This. Very much this.
I wish I could buttress this with practical assistance, but all I have is my moral support for this essential effort, which I give freely and with a salute for all those level-headed hard-working disciplined people who are doing the work of administering a twenty-first-century nation state (as it convulses through the transition to Whatever Comes Next, but let’s save that for another time).
But what I have today are sad anecdotes about rage and such, which I post here both from personal grief (Minneapolis is my home town) and from hope of tamping down certain bad behaviors.
Some of my well-intended, good-hearted, leftist-credentialed activist friends keep posting the same kind of links to the same kind of articles about [tragedies in progress], over and over.
Spread the news, yes, vital.
Spread the same news over and over, insistently? And largely to the same people, the same audience? (Not to say unmixed: sometimes monoculture, sometimes clash of opposites, sometimes variegated)
What we get is increased rage but no commensurate increase in … efficacy.
Leading to a lot of vigorous agreement about Bad Things and the need to try and inform anyone who has not yet heard about the Bad Things, because we’re not getting efficacy so try harder.
That’s level one.
In level two, someone (for instance) writes a Facebook post about the most recent Bad Thing.
Other people then write comments, of course. Sometimes this leads to what I consider productive results. Other times not.
One typical situation I deplore is Roleplaying The Enemy.
In Roleplaying the Enemy, people write little roleplaying scenarios about the Enemy.
When there is a Very Bad News Story about a blow to Our Side, write little dialogs about how the hated Enemy must be celebrating, oh wicked to party at time like this!
When there is a Very Good News Story about Our Side getting one against the Enemy, write little dialogs about how the Enemy is gnashing its teeth in fury.
And by “little dialogs”, I mean the imaginary equivalent of what a responsible journalist might research on 4chan and quote after careful discussion of context.
What I see, frankly, is a lot of people playing Dungeons and Dragons on Facebook or wherever. Grownups acting out teenage boy fantasies.
Except instead of imagining how they will slay fictional villains and monsters, they play imaginary death games with real names of real people in real locations.
Sometimes they roleplay what they would have do to [name of real people] at [real tragedy] at [real date and time] near [real chalk line on sidewalk]. At length. “Grind him into a red paste.” I could name names.
I see it all over.
Left, Right, everywhere.
It’s not Party politics
It is the fever of the entire body politic.
America is burning.