If Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham Clinton'Fight Song' played at Trump inaugural ball When Trump says 'Make America Great Again,' he means it Trump takes office in tough place, but approval ratings do change MORE runs for president and wins, then America faces a “Bloodless Revolution” starting in 2016. It won't be a political revolution, but a cultural revolution to once and for all define us as a people.
Two key features have unraveled our times: The irresponsibility of the mainstream press — “Versailles” in the words of Tom Brokaw — advancing the idea of dynasty and reducing public figures to celebrities and bloodless imitations of Europe’s old royal families. But perhaps the most important feature of our changing times is the shift in the nature of political parties from a post-World War II general geist or consensus of the American Way to today.
The shift can perhaps be understood best in Dan Carter’s biography of Alabama Gov. George Wallace, The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, the Origins of the New Conservatism, and the Transformation of American Politics. In the '60s, as anti-Vietnam War protests dominated the Northern cities, and civil rights, feminism, Marxism and the hippies captured the hearts and minds of a rising generation, Wallace understood that simple Southern patriotism — church, flag and country — would find national play. Indeed it did.
The characterization of hippies vs. hard hats of the 1960s still plays. You might be out “... just kicking hippies' asses and raising hell” as immortalized in Jerry Jeff Walker’s timeless ode if you were a hard hat. Or you might be in the heartland with the Hag, mobilizing Okies from Muskogee to repudiate smoking marijuana and taking LSD, ”like the hippies out in San Francisco do.” But time and whisky mellows, and today Merle Haggard brags that he likes Hillary Clinton because he rolled a jumbo with her in his trailer.
Antagonism grew with the presents of Bill ClintonBill ClintonTrump takes office in tough place, but approval ratings do change The new Washington elite schmoozes over lunch Trump: 'Very honored’ that Clinton attended inauguration MORE in the Oval Office, and it is maintained by Hillary's endless rise to the presidency. Then Obama: The moment was the vote to oppose ObamaCare on a states' rights basis by two New Hampshire state representatives. Thirty other states followed suit. For the first time since 1865, a central grouping of states came together in a moment of direct action. Fences were suddenly built between us and them. Since then, the middle states have found hardened unity.
And what has occurred here is likely to remain. Once a fence is put up, it is hard to take down. A natural division into three Americas has occurred: two coasts and the middle. The question is, who will govern?
We face now a situation much like that in England, the Revolution of 1688, known as the “Glorious Revolution.” It would determine England’s fate from then until now purely on cultural issues: Was England to be Catholic or Protestant? What will it be for America today, Hippie or Hard Hat?
Oxford University's Margaret MacMillan warned recently that America gives the appearance of falling apart. And like arctic wolves, external enemies (China today and Russia) smell the weakness. With different leadership — “a Bismarck or a Churchill” — catastrophe might be avoided. A Victoria or a Toranaga perhaps, as in James Clavell’s fabulous creation, could define America for once and for all.
And that is the issue rising in America today: Who will be shogun?