The 'Politics of Division' Is All There Is


I opened the Slate homepage during the US Democratic Primaries ages ago to search for a couple of old Christopher Hitchens Columns and noticed this phrase on the frontpage:

Bernie Sanders is a divider, in a good way.

The title, if not the article, reminded me of the Hitch. One of my favorite videos is him talking to Jeremy Paxman.

When Paxman asks him about the 'politics of division':

When you say in this country, "I'm a unifier", you expect and usually get applause. I'm a divider. Politics is division by definition. You need a difference of opinion.

The article was about the failures of the Obama Presidency and Sanders's statements about not wanting to work with the GOP on issues he did not support for the sake of (ugh) bipartisanship. So, Hitchens was acutely right, and if not in his lifetime, it's safe to say he's been vindicated.

Politicians like to talk about fundamental differences, and unlike much politicians talk about, these differences exist. There is a fundamental, undeniable difference between the Democrats and the Republicans, the RSS and the CPI(M), Franco and the Republicans, the Allies and the Axis, and between Salman Rushdie and the late(I cannot help but snigger at Rushdie's sly remark: 'One of us is still alive. Do not mess with novelists') Ayatollah Khomeini.

These differences are irreconcilable. What Martin Amis once said about chess is occasionally true of politics: "It's a fight. It's a fight."

The Hitch, sadly, is not with us. But we can contemplate what he would do if he was.

I think we would find him, perhaps not speaking for Sanders or Clinton or the Democrats, but at least eviscerating the Republicans. Sean Spicer should be glad that the Hitch is dead. Or he would see, as he stood in the press room, Christopher Hitchens in his element, bobbing and weaving; jabbing and parrying; ripping and tearing; protecting and defending.

You know you don't want to be on the other side.