By Robert A. Vella
The city of Chicago has been on the front lines of many of America’s internal conflicts. Perhaps it’s because of its central geographical location. Perhaps it’s because of its large population and diverse cultural makeup. Perhaps it’s because of a whole host of other factors. I don’t know for sure, and I would invite a Chicagoan to enlighten me.
But what I do know is that the violence that broke out between supporters and protesters yesterday at a Donald Trump rally is reminiscent of the violence that marked the Democratic Party Convention in 1968. While that incident was sparked by strong anti-Vietnam War sentiment, this new incident was triggered by public outrage against the bigoted, racist, xenophobic presidential campaign of Mr. Trump – a fanatical right-wing populist who is shaking the Republican Party to its very core.
Yesterday’s violence in Chicago is also reminiscent of a recent clash between the Ku Klux Klan and protesters in Anaheim, California. Contrary to the rosy, optimistic picture painted by establishment politicians (e.g. President Obama and Democratic Party presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton), America is in a state of great turmoil. Its ordinary people – besieged by economic inequality and cultural polarization – are fearful, angry, and desperate for assertive leadership. Cooler heads will not prevail. The nation is a tinderbox on the verge of inferno.
Be prepared, this summer could be a very hot one.