America’s Ugly Underbelly Still Hanging Tough

The foundation of America’s ugly underbelly was laid in i619 with the arrival of Africans to Jamestown Virginia — they being used as indentured workers. Eventually laws were formulated converting Negros into out and out slaves.

The American Civil War of 1861–1865 technically put an end to the institution of slavery in the South, and there was hope that the American ideal that all men are created equal was on its way to actuality. But when Southern reconstruction ended in the 1870s, the old Southern power structure reasserted itself and Blacks, through Jim Crow laws and lynch mob justice, were returned to a kind of virtual slavery until the civil rights revolution of the 1960s.

With civil rights being supported by two Democratic presidents, Kennedy and Johnson, the nation began a slow political realignment, with the dark underbelly forces, North and South, migrating to the Republican Party, a party hiding behind a flimsy facade of economic and social conservatism. Needing all the votes the party of Wall Street could muster, it was quite happy to allow the forces of darkness to dog whistle the nation’s bigots into the party ranks, a process euphemistically referred to as the Southern Strategy.

As demographics were working against the Republicans, a Black Democrat was elected president for two terms beginning in 2008. This outraged the chauvinists that formed the “Tea Party.” They immediately commenced fighting Obama every step of the way, including his valiant effort to bring healthcare to the uninsured and to pull the nation out of a dangerous financial meltdown stemming from Wall Street greed.

Then the impossible happened. A sleazy real estate and TV reality con, by a confluence of factors two numerous to rehash, found his self at the epicenter of world power. With no background for his new position and hardly a clue as to what to do, he did what he had always done during his seedy business and showmanship life. He turned to fermenting chaos and hate.

Actually with Trump leading the Republicans, the fundamental workings of their party haven’t change all that much. Its only purpose of overseeing the funneling of money to the corporate one percent has remained intact. (Can you say big fat tax cut for the wealthy?) The only superficial change is that with the crude Trump leading the party, all pretense that the GOP has not become the home of America’s ugly underbelly has fallen away in a pack of highly transparent lies, with Trump playing the staring role as the undisputed liar-in-chief.

So here we are as a nation, with a predatory brand of swampy capitalism having merged with racism and an unlimited supply of guns for slaughtering innocents, and the country in the clutches of a man who kills everything he touches.

The nation is powerfully divided with 60% of its better angels standing more or less with the Democrats, while the ugly underbelly, unknowingly, works on behalf of a ruthless cadre of the super rich lead by the GOP propaganda machine and a man hell-bent on taking down civilized society.

It has been a long winding road of both glory and despair to this point. Perhaps the only silver lining for getting out of this ever-murderous mess is that hate often has a way of destroying itself. But it sure looks bleak for the moment.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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