I barely even know what’s going on in my country anymore. I turn on the TV tonight, and they are showing live footage from Chicago of what looks like about 30 bad minutes away from becoming a full-fledged 1960s-style race riot. Donald Trump has cancelled a rally because of safety concerns and in front of your eyes, you can clearly see why.
Although, the absence of Trump himself from the stage, if it was intended to be an ameliorative measure, is clearly woefully inadequate. There is video, if you care to watch it, here. I wouldn’t, if I were you – it’s ugly, depressing, and sad. I say that knowing full well that I’m giving away traffic by doing so, and by not embedding the video, but I could not care less. I simply cannot place myself in the shoes of people who would place themselves on either side of this particular farce, and be really fired up about being there, as both sides clearly were.
And it makes me borderline physically sick to watch this happen on the streets of an American city.
This must have been what the country felt like as it was staring in to the maw of the late 1960s. Before the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., before the assassination of RFK, before the 1968 Democratic convention, before the Kent State shootings, but when all those things were in the air. When everyone knew that ugliness was right around the corner, even if they didn’t know exactly what that evil might entail.
This level of unrest and ugliness only comes from one source – the same kind of tectonic rearrangement of society and its fundamental principles that we saw in the 1960s – or worse, that France saw in the 1780s. The terrifying things about these forces is that we never fully understand them when we are astride them, and we can never predict with certainty where they will end up. Many people have correctly observed that society and politics are realigning themselves in fundamental ways – anyone who purports to be able to tell you with certainty where that realignment will lead is selling you something, to paraphrase the Dread Pirate Roberts.
I don’t purport to understand myself where these giant plates we are on are going, or what will happen when they get there. All I know is, I don’t want to be standing on the same one that Trump and his current supporters are.