These days I am often shocked by what I see on my timelines. Mainly Twitter, the site I am most active.

Hate speech.

One camp adores a guy who makes fun of a disabled reporter and calls unattractive women “pigs” while the other camp makes as spiteful “fun” about a president who cannot think very well and possesses a fair amount of potential for jokes about his looks himself.

“A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.”–Albert Camus

A country divided

What I want to share with you today is a commentary I just came across on my go-to site: Der Spiegel

The commentary is not available in English, but I thought it’s so simply and accurately summarizing our biggest problem that I still want to share it.

The legal situation and if I am allowed to just translate a comment word(ish) for word(ish) and “use” it is unclear. While I wait for a response from their customer service, here it goes (original comment: http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/justiz/texas-und-der-amoklauf-amerikas-wahres-problem-kommentar-a-1176703.html):

I’ll put it in a quote but please keep in mind that my English (as an American who was a guest in Germany for 7/8 of his life) is not that great yet and any errors or weird sounding wordings are owed to the translator:

Old people, fathers, mothers, children have been slaughtered. Yet again, one sadly has to say. The prepetrator of Sutherland Springs used a semi-automatic gun. In Texas, one can buy such weapons in nearly every town for a few hundred dollars.

Naturally, the discussion about gun control starts again. In reality, the controversy is about much more than just guns.

Like in a burning glass, the conflict shows the real problem of America today. The country is unable to find political compromises, it is highly polarized and missing people who build bridges between the two camps, that are also able to understand the other side.

It’s the deep cultural conflicts between urban and rural areas. Between major cities and province. On one side the urban global thinking elites, that consider their way of life the only right way.

They don’t need guns and they don’t want guns.

Freedom to them is the right to travel whereever they want to go and to love whomever they want.

The other camp consists of people from rural America, small towns in the South and Middle. Their understanding of freedom is coined by the experience of their ancestors. They were settlers who had weapons to protect themselve against gangs and bears. And they wanted a gun to protect themselve against an invasive state power.

Freedom meant to be able to do whatever you want on your own plot of land, for instance to share the fruits of your work only with whom you chose.

Who ever travelled through Texas or New Mexico understands that this cultural traditions lives on in parts of the country. One will not be able to erease it just like, for instance, the passion for beer and leather pants of many Bavarians.

Some of the people who want to ban guns understand this cultural gap and would be willing to find a compromise with the pro-gun camp. And you surely will find pro-gun people who understand that more restrictive gun control or forbidding semi-automatic military weapons is worth a try so that someone cannot kill 58 people in a few minutes, as happened in Las Vegas.

The problem is: These days there are just not enough of those Americans who would be willing to sit down and  find a compromise.

There is too much hatred, too much contempt – on boths sides.

Donald trump, the president, makes everything worse: His responsibility would be to balance out interests. He should be the president for all Americans. Instead, he further divides the camps with crude thesis and populustic notes.

He instrumentalises tradgedies like Texas or the attack in Manhattan to further inflame his followers.

He calls the attacker of Sutherland Springs a madman and pretends the question how this man was able to get guns like this is not a big problem.x

The worries of the “other America” are being ignored by him.

Video abspielen...
Picture Credit: AFP/Spiegel Online

The saddest thing is: Because Donald trump had so much success with his strategy of division, he creates more and more imitators: It’s already visible that at the congressional and gubernatorial elections there will be several candidates who will further incite the camps with hate speech.

Everywhere in the country soon many little trumps could get into power. A solution for the gun problem would not be possible in the near future.

Once more it’s in the voters hands: Do they reward the populist or the one that builds bridges? Do they want compromises or even more hatred and anger?

Will it finally get better or just worse? America has pivotal months ahead of it.

 

Related Post