Bye-bye, 2018 —The Year of Living Hatefully
In 1982 Peter Weir and Mel Gibson made a film adapted from a 1978 Christopher Koch novel, The Year of Living Dangerously, about an attempted coup in Indonesia in 1965.
While it isn't clear yet whether we had an attempted coup in the USA in 2018 (or earlier), we did have a year in which people despised each other seemingly as never before in our country -- sometimes with reason but quite often not.
2018 was The Year of Living Hatefully -- one of them anyway.
Practically no one was happy. Or if they were, they didn't show it. All they wanted to do was vilify the opposition or even their neighbors.
Democrats hating Republicans (see the new movie "Vice") and vice versa were just the tip of a rancid iceberg. Never Trumpers hate Trumpers and the reverse, Sanders supporters hate Beto supporters, Antifa hate the bourgeoisie, the Proud Boys hate Antifa, FOX hates CNN and MSNBC hates FOX...It goes on and on. Families and friends split from each other. People shut up at work for fear they'll be fired. Thanksgiving is a festival of hostility, Christmas (when we're allowed to speak its name) is only slightly better.
Twitter has become axis mundi for hurling vicious insults at people you never met, or don't even know, while our college campuses -- suffused with reactionary "intersectionality" -- have become ground zero for the promotion of competitive victimhood, another perfect excuse to hate the other without knowing him or her or "zhe."
That all this is happening in a country awash in affluence, also as almost never before, with close to full employment for all ethnic and racial groups, even some salaries rising after decades, is the cliché about not being able to stand prosperity on steroids. The way we are going utopia would be Hell.
So what's behind all this?
Before all Democrats scream Donald Trump and all Republicans shout The Media, allow me to remind everyone this has been going on for a long time. Calling 2018 The Year of Living Hatefully (or, perhaps more accurately, living in or through hate) is but the culmination of a trend that has been going on for many years.
There is and has been an emptiness in American society and I am going to suggest a cause I never thought I would, not because it is unique to me -- it hardly is -- but because I have, until relatively recently, been a rather typical agnostic of my generation.
It is the absence of God, augmented by the ongoing secularization of our culture largely perpetrated by that same generation (mine). We now almost have in America what the French call laïcité. It doesn't work there (they hate each other more than we do) and it won't here.