Anger and politics – The violence in American cities reflects the fury of polarisation | United States

Anger and politics – The violence in American cities reflects the fury of polarisation | United States

America’s chronic anger could be its political undoingJun 2nd 2020WASHINGTON, DCTHE SUMMER heat has its way of energising our political passions. Th

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America’s chronic anger could be its political undoing


THE SUMMER heat has its way of energising our political passions. The American and French revolutions both began in earnest with the sweltering June and July air stuck to each soldier’s skin. In 1967, a “long hot summer” of violence erupted throughout the United States as protesters against police brutality and racial injustice clashed with police and the national guard in most big cities. The following summer saw similar protests, and—like today—a hotly contested presidential election. The current unrest in America is similar in many ways to the riots of the 20th century, with young people and minorities expressing grievances over both racial inequality and the relationship with their government. But two recent developments serve both to worsen the tensions between protesters and their opponents and to decrease the chance that the government will find a solution: political polarisation and partisan rage.

The turmoil of 1968 is the most obvious parallel to today’s. Then, the Republican Party’s Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew were the candidates of “law and order,” pledging to crack down on the violence and extend sentences for rioters. That year’s election was also one of the major catalysts for the marriage of race and political party in America. Nixon’s and Agnew’s electoral…



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