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America is having a bit of a crisis right now. It is deeply divided, and it only appears to be getting worse. The most extreme case is the fact that a man, identified as Cesar Sayoc, has been arrested as a suspect in sending crude, homemade explosives to a variety of left-leaning critics of President Donald Trump including former President Obama, Hillary and Bill Clinton among others, as well as CNN.
The man has a history of criminal activity and drove around in a van covered in stickers in support of Trump and VP Mike Pence, and demonizing Democrats and the media, especially CNN. This guy seemed to have a real hate on for CNN in particular.
Naturally, Trump is being slammed for what is perceived as his role in this. Critics point to his inflammatory rhetoric for being an inspiration behind this. Based on the evidence so far, that criticism is more than fair. Trump has been going hard at the media, the Democrats and Hillary Clinton.
He frequently abuses the media at his rallies and even in news conferences. The man is an absolute jerk to the media. And at his rallies, "Lock Her Up!" referencing Hillary Clinton is still often heard being chanted two years after the election where Trump won over Hillary.
Trump has a way of stoking the flames of tension, hate, violence and overall nastiness. It's just his way. And his fans seem to love it. His events are more like a WWE show than they are a political rally. And at the center of the three ring circus is Donald Trump who appears to absolutely revel in the chaos he is creating.
But, the idea that Trump and the right wing in America is the only problem needs to be put to rest. The left wing is also doing more than it's fair share of demonizing, fear mongering, spreading hateful rhetoric and ideas and just generally helping to further create divisions. And none of this started with Trump. It's been going on for a long time.
It doesn't take too long on social media to see progressives slamming Republicans as illiterate, stupid, rednecks, inbred idiots, violent thugs, white supremacists, Nazis, racists, homophobes, and a wide variety of other insults.
To look at an entire political group as morons is not exactly helpful. Sadly, those who are doing this can't seem to see the division they are stoking as well. You can only call people stupid so long before it has an effect on the political climate.
And now to get personal. I live straddled between two worlds. I love country music and NASCAR. I spend more time at dirt track races then I do at political rallies. Yet, I am a liberal supporter of same-sex marriage, pro-choice, pro-universal health care, pro-LGBT rights, pro-women's rights, etc. And no, these things aren't major contradictions. Yes, we exist.
Yet, whenever the topic of NASCAR, for example, comes up, I see the way many so-called progressives look down on the sport, and its fans. They see us as redneck idiots who like to watch gas guzzling cars go around in circles.
They think we are all Confederate flag waving white supremacists. And the demonization is hardly hidden. It's in plain sight. There seems to be no qualms at all about openly calling NASCAR fans illiterate inbreds. It's demoralizing. The sport has millions of fans. Calling them all names is highly divisive.
Yes, there are a lot of conservatives/Republicans who are fans of the sport. So? The idea that all of these people fit the variety of names that they keep being called is absurd. So, stop with the generalizing and start realizing that if you are attacking a whole group YOU are also part of the problem. And this really is just a small example.
Then we have groups like Antifa which appear to be growing in strength and militancy in the Trump era. And it is concerning what some of these folks are doing. Dressing up in black with masks and violently attacking political opponents does NOT help with unity in the slightest. It's political violence. It might not be as extreme as sending bombs in the mail, but it is still nasty political violence.
There is a terrible habit right now by a scary number of folks on the left of calling people who aren't Nazis, well, Nazis. There appears to be this paranoia of "creeping fascism". And the response seems to be one of zero tolerance and to fight against it by any means necessary.
What is very scary is this mantra of "Punch a Nazi." Well, if people are calling anyone who is conservative a Nazi, and then say that Nazis should be punched, that is a very scary development. First demonize, mislabel...and then encourage violence? That's NOT good.
At the moment, too many on the left are just as much to blame for nasty divisiveness as the right. Trump NEEDS to be called out on his disgusting rhetoric. But, so does the left. Both sides deny their role in the great divide, both pointing the finger at the other.
Well, both need to work on the problems they have collectively created. Unfortunately, the divide just keeps growing instead of shrinking. And where it will lead is anyone's guess.