How we have been split in the past 50 years

T.C.Weber explains how today’s public splits have a history, going back to the anti-Vietnam War protests and the murderous official responses of exactly 50 years ago .

As I flipped from public shaming to public shaming, it was like watching a car wreck in slow motion. Vehicles hurling towards each other, the outcome beyond doubt, yet no means offered to alter the quickly approaching calamity.

Tales of people without masks intentionally coughing on those with masks, packed swimming holes in the Ozark’s or Texas, a 70-second video of a confrontation between a white woman and a black man in Central Park, videos of customers verbally chasing a non-mask wearing person from a grocery in Staten Island. I watched all of it as I recoiled in horror. Is this what we aspire to? Is this the world we are preserving for our children?

Yesterday’s trip began with NPR, who was running a special on the anniversary of Kent State. 50 years ago this month, protesters and police squared off against each other on the Ohio campus, each empowered by their sense of righteousness. The national guard were viewed as imperial authoritarians, minions of a fascist regime. Students were perceived as entitled children who sought to destroy all order. Both secure in their perception of the other. Tensions mounted, peaking in shots ringing out and 4 students losing their lives. Two of which, just trying to go about their daily lives, never realizing that they were on the precarious perch of history.

These days, I look at our country and I can’t help but think that 50 years later we are setting the stage for a reoccurrence of those tragic events, only on a grander stage. We are all so angry and so willing to make value judgments about others based on the scantest of evidence. Both sides rushing to dehumanize those they perceive as being a threat. Lost is the ability to extend any grace. Complexities are stripped away and everyone is reduced to their simplest form.

We all wrap ourselves in our moral coats as we regale each other with horror tales about the other side.  Those that support the president are all salivating three-headed monsters intent on killing everyone, with little compassion for those less fortunate. Those who oppose the president are in turn painted with a color of cowardice and an intent to rid the world of all choice and financial reward, merely searching for wealth redistribution and free stuff. Both seemingly unwilling to extend grace to the other side. This is not a path paved for success.

As we move into summer, and temperatures outside heat up, how long will it be before our national cauldron boils over? What will it take before cooler heads prevail, and we realize that public shaming has never been an effective means of public policing? How long will it be until we reclaim the ability to look at people without reducing them to the most simplistic version of themselves?  We seem so intent in condemning everyone to an designated silo, that we refuse to even consider that people’s behavior is based on multiple stimuli.

Kent State, and by extension the Nixon administration, mark a turning point in our nation. It is where we collectively lost faith in our democratic institutions. That loss of faith has proven detrimental to all of us. We have become a nation with no faith in the entities meant to bring order and enrichment to our lives. It’s a loss of faith acerbated by the current occupant of the White House. The free press, the intelligence community, judges, and the court, are all painted as enemies of the people while our current commander-in-chief portrays himself as a modern-day savior. A wedge is being driven among us that was first hammered 50 years ago and with every blow is threatening to drive us further asunder. Yet we refuse to put the hammer down.

Like the Nixon administration, the events of today will continue to play out long after this administration leaves the White House. A fate that will haunt both supporter and opponent, as long as we continually allow him the power to bring our worse angels forth.

In an effort to halt this downward spiral, the Democrat Party bings forth a flawed candidate. One that will likely do little more than drive us even further apart. One that demonstrates that choice is not always between a good option and a bad option, but rather a varying shade bad. One that’ll lead to just more of us yelling at each other, as if we can bludegon the other side into submission.

I don’t know how we get there, but I do know, there is no better time than a holiday dedicated to those who fought to preserve our freedoms to reflect on our own actions and how they serve to protect those lofty aspirations for which others have made the ultimate sacrifice in order to preserve. We have to translate that reflection into action. At some point we have to do more than just listen to each other, we have to start hearing each other.

If we don’t adjust soon and instead keep mindlessly hurtling forward, I fear it’ll be a lot more than 4 dead in Ohio

Published in: on May 26, 2020 at 1:57 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. It is apparent that the U.S. is on the cusp of a Civil War. If no one blinks, then blood will flow and cities will explode.

    I wear a mask and if some Trumpish fool tries to get in my face inside the six-foot bubble, and/or yank the mask off, one of us is going to die and I hope that won’t be me.

    But, if I see someone without a mask, I will turn around and leave, I will not confront one of Trump’s deplorable supporters or shop where they shop without masks … until they start the Civil War.

    I’m a former US Marine and combat vet, and I was trained for this. I know what to do if Trump’s deplorable mob thinks they can easily take over the country with violence. My goal will be to get as many of them as possible before they get me.

    For that to happen, Trump’s deplorables will have to start the Civil War.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Guy and readers, the US has not been the land of the free; it’s more like the land of free labor and the myths pf freedom of choice as we see the choices workers have today – work or try to survive without an income. Let’ s figure out how to turn a civil racist war into a revolution against the capitalists cause it is true that there is no choice in elections. We will need all workers and the soldiers to win.

    Liked by 1 person

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