I just watched video of street violence in Portland OR. It was comprised of two sides feinting and dodging as they swiped at each other with long batons, and squirted great geysers of what I can only assume was pepper-spray. Both sides had a variety of home-made shields, masks, helmets, what looked like re-purposed hockey or football pads, and the energy was intensely chaotic....the feeling one gets when adrenalin has surged and taken away any ability to act rationally.
Both sides in this street drama are hyper-energized and feeling that they are 'right' and the other side is their enemy. The hatred that is the engine driving all of this is virulent and deep. It's hard to imagine either side pulling back and admitting that this is not a productive way forward. No. They are so devoted to their 'causes' in each case that the violence will not only persist; it will grow and perhaps even surge out of control.....just like the wildfires that are assaulting so much of the western U.S.
One has to wonder how anything positive or optimistic can come of this. There may be circuitous arguments that take the long view and posit that social breakdown is a precursor to healing and a new lease on exactly 'who we are', as a people and as a country....but, the truth is, violence leaves a bad taste in all the parties' mouths. It foments a deeper hatred of the 'other' side, and that just leads to more, until you have a situation like we have seen in so many third world countries over the last decades, i.e. de facto Civil War.
And, once that cat is out of the bag, nobody can get it back in. The strife in Northern Ireland is a perfect illustration of how violence begets violence. It went on for generations, each successive generation carrying forward bitterness and hatred of a deep purple nature. When asked why they were invested in continuing to kill each other, many of the fighters simply shrugged and said, more or less, "Well, it's what we do, have always done...and, it won't stop on my account."
There are parallels in this country as well. If you drive around northern Virginia, and stop in at lunch counters, convenience stores and other local gathering spots, you will frequently encounter photographs of Confederate generals, i.e. Massa Rob't Lee, of course, Nathan Bedford Forrest, Jeb Stuart, Stonewall Jackson, and on and on. Some of these individuals were really terrible human beings, hardly deserving to be referred to as such. Nathan Bedford Forrest, for example, was essentially the CSA's equivalent of Reinhard Heydrich. He was a beast of a man who ordered his troops to massacre over 300 black Union soldiers who had surrendered after the battle at Fort Pillow. Later on, he was also a Grand Wizard in the KKK and a despicable human being at large. But, in the south, he's still a 'hero' of the Confederacy...and the present day south.
The bitterness and pain of a war that ended 155 years ago still persists. In fact, one could argue that said bitterness is as virulent as it has been at any time since 1865.
And, here we are again: at each others' throats, intending to harm other Americans because their vision for our country conflicts with ours. The violence also plays right into Donald J. Asshole's agenda. He WANTS this to be happening because it gives him an opening to be the 'Law and Order' president and he'll, "....dominate the streets", as he has tried to do in several cities this last few months since the George Floyd murder and BLM protests began. Were it not for the military sending him notice that they would under no circumstances be pitted against Americans in American cities, who knows how far the Idiot would have gone. He craves this kind of thing, wants big North Korean style military parades passing in front of him as he gloats on a canopied dais.
If we allow this chaotic influence to continue growing, we will soon arrive at a point of no return and we will have, as I have mentioned before several times, our own national nightmare. We will be shooting each other over differences that could have been addressed rationally and calmly. And, that will only lead to more of the same....and on and on.
It breaks my heart to think we cannot find a way to avoid this eventuality. We are better than this....at least, I hope we are.
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