US voters: Are you afraid of the other side, and to what extent?

When I see people wearing MAGA hats, I cringe inwardly. But when I see people with depictions of actual assault rifles on the backs of their pickup trucks, I get genuinely frightened. What’s their limit break? What’s going to set them off?

So I don’t wear hats or T-shirts in public demonstrating that I’m a Democrat; my bumper stickers from MoveOn.org are left on my kitchen counter; and I don’t express my political views unless I’m with close friends, or I’m anonymous. I’m seriously afraid that someone might wish me harm, especially after January 6, when I realized Republicans will go to any lengths.

Well, this won’t make you feel any better:

Stranger

Mostly I’m angry that they poisoned patriotism. My wife has been a Daughter of the American Revolution for 30 years or so, done amazing things to teach and assist and reach out and these mouthbreathers have made it so that I really don’t want to wear anything with stars and stripes.

I’m angry that our educational system has given up on teaching anything about science or logic and critical thinking…nobody is presented with the concept that someone could be an expert in something and ought to be trusted, even if it’s something you don’t know anything about.

It’s weaponized stupidity.

I’m not afraid, because I don’t hang out with these people in groups where people tend to get angry with each other…and people, in general, are nice friendly folks that tend to get along. But there’s a difference between one on one interactions and the stuff you get online and in the news…getting along doesn’t sell papers.

When I go out, I go armed now.

A few monts ago, a pro Trump demonstration took place a few blocks from my house. There was at least one police car there. Only my inability to find my Sharpie and poster board stopped me from staging a one man counter protest. I had a sign planned out and everything. It would have simply read “I Forgive You”. If any of the MAGAs had talked to me, I would have explained in pitying tones that I understood they were being tricked and misled.

This is exactly where I am. Back in 2008, I put an Obama bumper sticker on my car. I had a yard sign and wore an Obama button. I’d never do that stuff now. There are no visible signs of my political leanings, and I only discuss politics with close friends or family (or on anonymous forums like this one).

What January 6th demonstrated is that although Trumpers aren’t very organized or intelligent, they can individually cause harm because they don’t think about consequences. A MAGA type in an oversized pickup truck might see my bumper sticker and try to run me off the road for the lulz. Or a Trump fan might see my yard sign after a long night of drinking and decide to put a bullet through my window.

Volatile and stupid are a dangerous combination. I’m not going to do anything to provoke those people.

A link in another recent thread shows us that both sides are NOT the same:

To me, a number of factions could be “the other side.” But to elaborate:

People like Antifa scare me, because they seem to be genuinely convinced that 1) they are fighting for a good cause and 2) anyone who disagrees with them must be a fascist and 3) cannot see how they themselves behave fascist. People like that can bludgeon you bloody for disagreeing with them; they’ll “good” you to death and actually think better of themselves for having done the deed, even sleep more soundly at night for having battered a ‘nazi’ - Nazi being anyone who dares disagree with them. People who do evil in the name of good terrify me a lot more than people who do evil in the name of evil, who at least know they’re evil.

Conservatives who oppose Covid protocols or fanatical gun supporters don’t scare me but rather piss me off. Because they cannot comprehend how A + B = C, no matter how many times you explain it to them. It’s not for lack of actual IQ, it’s sheer iron thick-headed stubbornness. No fear, but a lot of anger and frustration. And the more you explain to them why they are wrong, the more they dig in and double down.

KKK and white supremacist folks don’t scare me - they’re all bark and no bite - and, generally, at least pay lip service to the concept of free speech - but you can’t get through to them either, so it’s a big shake-head sigh.

I’m okay with anyone who holds opposing views as long as they are capable of holding a reasonable conversation and allow disagreeing speech. But the people who scare me are those who, as Winston Churchill once described - “some people’s idea of free speech is that they are allowed to say what they please, but if anyone dares say anything back to them, that is an outrage.”

Well, and you’re white.

Institutionalized racism has, is and will continue to be a major problem for a large proportion of our populace.
I am glad to see that you are doing fine, though.

So you’re scared of Antifa, a conservative boogeyman that doesn’t really exist in any meaningful sense, but you aren’t scared of the people who engage in violent insurrection of the US government, people like Kyle Rittenhouse, or the KKK?

I’m not.

I’m not a fan of Rittenhouse or the KKK, but Rittenhouse was at least shooting in self-defense. Whereas Antifa has kicked in a man’s teeth in Portland just for waving an American flag.

Antifa was just one example. The broader point was - there are numerous people in the world who do evil in the name of good, thinking they’re actually fighting on the side of justice and all that. They scare me far more than people who flat-up admit and own that they’re being evil for the sake of evil.

Of course, they aren’t scary to straight (or closeted), right-thinking, God-fearing, white people. They’re their army, their soldiers. There to keep the right people in control.

My mistake, sorry. But IIRC you are not Black.

Oh, boy.

Stranger

Did this really happen? I don’t recall reading about it. May I have a cite? I’d like to find out if the assailants were wearing ANTIFA! T-shirts and hats to better identify themselves.

Two hand grenades in a single paragraph-way to go.

Who’s doing that?

You always throw two in case one has a bad fuse, especially with cheap Chinese mil surplus grenades.

Stranger

I don’t know where to put this, but this seems as good a place as any.

It seems that right-winger Charlie Kirk was at an “Exposing Critical Race Theory” event in Idaho recently, and was asked the question, “When do we get to use the guns?”

A partial transcript from the man who had a question for Kirk:

To his credit, Kirk denounced the use of violence, and emphasized the use of every peaceful means possible. He also suggested that Idaho use its state sovereignty, and decide for itself what federal mandates and measures it will follow. A reasonable response, given his position, and the nature of the event where he was speaking.

But still, “When do we get to use the guns?” seems to me to be an unreasonable question. The scary part is that there are people–and I’m sure that Kirk’s questioner is not the only one–who feel that guns and killing are the only solution to what they see as a problem, and are emboldened enough to ask about that at a public forum.