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Saturday, February 26, 2005

Tribalism 

The Resentment Tribe
Digby has a lengthy post about the roots of the cultural divide in the US: "Resentment was a foundation of the culture as slavery was hotly debated from the very inception and the division was based on what was always perceived by many as a moral issue. The character and morality of the south had always had to be defended. Hence a defensive culture was born. The civil war and Jim Crow deepened it and the Lost Cause mythology romanticized it. The civil rights movement crystallized it. A two hundred year old resentment has created a permanent cultural divide. . . . Wherever resentment resides in the human character it can find a home in the Republican Party. This anger and frustration stems from a long nurtured sense of cultural besiegement, which they are finding can never be dealt with through the attainment of power alone. They seek approval. "
On the surface, there are two Canadian parallels to what is happening in the US -- the separatist movements in Quebec and in the West. But though both are also based on a sense of grievance, including resentment toward Central or English Canada, neither is based on a defensive culture which spend 100 years trying to justify actions which were morally wrong and actually indefensible. So while Canada has been able to make political and economic changes over the years to accomodate and/or molify separatists -- this goes up and down, of course -- it is difficult to see what could be done in the US to change the tribalism which is splitting their culture. The approval they are seeking, they will never get.
Perhaps it does explain, however, the amazing tolerance for torture and the destruction of civil liberties which we see in US society today -- destroying American society and the American constitution becomes just another cultural issue.

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