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America is a land of tribes


Dear Editor:

Sure, the United States is a big country, but most Americans live in a much smaller world, and many live in tiny burrows of their own making. Education and common citizenship are supposed to draw us all together, but that isn’t happening anymore.

You see it when you cross state boundaries. Living in Oregon or Vermont is like living nowhere else in America. Bible belt states don’t like outsiders. When you cross any state line into Texas, beware . . . like a foreign country there. Illinois and Missouri share a border, but that is about all. New Jersey is very different from New York. Forested northern California bears only a slight resemblance to the concrete jungle of SoCal. Alaska and Hawaii are, well, literally off the map. Utah defies description.

But the states are just the starting point of on-rushing tribalization in America today. Folks have cordoned themselves off into “friend” classes, news media nations, and sports franchise fan bases. Minority communities seek housing, schooling and cultural opportunities among themselves because mainstream white culture has become so exploitative and bizzare. People work in highly specialized occupations and professions that don’t really talk to each other.

All of this is to say nothing about folks who live and die in addiction, entertainment, and crime enclaves like gamblers, video gamers, druggies, square dancers, ponzi scammers, bitcoin believers, twitter followers, opera and rodeo aficionados, custom car freaks, bike gangers, yoga stretchers, and golfers. Religious denominations are the worst. They care not a whit about government, society, workplaces or any other places other than their own meeting places.

There is only one great unifying force in the country today. Every burrowed subgroup in America has been co-opted into marketing and consuming the goods and services cranked out by American industry and finance. Rogue capitalism has the greatest number of converted followers today, and there is no end in sight for its ability to conquer the market and suffocate the country.

Kimball Shinkoskey

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