Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Societal tensions are going to linger amongst us long after Election Day

This year’s election cycle turned into an ugly display over the tensions we have in our society from people who can’t handle that everybody isn’t like themselves, and we don’t somehow grant them superiority status over the rest of us.
A place for those not enthralled by urban life

Take the latest rant of conservative commentator Ann Coulter, who suggested that Donald Trump’s presidential aspirations would have been a complete-shoo-in, IF ONLY we restricted the ability to vote to people who could document that all four of their grandparents had been born in this country.

ANN, OF COURSE, is often off-kilter. I don’t doubt she’s just trying to get a rise out of those more rational amongst us in society. But the sad thing is that she’s not alone – of that I have no doubt.

It’s an incident in my beloved home city, and in fact on my preferred Sout’ Side, that makes me see the kinds of hostilities that this year’s elections placed a magnifying glass to are going to linger on for awhile.

At the crux of it was yet another police shooting. A man from Indianapolis got into a fight with an off-duty police officer who wound up using his weapon, resulting in the man now being dead.

Yes, it was a black man, who was only in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood this weekend because he was attending a funeral. Anyone familiar with the neighborhood at the far southwest end of Chicago near suburbs such as Alsip and Evergreen Park knows there are a lot of cemeteries located nearby.

BUT THAT APPARENTLY wasn’t a good enough reason for a black man to be in a neighborhood that is overwhelmingly white, and also a cop enclave (for the record, I once had an uncle, now deceased himself, who lived there in large part because he was a Chicago cop).

It’s one of those places where people choose to live if they want to be isolated from the daily realities of Chicago, or want to be isolated from certain kinds of people they wish weren’t a part of Chicago’s daily reality.

In short, the kind of people whose votes Trump might very well have sought out – if he weren’t busy looking for each and every excuse he could to demonize Chicago to get himself the votes of people from elsewhere.
Socorro Salas, later Vargas, was the only one of my four grandparents to be born in the United States. I guess the ideologues think I shouldn't have a vote either.

This shooting incident predictably enough resulted in activists coming into the neighborhood, and local residents turning into counter-demonstrators wishing to show their outrage at what some referred to as “animals” who “ought to go back home.”

ANYBODY WHO KNOWS anything about Chicago and its past won’t find any of this surprising. If anything, it’s a wonder that the alleged counter-demonstrators controlled themselves to avoid bashing anyone’s skull in. Although a second round of protests that took place Tuesday got a little more physical, as police had to separate black protesters from local residents.

Yet then, we see the behavior of students at Marist High School, a Catholic school in the neighborhood that is a popular choice of many South Side and surrounding suburb kids whose parents don’t want them in public schools with “those kind” of people.

A text message being passed around the study body shows that some of these high school students are in full agreement with their parents’ behavior – and want to view the “problem” as one of a guy who didn’t have the sense to stay out of a neighborhood he should have known better than to set foot in.

Also, the few students who tried responding to the text in ways to show their disgust with bigotry wound up being laughed at. Administrators at the high school say they’re “devastated” and want to try to teach the young people about tolerance and brotherhood.

YET I CAN’T help but think that many of these young people are going to wind up yawning, paying a bit of lip service to the concepts, then wind up going about feeling the way they feel.
Certain attitudes passed down through generations?

Which may largely be the same as their parents who may have cast their ballots for Trump on Tuesday out of a belief that finally, there’s a guy who “gets it” and won’t try to put them on a guilt trip for feeling the way they do about those who are different.

Is it really any different than that incident earlier this year when students at Andrean High School, a Catholic institution in Merrillville, Ind., tried to turn “Build a Wall” into a taunt to be used against a rival high school with a significant Latino enrollment?

This election cycle forced us to see how ugly a certain segment of our society has become. Incidents like these amongst our young make me wonder how long it will be before the stain can truly be washed away?


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