Reiter's Ramble

Violent Identity Politics

A few weeks ago, I discussed with some friends how the current animosity developing in America feels very different. I was not able to wrap my head around it, as sometimes happens. So I shelved it, and knew it’d come to mind at some point. As it so happens, it came about last night, as I was drifting off to sleep.

America is rife with history on us vs. them. Racism, slavery, class warfare, war vs. peace– it’s been calibrated on one group being better than the other. But as I sat in bed thinking last night, the uniqueness of this situation became very apparent:

Just as I was drifting to bed, I figured out what I wasn’t able to articulate about how these times are different and new for the country.

The possibility and occurrence of party-against-party violence increases each day. Republicans have been told by the GOP and the mouthpiece media that they can’t trust the polls. They can’t trust the legal system. Republicans are being told that they are the last bastion of the very essence of the United States, and that they are the vanguard of what they consider freedom.

They infer that they are outnumbered, and the normalization of cheating to keep Republicans in control is the only way that their perception of American freedoms doesn’t fall.

They have been told they can’t trust data, that intelligence is used against them, and that they must stand up against any incarnation of democratic party thinking.

That is why things like Kaepernick, the so-called war on Christmas, the threat of God being lost in schools– all of these “attacks” on largely-adopted Republican ideals are made such a big deal, because the threat to their freedom has to be present every where for them to feel trapped. Republicans have been as much a victim of fear-driven information warfare as Democrats have. The difference is, it’s being painted as Republicans being the only ones that can save the country. Republicans must overcome the nightmare.

This party-against-party risk is unique, in that it isn’t class, race or sex specific, even though of those, the Republican make up is far more white. But the left leaning are made of both rich and poor, men and women, LGBT, blacks, whites, Mexicans.

They’re made up of environmentalists. Bicyclists. Yoga participators. People who want free education. Protesters. It has been so conveniently packaged that these are all Democrats, so if their ideals or practices are spoken of, no matter who they are, they are the enemy of the Republican, who is the last bastion of hope to make America great again.

This is makes the police scarier, since they are made up largely of “purple” and red members. And the GOP have demonstrably shown their civilian base that if a Democrat says something, even if it is to put on a mask, it must be bad.

This is what makes this unique for our country. It has never crept in scope so much as it has today.

And I think this is ties in well to why I worry very much about voting violence between now and November, because it is easy to tell Republicans that if they lose, freedom will fall.

We are in unprecedented times. And freedom is at risk, for reasons the Republican base will remain ignorant of.

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