Identity politics and American values
Now that we are in the new year of 2018, the previous remarks of Washington Free Beacon Editor Matthew Continetti about the continual clamoring and tragic travesty of “identity politics” continue to resonate in my heart and mind.
More and more, the practice of attempting to govern through the divisive perspective of socio-economic class, race, gender and even gender identification, as well as the vilification of our national monuments, truly troubles me.
After all, the essence of our American Excellence is the shared culture of our Constitutional Republic, “whose diverse citizenry is united in support of principles of liberty and equal justice.”
This is our national creed and culture, not demagoguery and divisiveness.
Continetti also accordingly and aptly quoted Columbus humanities professor Mark Lilla, who lamented, “Identity politics on the left was at first about large classes of people … seeking to redress major historical wrongs,” which now have “given way to a pseudo politics of self-regard and increasingly narrow and exclusionary self definition … This has left them unprepared to think about the common good in non-identity terms … especially the hard and unglamorous task of persuading people very different from themselves to join in a common effort.”
Sadly, a previous presidential candidate once even spoke derisively, and on more than one occasion, about many Americans being “a basket of deplorables,” but said little or nothing about a national vision of common community and values.
Today, this pathetic perversion of our American ideals continues in some political circles and in much of our national media.
I agree with Matthew, that this “condescension of liberal elites toward … the working class, evangelical Christians, gun owners, and supporters of immigration control and cultural assimilation is as pronounced as it is repulsive (as) the radical cultural transformation they support.”
So, what about the rest of us?
What must we understand and do?
Continetti suggests that we must seek out and support “an American nationalism based on both a commitment to the ideals of the American founding and a shared love of our national history and culture”.
Let us all cherish and protect our individual freedom and pluralism, which our Founding Fathers were inspired to enshrine in our American Constitution.
Accordingly, it now is time for us, as Abraham Lincoln once cautioned us in his first Inaugural Address: “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies … by the better angels of our nature.”
Larry D. Kump
Former West Virginia State legislator (2010-2014)
P. O. Box 1131
Falling Waters, WV 25419-1131