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{by Ryan S. Bonnett, reposted with permission from Facebook}

I’d say that I need a break from politics, but that wouldn’t be entirely true. Politics is the back and forth negotiation where our representatives ostensibly negotiate on our behalf, mixed with the direct action of the body politic when our representative system appears to be failing. I will always be involved with politics, as will you all to some degree.

What we have now is not politics. It’s a cultural war that cut the face off of politics and is wearing it like a mask in a horror film.
And on one side is a reactionary movement that has hoisted up the president as a hollow oriflamme that can be filled with whatever regressive stuffing is deemed necessary. Everything from QAnon to aggressive public support for Thin Blue Line to national anthem bumper stickers. It’s all part of the same spectrum. I realized this the other day when I saw video of an outlaw biker gang at a “Back the Blue” rally. At first I was confused. But then I saw the Trump flags and it all clicked.

There is knowledge, whether conscious or subliminal, that forces in society are demanding change. And change is hard. Change is scary. In comes Donald Trump to tell you that things don’t have to change. That he is the first, last, only factor that can stop the change. Not the Republican party. Not the media. He and he alone.

I’m going to use BLM as an example. The movement wants change. That change is multifaceted. But for any of it, we have to discuss the very uncomfortable reality the there are systemic problems. If you’re white and live in the suburbs, it’s because our parents and grandparents received preferential treatment by laws that were later repealed that you may have never heard of. That led to developers and schools and everything else favoring the suburbs. That has impacted everything from education to transportation to nutrition. This was before my time, but I benefit from it to this day.

And that is one, just one, of the myriad systemic issues that we face that BLM is addressing. But the reality is, righting a past wrong will necessitate change. Locally, a train that would have connected the University at Buffalo’s city and suburban campuses was quashed a number of years ago. The suburb did not want a direct mode of transport connecting it to the city. This is just a small example of the housing legacy and how, while those laws were struck down years ago, we are still de facto upholding segregation.

One. One topic. One single topic within a much broader one. One uncomfortable debate that would cause a positive change for some. And the (unwarranted) fear from others that it may cause a negative change for them. But it’s easier to not have the conversation. It’s easier to use tear gas and violet crackdowns and frame everything as a war instead of a debate.

And we’re not even touching on economics, homosexuality, jingoism, climate, income inequality, and a slew of other topics.

But we have a perfect storm. At a time when small towns, the last refuge of a dying version of the American Myth, are no longer isolated because of social media, everyone is being confronted with all of society’s ills. There is no escaping it anymore, no matter where you run to. No matter how isolated you thought your community was. Thanks to technology, for better or for worse, no one can turn a blind eye.
And that’s what our present situation is about. People are forcing long overdue change. Many people are overwhelmed. Because, simply put, even small changes are hard. Especially when it requires a heavy degree of introspection. And people are being forced to confront necessary, long overdue change that weren’t even on their radar a few years ago. Are we surprised, even in the slightest, that the person who came along and said he would keep things the same, by violence if necessary, has such a following?

We need to do better. All of us. Without exception. If a hero like Daryl Davis (seriously, he’s a guy who needs statues to him) can get through to Klansmen, then I have to hope that not all is lost. But I’m afraid we may be beyond that in some cases. I want people to prove me wrong.

But we have people convinced the end us here. That Donald Trump is going to put the world back into a form they recognize. This, despite all evidence to the contrary.

I don’t know how else to say this. Outlaw biker gangs hate police. Period. But law enforcement is one of many tools that are perceived by some as being an instrument of quelling change. Hence the upswell of support from unexpected corners. To a certain extent, this is why suburbanites who previously would rant about their taxes paying police salaries when they received a speeding ticket now have a blue line for their profile picture.

I’m tired. Just… So tired. I want to get back to politics. Actual politics. The give and take of trying to find the greatest good for all parties involved. But that’s not possible right now. Because first we need to address change. I mean the very concept of change. We need to shut out the voices who are screaming that change is inherently bad. We need to recognize that the most hateful ideologies are the ones that will resist change at all costs. We need to embrace that there should be no demographic societal default. I want to move forward. And I want to do that with all of you on board. But until we reject, as a society, the notion that bloodshed is a better option than change, I don’t know how we do that.