Jujitsu time

In Nixonland, Rick Perlstein tells the story of why American conservatives and liberals hate each other. Europeans who sympathize with Democrats see only half the story: American politics is divided into two mutually antagonistic worldviews. And the form this split takes today was born in the 1960’s, when what seemed like a consensus on mainstream liberalism was fractured over race, war, and the counterculture. When this cultural civil war began, Democrats ruled the South and stood firmly behind the war in Vietnam. When the dust had settled, the Democratic party had torn itself apart, and conservative Republicans had risen up on the anger of the white middle class – people who didn’t want to be lectured to by establishment elites, and thought of war protesters as spoiled and cowardly traitors. The anger on display here, the hatred between young and old, is shocking. It’s not just the big acts of violence, it’s the everyday meanness, the sense of desperation, the sense that the other side will destroy the nation. Perlstein is a liberal and it shows, but he’s too young to have a personal stake in the 60’s, and too honest to make this a morality play. All sides are portrayed in ugly detail, and in some amoral sense Richard Nixon himself comes out of it the most sympathetic. He’s a dangerous crook, but he understands the voters, and boldly surfs their new anxieties to the White House. Like Nixon, Nixonland is mean and ugly and sadly relevant, (yes even to Norwegian politics).

3 Responses to Jujitsu time

  1. palode says:

    You just gave me a good excuse to head on over to Amazon and start piling up a juicy package of books. I’ll put Nixonland on the list, as well as that Black Swan-book you’ve been recommending.

  2. Bjørn Stærk says:

    What, one needs a good excuse to head over to Amazon?! 😉

  3. Pingback: William Manchester – The Glory and the Dream « Bjørn Stærk's Max 256 Blog

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