USA in Turmoil: A Plea for Peace
A 150-strong mob of Antifa members recently descended on Atlanta’s ‘Cop City’, using Molotov cocktails, fireworks, and rocks to damage vehicles and property, causing police to retreat in an act being described by some as domestic terrorism.
This event raises some important questions about America:
1. Why do some people strongly believe in the use of force and violence to make their point?
2. Why is there a great division in terms of support for such actions?
3. Does America really have a fascist problem, and is it due to the government and institutions or some of activist groups that have formed in recent years?
The State of America
This post is a plea to the US and its people for peace and sanity during this chaotic and divided time. It is largely inspired by the following survey and polls:
“Half of Americans anticipate a U.S. civil war soon, survey finds” – https://www.science.org/content/article/half-of-americans-anticipate-a-us-civil-war-soon-survey-finds
“A quarter of Americans open to taking up arms against government, poll says” – https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jun/30/poll-americans-guns-against-government
“More than 40% in US do not believe Biden legitimately won election – poll” – https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jan/05/america-biden-election-2020-poll-victory
As the above results show, America is in a terrible state, and rather than being united, it is more divided than it has been in a long time.
In addition to these worrying findings, the language being used by various groups to describe their fellow Americans reveals how dire the situation has become. A recent comment from a Biden supporter reads: “MAGA are right wing fascists and deserve zero sympathy or support”. Other comments compare the other side to nazis, or their respective leader to Hitler. There have also been slurs used by both sides labelling the other side as “Demonrats” or “MAGAt” (MAGA + maggot). Bearing in mind, dehumanising language is often a precursor to violence, or in extreme cases, genocide.
The American Nightmare
As well as the anger and disenfranchisement felt by many regarding the current political climate, there are numerous other problems and crises affecting millions all across the country, some of which are getting worse. The following are just some examples of recent events and current trends:
High rates of obesity. High rates of single-parent families. Prevalence of anti-vaxxers and other conspiracies. A border crisis. School shootings. Daily mass shootings. High rates of drug overdoses (100,000+ in 2021). Suicide is a leading cause of death. An ineffective justice system. Fatherless crisis (25% without a father at home). Growing numbers of tent cities. “Antifascists” destroying towns and cities. “Anti-racists” being racist. Attempts to defund the police. Critical race theory. The most Covid cases and deaths. Worsening relations with Russia. A potential war with China. Failure in Afghanistan. Heat domes. A megadrought. Historic wildfires. Water shortages. Huge numbers of guns being bought every month.
The last thing America needs right now on top of all these issues would be a civil war. How many casualties would there be? A Hundred? A Thousand? A Million? We cannot know for certain, as it would depend on how many decide to engage, how much it escalates, and how long it lasts for. How many buildings and homes might be torched, damaged, blown up or destroyed? Whatever the figure, it would be too many. The first Civil War claimed the lives of at least 620,000 people. It is unlikely the next would be as deadly, although there are considerably more people and guns in America right now than 1861, and the level of divide and division is not far off either.
Despite the current problems America is facing and its less than ideal history, there were exceptional moments along the way, as well as exceptional people who helped to make it a greater nation. So perhaps the mistake many Americans are currently making (like we all do sometimes) is focussing too much on what is wrong with others and what we do not have, as opposed to all that has gone right so far and what we do have.
- Despite America’s terrible legacy of slavery, it was also famously one of the first countries to abolish it under Abraham Lincoln, long before dozens of other countries would, many of whom continued to practice it throughout the 20th century. How many appreciate and embrace the liberty they have which was not afforded to those from hundreds of years ago?
- America has contributed to numerous important inventions that have helped to improve people’s lives all around the world. Some examples include: personal computers, the internet, email, mobile phones, video games, chemotherapy, lasers, GPS, LEDs, hearing aids, cardiac defibrillators, and radiocarbon dating. How many can say they are truly thankful and grateful for them, as well as using them to the best of their abilities? (More here: https://owlcation.com/humanities/10-American-Inventions-That-Changed-The-World)
- The United States famously had the first crewed mission to the moon with Apollo 11 in 1969. An event so impressive and significant that it spawned many conspiracy theories and deniers, which are essentially backhanded compliments by those who could not comprehend what an incredible and mind-blowing achievement it truly was. They say ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’, but perhaps it was the denial of others achievements all along.
Better Angels of Our Nature
“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
Does America really need to vote Democrat or Republican to solve its problems? Is ticking the ‘right’ box at the voting booth what will ultimately save it? Is it really a reshuffling of people in the White House and The Capitol that is required at this time? It may be the case that a spiritual change is what is most needed, rather than simply a political one. It would be far better to remember what is important, to reconnect with one’s values, and to choose to become better people, regardless of the current political climate and who is or isn’t in the White House. Sometimes simply reminding ourselves of our values and the virtues we admire can help bring us clarity of mind, and prevent us from falling for the lies and hate that the ego tempts us with.
- Too much pride and arrogance can destroy a person, a relationship and even a nation. Humility is the best antidote:
“All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.” ~ Sophocles
- The cycle of hate and revenge has gone on for too long. Forgiveness is what is needed:
“To err is human, to forgive divine.” ~ Alexander Pope
- In times of darkness and despair, more than anything, hope in someone or something can help us see the light:
“Just because someone stumbles, loses their way, it doesn’t mean they’re lost forever. Sometimes we all need a little help.” ~ Charles Xavier
- People can be cruel with words and actions, and neither are helpful or needed. Fortunately, we can all offer kindness if we choose to:
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” ~ Ian McLaren
- What was the point in the Civil Rights Movement if we did not learn the lessons of equality and love being taught to us by Dr. King?
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
- If we claim to be wise, we must act like it, and if we are to be fools, then at least we should admit it.
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” ~ Reinhold Niebuhr
The future of the US is undecided; for some it looks bleak, for others there is a flicker of hope, and there are some who seem happy to cause further chaos and burn it down. Whether the nation will become a strong and unified United States of America, or degenerate into a divided and broken shadow of its former self all depends on the actions of each individual, and whether they come from a place of love or hate.
Recommended related posts
Metanoia – How and When to Change Your Mind – https://luxbellator.com/metanoia-how-and-when-to-change-your-mind/
The Importance of Wisdom – https://luxbellator.com/the-importance-of-wisdom/
The Wisdom of Jordan Peterson – https://luxbellator.com/the-wisdom-of-jordan-peterson/