There is an old expression that goes like this: “pull a string and it follows you everywhere; push a string and it goes nowhere at all”.
To pull is to lead. To push is to force. I think this applies to what’s been happening in the US since 2008 .. and it worries me lots.
In any civilized society, there are always some who take an extreme stance on many social issues, and there are those who are mostly indifferent. The majority usually falls in the socially-indifferent category. It’s often the “I don’t really like it but live-and-let-live” mindset. Like a pendulum, they don’t spend much of their time at the ends of the swing but instead live their lives between the far left and right extreme. I think of them as the indifferent.
There is little danger within this group. They live their lives within their beliefs and they give the much needed balance to society.
I’ve learned, from my extensive experience in the US, it was because of this balance that both extremes, the ultra-liberal and super conservative, were able to co-exist. Then something happened. And it happened during the campaigns for a new president. The average liberal .. not the extremist liberal but the average good intentioned liberal, who had always been easy-going, suddenly lost their tolerance for those of a more conservative point of view. It was like the gang mentality that causes things to sometimes get out of control at protests, but in this case, social media was the arena.
They got mean, intolerant and judgmental. Even more judgmental that those on the opposite end of the spectrum. It was as if they believed that their candidate for president would given them the social power to rid the planet of the conservative mindset forever.
And since the day he was elected, the hatred spewing from the left side has continued .. even escalated. The attacks were not against the ideology; they were attacks against the people. The right attacked concepts while the left attacked people.
A law of physics says that the more you pull the pendulum in one direction, the farther it will go in the other direction. And this is obvious in the birth of the Tea Party and the strengthening of the fundamentalist Christian groups at the far extreme of the pendulum’s travel.
And for someone like me, it’s scary. I’ve traveled the US lots, from liberal area to liberal area and spent time in some of the most conservative areas along the way. And until now, I’ve never felt at risk. Those who didn’t understand viewed us as sickos, nut cases, twisted individuals. Most looked upon us with pity, which sounds sad, I know, but it was non-confrontational. It was safe. But now, people like me are viewed as a flag bearer for extreme liberalism. The same liberalism that attacked their fundamental beliefs, attacked them as Americans, attacked them as human beings.
I’ve learned that nothing brings out unpredictable, confrontational behavior in an American than being told they are un-American. And the left has told the 47.2% on the right, in no uncertain terms, that they are, in fact, unworthy Americans.
So an election, and more importantly, a re-election has caused almost everyone there to choose a side. And now the pendulum seems to be spending most of it’s time at the extreme ends of it’s travel. This violates the laws of physics .. the laws of balance.
People have become less and less indifferent. You’re either with me, or you’re a monster .. a poster child for everything “wrong” with society.
And this is hurtful to those of us who know the dangers of hiding behind “rights”, who realize that acceptance comes through one personal interaction at a time and are content living under the radar.
Most of the world understands this but Americans just don’t seem to get it. They’re unable to look beyond their borders .. beyond their perception of their culture, which has been split down the middle by the axe of liberalism.
When in the USA, indifference was my best friend. It kept me safe and I miss it dearly.