Hate is Normal.
For the “rage part of the Missive” this morning, you may have heard that A&E announced a new series called “Generation KKK”, a show following families involved in the ever-expanding KKK movement. And while execs claim producing the show say they are doing it to draw attention to the "incredibly destructive environment”, critics are pointing out that this show will run alongside other A&E ‘family’ programming, like the controversial Duck Dynasty. And as that this programming, like so much else, is only normalizing hate.
So here’s my unpopular opinion: shows like this should be required viewing if it finally drives home the reality that hate is normal. Which should then remind you that our institutions and norms are incredibly fragile, and can be subject to public pressures.
POLITICO published a piece on how back-room influence has stymied public opposition to the new administration voiced by certain congressional Republicans, as some face threats after being mentioned on Brietbart or Hannity. And if members of the congressional majority cannot speak their minds for fear of retaliation, that does not bode well for the rest of us, as Trump’s online army can ruin the lives of individuals with a metastasized rumor or insinuation. Freedom of speech is no longer about public protest, or political interference in the press, but also about fear of doxxing and the online mob coming after you and your family.
Charles M. Blow recently wrote, “the most important safeguard against authoritarianism is an informed, engaged citizenry vigorously opposed to acquiescence and attrition.” So to those who say this is temporary, or that the next four years won't be that bad, remember that institutions, laws and norms are created by people. History has shown that a temporary period can still be devastating. And people can be swayed, and bullied, and herded.
If your gut is telling you that this isn't normal, as mine is, heed Blow's words on a need for a constant state of vigilant anxiety,
“… the alternative is surrender to national nihilism and the welcoming of woe.”
Thank you to Stefana, Matt and Louise for various references for this "rage," as Stefana coined it.