Sound bites. I do not like them. Complex, human issues are not always bumper sticker size. Yet, sometimes they are.
Every month or so, I feel like repeating certain points about what is going on in America, as two sides are deeply divided like trench warfare of World War I. Sadly, our president is all about divide and conquer, no effort at trying to heal the massive fracture in America.
On this path, America is doomed. The hate and violence will continue and grow. Protests will continue and more bloodshed.
People tell me that the protests are the cause of the problem, and that whatever violence is the result of Marxist rioters. That is like saying all conservatives are racists. I read reports of armed militia-type caravans descending on protests, taunting, firing pepper stay and rubber bullets at protesters. And then there is Kyle Rittenhouse (I despise using his name) who came to hunt and kill. Yet, Trump and many “Christians” have supported Rittenhouse and raised money for him. Even “Free Kyle” signs.
Protests are not illegal by nature. They are as legal as owning a firearm. Protests are a cornerstone of this country. Yet, the word “protest” is linked by some as unpatriotic and un-American. I struggle to understand why. Not every protest is a riot. Protests are not camouflage for rioting or destruction. Destruction of public or private property may be the reflection of anger, but that does not make it right. The same with violence.
I have seen time after time, escalation of tensions, peaceful protests that have turned into violence actions. And if you say, it is the work of agitators and thugs, that is sometimes correct, but it is also true that many of these flash-points are the work of counter-protesters. Remember umbrella man? And then there is the behavior of law enforcement and other agencies that aggressively inflame interactions by pepper spraying, beating, shooting with rubber bullets and arresting even law-biding protesters.
Trump, conservative media and even average people are calling protesters Marxist anarchists who are out to destroy the country. That’s simple. And incorrect. It plays to ignorance and fast-food labeling for convenience. I know many people who have participated in protests. Peaceful protests. None of them are believers in Marxist philosophy; they are productive members of society, gainfully employed, taxpayers, mostly Christians, and even a few elected officials. The Marxist label is idiocy, easy for those who cannot define or logically debate the issues. If you protest, you must hate American. Wrong. People who take the time, and the risk, to voice their views, generally care deeply about their country, and want to see it better – not more divided. Protesting is seen as anti-police. No. Even when some say “defund the police” that is not realistic or practical. Perhaps some of those folks do mean it. I am not one of them. Read my other blogs, we need to change many policies of policing, adapt the training, create more transparency, and use other resources for non-life threatening calls for service. You can support the police, but want change.
The political and emotional climate in this country is very toxic. If this is about one side winning and the other side losing, America will remain divided. The upcoming election will decide certain things, but by itself it will not heal the country.
White privilege is a real thing. I have disassociated myself with a number of friends, and perhaps even family members, who continue to eschew hostile and ugly rhetoric about people of color and those trying to get positive messages into the dialogue. I cannot change their views, I have tried and frankly, it is healthier to walk away. The end of conversation is the end of learning, and that greatly concerns me. To say, stop the hate, is easy for me to identify, but that emotion runs deeply in our national fabric. The issues of America are not simple, I wish they were.