Here at LITD, we've long noted the fragmentation of post-America. It's occurred on numerous levels, including economic viewpoints, foreign policy viewpoints, political parties, enthusiasts of one or another figure within parties, sociocultural advocacy movements (including those focused on race, gender and sexuality), education, and popular culture.
It seems that the current atmosphere makes it prohibitive for someone to walk into the room, pick up the chalk and announce a grand vision for a way back to some semblance of unity.
Especially given what has happened this year: None of the factions that have hardened around the above points of focus is doing well.
Economic viewpoints? They range from Elizabeth Warren-style redistributionism to libertarian clamorings for a pure free market. In between are odd phenomena such as the insistence of the American Enterprise Institute's James Capretta that any alternative to the "A"CA include strong tax-policy incentives for people to not let their insurance coverage lapse, a heavy-handed, government-based stance for an ostensible champion of economic liberty to take. It's the government-has-to-do-something mentality that has led to Congressional paralysis over the "A"CA's repeal.
Foreign policy viewpoints? How about the current administration's cognitive dissonance regarding the Syria-Iran-Russia tangle? Trump meets with Putin, arrives at a southwestern Syria ceasefire, and immediately makes two good US allies, Israel and Jordan, very nervous at the protected presence of Hezbollah on their borders. Secretary of State Tillerson proclaims that the US and Russia have common aims in Syria, and his camp within the administration prevails on the question of whether to continue to be a party to the JPCOA, of which Iran is making a mockery.
Political parties? The Democrats have no bench to speak of, let alone any fresh policy proposals. The Republicans are, as mentioned above, in a state of paralysis that has led to a historically unproductive Congress even as it enjoys dominance in that branch it hasn't seen for nearly a century.
Enthusiasts for one or another figure within the parties? There is, of course, the base for Donald Trump, which harbors the delusion that there is some coherent vision for America that can be called Trumpism and even goes so far as to found a supposedly erudite but in fact idiotic venue called the Journal for American Greatness to attempt to validate that delusion. Outside of that camp, however, Trump can't seem to rise above a 40 percent approval rating. There is a Bernie Sanders-Elizabeth Warren-Kamala Harris groundswell within the Democrat party, but it fails to appeal to anyone outside itself. Beyond a few magazines and websites (such as this one), there doesn't seem to be a critical mass of enthusiasts for the truly conservative figures in the Republican Party and Congress (Cruz, Lee, Sasse, Rubio), largely because that faction has been so effectively shouted down by the Trump water-carriers.
Sociocultural advocacy movements? Not only do they get more ridiculous by the day, but they are badly fragmented among themselves, witness the recent dustups between Black Lives Matter and the LGBT people. Then there are the devil's bargains that are struck, such as the leadership of Linda Sarsour, a hijab-wearing sharia advocate, of the Women's March.
Education? The identity-politics jackboots at the University of Missouri thought they were ushering in a new era of flourishing social justice in 2015. Two years later, the school is shuttering dormitories. There are now even Evergreen State College students mustering the courage to speak out about the totalitarian atmosphere on their campus.
Popular culture? Of course, it continues to be a sewer of coarseness and vulgarity, but even that realm has been subdivided into camps that cling to various genres within various entertainment forms, to the economic detriment of the companies that deliver those forms' products. The record and live performance industries are is dismal shape, as is the movie business. Stars in one genre are completely unknown to fans of any other genre.
What is the effect on daily life in post-America? Economic growth remains subpar eight years into the recovery from the last recession, with small-business startups historically low, and a huge segment of the working-age population still out of the workforce. The reason is the failure of policy-makers to unburden the economy of the regulation and taxation with which it's been yoked for decades. Social media is a minefield in which friendships are terminated over political affiliation, divergent moral codes, and even matters of aesthetic taste. College graduates can't place the Civil War within thirty years of when it actually happened. Shakespeare is demonized.
We haven't even mentioned religion, have we? What does a snapshot of that realm look like? We see that Jewish college students are succumbing to the boycott-and-divest browbeating, and supporting Israel less and less. Mainline Protestant churches drape rainbow flags from their churchyard fences, and "We Stand With Muslims" signs adorn their lawns.
Even evangelical circles are displaying an openness to the idea of homosexual "marriage."
Is there a lesson in all this? It seems that as societal factions dig in with their insistence on Godless solutions, their ability to step up and move the needle on the overall malaise diminishes. It may be good to have society's malevolent players rendered ineffectual, but in the absence of something that is both strong and righteous, a vacuum is thereby created. And we all know how nature feels about vacuums.