The Pittsburgh Synagogue Attack Makes Me Fear a New American Civil War

1540829759035 GettyImages 1054587820Time to be afraid for the future:

’…[We] are a nation profoundly divided about what it means to be American. The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer suggested, in Anna Holmes’ documentary The Loving Generation, that the US has long been pledging allegiance to two very different visions of what it means to be an American. On one side, being an “American” involves signing up for a civic faith dedicated to the Constitution, to the rule of law, to the privacy of the voting booth and liberty and justice for all. This is the Americanness of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, of the pulsing urban coastal centers, a vision that’s open to your tired, your poor, your refugees from around the world yearning to be free and ready to work hard. On the other hand are those who believe that “American” means people whose parents were born here, who are white and Christian, who want to bar the doors against the swarthy hordes. And yes, at least some of the latter—like this weekend’s gunman—believe in the more sinister slogan that arbeit macht frei.

The US government has been teetering back and forth between these two visions for generations. And no matter which side occupies the White House, the other wants their country back. One side was happy with George W. Bush’s red meat, red state presidency, invading freedom-hating nations, torturing suspected enemies to show strength, and keeping the country secure with a sprawling (and enduring) “security” apparatus. The other side—the globalists, the diversity-lovers, the cosmopolitans, the blue-coastal urbanites—thought that by electing Barack Obama, they had won back their country. Now, if they didn’t before, these people know that boiling underneath Obama’s presidency was a furious resistance: the Tea Party, the racists, the white nationalists who then elected their Birther-in-Chief.…’

Via Vice

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