Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Coming Civil War

I've been flying a lot in the past month or so and I've watched Captain America: Civil War a couple of times.  First of all, it's an awesome movie.  And Ryan Reynolds is dreamy.  So bonus.

But there's a line in the movie that's been stuck in my head lately.  The villain says:  "An empire toppled by it's enemies can rise again.  But one which crumbles from within?  That's dead . . . forever."

And I think of the American empire.  There is no external threat that we can't defeat.  But are we tearing ourselves apart, are we crumbling from within?

All of the pillars of American society (Congress, President, Supreme Court, Media, even the Military) have the lowest approval ratings in history.  Structurally America is not at its strongest.

The 2016 election has not only shown the depths of our division at a purely partisan level but also exposed a level of sexism, misogny, homophobia, xenophobia, and racism that is a cancer to the body politic of America.

And not everyone even agrees with that.  People have their own news, pushing their opinions, and facts aren't even facts anymore.  They pick and choose which facts they want to use to advance their agenda.  And more and more, that agenda is not for the common good, but to protect those in power, to protect the wealthy, to protect their position in society.

In the movie, the villain maneuvers Iron Man into fighting Captain America in order to help destroy the Avengers.  And I think the villain (well one of the villains) in the 2016 election was Vladimir Putin.  He used information, misinformation, and cyber warfare to advance his agenda of weakening the United States by making us fight against each other.  And he succeeded.

At the end of the movie, Tony Stark sits alone after the Avengers have fallen into disgrace.  Captain America has stayed true to his ideals and at the end of the movie, it's clear that in the next movie Captain America will bring the Avengers back together.

If America is going to survive, we need to help remember our ideals.  Truth, liberty, and justice for all.  Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Our freedoms so clearly articulated in the bill of rights.  And we need to remember that we are one country, not two parties, not 50 states, but one country.  And whether you live in DC or Kansas, California or Florida, that we are all Americans.  And we need to figure out a way to come together based on these ideals.  I don't know how that happens in today's political climate, but that's what we need to do to avert the coming civil war.