It’s hard to stop worrying about the New America, the new bigotry, the new stereotypes, the hate, the America of egregious excess facilitated by technology. You therefore pray hard, but not that it will stop tomorrow. You know that’s not going to happen and so you ask instead that maybe you’ll get by one day without something grabbing you and throwing you to the ground while you are on your knees trying to get up from yesterday.
I mean there’s been the record-breaking partial government shutdown, Democrats seeing evil in the sort of border barriers they used to vote for and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi canceling a State of the Union speech.
Next there’s a fake news story about a serious presidential crime that doesn’t seem to have happened despite the grins on so many cable TV faces. After that there’s some high school guys from a Catholic school in Covington, Ky., who surrounded an old Native American man in Washington, D.C., intimidating and mocking him and his culture.
Except, wait, that’s a phony tale, hooey as far as the mind can reach, and there was a contrary if similarly bogus yarn coming from the same insidiously creative mouth, that of the Native American man, Nathan Phillips.
This second narrative told us this big group of students was about to attack four black Hebrew Israelites and he went over to stop them. It didn’t help the perception of these students that they were wearing red Trump hats, which fanatics consider evil in and of themselves. Or that they had been to an anti-abortion rally. There was also a short video that afforded a glance supposedly affirming what a horror of white supremacy and toxic masculinity this was.
The video went viral and soon enough we had a social media explosion. Or maybe we should call it a riot or a lynch mob or barbarians at the gate because there were death threats and vile putdowns of these Trumpian toads, these Christian freaks, these pedophilic Catholics, these white racists.
Covington’s mayor was initially upset at the boys as was the school’s principal. But then came a longer video that provided context and truth that too few care for anymore as long as their own prejudices are satisfied.
It showed the students were a cheery bunch who pretty much stayed polite, calm, cool and collected as the anti-gay, anti-white, anti-Christian Hebrew Israelites called them every name in the book. These cultists also had at the Native American protestors for their mistaken religion and said that’s why God took their land away.
No one ganged up on Phillips. He walked into the middle of the student group that had no idea what he was up to, although many still bounced to the beat of his drum, something mindlessly held against them. He faced one particular student who did nothing wrong and ended up smiling as a way, he later said, of warding off antagonism. It wasn’t long before Phillips took off.
He’s not in the smile business, you see, and made clear in interviews what horrible human beings these students are. He later showed his own superiority. He led some 20 other Native Americans to protest Catholicism during a mass at the nation’s largest Catholic Church. Guards prevented the protestors from entering the worship area where Phillips’ drum beating was unlikely to cause rhythmic bouncing.
So what we have in all of this is bigotry employing electronic devices communicating from coast to coast as it viciously wrecks lives. What we have is identity politics grown tyrannical, white males found guilty even when proven innocent and wisdom reduced to a tweet. Covington was at first ashamed and then enlightened and soon enough there was a group of protesters taking advantage of this new cause to spill hate without trying to clean it up.
We must get America to something better.