What do we call someone who sets something ablaze with no care for what happens when the fire takes hold?
They are arsonists.
Arsonists are criminals and are hunted and prosecuted as such.
The problem though is what do we do with social arsonists, who set fires in our culture and in their fan base and voter base and then walk away, hands in pockets as if they’ve done nothing wrong.
What do we do?
It’s hard not to feel anger at another mass shooting, and another one that has targeted a club frequented by LGBTQIA+ patrons. We have seen this happen before. We have sworn before never to let this happen again.
It happened again.
Like every time a school is shot up by a psychologically unhinged loner that wants to lash out at a world they don’t see themselves a part of and we chant together NEVER AGAIN until it happens again.
We have learned over and over that in that case, words are meaningless.
They don’t change hearts.
They don’t change minds.
And when the minds are already poisoned there is little hope of curing those people of that hateful cancer.
They have already been preached too about how dangerous the OTHER is, whoever that might be for them, and here is when rhetoric turns to gasoline when those few that are already feeling lost and without mooring decide that they are going to be the change in the world.
They are so empty of any sense of self or meaning that they serve as vessels for rage and when they are filled they explode.
We saw on January 6th what happens when people are half-full of that rage, tempered with self-righteousness. They catch fire and burn Democracy and what it stands for. What would have happened had more of them been full of that rage though, full to overflowing and they exploded?
It would have been a scene out of a war zone.
Out of a horror film.
It could have been worse.
This what happens when we allow our leaders and our social icons to consistently poor the gasoline of hateful rhetoric on the people who listen to every word they say. They are like preachers and they preach the gospel of hate.
You can’t make your party platform about how the Other is the problem, how people of color, how people who aren’t Christian, and how people who are in the LGBTQIA+ community are the problems and not think it will create dangerous situations.
They know what they are saying and they don’t care.
At least not about fallout or damage.
They care about power, and money, and control.
This is about a right wing in America that has become a party of hate.
Over and over and over they point to ‘the left’ and say THERE, those are who your enemies are.
Then they point to minority communities and say THOSE are the ones.
They look at the LGBTQIA+ community and how they are trying to pull themselves out of the shadows and they say – LOOK AT WHAT THEY ARE!
They are putting targets on people and they shrug it off as if they are doing nothing wrong.
Offering thoughts and prayers when their human shaped bombs explode.
‘Gosh, how would we know? We need more healthcare, not more gun care.’
Only they don’t want to fund healthcare because then the Libs will win.
How many times do we need to see someone like the teenager who took a gun to a protest and found a reason to use it and then claimed he was being victimized and ended up getting away with murder?
How many more slaughters do we need to see at clubs where people in the LGBTQIA+ community go get shot up?
How many faith centers have to be shot up or burned?
When do we stop letting these people wrap themselves in the flag, let them shake their Bibles in the air, and claim they have First Amendment rights to scream BURN, BURN, BURN to a crowd carrying torches?
We are in love with our rights, so in love that we are willing to let people abuse them for their own gains. Not to exercise freedom but to wield it as a weapon. To bludgeon their opponents with it. To decry anything that limits them from saying anything that might tumble from their honey filled mouths, even if what tumbles out are angry bees.
We allow their freedoms to encase the rest of us.
Their freedom of speech gives them the right to say anything they want, no matter the damage, and then to put their hands up and say, wow, that’s so sad, thoughts and prayers to those affected.
Their freedom to bear arms gives them the right to wield weapons of war brazenly as if they are going off to fight for something more than their ability to scream racist and hateful chants and hope someone pushes them enough so they can legally kill them. We let their need to pretend they are soldiers in some made up holy war that someone in office or on a social media platform made up.
We let them bend and throttle the truth and then watch as they mea culpa their way through trials. Oh, sure, they may get dinged for some money but in the end, they never change and they just go back to their base, hand out, and pretend they are poor so those suckers can refill the coffers gladly.
This is our world.
This is our truth.
The truth of the liars, emboldened by systems they know well enough to abuse.
And their opposition can’t even agree on how they should decry these actions, other than that they should do it, maybe, probably.
Instead of bringing this country and this world together there are people who essentially serve as chaos agents and who sow seeds of hate and fear. They are taking over our school boards, our city councils, and on and on and because most of us don’t have the desire to wrestle in the mud they often go unchallenged. The fires of hate are growing because these people want them to grow. It’s what keeps them in fire.
Whoops, another fire.
We have become a nation of bullies leading an army of warheads that are slowly going into the red. Eventually they’ll blow. Maybe it’s just an outburst at a grocery market, maybe it’s a road rage incident, maybe it’s a screaming match with someone who is different than them, or maybe, sometimes, it’s someone who is already wound too tight, who is made a little differently, and who is waiting for someone to fill them up enough for them to catch fire and explode.
Until we stop allowing these people to breathe hate like fire, to spout rage like gospel, and stop them from pointing their armies of fans and followers towards targets as if they are on a holy mission from god, we will see the same things happen over and over and over.
And that’s what the right has chosen to embrace and trumpet.
They are agents of chaos and fear and they want us angry and afraid so they can better control us.
Because they are obsessed with power at any cost.
Because they are monsters.
Because that’s who they have become.
And we’re all in danger because of it.