I notice that fewer cars wear bumper-stickers now, and I conclude that no one wants to offend other drivers and cause a road-rage incident. I should think they needn't worry. Most road-rage incidents, I am guessing, start with passive-aggressive behavior designed to taunt rather than confront. The increase in road-rage suggests that too many people are already sort of p.o.ed when they get behind the wheel of a car. Just a little provocation sets them off.
Greater sensitivity and resentment about racial issues, gender issues, and political issues already has us on edge. Since they have caused public polarization in recent years, one has to ask what measures we have to take to defuse them..
Most bumper-stickers that I see support political candidates or sports teams. One atypical bumper-sticker reads "Yay God! Boo Devil!" You might call the sticker "God-neutral," since it uses generic terms, rather than more personal definition. God is the good guy, versus the Devil, who is the bad guy. "Yay God! Boo Devil" could serve as a template for all neutral bumper-stickers.
Remove potential taunt and malice from bumper-stickers, and maybe people will put them on their cars again; but whether you vote Republican or Democrat, someone will believe you side with the Devil—side with Donald Trump, in the case of the Republicans; or Alec Baldwin and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in the case of the Democrats.
In any case, something has really ratcheted up the tension. I believe that the polarized positions of the two political parties has caused it. You cannot blame the political parties, nor the philosophical positions they represent. Both sides believe they should control the policy-making and direction of the nation. Each side believes the nation should implement its moral and administrative positions to steer legislation, and serve it straight-up, so to speak. Straight-up policy-making works better for a nation, but the loss of cohesion causes some problems with functionality, going forward.
The losing party works harder against the tendencies of the winners, to keep its policy initiatives in play and to hinder the winning party's progress. This constant polarization means that the political parties spend more time fighting each other—fighting off endless rumor and innuendo—more than concentrating on leading the country. The cumulative frustration of their continuing rivalry actually destabilizes the nation, contributing to the bizarre behaviors the nation has experienced in the last thirty or so years. Here are a few examples of bizarre behavior:
-1) December 11, 1998, Alec Baldwin, actor:
Thanks to an accidental shooting on a movie set, everyone knows about Alec Baldwin. Those of us who were around in the late 1990s remember him well: a Democratic Party supporter and a fiercely loyal acquaintance of former President Bill Clinton and wife Hillary Clinton. With Clinton facing an impeachment vote in the House of Representatives, Baldwin appeared on the Late Night with Conan O'Brian show and erupted in fury at the actions of Clinton's prosecutors. Absolutely beside himself, Baldwin shrieked a mind-blowing series of death-threats to the Republicans:
"I was in Africa . . . ladies and gentlemen, , , , For three months I am in the bush . . . and I
come back to what? I mean, what is happening right now as we speak? Right now, the
Judiciary Committee—The President has an approval rating of 68 percent.
The President is very popular, and things are going pretty good, and they are going to
impeach the President. . . .
I am thinking to myself, in other countries they are laughing at us. . . . If we were in other
countries, all of us together . . . would go down to Washington and we would stone Henry
Hyde to death!"
As the audience in the studio applauded wildly, Baldwin struggled to continue his rant:
"Wait! Shut up! No! Shut up! I'm not finished. We would stone Henry Hyde to death, and
we would go to their homes and we'd kill their wives and children!"
I don't care what anyone says, nothing that the Republicans, including former President Trump, can top this. Listening to his rant was sort of terrifying. My reader can find the video of Alec Baldwin on YouTube. If you Google "Did Alect Baldwin threaten to kill Henry Hyde?" You will find the text of his rant on democraticunderground.com, included in a comment by the contributor Mabus, dated April 20, 2007.
Baldwin mentioned that, in other countries, the citizens would stone Congressman Henry Hyde to death. Which countries did he mean? Iran under the Ayatollah? Libya under Gaddafi? Uganda under Idi Amin? What did Baldwin expect to do, incite a murderous riot? What he did was reprehensible, and none of the leading Democrats in Hollywood did more than voice some tepid criticism. When I searched the Internet, I could not find a single photograph of the incident. NBC TV hushed it up as best they could. Ordinary citizens could get into trouble for threatening a public official.
If you think Baldwin was kidding, watch the YouTube. If a Republican had threatened a Democrat official like that, you would never hear the end of it. The media would crucifiy him and drum him out of public life, or any life for that matter. No one expects a Republican to be that irresponsible. Republicans may fake the self-respect thing, but they do value it. Not so, Baldwin. The man has no self-respect.
The term "Antifa," or anti-faschist, first came into use in pre-Nazi Germany as an agitation group sponsored by the Communist Party of Germany. The Germans often create acronyms for words—Nazi, for National Socialist; Stasi, for State Security; and Stuka, a Sturzkampf-flugzeug, a World-War-II dive-bomber.
Wikipedia chronicles Antifa's actions, which started after the election of President Trump in 2016:
- -a) February, 2017: Antifa protested the appearance of alt-right speaker Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of California at Berkeley. Antifa rioters threw Molotov Cocktails and smashed windows, causing $100,000 in damage to University property.
- -b) April, 2017: Antifa threatened a riot at the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade in Portland, Oregon. The Parade's organizers cancelled it, out of safety concerns.
- -c) August, 2017: Antifa "used clubs and dyed liquids against white supremacists" at a Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
- -d) At another rally-counter-rally in August of '17 situation at the University California, Berkeley, Antifa supporters squared off against Trump-supporters holding a "Say No to Marxism" rally. The Ucal Berkeley had cancelled the rally "due to security concerns."
- -e) The next night, the group Patriot Prayer tried to hold a rally in San Francisco, but cancelled it following counter-protests from Antifa.
- -f) Antifa terrorists attempted a home-invasion of Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson. They tried to break down the front-door and shouted, "We know where you sleep at night!"
We move forward to 2020 and 2021.
- -a) Septermber, 2020: Patriot Prayer battled Antifa in Portland, Oregon. An Antifa gunman killed a leader of Patriot Prayer. An outrageous article about the killing appeared in the Washington Post, with the title "Portland Killing Renews focus on Tactics of Far-right Group Patriot Prayer."
At first, I thought that the opposite had happened, that a Patriot Prayer guy had killed someone from Antifa—sort of like the press blaming a rape victim for allowing herself to get raped.
- -b) October, 2021: Portland was again the center of Antifa rioting. "People threw bottles, eggs, and metal spikes at police and fired mortar-style fireworks," said a police spokesman. "They left metal spikes in the street to stop firefighters from getting in to tackle the blazes," The action in Portland mimics other Antifa actions, like a a fire-bombing episode in Indianapolis in June. Both incidents resulted in arrests.
The Capitol Riots:
The Capitol riot took place on January 6, 2021. As an isolated incident, it stands out better as a sign of serious opposition from Republicans toward Democrat policies; but in the context of all the other confrontations, it gets extra coverage only in the left-wing press.
Americans need to face an unpleasant fact. The divisions are not going away. If anything, they will get worse. This is problematic for several reasons. Most of us have never experienced anything like this. The only way to carry on with our daily lives is to thrust the confrontations out of our thoughts; but we should not just completely forget them. We should remember that, like the stock market, our investment of money, time, love, and loyalty reflects our positivity about the future. Right now, the future does not look so good, and that's bad for business.
Blaming the Left or the Right, or the radicals from either side, won't resolve anything. Most people are content just to turn a blind eye to them. America has such a rich consumer culture, it is a shame to spoil it. We hope that if we act extra nice to people, maybe the anger in them will subside. I wish it would, too, but we take a big risk the anger doesn't subside but increases.
I don't like the idea of the Right conquering the Left, or the Left conquering the Right—subjugating one side so the other side can live in peace. The only truly peaceful way to resolve this is to divide the country. Let Democrats and Republicans live in peace within their own boundaries.