Stop! Look outside your window, or, if you happen to live outside of the Downtown DC area, the front page of Google News. What do you see? Rioting. The answer is rioting. Other acceptable answers include: spoiled children unable to cope with the first major loss in their lives, perhaps the first instance in U.S. History of a sitting president inciting mass violence, the greatest threat to our democracy since the Election of 1976 (look it up, not fun), and, most importantly, the most recent incident of the far right being a bunch of unignorably hypocritical assholes (in a long line of similarly frustrating incidents).
My original blog post for today would have centered around how wars may be necessary for the large scale advancement of technology, but that was before the President of the United States, let me reiterate that, the President of the United States, decided to rally a group of his most loyal (or brainwashed, it gets harder to tell each day) to storm the U.S. Capitol Building prompting the city to go into lockdown and the Swat Team to pull out the tear gas. This is rioting.
Back in the summer, the widespread Conservative response to the protests over the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and, as an extension of those, the needless deaths of countless African Americans before them, was that the protests were not, in fact, protests, but riots. And sure, I will agree that some people, whether they sought to align themselves with the ideologies upheld by the protesters, did indeed partake in what can be considered riotous behavior, but this was in no way the majority of those protesting. There’s bad apples in every bunch. This, however, cannot be said about the rioters, yes rioters, that is what they are, that have stormed the Capitol Building earlier today. These people did not go to the Capitol Building intending to protest, the members of the radical right went to the Capitol Building to riot, in part because the President of the United States told them to do so, but mainly because it is all they know: anger. The level of hypocrisy present here should be stupefying, but, upon any amount of examination, it really isn’t.
The far right, is, collectively, driven by anger. Any good ideas or sound ideologies they might have once had or had held have been corrupted and tarnished by the anger that drives them. The same, in essence, is true for the far left. The entirety of the left, on a basic level, wants the same things, but it’s in the approach where the factions degrees of magnitude differ. As you get farther and farther from the center of either party, policies and beliefs become less tied to visions of the future of America, and more tied to emotions, anger, and vindication, becoming woefully distorted in the process. For the left, this is how we get identity politics, an entirely socialist economy, and wide-open borders. For the right, this is how we get the Proud Boys, white supremacy, and, well, Donald Trump. At the heart of all of these ideas, and countless others I don’t have the time to name, are sound ideas based on genuine hopes for the future of America, however, fear, and the anger it leads to distorts them and leads to the fringe groups that exist on both sides of the aisle. Often the vocal minorities, but vocal nonetheless.
It’s these fringe groups that dominate our Twitter feeds, Facebook front pages, and newspaper headlines. They perpetrate a society that pushes us to have opinions on everything, even the things we probably have no place to have any opinion on. And they mask themselves while they do it, with them, or the way we so generally perceive them, they are not minor components of the left and the right, but instead they are the left and the right. They are not small, largely insignificant pockets of America, they are America. But, they’re not. And we only get to see this on days like today, days where the far reaches of both parties, today: the right, tomorrow: the left, are so blinded by their anger that they can’t see their own hypocrisy. But fortunately, we can, as long as we don’t get angry ourselves. This is what they want. The fringe groups of the left and the right want us to get angry with them, and when we do, it feels good, like we’re part of something bigger. But that’s not what we should be doing. Instead of becoming angry with them, and in doing so, validating them and their destructive ideas, we should let them cool down, collectively put down our phones, and look out the window, at the real America.
I know this was long, and likely incoherent, in parts or on the whole, but I didn’t write this for other people as much as I did for myself. Writing is my preferred form of expression, and it is tremendously useful for me in its ability to help me clarify my ideas, which is what I hoped to do in writing this. And while I certainly hope you were able to take away something from this , that wasn’t my specific intent. Secondly, in my conclusion, I am in no way trying to say that I view America as a perfect place- I don’t by any stretch of the imagination. What I hoped to convey was that the real America is not the one we view through our screens or the words of others we read upon them, but that the real America is the one right outside our window, and, at least from my point of view, that’s a much better one. -Steve