Communion Of Dreams

Playing with fire.
March 21, 2010, 12:36 pm
Filed under: Government, Guns, Politics, Preparedness, Society, Violence

I don’t think most people here in the US understand violence. They have too little experience with it. They think violence is a schoolyard fight, or gunplay in slow motion on a screen.

It’s more visceral than that. More basic. It is the unleashing of an older part of ourselves – a genetic memory of survival.

For decades I have watched reactionary forces strut and hype, threatening violence or implying the threat of violence. You see it with the rhetoric of the Tea Party in its latest incarnation. I’ve kept an eye on it, but never paid it too much attention – people fear change, and those fears sometime manifest as that kind of low-level violence. Oh, I don’t mean to deny the damage that a few lone loons can do – our history has shown repeatedly that political violence can indeed change the course of events for the short term. But even that is limited.

What worries me much more is something I have begun to see over the last few years, and in increasing amounts recently: rhetoric from the left which is starting to match the threats of violence from the right. It is always cloaked in terms of self-defense, or of ‘standing up to the right’ – but it is there, nonetheless.

And this is much more dangerous. Because then it is not a matter of just ‘simple’ violence. It is gang-war. It is tribal. It is the madness which erases civilization for a while.

We don’t think that it can happen here. Not again. We think we are too advanced. Too educated. Too secure in our democratic structures.


When one side starts using the language of violence, even to the point of flaunting guns and invoking the Civil War, they’re crazy.

When the other side decides the time has come to take the crazies seriously, to the point of talking about arming themselves or de-humanizing the Right (both of which I have seen a lot of in recent weeks), then we’re playing with fire.

It’s not like I am a pacifist, or unwilling to defend either myself or those people and values I hold dear. I understand the need for taking a threat from someone seriously. But increasingly things feel like they are starting to spin out of control.

Jim Downey

3 Comments so far
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My original post “Armed Revolution: In or out?” was a 90-minute essay on a Saturday morning. Had I thought through the piece with any precision, then the time line would be more realistic and the war-related destruction more graphically portrayed. Having served in combat, I agree that too few Americans have any real idea how “base” people can act. However, I disagree that it is suppressed in any way, shape or form. Americans, like any people group, are capable of genocide. And, despite the post-World War II “never again” rallying cry, genocide dominated the world’s landscape throughout the 20th Century. As for the Left being more vocal about violence, since the early 20th Century, the Left has carried out far more violence than the Right. Stalin and Hitler were Leftists, Mussolini was a Fascist, and FDR attempted to portray Hitler as a Fascist, because FDR’s and Hitler’s economic policies were too similar. Unfortunately, many Americans are duped by CNN, MSNBC, CBS, and ABC’s false portrayal of the Tea Parties, just as they were duped by the media’s assault on the Bush administration’s Patriot Act. I opposed the Patriot Act not because of Bush, but because of what I knew a thug like Obama would do with it.

Comment by Mark Epstein

Mark, you’re welcome to your opinion, but you’re full of shit.

You’re also welcome to post whatever you want on your own site. But this is your one and only comment on mine. Anything else will be deleted. My house, my rules.


Comment by James Downey

[…] I sent him a link to this blog post from two years ago: Playing with fire. […]

Pingback by I . . . see . . . things. « Communion Of Dreams

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