Instead of unity, we have dueling marches; competitions over "sacred" grounds; debates over religion and language that never should have been invited to the party.Of every single human being who writes for a major American daily paper, I suspect that I would like Kathleen Parker the most. She sort of reminds me of my mom ("Be considerate; tend your garden; mind your own business; lend a hand; keep your clothes on and your hands to yourself; honor your family and your country; don't air your dirty laundry or vocabulary in public. And for God's sake, don't talk about religion. Oh, and resist spectacle").
But I can never wrap my brain around these popular paeans to "unity." First of all, what do you mean? If you mean what I think you mean, Kathleen, you mean: a politely centrist consensus that makes room for eccentricity but not radicalism, harmless iconoclasm but no real dissent. "Unity" involves an imaginary America that functions as if it were a great big town. It has its kooks and characters, it has its bad neighborhoods, it even has a few dark secrets, but you know, damn it, it's a damn nice place to live. People know each other around here. The kids are all right. We've got this nice committee together to beautify Main Street, which has been looking a little ragged ever since the big boxes moved in out by the mall. But you know, them Big Boxes aren't so bad, really. I didn't like it at first, but WalMart sells real cheap dog treats, I'll tell you. Anyway, I still get car parts down at Frank's Auto to support the local economy.
Yeah, anyway, America is a continental empire with a population of 300 million people. It extends from the Arctic Circle to the Tropics, from the Atlantic Coast to the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the most climatologically, geologically, meteorologically, environmentally, ethnographically, and culturally diverse "societies" ever found in the whole of human history, and despite the best efforts of our imperial minders to convince us otherwise in order to keep us plugged into the necessity of military and economic dominion over the whole of the world, we are necessarily heterogenous because there are so damn many of us. This is where anarchy looks at the aspirations of representative democracy and giggles. 300 million people! Gurl.