Hatred. American Style.

26

August 15, 2017 by gregrabidoux2013

 

hatred american style love flags

Funny show. Even better goal.

 

Back in the day there was a popular tv sitcom called “Love. American Style,”

The premise was simple yet comically clever.

Each show had a new batch of celebrity guests who starred in short stories or vignettes about the crazy, unpredictable twists and turns of American in love. Trying to fall in love or ditching love for something else.

The idea was that all of this “love” was uniquely American in style if not in substance.

Over this past week-end we saw the other end of the emotional spectrum on full and ugly display in the university town of Charlottesville, Virginia.

Hatred. Which, sadly, never goes out of style. And is not uniquely American but very much human.

hatred american style flags night

Night vigil and protests in Charlottesville, VA.

There have been lots of “angles” already staked out. There have been lots of commentary and far too many “pundits” casting aspersions about like a fisherman would with his fishing pole in his favorite watering hole.

There has been and continues to be unsurprisingly, intense and unrelenting criticism for President Trump’s response to the violence and deaths in Charlottesville.

First, for what many believed to be a tepid if not counterproductive “denunciation” of those involved in fomenting the violence. Second, for what many believed to be a “too little, too late” response in his naming names, specifically, White Supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan and the Neo-Nazis as the culprits.

 

hatred american style kkk flags

Sadly, the cowards in the white and red never seem to fully go out of style.

 

But I blog today not to retrace those steps. We can parse Mr. Trump’s words and his timing ad nauseam, it is crystal clear that after nearly 8 months in office those that despise him with a white-hot fury will never be satisfied with anything he does or says. It seems equally opaque that those who vehemently support Mr. Trump will apparently support him no matter what, despite of or most likely because of the criticisms coming non-stop from the left of the political spectrum.

So be it.

My own take on all of this naked and repugnant hatred and violence on full display this week-end does not place Mr. Trump as the focal point. While presidential speeches and posturing certainly carry at the very least a certain symbolic cachet in times like these, the focus should be placed somewhere else.  Somewhere more meaningful but far more murky.

Us.

Why?

In short, why do we have such deep divisions in our nation?

Why is there such hatred between so many groups of people over seemingly many if not every issue?

The roots of such hatred clearly run deep and far. Racial, political, ethnic even socio-economic factors are all partly, as they always seem to be, to blame.

 

hatred american style flags

Room for both?

 

But there is something else, isn’t there, fueling such hatred and rage?

Whether it is the push to apparently eradicate portions of our nation’s history during the civil war and remove symbols and reminders of that time or the vehemently different national and world visions of so many Americans, one thing seems certain-the climate of hatred and intolerance is not dissipating anytime soon. In fact, Nashville, where the Mayor has approved the displacing of Confederate soldier statues seems primed to be the next “Charlottesville.”

On the other hand, hatred, violence, intimidation and coercion against all forms of free speech and ideas not your own is unacceptable, isn’t it?

Whether it is the bigotry, intolerance, supremacy doctrine on the far Right or the violence, intolerance, intimidation or coercion on the Far Left, it seems we just don’t have the space to accommodate either or both in a free, open and democratic society.

Or do we?

Those on the left who call themselves “AntiFas” (Anti-Fascists) argue that they are justified in stopping by any means necessary (BAMN) the intolerance and racism on the far right.

 

disruptors-yvette-f-1

Yvette Felarca, a leader of the Antifas BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) group.

 

Of course, the Far Right or “Alt-Rightists” claim that is the extreme leftists not themselves who are in the business of suppressing free speech. The Far Right points its finger at the Far Left.

The genius of our founders provided for constitutional guarantees and protections to ensure that robust and peaceful differences of opinions would thrive and that the “people” could peacefully protest. That’s how a democracy works. That’s how a democracy thrives and perpetuates over time.

What we saw in Charlottesville was anything but peaceful.

And just as it is difficult to remember you jumped in the pool to clean it when you are knee-deep in alligators, it is all but impossible to differentiate between at least stated agendas of peace and tolerance or racism and supremacy when both sides seem completely fine with and even seem to embrace violence, suppression, coercion and “Fascist” tactics to achieve their aim.

Or is one side justified to take any means necessary to destroy the repugnance of the other side?

As free citizens in a democratic society we should all focus on our own behavior.

The change you wish to see in the world truly starts with you not necessarily in the Oval Office.

My fervent prayers that we start to resemble the 1960s Love American style show soon and not the ugliness on display this past week-end.

bengal-tiger-why-matter_7341043

 

 

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26 thoughts on “Hatred. American Style.

  1. Interesting post. I thought I was the only one who remembered that show. I used to LOVE it.

    I agree the change we seek begins with us. I don’t know anyone who has placed much faith in the Oval office to resolve problems in decades. Our political system is bogged down with so much nonsense it is beyond scary.

    When you state we should focus on our own behavior I respectfully disagree. Hitler and his movement came to power because too many people felt it wasn’t “their problem” until all hell broke out worldwide. Then it was everyone’s issue.

    Yes, there are extremists on both sides but I hope the moderate majority can come together and take a stand for justice. Yes, the reasons for division in America are far and wide. They didn’t happen over night and they won’t be solved over night. Yet, I hope more people like yourself will “say something” and prove that all is not lost.

    Silence grants permission for terror to continue. I would hope America would have learned that lesson at the end of WWII. Now, I’m not so sure. Just how many more atrocities must take place before our nation says enough?

    Peaceful protests are one thing. Gun welding, torch bearing protesters don’t appear peaceful to me. I live in Georgia, a state with extremely liberal gun laws. Extremists are testing the limits. When protesters have more guns than the police that concerns me. I suspect it concerns them as well and played a part in their delayed response as the situation escalated.

    I pray I’m wrong but America for all her flaws doesn’t look like “America” any more. We can no longer call ourselves a melting pot. Our pot is scorched and burning.

    Just my two cents

  2. Cynthia H says:

    The fact is both sides engaged in violence in Charlottesville but somehow the media gives the far left thugs a pass. And berates Trump for not naming names. There is sadly blood on the hands of those on the far right and left. Let’s stop pretending it’s only the far right.

  3. Aaron J says:

    The left will never be satisfied until trump is out, either impeached, termed out or worse I fear. The blame should be on the violent thugs on both sides. Anything else is a distraction by design.

  4. William G says:

    Trump showed his true colors today, clearly he thinks neo-nazis are fine people!

  5. CJ says:

    For those that are content with Trump’s narcissist behavior and careless communication, it’s like going to a restaurant that you “say” you hate, but still make a choice to eat there anyway and pay for the food, which supports its existence. It is obvious that he will not disassociate himself from the neo-Nazis, KKK and white-supremacist nor will he blatantly condemn them. Just like referring to the “left” as thugs “which I’m curious to the classification/characteristics of a “thug”. When you ignore injustice, you approve of it. Bottom Line.

    • CJ, thanks for the thoughts here. A couple of thoughts for some of what you posed. First, I think there is a huge distinction and an important one between “ignoring injustice” and believing that attacking “injustice” with baseball bats, metal rods, chains and tear gas is also the correct response. I believe and frankly, pray, there is much space between those responses for anyone who,, as I do, find the views of all hate groups to be repugnant and disgusting. But again, I also see peril in essentially denying and ignoring violence coming from the Left because we find their aim to be morally righteous (eradicating Far Right crazies) certainly more so than those who organized the Charlottesville protests.
      Secondly, my own view of “thugs” is anyone who chooses to use violence, beatings and intimidation to “shut-down” any speech or ideas they find offensive or repugnant. I would prefer we in fact do ignore or certainly not fuel the far right’s hatred by playing into what I see as their strategy-agitate to bring all to their gutter level and then in the chaos of violence be able to play the victim.
      So, again let me be clear-I do not see beating someone or violently attacking others who hold such repugnant views as the answer. There seems like there are other peaceful ways to defeat such clowns on the far right. It sure worked for iconic and inspirational leaders like MLK and Ghandi didn’t it? Do you believe that this situation is so vastly different that such powerful counterprotests would be to no avail and only choosing violence is the answer?

      • CJ says:

        Thanks Greg,

        One thing to note here, which is consistent in most of the support of this “two-sided” violent façade is that, while the “right” are so quickly classified as protesters and rally participants, while the left are considered “thugs”. In response to MLK & Ghandi, I’m pretty sure you can agree that the level of violence, especially with the level of gun violence used today are quite different then they were in the day of MLK & Ghandi. You’re basically asking why did the “right” show up to battlegrounds protected. The left came with an intention to do harm to anyone that got in their way, armed or not. They were not coming with torches only, they came armed with weapons, as the video and pictures displays. As an African American male, NO I will not ignore injustice, or turn a blind eye to its existence. This is not about just me but the future generations after me. For a city to issue a permit (which POTUS used as justification in support of the “left” ) to a hate group is beyond me. If local or “urban” government officials are allowing and promoting such behavior through ordinances and other legislature, what are the people left to do but defend their own rights and freedoms as an American? They should not be scared to come outside of their homes nor be tortured and intimidated. I went to Liberty University, which is near Charlottesville and hatred, bigotry, racism is REAL there. When Michael Vick engaged in animal cruelty, every animal rights groups, activist, sympathizer and etc. did not ignore this injustice to animals but we want to ignore when its done to human beings. Really??? Doesn’t make a bit of sense. What do you think country would really be like if this type of behavior continues and no one stands up against it or call it out specifically for what it is ? Let’s take Charlottesville as an example, the City allows the behavior (as long as they have a permit), the President is okay with it (as long as they have a permit), the State is silent on the issue…….What other recourse is there? Ignoring it is NOT the answer.

      • CJ says:

        My apologies, correction, You’re basically asking why did the “left” show up to battlegrounds protected. The right came with an intention to do harm to anyone that got in their way, armed or not.

    • Bobby S J says:

      CJ, the bottom-line is not what you claim. The bottomline is that the Left thinks it is somehow above the law and that they can burn buildings, beat up others and attack cops because they and other little snowflakes get their feelings hurt that everyone doesn’t agree with them. I’m no neo-Nazi but look at the news videos in VA, it’s the leftists criminals attacking and beating just as much as the idiots in the right. As Trump said, both sides are to blame. That’s the real bottom-line/

      • CJ says:

        Bobby you’re funny lol……. The left think they are above the law and the right doesn’t??? You want to call the leftist criminals but not the right (a HATE group) and then you state that it’s “both sides”….Makes a lot of sense….NOT!!! You might be “no neo-Nazi” but they definitely have your sympathy I see. It’s cool 🙂

  6. Amber T says:

    Anyone who can’t control themselves to simply hold peaceful protests and feels they must attack and beat up folks, tear down statues and burn and loot should be locked up. I don’t care what they believe in or not, they do crap like that let them rot in jail.

    • CJ says:

      Amber…. So I guess if a statue is torn down that promotes and symbolizes hatred and bigotry, the persons involved should rot in jail??? Well I guess if someone decides to put up a Hitler statue, that is perfectly fine with you! Sounds like crap to me, but carry on.

      • Amber T says:

        I will. Thanks and I don’t need your permission to make sure the law is upheld against thugs and vandals who take the law into their own hands which I guess you support or maybe are one.

  7. Ashley C says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post.
    I find myself saying many of the same things nearly daily. It starts with US. If we want there to be change, WE must do something with ourselves. Sitting around and talking about other people’s actions does not repair damages made. Fires are often fueled by our negativity filled media. It’s as if the media wants people to be hateful and mad, so they have something to broadcast.

    No side is justified to take “any means necessary” to destroy another. Opinions will always exist. We have to conduct ourselves accordingly. Violence resolves nothing. I often ask inmates who were in a fight; “and now what? That person won the fight, but now what? Is someone more right or wrong?” I saw a photo of a toddler in a Klan outfit the other day. This is more than enough proof that we are doing this to ourselves. We are teaching our children to hate before they even understand the word.

    I try to be the change I want to see in the world every day. I practice what I preach and I teach it to my children. As a Caucasian mother, with a Caucasian husband and children I do my best to teach love, equality, diversity, ect. We don’t allow our children to identify people by “race”. If a description is necessary and skin tone is discussed, we ask how tan or light the person’s skin is that our child(ren) is describing. We have close friends of every walk of life; an Egyptian- Puerto Rican practicing Muslim, A married lesbian couple with children (whom our youngest happens to be best-friends with), married people of different races, old friends, young friends, and so on. We teach our children that these people are our friends and at times our family. We love them, no matter what they look like, practice religiously, or who they love. Because we are all human.

    I want my children to impact the lives of others in a positive way and I hope I can do the same. Tearing someone down is not how we change anything, we must build each other up.

    Additionally, I’m a supporter of the second amendment. However, if the people of this nation cannot have the good sense to NOT bring weapons to what should be or is advertised as a peaceful protest, then we need to start reevaluating some things.

  8. Canesta H says:

    One thing resonated with me in your post. It starts with us. We have to focus on our own behavior, and challenge our belief systems. We have to teach our children and our youth to value the differences we see in each other, and learn to work together. What happened in Charlottesville was the worse. The images on the news were horrific to say the least. Hatred and intolerance is at an all-time high, and it is only the beginning.

  9. Rebecca R says:

    For far too long fingers have been pointing at each other when it comes to intolerance. While I cannot recall who originally said it, I remember the statement because it was so profound: “There is only one race; the human race.” The rest is found in genetics passed down from generation to generation. The color of skin, the color of eyes, facial and body features; they are just genetics. Something else being passed from generation to generation is prejudice and bias. But those are by choice. Children learn from watching. Most of them don’t even understand why they are prejudiced. It’s the way in which they were raised to believe simply from hearing and watching those in their environment. Instead of teaching our children intolerance through our words and actions, we must take the time to reexamine why we think and believe what we do and to really question where that belief came from. Violence begets violence; intolerance begets intolerance; and prejudice begets prejudice. It’s a vicious cycle that has to be broken if we are to survive as a species. We are all members of the same race and we need to let our genetic bias go.

  10. Clint B says:

    Its just like your mother said “Two wrongs don’t make a right”. Obviously it is for more involved than a childhood lesson, but it starts with such a simple notion. America has accepted that fanaticism is the norm and if you are not far left or far right you are wrong, and that you have to hate the opposite side. I personally blame the media for selling this lie in an effort for ratings but the American people are the ones promulgating it. The majority of people move through life with differing views of everyone they interact with, and yet they do not try to kill each other. Believing so blindly in one view that you cannot at least listen to another side, either agreeing or disagreeing ultimately, will never help your view. It is the people who dialogue with the opposition that move the needle on any given issue. Some of my favorite and most transformative movements in personal thought have come from Saturday evenings spent with lifelong friends sipping beers and debating our personal views on the world. If only the world could stop shouting for a minute and listen.

  11. Rosa B says:

    Great post! I can agree. The only way to make America “great again” it has to start with you. We are to busy pointing the finger at each other, we don’t realize that we have to take responsibilities for ourselves. Everyone wants to make a difference, but how could you? if you’re too busy worrying about the next person. Our nation is divided, due to hatred, racial, and political. In order to make a change, it has to start with self. Be the change that we need.

  12. Daniel T says:

    The biggest problem is that we don’t love and respect either or fellow Americans or the rights to Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, and Freedom of Assembly guaranteed in the Bill of Rights to the Constitution.

    I’ve heard it said that some speech and some religions don’t deserve to be protected, this appears to be a popular position. The issue is that unpopular speech is the speech that needs to be protected. You need to be willing to compete and win in the marketplace of ideas. I spent 30 years in the military to defend everyone’s right to make an idiot of themselves in the public square. If we suppress speech we don’t like, ideas we disagree with, and shut down peaceful assembly and protests by organizations we disagree with, that is not the Constitution I swore to defend.

    I’m a white male, born, raised, and have lived my life in the South (other than a little time overseas with the military), I was troubled that one of your commenters thinks the level of violence is greater now than that faced by Martin Luther King and Gandhi. I don’t know much about Gandhi’s struggle except that he was assassinated. In addition to MLK being shot, there were other civil rights leaders throughout the deep South who were shot, there was a campaign of beatings, bombings, and lynching of civil rights protesters. There was an organized campaign of violence to support segregation and suppress protest led by the KKK but the local and state police were often in collusion and the FBI was complicit with many of attacks (FBI informers were involved). Southern whites who did not like the system were often afraid to speak out. What you see today is nothing like the reign of terror that was conducted in Birmingham, AL in the late 1950s, early 1960s.

  13. Christopher C says:

    These were some great points about this very vocal divide between the left and the right. I have a little bit different take on these extremes. Recently I was at a presentation with about 30 other people and the conversation shifted to a discussion about free speech. What I noticed was that the people that were very boisterous and unyielding in their opinion were clearly the minority. Maybe that is because the majority of people know and operate in a spectrum closer to the middle. Why are we so quiet? Why don’t we go out and proclaim that speech is protected no matter if we agree or not; and violence should never be justified, no matter the reason? It does start with us, the majority. We just need to learn how to be more vocal. I, for one, think we could have a better dialogue about issues and find solutions if we will become more involved

  14. Kacie F says:

    This was a particularly insightful blog post. There is definatly a great divide as to the level of hatred within our borders. You see it everywhere these days. If you are a white person living in the south, you may be labeled as a racist. Whether or not you actually are. We see it not only from a racial perspective. The geographic location that you live in automatically puts you into categories of hatred based on your economic status, skin color, or gender. This issue is something that I see all of the time. If you live in an area that is super conservative and religious, your community may just beat the gay right out of you. And sadly, MANY will just turn their heads and keep kicking rocks. There is such a deep generational sense of hatred for so many and social media has only added fuel to the fire. My children will grow up in a world full of instant access to EVERYTHING. Instant access to hateful ideas, pornography, and pediphiles. This is scary. The double edged sword in the “free” country that we live in is that we truly are able to be open and free to hate whomever we choose. Although I cannot say that I agree with the stance that the White House took with regard to the recent riots and reemergence of the KKK, not taking a stance was definitely democratic. We are on the cusp of an entirely new type of civil rights movement. This extends far beyond race. This is about human rights. The problem is that this explosion of protest isn’t happening in a peaceful manner. I am truly concerned for the direction that our nation is heading. Stick a flower in that gun, sit and chant, promote through peaceful measures. This is what I want my children to learn. Have a stance and believe in it with every fiber of your being. But above all, be KIND to others. Use words. Believe that your voice can and will be heard. Leave the hurtful words and actions on the doorstep. March and pray to whatever god you believe in. I hope that one day we can blur the lines of social and economic boundaries and realize that our children do not deserve to live in a “free” state that constrains their innocent voices.

  15. A. Brown says:

    .
    People should protest peacefully in a perfect world. If not, our society should be better prepared to play interference, immediately when such a scene should arise. I feel the answer is to be better prepared to stop the violence before it is out of hand. Individuals should be stopped, before the protest exhibits acts of riots, violence, or looting, no matter what side they represent or what opinion they want to voice.

    Individuals can express free speech, without the behavior to be violent, hurt, kill and destroy property. This type of violent conduct should face extended jail time, with restitution. No matter which side they say they belong on, or what they say they stand for, people have the right to protest; it should be peaceful. You can get your point across peacefully, without yelling.

  16. MTR says:

    If you fight racism, bigotry and hatred with racism, bigotry, and hatred; you have become what you despise.

    We are in severe trouble as a country if we continue to promote the victim mentality. We have lost the sense of personal responsibility and allow people to blame their issues on others. Nothing is ever anyone’s fault, there is always someone else to blame. If you want to know where 99% of your problems come from, look in the mirror!

  17. L. Render says:

    Division is the new American Style. Americans are divided by race, religion, politics, income, sexual identify, and on on. Whatever we perceive as difference becomes division. Being different maybe “unique” is often celebrated. However for some being different means superiority. It means I am right, you are wrong. Or I love me so I hate anything that is not like me. It doesn’t have to be that way. As you mentioned, it is true that we have to be the change we want to see. Learn how to peacefully disagree. Keep differences seasoned with love. Love for ourselves, each other, and our country. As a child I was instructed that love, joy, peace forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and temperance are fruit of the spirit. The real focus was not on each characteristic individually but as a one. We are all humans, with the same innate emotions. Externally we facilitate division, but division can be peaceful.

  18. Jenny K. says:

    This as many other topics is extremely controversial. Any topic that “hits home” will be.

    As MTR posted “if you fight racism, bigotry, and hatred with racism, bigotry, and hatred; you have become what you despise.” This is right on point. I’m also not saying that our legal, political, welfare, and education systems are fair. They all need improvement and/or complete overhauls. Blaming citizens for your unjust life doesn’t fix the actual problems. Hatred, as so much research has shown, is taught. This goes for both sides. Both sides have learned hatred for one another.

    I think our best hope is for the middle-American’s to get together and reinvent the American wheel. It does begin with us. I try everyday to treat every individual how I would want to be treated. I have bad days and I have good days. We need to vote for those who want to see actual change for the average American; we need to vote for the guy/gal who has no skeletons in their closet; we need to vote for those who have proven to be fair. We shouldn’t have “career politicians.” Our society will not improve with reelecting those that are allowing greed to make those decisions. We also need to stop fighting among ourselves. Get off the couch, stop watching countless hours of tv, stop getting your news from fb. We need to start reading again, researching what we hear, and listen with an open-mind.

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