Sunday, July 01, 2018

Has America lost its ever-loving mind? Civility in Today's Politics

The level of anger in politics has reached a new high, though it would be more accurate to say a new low. Congresswoman Maxine Waters, a Democrat representing the 43rd District in California, has been known for saying some insane stuff for years now. In fact, many view her in the same vein as another Congressional nut job, Nancy Pelosi. However, this time, ole Maxie went just a bit too far.

The 79 year old Congresswomen recently called her supporters and others (mostly Millennials), on the Left to "harass" Trump Administration officials and supporters at every turn, including protesting at their places of work, at stores where they shop, and even at restaurants. Some have even interrupted this to mean harassing them online, by phone, or in front of their homes. Whatever they feel they have to do is acceptable, at least according to Waters.

Ms Waters told the crowd that had gathered to protest the arrest of illegal immigrants "Let's make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they're not welcome anymore, anywhere. We've got to get the children connected to their parents". She went on to demand the release of illegal immigrants and the temporary separation of children from the detainees.

The following day, Waters appeared on MSNBC, where she had "no sympathy" to Trump staffers or their supporters. Excuse me for the comparison, but as an amateur historian, this has shades of Kristallnacht written all over it. For those of you unfamiliar with Kristallnacht, otherwise known as the "Night of Broken Glass", it was the most violent Nazi pogrom to date against the Jews of Germany. Kristallnacht took place in night of November 9/10, 1938, and led to destruction and burning of hundreds of Jewish businesses, homes, and synagogues throughout Germany by the feared SA (better known as "Brownshirts").

However, the actual intent of Kristallnacht was to encourage violence against not just the Jews, but gypsies, the Democratic Socialists, homosexuals, and Communists. More importantly, it to see just how much violence against these groups that the German People were will to accept. As we all know, they were willing to accept quite a bit, Many considered it "none of their business", or where to afraid to say anything.

We've recently learned where White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave a local dive, the Red Hen, by the owners, who told Ms. Sanders that they had "certain standards that I feel it has to uphold, such as honesty, and compassion, and cooperation". Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen found herself, along with a couple of friends, confronted by an angry mob when went to a Mexican Restaurant which forced them to leave. Later, another mob showed up outside her Virginia home, complete with signs and megaphones.

Amusingly, the Congresswoman appeared on several talk "news" shows, complaining about the backlash from fellow Congress members and claiming that she was getting "death threats" (most likely it was just people wishing she'd hurry and die). Nevertheless, when did we cross the line where members of Congress can feel they can wantonly call for the open harassment, protests, and threat against anyone, let alone an opposing Presidential Administration?

Since the election of Donald Trump, we've witnessed an a near crescendo of rhetoric, mainly by the Left, and egged on by the corporate media, against the Trump Administration. It seems that every news broadcast, be it cable, network, talk, or interest, starts and ends with some deliberate jab at Trump or someone in his administration. The same can be said of his supporters, or quite frankly, anyone on the conservative Right. College campuses have become hotbeds of political activism, which isn't a surprise. They've been that since the 1960's, but what's different is that instead of accepting differences of opinion and open discourse, they attempt to quell anyone who disagrees with their carefully polished worldview.

We find, at nearly every turn, attempts to quash any freedom of opinion which differs from theirs. We've come to accept "echo chamber" politics as the norm. That is, we tend to associate only with those who think and act like we do, and in doing so, come to believe that our particular worldview is the only one. Thus, when we encounter anyone with a different worldview, we tend to react by either running away or with aggression, what is often called the "fight or flight" syndrome which is based on both our individual makeup and to an extent, on society's (or at least, our own 'tribal' clique).

This has really never been a problem for society before since there was always too much personal interaction, which meant individuals and groups had to accept these differences and had to learn to get along. Nowadays, thanks to social media, we can simply avoid what we don't like or understand. In fact, technology has made it possible to nearly avoid all personal contact in general, which will prove interesting over time given that we are social animals. The problem comes in when these self-reinforced notions of moral superiority come in contact with each other, such as with politics and social or economic policy.

Now, I don't want it to appear that I'm placing all the blame on the Left. I'm not by any means. Under the Obama Administration, there were many on the Far Right who were bordering on having a complete meltdown over his actions and policies. In fact, there were several instances where it got pretty dicey, such as repeatedly wanting to invade Syria, immigration issues (like suspending ICE, illegally selling guns to drug cartels, or suing Arizona for enforcing federal immigration laws and---for the first time---allowing a foreign government to participate in a federal lawsuit against a state), and so on. However, the Far Right never reached this level of visceral hatred that we see coming from the Left.

During the Obama Administration, we saw those on the Left singled out Fox News' Right leaning reporting, along with some of its early leading hosts such as Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, Megan Kelly, or Bill O'Reilly. Talk radio consisted of several prominent individuals, most notably Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity (who is also a Fox host), and Michael Savage. However, opposing that was CNN, MSNBC, the network channels (ABC, NBC, and CBS and the overwhelming majority of their daily programming, often masquerading as "entertainment"). There's no question that the Hollywood elites push a liberal message. Talk radio too had its share of liberal or "progressive" hosts such as Thom Hartmann, Alan Colmes, and Rachael Maddow (who is also a host on MSNBC). The internet had its share of political perspectives represented, but liberal dominated.

Today, Fox still remains, but many of its prominent hosts have disappeared (many after false accusations of "sexual harassment" years or decades after the supposed event) while the Left continues in full force, thanks to the sheer number of networks and shows available (and directed advertising dollars). The same goes for radio and even the internet (and let's not forget that 96% of all media is owned by just six corporations, so they all dance to the tune these corporations call). So much for unbiased reporting. In other parts of the world, this is called propaganda.

In addition, we've seen the proliferation of so-called "fake news", which entails not just non-mainstream outlets, but even the major news outlets knowingly and willingly pushing stories which are untrue, either in their entirety or at least their presentation (such as showing staged events and presenting them as actual events or making it appear that more people are present that they actually are). Of course, we've become used to biased reporting to the point now where it's taken for granted. Note: see the last line in the previous paragraph above.

Some key hosting sites such as Facebook and YouTube have openly censored, demonetized, and/or deleted any conservative content, including blogs! I even had two articles "censored" recently for discussing an ongoing issue in the UK concerning an individual who was arrested for reporting on a Muslim rape gang. The British Government ordered a media blackout and asked that other media outlets globally comply, which they apparently did! Since the ban being partially lifted, my numbers on those articles have started to increase, but it's doubtful they'll reach their previously anticipated levels. Many individuals who host sites on outlets like YouTube have been all but forced off; usually by demonetizing their content under the auspices of "dangerous", "potentially offensive", or "inciting" language. Whatever the term they chose to use, it's always broad and vague enough to cover anything they dislike, which is anything they view as too conservative.

So, what's happening here? The division we're experiencing in society goes back years, if not decades; perhaps even extending all the way back to LBJ and the Vietnam War for some. Each administration since has created its own cracks in our national foundation, however, those cracks seem to have widen under Clinton, George W Bush, and Obama. Now, we're see it under Trump. Under Obama, there were calls for the succession of several states. We're now hearing of the division of California in order to acquire more Congressional influence in Washington. Perhaps we'll see Texas do something similar.

Meanwhile, the call for succession is still there. Some, such as the Washington Post, have discussed the increasingly likelihood of a second Civil War. Personally, I think it's a real possibility, although I think it's more likely to be a revolution than a civil war since a civil war is, by definition, an attempt by one party to replace the government held by another party (the US Civil War was, in reality, not a "civil war" per se for instance. The South sought to leave a union it voluntarily had join in order to create a separate government, not seize control of the existing one. Thus, the "Civil War" was actually a rebellion of the states).

I think something similar is in the works. How this will play out, given the interconnectedness of society remains a big question. Nevertheless, the current union as its now exists can't and won't hold for much longer. America's divide is too broad and too deep. It's been compared to the divide America experienced in the latter half of the decade before the war. The chief difference is that we lack the great statesmen of their time which were able to hold the nation together, albeit briefly. Today, we have people like Maxine Waters, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, and a media egging it on. I suspect what we'll eventually see is something more akin to the French, German, or Russian revolutions; and either/or scenario where there is a victor and the vanquished.

In the case of France, it led to Robespierre and the Reign of Terror, followed by the rise of Napoleon. In Germany, it was the collapse of the Weimar Republic and rise of Hitler. In Russia, it was the fall of democratic Provincial Government and rise of the Lenin and the Bolsheviks, which ultimately led to Stalin's Reign of Terror. Since we're closely modeled on the Roman Republic, in its place we'll see the military dictatorship of a Caesar. We can only hope it's someone with the intellect and benevolence of a Julius or August and not the despotism of a Tiberius or Nero. However, unless we demand the restoration of civility from the political class, the media and their corporate masters, from the universities and schools throughout America, and from each other, the outcome for us all appears bleak.

Is America headed for a civil war? Sanders, Nielsen incidents show its already begun

Maxine Waters encourages supporters to harass Trump administration officials

Maxine Waters encourages supporters to harass Trump administration officials

Nancy Pelosi unraveling is a sad sight

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