Will the Center Stand Up?
This weekend there were murders motivated by ignorance and bigotry. The violence keeps happening because the political center has become weak. There are always extremists, racists, bigots, and when the rest of us keep them in check, they understand that they aren’t allowed to threaten and murder people at whim. In the last couple of years, the political middle has turned away from every signal that the crazies are getting restless. When these domestic terrorists started threatening people in public they shrugged and said we should listen to “Both sides” and told those of us who were raising an alarm to “stop being so political.”
Imagine, if you will, that that we’re all in a pot of water and it’s boiling hotter and hotter. Do we do something about it or do we shrug it off like we do the murder of school children?
The purpose of demonstrations and protests is to visibly show these people that they are outnumbered. You’re not going to have a beer and convince these people with rationality. You must make them fear consequences. Deeply ingrained xenophobic attitudes don’t really change, they get suppressed and hushed until they die with the host. We live in a time when people are looking for someone to blame for the pressures in their lives or the failure of the realization of their dreams.
If someone at this point can’t make the connection between their struggles and real estate scammers like the Trumps you can bet they are turning to a similar short list the Germans did in the 1930s. The collapse of the middle class after WWI in Germany is what stirred up the blame that led to the Holocaust.
If the middle keeps declining there will be more misplaced blame, and there’s a political and financial machine in power now that now wields blame to get what they want The violence will escalate beyond the election. It won’t be just about intimidating voters.
If you think this is hyperbole, then try this exercise. Every time you read the word “homeless” in the news, replace that word with “gypsy” and ask yourself if you feel so comfortable. Is it really so hard to imagine homeless people being rounded up and sent to camps?
Don’t just vote, protest in every way possible.
Be creative, seek allies, build coalitions. We don’t have to agree on everything, but we do have to agree that the boiling has to be dealt with, and the weakness has to stop. It’s time to take a stand.