Monday, August 13, 2007
Race to the finish
I think I've mentioned before that I believe that slavery was the Original Sin in the genesis of America, and that we blew our one chance to cleanse ourselves through the blood sacrifice of the Civil War, and that it has poisoned every word, thought, and deed of our "noble experiment" to this day.
I'm not sure I've shared the true depth of the pessimism about our future that this flaw might engender, if properly worried about. Forgive me for that.
The slavery we harbored at our birth got us used to the idea that we could run around spouting off about Liberty, and Unalienable Rights, and Justice, while (truly, genuinely) ignoring the giant stinking turd of a lie buried like a stake in the very heart of our enterprise.
The ability to compartmentalize our self-image away from our reality has always been a handy license. We have used it for Ethnic Cleansing (against Native Americans, notably). We have used it on the Irish and the Chinese (to build the railroads, among else). We have used it against Americans of Japanese origin in WWII. Our old landlords, the Mexicans. Jews. Canucks. Gooks. Porta-riccans. The French. And always, of course, our troublesome ex-slaves. A license to kill (remorselessly).
All of this "race" stuff, though, was just training for the real Fall. It taught us the truest, highest discipline of mass hypocrisy - the ability to richly see, feel, hear, smell, and taste a thing, and believe most fervently in its opposite. We have at last achieved transcendent mastery of this discipline.
Our training is playing out in the direst of ways now, and I think it will be our comeuppance. I really don't think there's a way out, because our fathers have doomed us to be their spawn, and we have striven to please them.
If everyone suddenly awoke to the connections amongst us, we could all have a nice laugh about our silly foolishness, and go on about the business of life.
I don't think that's what will happen.