Well here is where I resume pissing off some of the people who have likely given me positive comments for the first time. You knew this wouldn’t last, didn’t you?
The worst thing that could happen after this week’s violence in Washington is to forget the actions from all corners that led up to it. Yes, I said ALL corners. This isn’t a “whatabout” or “both sides” commentary…unless it is.
Trump’s appeals to the mob are mere words—unless there is SOME foundation for the mob to be angry. Trump did not create this. It predated him by many years. Yes, he exacerbated it, fed it, and profited off of it. But it did not form out of whole cloth the instant he announced his candidacy.
Like it or not, there are a LOT of people who feel that government and the media are teaming up against them. They feel that both entities have regarded them with contempt for a number of years. Sadly, they found a Champion for their grief in Trump. We saw the fruits this week.
The anger Trump manipulated was formed through a steady series of cultural institutions who constantly drove home the message that these people were responsible for all of the bad things in the world. That their forebears were evil people and that they, by proxy, were also irredeemably evil. That their religion was evil. That the things they respected were evil. It was made worse by a mainstream media who seemed all-too-eager to amplify these points. This may seem silly to you. That’s fine. But it exists. I assure you. You ignore it at your peril. Actually, the peril applies to ALL of us.
Everyone has a breaking point. Trump was a master manipulator who became the avatar for these peoples’ frustrations. He led them to the breaking point, and they let him. They are both to blame.
But if you don’t think the constant scorn that a large segment of our population has endured for more than a generation is not a factor, then you are opening up the door for more unrest. If you cavalierly say “Oh you poor white guys have suffered SOOOO much! Let me get you a tissue” then you are practically begging for more.
The problem comes in specifically identifying these things that contributed to the mob. For most every one of them, you will be able to say something along the lines of, “Well we NEED to do that in order to (accomplish some good deed stemming from racism and Jim Crow laws.)” You will be able to defend a good number of these in such a manner. And you will often be correct. But you will also be tempted to view any questioning of such policies as “racist”. And that’s where the problems begin.
Most white people have been able to NOT go batshit crazy at four decades of being branded a “racist” whenever certain policies or politicians were questioned. But it wears on you. After a while you begin thinking it’s not worth questioning the policies and people, just so you can avoid the inevitable name-calling that will be lobbed your way. Hell, even in writing this post I wondered if it was worth it, since so many people will immediately see it as “racist” and automatically ignore it.
People were made to feel that mere questioning of such things made them a bad person. Once that was established, the threshold became “full-throated support.” This wears on you.
During this time there have been several government policies that specifically targeted a certain demographic for legal discrimination. Affirmative Action is, by it’s very definition, “race-based preference.” Again, you can argue that the intent is noble—and it most certainly is. But the end effect is that there IS a group of people that can be legally discriminated against by the federal government. Now, will this make the members of that group feel better about their government—or worse? And being constantly called racist (or worse) when you question these policies? It wears on you.
And this is to say nothing of the contemporary policies which demand people apologize for their skin color and for the actions of people who have been dead for centuries. This obnoxious view has been de rigeur for some time on college campuses. It is now creeping into modern HR Departments. These are not expectations that come from a place of good will. They come from a place of exacting punishment. It wears on you.
Let me re-state my views so there is no ambiguity. The PRIMARY blame for this week’s violence lies with President Trump and the people who carried it out—along with those party leaders who encouraged it. Every one of them should be chagrined and punished where appropriate. But to think that this is totally a product of one man and his minions is short-sided and dangerous. We will be doing this all over again soon if we fail to properly identify the genesis for this combustible marriage.
This is the advantage of regarding most people with automatic suspicion. I see Trump and his fanbois for what they are. But I also know how they were created. And there are people evidently willing to do it all over again. If you do we’ll be having the same discussion every 10-to-12 years.