Monday, June 5, 2017

Imagining What Political Culture Will Be For My Kids

These people were part of the protest countering the Trump rally.

I've read about the political culture of the 1960s. When time gives us some perspective, I believe this period, starting with the election of Trump, will be a new nadir in our history, as influential and polarizing as the summers of 1964 and 1965 which saw the Harlem and Watts riots.

Wondering how recent events impact us, consider the following news items here in Portland:
* Ten days previous, a white supremacist verbally targeted two Muslim young women — one wearing a hijab — on a commuter train with an anti-Muslim rant. When three men defended the women, the man pulled a knife and stabbed all three. Two died of their wounds, the third survived.

* Sunday there was a pro-Trump rally in Portland, with activists coming from all over the West Coast to boost the numbers. The total number of Trump activists were a few hundred.

* Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler tried unsuccesfully to revoke the rally permit for the pro-Trump people.

* Sunday was the day of the Trump event and the counter protesters, as well as other members of solidarity marches, numbered in the several thousands. The Portland Police had to defend the Trump people and, of course, a riot ensued

What is the takeaway for my kids?
The next generation of political people here will be hardened by the events seen in the last few weeks. The lesson drilled into our heads is that politics is no abstract matter that occurs far away and impacts no one directly. We have an obligation to teach our kids to be articulate and informed about political debate – and to run fast when the flash-bang grenades start going off.

For the record, I did not bring the kids to the counter protest.


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