis,” 1970)

Aligning the sacred with a “carnivorous economy” is an alliance deep within the American character, both affiliations defending each other. It’s a preposterous, bullshit con we are in and it goes something like this:

We cannot be racists because we are Christians but we also as Christians cannot be supporting a “dog eats dog”…

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