by David McElroy
I fear the devil has lit the fuse on a long-dormant stick of racial dynamite.
And now the shadowy figure with a red suit and a tail is in the shadows chuckling as outraged people on both sides of an ugly divide prepare to go after each other — completely uninterested in why the other side sees what it sees.
As the anger builds, more and more people are pulled into the maelstrom. Everybody is suddenly an expert. Everybody knows who’s to blame, but they all disagree with each other.
I’m no different. I have my own narrative. I place the ultimate blame on the idea that any group has the right to use violence or threats of violence to achieve their purposes. But even though I have my favorite explanation, I know it’s complicated and there are many historical factors — and that other people see things in very different ways.
Many books could be written on how we got here and who’s to blame, because the causes are tangled and go far back into human history, even though almost everybody tries to oversimplify the problem. I think it’s a tangled web of centuries (or more) of wrong thinking involving race, class, slavery, tribalism, populism, fear and the continuing desire of some people to control other people. (No matter what I include, I’m failing to include other factors.) They all blend together in a toxic stew — and whichever part happens to be nearest and dearest to you, that’s the part you tend to see and assume is the cause.