There are few ways in which our lives are left untouched by way of policy. The most intimate aspects of adult lives are regulated by way of government policy and therefore our level of social privileges. Heterosexism and racism are sanctioned similarly by way of institutional mechanisms used to perpetuate both sexual and racial socioeconomic hierarchies. One such mechanism is the polarization between the binary normal (white, heterosexual, cisgender) and the deviant (person of color, LGBTQ+) that has permeated the public discourse (Nicholson-Crotty, 2005). Another has been the segregation and widening disparities between socioeconomic classes that has given rise to decrepit inner-city ghettos and underrepresented blue-collar communities (mostly filled with people of color) throughout this beautiful country (Collins, 2004).
I propose that degenerative politics are a clear ploy for the age-old villain, the wealthy white man of advanced age who shakes his fists at those “meddling kids,” otherwise known as the rights activists of the times while slyly working the political system to his personal benefit. I’ll show how time and again, political actors engage in these types of binary politics where they are the good guys while the demographic they are targeting (be they African American, poor, female, and/or LGBTQ+) is bad or somehow a threat to the American way of life. They do this to win support from their constituents by uniting them against a commonly perceived threat and also to gain political capitol in terms of alliances with other political actors in the system from within which they work.