August 15, 2017 by gregrabidoux2013
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.