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The Identity Politics of Right-Wing Religion

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You get to choose . . . walls, bridges--vociferously standing for all of us being in some important ways . . . the same.

Photo by Donnie Rosie on Unsplash

Listen for a few moments to US media (at least some US media) and you are likely to hear the bashing of something called “identity politics.” Why, some ask, do you want to force . . . well . . . everything from race to gender to sexual orientation . . . on the rest of us?

The “us” being, well . . . uhhhh . . . part of the problem.

The English term identity derives from the Latin term idem, meaning ”the same”* Yes. That’s right: “the same.” And wouldn’t it be glorious if the big problem in North America today were people arguing vociferously about how we are all the same?

But, as we all know, that’s not politic. Or politics, is it?

Nope. “Identity politics” as it plays out in the United States today is about how we are different. And our right-wing friends — who appear to somehow have reached the conclusion that they are all the same — love to bash whatever may serve as an identity.

BTW: Oh, and yes, the term “whipping boy” jumps to mind in this context, and it, too, has a history. A whipping boy is a companion to a royal youngster who gets the whipping for what the royal youngster did wrong.

Sort of like the Average American when it comes to many elected politicians, am I right?

My favorite condemners of identity politics — at least this week — is a group called Wallbuilders.

Yes, I typed that correctly. There is a group — apparently it’s far from a joke — that calls themselves builders of walls.

To which I quickly have to ask, do they really know the Robert Frost poem titled “Mending Wall” * that opens with the line,

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall

And ends, yes, with the famous line,

‘Good fences make good neighbors.’

Seriously? Is this group in the business of literary criticism?

‘Good fences make good neighbors.’

To which, I must point out that oft-quoted final line of Robert Frost’s is in quotes: he is quoting a neighbor. The poet isn’t saying that. Perhaps the poet agrees; perhaps the poet doesn’t. Hard to say. But, no, this isn’t literary criticism. It is American politics.

On the Wallbuilders website, they would like to sell you a book. The ad goes:

The American Story, unpacks the facts around America’s founding, debunks the myths of the 1619 Project and Critical Race Theory, and teaches Americans how they preserve our nation’s history.

Yes, there is some wall building going on here. Though, I’m not so sure it is about making good neighbors!

As the old saying goes, “Soooome people!”

Fortunately, there is indeed a group that calls itself Bridgebuilders. Hit that link ’n’ look ’em up.

(Rather than wondering how, left or right, no one appears to know how to spell!)

Yes. Some people.

You? You get to choose . . . walls, bridges, and, ummmm, vociferously standing for all of us being in some important ways . . . the same.

The same. What a concept!

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