Well not really, but the year is still young. There have been more than a few skirmishes and fisticuffs between protesters and Donald Trump supporters at recent rallies, and Trump’s denial, blame and misdirection tactics will ensure these incidents will only get bigger, uglier and more frequent. The anger and fear behind it isn’t new or surprising, but it’s definitely louder and the flames are being fanned by no less than a presidential candidate. This authoritative validation (however indirectly) of the uglier side of society has the potential to change America for the worse, but will this change become an underlying fixture of society for the foreseeable future?
America is a real melting pot but there is definite potential for the pot to boil over. A policy platform based on an “us vs them” world view generates a lot of anger and fear, which is currently finding ways to vent and in turn leads to a vicious cycle of more protests and more violence. These types of rallies threaten the very foundation of democracy, and if you think that’s an extreme view then gaze into this metaphorical crystal ball for a moment: protests become more organized and aggressive which in turn increases the aggression of the supporters; intimidation tactics occasionally turn into outright violence which eventually leads to some people getting killed; as the tension escalates, what started as a movement turns into a militia, led by a man in a mask; then some dominoes fall over, the classical music begins and some empty buildings are blown up. You may think that sounds more like a movie but there are some eerily similar patterns to real life that people should pay attention to.
Democratic societies work when everyone agrees to behave in particular ways, like agreeing that violence is not acceptable in settling disputes and that only police officers should enforce the law. But Trump undermines these norms and sets a dangerous precedent by offering protection and money to those who break the rules. All of this could have a lasting effect on America but contrary to some opinions, getting rid of Trump won’t necessarily solve the problem either. People have to take responsibility for their own actions, and realize the consequences. Preferably before someone gets really, really hurt.
Wondering how much power protesters really have? Movie for your mood: Selma