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[189] Identity Politics

Perhaps the single most defining difference between the left and the right, is the nature of their politics. The right remains ideological—smaller government, lower taxes, stronger military, etc. The left seems to have abandoned ideology for what is called identity politics. The latter involves seeing the populace in terms of identifiable interest groups rather than more broad-based political beliefs. You will hear Democratic pols regularly mention women, Hispanics, African-Americans, and LGBT adherents in their speeches. All of this resonates in an age of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

With identity politics comes political correctness and postmodernism—the notion that truth in it is purest form does not really exist, but each individual and group has its own truth, a truth that needs to be respected and accommodated by the larger society. Hence, Hillary’s campaign slogan, “Stronger together.” There is no agenda, no real message, in such a slogan, but it is a major doctrine in the catechism of identity politics, and Trump’s trampling over the sensitivities of the political correctness doctrine, has generated an incendiary hatred of the 45th president.

It is hard to overstate the importance of this difference. It is, at core, the reason for the currently polarizing atmosphere. Politics—at least successful politics—involves the often arduous process of compromise. There is value in affirming group identity, as the American experience of the various subgroups differs greatly. Trump himself acknowledged this by appealing to minorities in his campaign. There is also a case to be made for certain enduring ideologies and national values. The challenge is in finding a synthesis, one that will only come when each side becomes truly patriotic, and pursues the common good.


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