Longview News Journal commentator Michael Schwartz's column in the Saturday June 12 edition was stunning for its hostility and bitterness in spite of his attempts at humor. Schwartz, after presumably much consideration and soul-searching, has come to the conclusion that America should be divided down the middle on purely ideological grounds. In his vision, the country no longer would be "one nation, under God," but should henceforth be balkanized into Liberal and Conservative ghettos which he thinks of respectively (and simplistically) as Liberal-Land and Flyover Country. He advocates a "Divorce" between these parties which he believes have irreconcilable differences.
One friend upon considering Schwartz's ideas told me she'd rather think of it as an annulment, since she couldn't conceive of consummating a marriage with the vicious know-nothing tea party whack-jobs who are the self-proclaimed leaders of of the conservative movement nowadays. Another friend trenchantly added that Schwartz's historical antecedents had tried his idea before. They lost.
Schwartz's imprecations and maledictions seem to have their source in Barack Obama's assumption of the office of President in 2008. He acknowledges that liberals and conservatives have "tolerated" each other for 230 years, but in a raging pique of the classic sore loser, is willing to disband us into the "Divided States of America" on the basis of barely half of one presidential term. Whither perspective? Whither respect for the legal, measured transition of power in our country? Clearly they've gone missing from Schwartz's political reality.
Thus in lieu of political reality, we get political fantasy. Utopias spun by the impressionable minds of those who've grown weary of the work of Democracy. You know, old fashioned ideas such as the debate and compromise that leads to effective governance, bothersome notions like that. Don't care for people of differing opinions and viewpoints? Well then banish them forthwith to those areas of the country perceived as being beneath the standards of your group. That would include all those urban centers of crime, welfare, diversity and, one assumes other horrors like culture, higher learning, and cross-cultural friendship and dialog.
Don't care for media that strives for straightforward fairness in reporting? Then choose media that unremittingly spews extremist views under the guise of "balance," poisoning the well of civil discourse in the process. Only an extremist like Schwartz would identify the FOX News echo-chamber with integrity, even though well documented studies have shown FOX viewers to be among the most poorly served and misinformed in the nation when it comes to the plain facts of any given story.
Schwartz strives mightily to claim God in the divorce proceedings, but I am a religious liberal who says, "not so fast buddy." If he means the harsh, punitive, God who dominates the Old Testament, you know the one who was big on smiting folks, taking sides in internecine human conflicts, and was given to ethical lapses that wouldn't pass muster in a high school civics class, well he can have that God. But it seems to me that Jesus was a liberal who rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, not an elephant. And he espoused an ethical program of giving to the poor and needy that should make welfare opponents choke on their self righteous bromides regarding work, bootstraps, and self reliance.
Presumably, in Flyover country, all the political and cultural advances brought to bear by Liberalism in America would have to be weeded out. You can't let that stuff linger because people might once again become inured to such things as a safe food supply, clean air and water, protected wilderness areas, Medicare and Social Security, a forty hour work week, safe working conditions for employees, voting rights for women and blacks, collective bargaining for workers, and access to public spaces for the disabled. You'll want to restore the Gilded Age mentality that led to the Great Depression in the 1930's, and nearly brought about another one in 2007. You'll be glad no doubt to say goodbye to all that wretched diversity that has blighted the American scene with art, jazz, dance, theater, intellect, Mexican, Thai, Chinese, Italian and alas, even French cuisine. In Flyover Country, prepare to consume a whole lot of corn.
Couldn't care less for diversity? Well get ready for a bland, homogenized world in which everyone looks acts and thinks just like you. Seems to me that for centuries people from across the globe have been leaving such places in order to make it to a diverse, friendly place called America. Clearly, Schwartz and those of his ilk no longer have use for such childish dreams.