Monday, June 18, 2018

Identity Politics Isn't Such A Bad Thing. Here's Why.

Identity politics is a lousy strategy, conservatives say. Even some left-leaning writers & commentators make the case that groups of folks voting on shared interests alienate white working-class voters. It depends on what is meant by identity politics. Groups banded together in the past to fight racial inequality; for women's rights; and more. Right-wingers also fall into the category of identity politics by supporting single issues such as abortion or gun rights. Of course, these are just a few examples, but people identify with absolute values, goals, and ideals.

Now, identity politics drew racist Southerners away from the Democratic Party; some white working class, middle-class voters, too. So, the point commentators are making is, should we do away with political identities?  Doing away with shared interests suppresses political activism because those aligned with political parties tend to activate & promote a set of shared ideals.

Some are motivated by religious right activism while others focus on left-leaning religious advocacy, which includes standing up for the oppressed and forming radical opinions like we should have access to healthcare. We should care for the poor & care about racial equality & women's empowerment & that gun regulation is a must in protecting children, victims of domestic violence and making sure criminals & children don't have access to guns.

The oppressed and subjugated call for equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome (or at least they should not call for it). Because if we focus on equality of outcome, we already lost the argument about fairness. If a world empowers folks through opportunity, some are bound to fail, but pick yourself up and keep going, so we must find ways in which success is attainable for the common good of society.

Those in opposition to identity politics see it as the "collective" rising up against the powerful; or what some call the "collectivist" oppressing the wealthy & cultural majority. Although the right claims to be against identity politics, they vote on shared interests as well: abortion, gun rights, religious right policies, to name a few. Both sides can be guilty of hypocrisy, but the religious right is the most at fault because they claim the moral high ground while failing at moral success.

Some view identity politics as the angry left taking economic opportunities & cultural identity away from white folks, which couldn't be further from the truth. In other countries, in the past, that might have been the case; but in current day America, we see people seeking equal treatment under the law; criminal justice reform; the opportunity of access to education, healthcare and wage increase, which benefit society in all respects.

When you have a thriving economy, not just with crappy jobs like now, with competitive wages, this country is enriched with optimism. But when you have a state where you're told job growth has never been better by folks on television, who don't have a clue what's going on in your area, it's nothing more than a re-election talking point.

I'm told that identity politics is misguided, it's a bad thing. But if we look at this past presidential election, Trump supporters voted in mass through identity politics. Trump supporters used the guise of a failing middle-class & economic anxiety to mask their tribalism. But what it really boils down to is societal changes and the "browning" of America. Conservatives are worried that their declining power is the fault of minorities. Therefore, instead of voting for their best economic interest, they voted for a man whose whole life is based on lying to workers and defrauding consumers. You see, Donald Trump told his supporters what they wanted to hear. The so-called flyover states where coal jobs were disappearing; where factories were being shut down; Donald Trump told these people that he could bring back their jobs; he could revitalize the coal industry. The future, however, of clean energy is in the solar wind and green power. So Donald Trump sold these people a lie they desperately wanted to believe.

The truth is, America thrives off identity politics; it always has flourished with like-minded people banding together to further causes which benefit shared interests. Tribalism is voting or siding with folks simply because of identity, which does not include any rationale for ones best interests rather than to follow the heard of the race, religion, social status, socio-economic status, etc.

Through the system of checks and balances, a government exists to provide for the common good of its people, but those goods more-or-less become law or policy based people who seek shared interests of democratically elected officials, which scares the tribalism mentality.

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