David, while I am no fan of identity politics and agree with you that it is corrosive, humans group themselves. We would be long extinct if we hadn’t. The thing is we often switch groups with circumstance.

A fellow Marine in my platoon in Vietnam who was black, and didn’t really like white guys, risked his life for me. His place in the USMC group rose to importance over being a black man in the 60s.

Back in the 70s where I worked, in Georgia, the black man played a card game called bid whist while the tables all around had white people playing pinochle. I learned to play in the Corps and wanted to play. It is a partnership game where the losers give up their seats to another pair. When I took a seat with a friend who was black nothing was said. A coarse and intimidating man made a bit and I said you can’t make that. Your set, I pass. He looked me in the eye and said, “Ain’t no white m* f* gonna set me.” It got quiet. I set him with the words, “You’re set m* f*. Get up!” We were alright with each other after that. What happened there? Open racial hostility was replaced with the male respect of standing up to challenge.

I am an all men are brothers, with men as in humanity and including sisters. I’m old and think like that. I’ve been in 18 countries outside the US and with the exception of Vietnam I’ve always been well received. I’m a big fan of cultural diversity and do my best to be a friend to all. Governments mess that up. I have friends in countries where our governments are hostile to each other. Will that force us to be enemies one day?

I wish I had the power to fix that but I can only do my small part. The world is not the world we wish it to be. There have always been peacemakers and warriors when there is no peace. Having been raised in the shadow of WWII I enlisted at age 17 because there was a war going on and I didn’t want to miss it. There will always be young men like I was no matter how hard people try to feminize boys and young men.

Once again, a bit too long winded just to say that while we both see harm in identity politics, identifying with groups is in our DNA, for better or worse and I think that the best we can hope for is peace through understanding and a bit of empathy.

Retired and living my golden years in a world full of angry people.

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