This previous week the world saw North Korea making aggressive statements toward the United States following the toughing of sanctions by the UN. Before that, they had been initiating subterranean nuclear tests, one of which precipitated an earthquake of a magnitude of around 5.0. As if to further prove the seriousness of his intentions, Kim Jong Un, who has promised a nuclear strike against the US and a return of active conflict, has today officially nullified the Korean Armistice Agreement of 1953, the treaty which brought the Korean War to a 60 year cease-fire (but not an end) and divided Korea into two.
In the same week the Supreme Court here in the US began reviewing the Voting Rights Act, which guarantees protection of 15th Amendment rights and enforces a major part of the Civil Rights Act for minorities which have been historically barred or discouraged from participating in democratic voting. Twenty-two Republican senators also voted against the Violence Against Women Act last week. The VAWA ensures that gender and sexual orientation are not grounds for discrimination in our criminal justice system. And late last year, Republicans successfully blocked an UN treaty on citizens with disabilities, which was modeled closely after the Republican-authored Americans with Disabilities Act.
Both groups – North Korea and the GOP – yearn for a return to the “golden days” of the 1940s and ‘50s. North Korea, or at least its leaders, had the glory of battling the evil American imperialists, getting to play on the same team as the big boys (Russia and China). In this era – the “good ol’ days” for GOPers – women knew their place, the “coloreds” did too (they were clearly marked with signs, so convenient!) and no one disputed the white male’s dominance; they were the “greatest generation,” after all.
And both see the writing on the wall. North Korea faces increasing sanctions and disapproval from the rest of the world – even China backed the recent UN sanctions and have been discouraging conflict. Regardless, with an economy that is becoming increasingly unsustainable and wealth inequality to match, North Korea (or did I just describe the US? Interesting) is starting to feel its back is against the wall (despite decades of overtures for peace) and believes the only option is to lash out at the world and to make their presence significant to a world that has mostly forgotten them.
The white male, and by extension the GOP, are also in a decline. White culture is constantly imitating minority culture, unable to find interest in its own. Just as a fact of demographics, minorities are becoming a larger slice of the pie on the graph, and with it a greater voice in politics. This last election proved this, as Obama’s re-election was the first election of president who had not won the majority of white male votes. And for the power-concerned, as white men have always been in this nation, they can see their decline. To them, this is their last chance – now that the presidency club is officially open to non-members and women are getting birth control as part of their health care and wearing whatever they want, this is go time. And some of them lash out, some in the form of a filibuster or or something more drastic – I don’t think there is a coincidence that the overwhelming majority of the most shocking and heinous shootings in recent years have been perpetrated by white men.
The majority of humanity desires progress and usually achieves it; nationalism is dead and white patriarchy is headed that way too. And this is how we must remember them – faded, tried and failed. We cannot return to the past nor should we. Lunatics and radicals of this sort will probably always be present in the world – it’s when we allow them to hold sway over us that progress stalls. Citizens like ourselves cannot control North Korea’s actions but we can stop re-electing individuals who believe that pregnancies can’t occur after rape or show unprecedented disrespect for our democratically elected president.
So the question remains: When are they going to reboot MASH and Father Knows Best?