It was too cold today for a bicycle ride, so I went walk-about instead. When I walk, I like to listen to audio books through Hoopla. They help to exercise my mind, while I’m working on my body. Lately, I’ve been switching off between two different American history books. The first one is “1776” by David McCullough and the other one is “White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America” by Nancy Isenberg. As the two titles infer McCullough’s book if focused upon a single year during the American Revolutionary War, while Isenberg’s is much more wide-ranging. It just so happens though that I have waded far enough into Isenberg’s book that now she too is dealing with the revolutionary time period.
McCullough hews much more closely to the sanitized public school version of American history than does Isenberg, but even he is not averse to illuminating some of the more unseemly aspects of this pivotal point in our country’s story. For example, he explains at length how if not for a seemingly inexhaustible supply of rum, Washington would not have been able to hold his rag-tag army together, during his prolonged siege of Boston. Meanwhile, Isenberg seems to revel in the seedier side of American history. Our founding fathers with all of their talk of freedom and equality, were little more than hypocrites. They were speaking only of their freedom and only the equality between them and their peers. The rest of us rabble be damned.
After having heard sullied twice-over our political origin story, I returned home, unplugging my ear buds and thereby also returned to the present. A perusal of today’s headlines reveals that little has changed in the intervening years. Our leaders are still vaingloriously treating we the people like trash. Through the mechanism of divide and conquer, we have been split neatly into two warring tribes, color-coded red and blue. We used to be blue and grey, but now that color scheme must be passé. Subdivided, we are left to furiously punch and poke each other like demented automatons, dancing around the ring like little marionettes at the direction of our puppet masters. I say enough. I am tired of all the political games, the incessant tit-for-tat, the unending one-upmanship. At the end of the day, none of it signifies anything and all of it affects even less.