Jacob Z. Hess
I’d like to make a prediction for the month of September. Not a prophesy. Not a vision.
Just a prediction. Given the year we’ve had, of course, few predictions would feel too outlandish – as this meme illustrates so well.
So, here’s mine: We’re going to see a significant, even alarming, increase in civil unrest in our cities this month – not just “more of the same” and also not for some of the normal reasons we might assume.
As we all know by now, a central feature of President Trump’s reelection is “restoring law and order” – with lots of messaging pinning any destabilization of that order exclusively on the left. And let’s be clear – there are some legitimate reasons for that – as I’ve written about recently, prominent voices on the left really have rationalized and justified looting – while vilifying police and speaking glowingly of all protesters. It’s hard to imagine that not playing a role in this escalation of unrest.
If you watch Fox news, of course (as I sometimes do), this isn’t even “news.” You get daily reminders of all this – and just how malevolent these people are on the left.
The rhetorical provocation happening on the right is also hard to deny – starting with the President himself, and yes, continuing out to some of his supporters on the airwaves or in the street. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest that a significant part of any language “fanning the flame” of cultural conflict is motivated knowing that this could help the president’s reelection.
If you watch MSNBC, of course, this isn’t news either. Because you get daily reminder of how dastardly these people on the right are. You wouldn’t put anything past them, right?
Both of these dueling, corrosive influences should be a concern to all of us as Americans. But here’s the thing: that’s the end of it (or even the beginning), when it comes to what’s roiling us right now.
Because as more and more people have acknowledged, there is a third group – people that get labeled “extreme left-wing” agitators or “extreme right-wing” agitators, but who are really the same thing: people caring little about a continued development of the American system and a vision of its ongoing progress under a re-elected (or new president) of either party.
Their vision of the future begins with something else – the America system fundamentally destabilized. And so, they are acting intentionally to do everything it can to get us there.
This thought first came to mind when I saw the statue of Frederick Douglass defaced over the summer. I can understand toppling confederate generals (although I still think it should be done through the right channels). And even though I spoke out against it, I also get objections to Thomas Jefferson (the man owned 600 slaves in his lifetime, for heaven sake).
But Frederick Douglass? A man who escaped slavery and stood as a beacon to the freed African-American community for years and advocating for their protections?
That’s what woke me up. Does anyone believe the people defacing his memorial care about racial justice – or social justice?
Anyone defacing his memorial only cares about one thing.
Turmoil. Chaos. And conflict – on purpose.
“How else can we get people mad? What will it take?”
You’d think it would be easy to separate those people from the mix – but it’s really not…especially when pundits are ready to spring into action with every event – plastering it with the narrative advancing their side: “look at this disgusting violence again! Can you believe these violent, lawless Democrats?”
Or defending their side: “of course, most protesters are peaceful – so let’s not focus too much on those violent ones.”
And haven’t we seen these months how easy it is to rile up Americans right now? All it takes is a single point of conflict with police – and these kinds of people gather to cause further problems (only 75 of the 175 people arrested in Kenosha were actually from that community).
People on the ground in Portland say something completely different happens at night. Peaceful protests during the day. Then, at night?
Fires. Destruction. Shootings.
Another month or two of this (and more), and what happens?
President Trump is reelected. Whatever you think about the man – and I’m of one mind with Jeff Flake – there’s a strong argument that his reelection will lead to even widening civil conflict, at a greater level than a President Joe Biden (I know some on the right would push back on that – but I think they’re wrong).
And that’s why I’m predicting this for September: A spike in civil conflict precipitated partly by rhetoric on the left, and partly by rhetoric on the right – but MOSTLY by people who don’t give a darn about healthy aspirations of either side of the political spectrum.
And who only want to see further chaos in America. And how are they trying to bring it to pass? By helping to reelect President Trump in November by intentionally spiking violence this month to help ensure his reelection.
This could come in a variety of ugly ways – by attacking police or other symbols of “law and order” on the right – or even religious conservative symbols themselves. Would it surprise any of us to see another mass shooting, God forbid?
Isn’t something like this President Trump’s best chance to reelection? Hasn’t that become clearer and clearer?
That’s why I believe this will happen. Not because thoughtful people on the left or right want it.
No way. It’s another group of people behind it.
None of this is what good people want to happen. And I pray it won’t.
But I fear it will.
If it does, don’t expect the mainstream media to recognize what’s going on. They’re too committed to making sure we each think THE OTHER side of the political spectrum is the real enemy.
We’re all too focused on that to realize how we’re being played.
What if we weren’t? What if we, as the American people, could unite to oppose these kinds of threats to society and democracy itself?
Preserving the union needs to be the top priority right now.
I see good people from both sides of the political spectrum raises their voices on precisely this. Bless them all!
And heaven help everyone else – and the rest of this great nation.