Sunday, November 29, 2015

America vs. Tribalism in the Middle East -- Signs we are Becoming Like Them?

                                     America vs. Tribalism in the Middle East
                     Will We Become Them – Or Keep Being the American Tribe?

America has much to offer, but we are falling into the same trap I see happening in the Middle East - tribalism.  It’s killing them and will kill us if we don’t get back to what made America special, our acceptance and guarantee of equality and justice to everyone, not just members of your own tribe.

Over there it has been degenerating into a Sunni vs. Shiite vs. Kurd.  Iraq’s leader is a Shiite, so the Sunni’s get zero say in government. Therefore their army deserted and ran when ISIS came. Now its becoming a regional, multi-country Shiite vs. Sunni (vs. Kurds) battle, pushed by fundamentalists on both sides.

In America, we are starting to see the same bizarre religious fundamentalism and tribalism inflect our politics and society at large. We have people claiming to be “Christian” who basically feel “all” Muslims are terrorists, even though they never met a Muslim (or a Hindu or a Jew.)

These same people claim to be “Christian” while wanting to deny poor kids food or medical care by expanding Medicaid. They don’t seem to follow any words of Jesus that I ever read in the bible, like caring for the least among us and the outcasts. It’s like they never went beyond the Old Testament (“Stone the adulterers” and an “eye for an eye”). They represent “Christians” as little as ISIS represents Islam, because neither does.

Too bad because its pretty stupid since America was built on all of us being part of the one American tribe –not Christian vs. Muslim or black vs. white, or Asian, or African or European. My ancestors came from Norway, but I am an American.  That is what we should relate to – not colors or religion. Such tribalism brings us down and keeps us from focusing on the one key prize – setting up America the nation for winning in a competitive global economy as countries not based on democracy, like China, overtake us.

We should have a Congress saying “How best can we compete with Europe and China considering we have half century old infrastructure falling apart under our feet and kids not getting the skills needed to compete with kids from China and India who do qualify for high tech U.S. jobs that go begging because American kids don’t have those skills?

Instead, we have a Congress would oppose oxygen if the President came out for it. They get paid full time to work 111 days a day, and spend ite focused solely on the lobbyists and favor seekers in the 1%. Instead of helping us advance all Americans, especially those at the bottom due to the highest inequality in 80 years, its members lust for power -- fueled by money supplied by that same 1%. They use the money to become fishers of votes by pandering to the lowest common denominator, selling fear (not vision) and pushing phony facts and magic dust voodoo economics they know won’t work.

They do it because it works and the 99% get screwed.

So instead of putting country first, the politicians generate phony enemies, like Syrian kids fleeing death by ISIS. They rage against young black men and poor women needing community medical services because they are pregnant – while telling them to practice abstinence and not to “believe” in birth control. They oppose both abortion and the sex education and technology that would lower it to near zero.  They make possible what they oppose.

They rage against Planned Parenthood over abortion; but never mention that is only 3% of their activities; never mentioning the 97% of routine medical services it provides to poor women who need like mammograms, etc. that they can only get at a Planned Parenthood facility.

Instead, they try to shut them down, and failing that, rile up the extremes to take violent action until someone snaps, as happened in Colorado Springs.  The GOP candidates, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, etc. --they are accessories to murder of a policeman and two others. Free speech does not include the right to falsely shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater, or incite someone to kill employees of a facility.

Our infrastructure is going to hell in its post-retirement age, yet some politicians focus on hate speech and the same small minded tribalism.

You can change this by starting to treat others as part of this one tribe – as Americans!  We are one tribe regardless of your color, religion, sex or sanity status. Let's start acting like it. Treat others the way you wanted to be treated, with respect.

Michael Fjetland
Author, Better Times Ahead April Fool
Agenda for American Greatness (at the link)

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