In many ways, “The Battle Between Good and Evil” resembles the other kinds of battles with which we are more familiar from the usual accounts of history.
Consider the example of Alliances.
Just as an alliance of nations can achieve greater success in battle than any of them could separately, so also with the various currents of brokenness at work in a given society: the Force of Brokenness can magnify its power by getting its various components to join forces.
And that’s part of what’s happened in America.
Clearly, at the center of the picture of the “adverse shift” in that “balance of power” is the transformation of the Republican Party from the Party of Reagan and the First Bush (which was the kind of mixture we generally expect of America’s major political parties) to the Party of Trump (when the Party’s conduct was unerringly consistent in making things worse).
But Trump, as I saw him, represented merely a further extension of what was already visibly taking over the Republican Party for a quarter century. Trump had merely dispensed with the sheep’s clothing. The wolf had been visible for years.
By 2005 — at a time when the GW Bush administration had inflicted a great tear in the international order with the war that it lied the nation into, and after having also passed a huge tax cut for the rich under some equally false pretenses – I sought to explain the deepening darkness by noting the alliance that had been formed among several forces that had long been problematic in American history:
- The American impulse toward imperialism (which goes back to the taking of the continent from the Indians, and was at that time helping generate the war in Iraq – a war that made both the United States and the global order much more broken);
- A certain kind of religiosity, that is full of rage, projection and punitiveness—and a general orientation toward “Us-vs.-Them” conflicts;
- The Greed that is explicitly – in the market ideology – promoted as the fuel to drive the market economy (especially in its corporate form).
If Destructiveness had gained in power (as it already had by 2005), the effectiveness of the Force of Brokenness of getting all its tributaries to run together into a veritable River of Evil was an important part of how the destructive force had been strengthened.
More recently, I saw how another dark alliance helped move a once reasonably respectable Republican Party over to Brokenness. A particular piece of American political history precipitated a shift in that “balance of power” within the GOP, leading to a transformation of what had once been a normal American political Party into a Pure Case (an actor pretty completely possessed by the Force of Brokenness).
Seeing how this worked, I wrote an op/ed offering a partial answer to the question “How Did the Republican Party Come to This?” In that piece:
- I identified what appear to be the two strongest destructive forces at work in the American system – fostering injustice during the century or so following the Civil War: 1) the Force of White Supremacy that underlay especially the Jim Crow South, and 2) the Force of Greed that powerfully shaping the nation with the development of a powerful, modern corporate economy.
- I argued that the political effect of these two forces was limited in terms of the outcome of the struggle for power because – being divided between America’s two major political parties – those two destructive forces generally canceled each other out. So both parties, each perhaps with a balance of power favoring more-or-less decent forces, were able to work together enough of the time to accomplish good things for the nation.
- But then, in the mid-1960s, the Democrats’ role in passing Civil Rights legislation triggered a massive realignment of political forces over the coming years. The whites in the South, who had made it the Solid (Democratic) South gradually migrated away from the Democratic Party (that until then had contained the force whose major goal was the maintenance of white dominance in the society of the South) to make the Solid (Republican) South.
- This realignment brought those two major forces of brokenness onto the same side in the political battle for power. The Republican Party had gained power by swallowing a poison pill – one of the offspring of the Force of Brokenness – i.e. the dark spirit that underlies the oppression and demeaning of one race by another.
- A Party whose more decent part – the more whole part – now had two powerful forces of brokenness to contend with. The more constructive elements of the GOP was now up against an alliance of the Greed of the corporate system (that wanted things like the two Republican tax cuts for the rich, and corporatist justices on the Supreme Court) combined now, in under the same partisan tent, with the passions of White Supremacy.
- When the Party of Big Business became also the Party of the Spirit of Jim Crow, the stage was set for the Force of Brokenness to overpower whatever wasn’t broken in the Party and become more fully aligned with that Force than any major political party in our history.
That analysis shows, for one thing, how readily different forms of brokenness can form an alliance to further all kinds of brokenness. Which illustrates, I believe, that forces like Greed and White Supremacy – not to mention deception, cruelty, fear, projection, selfishness, etc. – are all aspects (or offspring) of the same basic Force of Brokenness.
Which is why it captures an important reality to talk about “patterns of brokenness.” (And “patterns of brokenness” is the concept that makes it possible to perceive how the Force of Brokenness works by moving through the human world in shape-shifting ways.)
But, because I’ve always regarded “America’s Moral and Spiritual Crisis,” as I called it in 2005, as involving the whole body politic, I closed that piece with the addition of some of those other elements that have weakened the nation’s “immune system,” whose job is to keep such pathogens from inflicting great damage.
“But that takeover of the GOP could not have happened just because of that malignant alliance and the clever propagandists that served it:
- Had the Democrats not proved so incapable of making sure that destructive Republican conduct got punished, rather than being politically rewarded, as it so often was; and
- Had so many Americans not proved so vulnerable to propaganda that fed their worst impulses;
- Had the American news media been so long so unable to see, and/or so unwilling to show the American people, what was happening right before our eyes to one of America’s two major parties;
perhaps the better parts of the GOP could still have prevailed.
So it was the systemic devolution of the whole system (including both parties, the wider public, and the press) that enabled the joining together (in one political party) of America’s two most destructive forces — Racism and Greed – to open the door to the powerful Force of Brokenness that besets us now.