This world is weighing me down a lot lately. Ya boy been getting the blues lately. I feel like society and the popular social discourse has fundamental flaws and that things are spiralling out of control and this really depresses me. It sort of all blew up with what happened this weekend in Charlottesville.
If you don’t know, there was a “UniteTheRight” rally in Charlottesville Virginia. Some reports made it sound like just a right wing rally protesting the removal of a Confederate statue, but when photos started coming out it seemed to be some kind of crazy white power rally. Different white nationalist groups with tiki torches doing Roman salutes (nazi salute) and shouting stuff about Jews and minorities not being able to replace the whites. Antifa came to counter protest and there were lots of videos of the two sides brawling with each other. Finally on Saturday it all came to a head when a car was driven very fast into a big crowd of people which injured a bunch of people and killed one.
The response since has been what has really hurt for me.
Trump wouldn’t actively condemn the white nationalists until he was called out for it. And then later came out again and put the blame 50/50 on the “alt-left”. It’s insane to me that the guy can’t say the right thing even with something which should be an easy call. The KKK is bad. Domestic terrorism is bad. By not cracking down on them from the top, it kind of gives them a license. I understand that not everyone at that rally were KKK or neo-nazis and I understand that white nationalism is a much more complicated issue than most liberals would have you believe, but still, this violence needed to be condemned.
A lot of white liberals doubled down on their white guilt and publicly lashed themselves to prove they aren’t racist. I have such a problem with this. Listen, I’ll be honest. I hate myself. Not totally, but I hate a lot of things about myself. But I try to use it as motivation to change the things about myself I don’t like. When I read stuff about how “all white people are the problem” I hate myself even more, and for something that I can’t and shouldn’t have to change. I’m not racist, I’m not part of the KKK or enabling white supremacy or something. But these huge blanket generalizations about “whiteness” do make me feel bad for stuff that I have never and would never do. If that’s the effect it has on me (a rather self-aware and level headed person), then what kind of effect does it have on someone kind of on the fence. I feel like this is how the “alt-right” or whatever was created. People who resented these blanket statements and fought back and were eventually pushed further and further right.
I’m a liberal in most of my beliefs. I believe in equal rights for everyone (even when it goes against my religion, I still feel everyone should have rights). I believe that a liberal economy can work and that ideas like “trickle down economics” don’t work. I tend to agree with liberal foreign policies, sanctions rather than wars. I took one of those political spectrum quizzes and I was 3/4s of the way to the left and slightly on the libertarian side (the same as Gandhi actually!). That’s why I criticize the left more often, because I see myself as part of it.
The thing that depresses me the most is how shallow and ineffective the left is. When something bad happens, the left has 3 standard moves.
1) Start hashtags/write hyperbolic articles about how this is the absolute worst thing that has ever happened and how everyone involved are literal nazis/fascists/demons. Even if the people involved are moderate conservatives who are by no means nazis.
2) Make a bunch of smug jokes and “witty” comments. I call it the Jon Stewart effect. Smugly mock how stupid the right is, act like you know everything, and make no real effort to understand the real issues.
3) Protest. Just get out there and march everyday. Maybe punch a nazi.
What are the strategies behind these methods? How do any of these things change anything? All of these make leftists feel self-righteous and further alienate/radicalize people on the right/fringes. It makes bad people more defensive. It makes normal people with a couple of “dangerous” ideas afraid to vocalize them and thus never addressing them. Then they find other people who share some of their ideas and are willing to talk about them openly… oh but this person also happens to have some pretty out there views on race. Before they know it, a person with an easily dispellable opinion that could’ve been discussed and addressed on the left, is now driven to the position that the left was preaching against.
I don’t know. Charlottesville was an absolutely horrible situation and the way it is being handled just makes me really sad. I want to see the “good conservatives” step up and actually condemn it (like John Mccain did). I want to see the leftists think about ways to convert their enemies, and to educate them, rather than to smugly push them away and mock them, or completely villainize them and witch hunt them. I want to see Western society move forward and right now I feel like both sides are only dragging society down.