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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.

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30 thoughts on “A brief comment on yesterday’s violence at the Donald Trump rally in Chicago

  1. I really, REALLY hope you are wrong, Robert. I have been discussing this with my American friends and I (perhaps naively?) cling to the hope that what we are seeing is the vocal minority. I really feel that the majority of American citizens are like you and the other bloggers I interact with — you are the ‘cooler heads’ and you (I want to believe) are the majority.

    I am projecting optimism, here. 🙂

    • I hope that I’m wrong too, Carmen; but, the worsening situation suggests otherwise. I would add that the rational majority in America no longer exists, and that the country is fracturing internally. In such an environment, vocal minorities become powerful forces.

      • Carmen:
        Can’t say where this’ll devolve to, and though the ugly stratification of our culture is being exposed it only represents the most ideologically engaged. Alarming and revealing and violently toxic to be sure. That is now forever our stain. But not by any stretch a majority. Not even close. For one who sees life as promoting himself as a brand, events are tarnishing him irredeemably. Can he really want to wake up and find himself a leader of the free world? He’d become the emperor exposed. What is more sobering is how forced to engage in this side-show we are. America can always course correct but how flawed a democracy can it become before it is no longer?
        The majority hasn’t had the final word.
        Steve

      • Would Trump want to wake up and find himself the leader of the free world? It’s a good question, and one in which megalomaniacs such as he would have a hard time answering honestly.

        America’s true majority, if it exists, hasn’t had the final word in a long time. Voter turnout has dropped to well below 60% in presidential elections, well below 40% in midterm elections, and struggles to reach 20% in off-year and local elections.

      • Unfortunately, that might be the Democrats’ big worry this year. So far this primary election season, voter turnout for Republican candidates is much higher than it is for Democratic candidates. It’s why Bernie Sanders keeps saying, “we’ll win if [young] people turn out to vote.”

        I think the biggest worry for the GOP is Trump or Cruz winning the nomination and frightening independent voters towards the Democratic candidate (presumably Clinton).

  2. I can’t talk politics with my parents because they support Trump (and I have enough sense to NOT support Trump). I mention that Trump called Rosie O’Donnell “a fat pig” on national television, or that he suggested Megyn Kelly was on her period when she asked him the tough questions, and that neither of those things are particularly nice things to say about ladies & I’m wrong, because Megyn Kelly was being unfairly tough on Trump or because Rosie O’Donnell “is a fat pig” (according to my father). So they’re going to vote for Trump and I’m going to make a saner choice come election day.

      • One of my neighbors, a normally pleasant married mother, recently told me she had a dream about assassinating President Obama by firing a rocket into the White House. The crowd, in her dream, cheered in approval. Now, I avoid talking with her.

      • Wow. tRump has removed a veil that racists, bigots, and hate mongering, predominately white, knuckle- heads having been crawling under for years just waiting to come out. He gives voice to them. He gives meaning and justification to their chosen path of hate, ignorance, and rage because he’s one of them, and he’s in a position of power that most of them can only dream of being in themselves. They’re living vicariously through him. Scary stuff. The differences between the way Hillary and/or Bernie speak in comparison to tRump are stunningly profound. I truly hope sensible heads prevail in November, and this poor excuse of an American does not become President. Protest against him by voting against him and help save America from fascism.

      • That he has come this far is an indictment on the American populace that has voted for him, cheered him on and continue to push him closer to being president. It is either he has addressed their fears or promised them what they believe their country has missed or generally exposed the population as being hateful and bigoted. I hope I am wrong

      • It’s one thing to dream of assissinating someone (I dream of killing off a few people), but to go around telling people you dream of killing a sitting president is…is making a threat in public.

      • Bob that’s a neighbour you must avoid talking to. She may direct the RPG to your house seeing the white house is a tough call

      • I hear you, Noel. My neighbor is also a fanatical Christian who told me that an unmarried man living alone (as I am) is committing a sin. She has already used that tact to get another neighbor of ours evicted. If she dares try that with me, I’ll slap a lawsuit on her ass so fast it’ll give her something real to fear (besides her fictitious god)!

      • None, according to American law. But to empty-headed obedient Christian fundies like her, the laws of our nation must bow before the exalted altar of his high holiness prominently displayed within the earthly confines of her local church.

      • I have always hoped those who believe god does stuff, should not call the cops when they have issues but just pray. And to go further, if they believe leaders come from god, they should not vote but pray. Those who believe in secular law should vote. This way, maybe, just maybe, morons maybe kept out of legislatures

  3. Although it is disappointing to witness the polarization in our society, the more so since it indicates a split between sane and Fascist partisans, it should surprise no one who has been awake since The Civil Rights or Voting Rights Acts. LBJ knew full well what his signing those acts meant, ie, the loss of the South. What is now apparent is that ‘Redneck’ is not a geographically determined sobriquet. Bigots wear bib-overalls and Brooks Bros. suits and political correctness can no longer supress their real nature. Another reader has said it well, it is Weimar Germany all over again!

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