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In America, politics are peculiar, petty and partisan

Aug 15, 2023

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These days, it’s pretty clear that Americans can’t see eye to eye on much. And now, with yet another indictment slapped on former President Donald Trump, you can bet that the already-wide gap between the nation’s political factions is only going to get wider.

Straight Arrow News contributor Ruben Navarrette shares his thoughts on how this divide plays out in everyday life. He explains how even a simple country music hit can end up causing a whole lot of fuss and bother.

I was in Europe recently, and while I was there, I did the best I could to unplug from the carnival sideshow known as American politics. This I can tell you: When you’re staring back across the Atlantic at the land of the free and the home of the brave, the first thing you notice is how Americans have the uncanny ability to get into big fights over the small things.

In Haiti, people are protesting over gang violence and a deteriorating sense of security in that Caribbean country. In Israel, people took to the streets to protest the threat to democracy, as judicial oversight comes under attack by the prime minister. In Ecuador, there’s unrest following the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio, who railed against corruption. In Italy, labor activists are protesting the government’s plan to cut a citizen’s wage, which gives people a safety net as they look for work.

Meanwhile, here in the United States, folks are squaring off and putting up their dukes over — wait for it — a country music song. Those are champagne problems. Jason Aldean’s hit tune “Try That in a Small Town” is a warning that some of the craziness that gets a free pass in big cities won’t fly in a small town. The song is not everyone’s cup of tea. As someone who grew up in a small town, I get that. But apparently for some folks, turning the radio dial takes too much effort. They’ve got to try to cancel Aldean and get the song banned.

No, it’s not your imagination. In America, politics are quite peculiar and extremely petty. I was in Europe recently. And while I was there did the best I could to unplug from the carnival Sideshow known as American politics. This I can tell you, when you’re staring back across the Atlantic at the land of the free in the home of the brave, the first thing you notice is how Americans have the uncanny ability to get into big fights over the small things. In Haiti, people are protesting over gang violence and a deteriorating sense of security in that Caribbean country. In Israel, people took to the streets to protest the threat to democracy, as judicial oversight comes under attack by the Prime Minister.

In Ecuador, there’s unrest following the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando via Chen CEO who railed against corruption.

In Italy, labor activists are protesting the government’s plan to cut a citizens wage which gives people a safety net as they look for work. Meanwhile, here in the United States, folks are squaring off and putting up their Dukes over wait for it. A country music song those are champagne problems. Jason Aldean is hit tune. Try that in small town is a warning that some of the craziness that gets a free pass in big cities won’t fly in a small town. The song is not everyone’s cup of tea. As someone who grew up in a small town I get that. But apparently for some folks turning the radio dial takes too much effort. They’ve got to try to cancel all Dean and get the song banned. A bunch of people on the left white and black insist that the song celebrates lynching and vigilantism. This latest skirmish and the culture wars made me think about how much I value what I consider the Holy Trinity that has guided my journalism career over the last 35 years. Honesty, nuance and common sense. I think critically, stay on even keel speak honestly and rely on the common sense. That came from my upbringing in the farm country of central California. Most of all, I embrace nuance, I hate binary choices. There is I have found over the years always a third way. That’s just looking for that third way takes courage. It’s much easier to travel the conventional path that is to strike out. I want the American poet Robert Frost called, quote, The Road Less Traveled. Especially if you must travel the road alone. There’s also the danger of self censorship of holding back and biting your tongue because you’re afraid that people will think less of you or get the wrong idea. If you say what you really believe. I understand that instinct. See, I liked the old Dean song praising small towns. But I don’t want people to think I’m anti big city.

I thought the Supreme Court got its recent affirmative action decision wrong, because the conservative majority concluded that Harvard whose student body is 25% Asian is somehow trying to keep out Asians. But I want people to think I’m anti Asian. California, my home state is racing toward a divisive debate over paying reparations to descendants of African slaves. And I think the plan goes too far. But I don’t want people to think I’m anti black. Some Latinos want to disband immigration, Customs Enforcement, ice and grant illegal immigrants. Amnesty with no strings attached. I don’t think either idea is reasonable. But I want people to think I’m anti Latino, especially since I am one. Imagine the psychiatry bills. Finally regarding for President Donald Trump’s current White House bid. I believe the sequel could be scarier than the original. I don’t think America can survive another term. But I don’t want people to think I’m anti Trump. Wait, come to think of it. That one’s okay.

 

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