In the 1960's and early 1970's, America erupted in violence over the Vietnam war. Civil and political unrest led to riots in the streets and on campuses all across America.
Images of the '60's and '70's come to mind when I see the political polarization in America today. At a book signing yesterday, Karl Rove was personally attacked by someone shouting that he "ruined America." Ann Coulter was unable to speak on a college campus in Ottawa, Canada because of students protesting and shouting. In California, students at a number of college campuses are rioting and are in an uproar over cuts to student aid programs. TEA party protesters have clashed (although, generally in a more civil manner) with members of Congress as well as others on the left over massive increases in the size and scope of the federal government.
There is no question that America is becoming increasingly polarized, politically. It also appears that the increased polarization is causing people to become increasingly frustrated, angry and that anger and frustration is, at times, coming out in the form of physical actions.
Is this getting worse? Is it getting out of hand?
I think that the answer to the first question is a resounding "yes." Is it getting out of hand? I guess that depends on your perspective.
Many Americans, and especially Americans on the right, feel that their government no longer represents the American people. And rightly so. Congress and obama have passed and signed into law a bill that is, by many accounts, unconstitutional, contrary to the will of the American people, and will destroy America, economically.
In all fairness, however, while the TEA party and others on the right are becoming increasingly vocal, for the most part (and there are a few exceptions), they have remained mostly civil. In spite of accusations of racism and (apparently false) accusations of name calling, TEA Party members and others on the right pretty much stick to arguing their point in logical, though sometimes loud, and civil manner.
Interestingly, some on the left are becoming increasingly vocal and increasingly violent, in spite of the fact that their party is in complete control at the moment. While some Democrats have complained about threats, a Republican party headquarters office in Michigan had a brick go through its window yesterday and Republican Senator Cantor had a bullet go through a window of his office.
I'm not going to condone or condemn the violence, itself. I'm not a violent person, but I can understand the anger and frustration behind some of this violence. I have expressed over the past week my own anger and frustration and said things that some would consider pretty extreme.
Furthermore, the founding fathers, themselves, advocated a violent overthrow of government if and when government abandoned the constitution and got out of control. (Are we there, yet?)
What I will say, however, is that I think this is going to get worse. obama is the most polarizing, controversial President ever elected into office. And this Congress has made it clear that it is going to push an agenda that it thinks is good for America in spite of the fact that the American people disagree. The American people DO NOT like what is going on. They believe that Washington is not listening to them, and furthermore, they believe that ObamaKare, The Stimulus Act and some of the proposed policies that have yet to become reality will lead America down a road to destruction from which we may never recover. (By the way, I happen to agree with that assessment).
Here is my question: If you believe that this government is out of control; if you believe that legislation being passed under this administration will permanently destroy America's economy; and if you believe that many of these laws and policies will be irreversible, what should your response be? Should you simply sit aside and watch this happen? Should you speak out, even if speaking out gets you labelled a racist and is ignored by the politicians in Washington? Should you work toward changing the government, even if that means a violent change may be the only way to fix things?
Whatever the answer, I believe that obama, Pelosi and Reid (who are blaming Fox News and Conservative Radio) are to blame for some of the violence and anger in our country. By ignoring the American People, by using illegal tactics to pass Obamakare, by creating underhanded deals and selling votes in Congress, by taking away our rights and freedoms, they have created an environment where more and more Americans are feeling that government is out of control and unresponsive.
And in spite of what I think and what you think, the American People are beginning to come to the conclusion that enough is enough.