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I’m gravely concerned about the state of the Union


Quill
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I anticipate that, no matter your political stripe, most of us can probably agree that these are troubled times. From issues both small and large, I see a very concerning trend towards distrust and contempt for Others. 

Yesterday my Nextdoor group blew up over a contractor who had knocked door-to-door looking for jobs. Someone literally called the police. Dudes! He’s looking for jobs to probably put freakin bread on the table! 

Police were shot last night in Kentucky. I am 100% in favor of justice. But shooting random officers because they are police?  Why??? 

Justice Ginsburg was a person but pundits of every stripe are talking about her seat. They were talking about her seat before her body was cold. It makes me mad and also just deeply concerned for our country in general. 

I literally fear civil war. I think it almost looks like the battles of the Second US Civil War have begun. If I dwell on it I almost lose hope completely. 

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To be fair, people were discussing Scalia's seat as soon as news of his death came out. It isn't right, but it is the situation. Just as people were discussing the future of the Black Panther movies when they heard of Chadwick Boseman's death.

I'm sick of the mightier-than-thou and hypocrisy from both parties. I always hope they will do the right thing & am disappointed. 

I am fearful for our republic.

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26 minutes ago, Quill said:

I anticipate that, no matter your political stripe, most of us can probably agree that these are troubled times. From issues both small and large, I see a very concerning trend towards distrust and contempt for Others. 

Yesterday my Nextdoor group blew up over a contractor who had knocked door-to-door looking for jobs. Someone literally called the police. Dudes! He’s looking for jobs to probably put freakin bread on the table! 

Police were shot last night in Kentucky. I am 100% in favor of justice. But shooting random officers because they are police?  Why??? 

Justice Ginsburg was a person but pundits of every stripe are talking about her seat. They were talking about her seat before her body was cold. It makes me mad and also just deeply concerned for our country in general. 

I literally fear civil war. I think it almost looks like the battles of the Second US Civil War have begun. If I dwell on it I almost lose hope completely. 

I'm with you, Quill.  I am afraid for our nation.  For my family.  For my friends.  For me.  The rules no longer apply and I have zero trust in our leaders to prevent a slide into fascism.....especially since that appears to be the goal of many.

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I'm with you.

I am deeply concerned about the erosion of civil discourse and social norms.  The whole post-truth mentality on both the right and the left is truly frightening.  I am hoping that the rational middle--who I believe are the vast silent majority--will rise up to reestablish the rule of reason.

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4 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

From a practical standpoint, parts of the country just suddenly becoming their own country would be *incredibly* difficult.

But, we don't *need* to divide.  Our country really has never lived in blissful harmony.  We have always had differences and violent clashes and hard times and wars and so on.  We have managed to get through the Great Depression, two world wars, presidential assaninations, etc etc etc.  Our country isn't perfect, but it never was.  We can manage the current situation.  

I don’t think we ever dealt with this level of mutual, absolute, violent contempt before, or with so many citizens who have no clue about the responsibilities as well as the rights of citizenship, or who actually hate their own country.  It is very concerning to me.

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A lot of ugly things are happening.  But this kind of thought is heard every 4 years about this time.  Regardless of who runs and who wins.

I've learned not to allow myself to worry about things I can't control.  The fact is that I'm gonna die someday, one way or another.  No point wasting my remaining life worrying about it.

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8 minutes ago, Seasider too said:

Ok I’ve had this thought this morning. I hate to drop it and run off, but I have an appointment. I’ll return to it this evening. 
 

Why must our United States remain united? Instead of going the route of civil war, why doesn’t the country literally divide?

Yes, I do realize there are tons of logistical problems with this. But I’m asking the question more on a philosophical level. And definitely thinking before coffee, so please don’t skewer me. It’s just what’s on my mind today. I would hope for an idealistic unity, but that’s looking farther and farther away from possible, this side of heaven. 

Well, I don’t think that would work, logistically. For one thing, even though there seems to be two “sides,” there does exist a ton of nuance, not that it seems like that nuance is ever mentioned. 

I think we only need to look to the failure of the Missouri Compromise or other attempts of that time to have “slave states and free states” to understand why it wouldn’t work to have, say, The Republican States of America and The Democratic States of America. 

I mean, would it be that tech coming out of California would be a “foreign import” if it is shipped to a person in Alabama? Not to mention that (I’m sorry it sounds classist but its true) the high economic areas with high levels of graduate degree attainment are concentrated in “blue” states...I don’t know what that would mean for states without those things if they belong to the “red” country. 

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I agree with happysmilelylady.  I would also note that roughly 4 years is the amount of time it takes most people to forget most things.  There is absolutely nothing new about what is happening today.  It has certainly been worse, in our lifetimes.

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20 minutes ago, Seasider too said:

Ok I’ve had this thought this morning. I hate to drop it and run off, but I have an appointment. I’ll return to it this evening. 
 

Why must our United States remain united? Instead of going the route of civil war, why doesn’t the country literally divide?

Yes, I do realize there are tons of logistical problems with this. But I’m asking the question more on a philosophical level. And definitely thinking before coffee, so please don’t skewer me. It’s just what’s on my mind today. I would hope for an idealistic unity, but that’s looking farther and farther away from possible, this side of heaven. 

Divide into what and what?  What would be the result for the many areas that are actually politically diverse (and generally peaceful about it)?

They tried that with India and Pakistan.  No thank you.

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It is a very troubling time.  And normally peaceful areas aren't exempt. People having their food and beer snatched while eating outside?  Multiple police assisinations?  Calls to disband police and basically our society?  Calls to pack court?   Calls by politicians to burn the place down if their candidate doesn't wiin?  

I am not as worried as having my instincts to prepare rise.  And preparing we have done and will continue to do.

And OP,  one of the big things that concerns me is the lack of knowledge.  People do not find out the facts.  Like we had some cross protestors about a confederate statue in a neighboring county.  Then the KY grand jury verdict came out-- People here in AL were protesting what they had no idea about regarding the grand jury verdict---and in a stupid way too-  acting like they or we in AL had any power to do anything about the verdict in KY.  

There was a vote in another city in AL about a monument move and there was one vote against- a black city council member who said this whole monument thing is a distraction to real issues and problems in the city, state and country.  So are these protests.

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53 minutes ago, Quill said:

I literally fear civil war. I think it almost looks like the battles of the Second US Civil War have begun. If I dwell on it I almost lose hope completely. 

I've heard people talking about this since the Obama administration and I think most of them are idealists who don't tend toward practicality.  In a war you need an identifiable enemy to kill.  How will each side recognize their opponents on the battlefield?  Who will be targeted by whom?  You can't identify a Liberal or Conservative by looking at them.  On what will each fighter in this future battle sight his or her literal, physical weapon? Will these fighters in this Civil War shoot uniformed US soldiers?  Will they shoot uniformed police officers? Even now with riots popping up among protests, we can see most people aren't willing to go there. Will it depend on which party is in office at the time? And what targets will they secure to win? How will they maintain a food supply to their army?  What will they do about ammunition supplies?

And let's remember that during the last American Civil War people didn't have indoor plumbing, climate control in their homes,most knew how to grow their own food, transportation was horses fueled by eating grass growing unattended all around them most of the year. The disruptions caused by the war were far less than one these days would cause.  Today our supply lines are incredibly complex both in interconnectedness and technologies we're dependent on. Most people wouldn't be able to  feed themselves-even those with the skill set aren't able to produce the volume necessary to sustain themselves very long.  So I don't see people who are talking about civil war in any position to actually engage in one, much less have any hope of winning one. 


The greater fear should be the House Divided issue.  Because we've sunk into polarization instead of moderation, the US is a house divided and any motivated enemy of the US is taking notes on the principles of dividing an conquering, without having to actually do the conquering themselves.  Since American culture is basically adolescent in nature, it's tribalistic, undisciplined,  and reactionary.  If more individual Americans were more mature the nation would be united, disciplined, and pro-active.  Now we get to deal with the consequences of our choices as a whole. 

Edited by Homeschool Mom in AZ
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6 minutes ago, Quill said:

Well, I don’t think that would work, logistically. For one thing, even though there seems to be two “sides,” there does exist a ton of nuance, not that it seems like that nuance is ever mentioned. 

I think we only need to look to the failure of the Missouri Compromise or other attempts of that time to have “slave states and free states” to understand why it wouldn’t work to have, say, The Republican States of America and The Democratic States of America. 

I mean, would it be that tech coming out of California would be a “foreign import” if it is shipped to a person in Alabama? Not to mention that (I’m sorry it sounds classist but its true) the high economic areas with high levels of graduate degree attainment are concentrated in “blue” states...I don’t know what that would mean for states without those things if they belong to the “red” country. 

That has been changing, especially since the '08 crash and is continuing at a more rapid pace.  I live in the second largest R&D city with the largest percentage of PhDs and we are red.  But there are many other red places with well educated people too.  Number one R&D is in a mostly red state too.

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19 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

I totally think we have.....we just never realized it.

I also think that the number of people who have "mutual, absolute, violent contemp" is actually very very small.  It just looks like more because the squeeky wheel gets the grease....aka, those who shout the loudest get the most media attention.   There are 330 million people in this country.  The vast majority are just regular people.  

I don’t agree. I truly do think it is worse or as bad as it presumably was in the 1850/60s. It is the ability to share views and peel off into groups that is unique to now. 

I also don’t think the number with contempt, even violent contempt, is so small. Charlottesville woke me to it. Never did I imagine there were so many people just waiting for an opportunity to bring out torches and chant racist chants. It’s a very small leap from behaving in such a manner to actually harming other people. Gobs of psychological studies have confirmed that fact. 

Edited by Quill
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Well sure, there is plenty of contempt on this board and even in this thread.  But most of these people would never actually get off their armchairs and go out and fight for their beliefs in a serious material way.  There's a reason even now the protestors are paid for by money from outside the US.

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Another scary aspect is that with the huge increase in gun sales, problems that used to be addressed with tough words or a fist fight are going to end in gun shots.  Just the other day, there was a court trial going on (4 blocks away from us) between two families.  After the verdict was given, the families -- instead of exchanging words, pulled out their guns and began shooting each other.   This is crazy.

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2 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

I stepped outside my front door a bit ago.

I saw several houses with political signs out front.  I would guess probably 60% of the signs were for Trump, the other 40% were for Biden.  So a fairly mixed street.  And yet, everyone is happily living on the same street.  We aren't like some close knit neighborhood, but we are all friendly, wave to each other going by etc etc.  

Extremism is....by definition....extreme.  Most people are not extreme.  It just ends up looking that way because the extreme people get extreme amounts of media and social media attention.  

We disagree on this point, but I can let it go. I see/hear examples of contempt every time I go out and about. My friend was scorned verbally by a random stranger for wearing a mask yesterday. Now, what business is it of that guy if she wears a mask? 

It may be that we differ on what we view as extreme, but to me, the trajectory matters. I don’t think people pre-meditate, say, driving into a crowd of protestors, but such actions are born out of the inward contempt from which violence springs. 

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4 minutes ago, Hunter said:

I am worried, too.

The United States is still a very new country and the current government was an experiment. We are discovering some of the weaknesses in the experiment.

The civil war in Yugoslavia during the 1990's is an interesting war to study.

Maybe I'm completely naive, but every new leader and administration is more or less an "experiment." The democratic process is pretty constant in the US, though.

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8 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

I stepped outside my front door a bit ago.

I saw several houses with political signs out front.  I would guess probably 60% of the signs were for Trump, the other 40% were for Biden.  So a fairly mixed street.  And yet, everyone is happily living on the same street.  We aren't like some close knit neighborhood, but we are all friendly, wave to each other going by etc etc.  

Extremism is....by definition....extreme.  Most people are not extreme.  It just ends up looking that way because the extreme people get extreme amounts of media and social media attention.  

That's how it is around my place also.  Opposite signs right next door to each other, been there for months (if people were intolerant, someone would have stolen or vandalized the signs they didn't like, right?)  That is one thing I love about my place of residence.  People can disagree and still have humanity.  And I do agree that this is far more common than the media would have us believe.

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1 minute ago, SKL said:

That's how it is around my place also.  Opposite signs right next door to each other, been there for months (if people were intolerant, someone would have stolen or vandalized the signs they didn't like, right?)  That is one thing I love about my place of residence.  People can disagree and still have humanity.  And I do agree that this is far more common than the media would have us believe.

I don't put out a sign partly because they are stolen and vandalized locally.

 

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Honestly, the one thing that makes me feel uneasy is how much of the unrest in the US is being instigated from outside the US, by elements who have no love for the US.  And how many people in the US either don't know or don't want to know this reality.

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Maybe someone smarter than me can explain. I am just posting this for people that have never heard of this topic. I have heard of it, but am a babe on the topic.

Why is America considered the great experiment?

https://www.quora.com/Why-is-America-considered-the-great-experiment

Before 1780 the form of government in the US, a democratic constitutional republic with a severly limited central government had never been attempted before. During the war of 1812, there were significant doubts such a government could survive. The US consists of states, joined together. Nthe states have full (pleanary) police power. The federal government’s power is limited to 16 powers listed in the constitution. On top of that one branch of the government makes the laws, another branch intreperts the laws, and a third branch enforces the laws. Congress makes the laws. The president cannot make laws. Only congress. Congress actually has much more power than the president.

In the US, the citizens are considered soverign. Neither the federal government, nor the state governments are considered soverign.

The US is not a nation of people with a single culture, a single religion, a single ethnicity, nor any single belief. As a result, maintaining a citizen-supported government is very difficult. The nation almost split in 1860, an extremely bloody war resulted. The citizenery has never agreed on the things we consider immoral and unlawful. We do agree on the majority of items—but on the fringes, there is no agreement. For example there is wide agreement that murder and rape are immoral, but very little agreement on drug use or abortion.

The US started out as a never-before-tried experiment. We’ve been at this for 240 years. We still don’t know if the experiments will work long term. We hope it will.

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35 minutes ago, Quill said:

For one thing, even though there seems to be two “sides,” there does exist a ton of nuance, not that it seems like that nuance is ever mentioned. 

I think that this is where the rational middle comes in.

When dealing with politicians and elections, for example, the problem is that the two major parties have aligned themselves with the fringes and folks in the rational middle will tend to vote for what they consider to be the least worst option.  That and they will simply vote the way they always have even though what the fringes stand for has strayed far from the Enlightenment ideals that used to be the basis of our social norms.

And again, I'm talking about the fringes on both the left and the right.

Edited by EKS
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15 minutes ago, OKBud said:

No like our form of government and how we administer it. The US is youngish. 

The US constitution is worth saving. Even though it's relatively young, it was well done. This is coming from someone outside the US. 

I'm not a political expert by any means. I live in a country that has 2 forms of law; one for Quebec and one for the rest of the country (Canada). It is not optimal by any means. It may have been useful in the past, but I believe a unified legal system would help unify a country. The US has this, and even though there are problems, you are all following a common constitution. 

Edited by wintermom
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2 minutes ago, OKBud said:

What's the word for when the fringes go so far that they nearly meet one another?

I don't know what the word is, but I do think that they are two sides of the same coin.

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I have zero  grave concerns about the state of the union.  Every 4 years I hear people talking about how terrible it is in the US and I just don't see what they're seeing, or at least not to the extent that they see it.  Sure shitty people are doing shitty things but I don't think it is anything more than other previous times of unrest. 

 

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5 minutes ago, HeighHo said:

Nothing new.  Talk to people who had jury duty 25 years ago.  Same-old same-old.  

And really does it matter if its guns or knives or cars used as the implement? dead is dead. 

I'd answer back but I guess it might be viewed as political.  😏

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29 minutes ago, SKL said:

Well sure, there is plenty of contempt on this board and even in this thread.  But most of these people would never actually get off their armchairs and go out and fight for their beliefs in a serious material way.  There's a reason even now the protestors are paid for by money from outside the US.

That is what I keep saying.  The one conclusion that was not at all disputed and the main conclusion and main target of the indictments were foreign actors- and the conclusion was the Russia, in the 16 election, main goal was to cause social discord.  They don't just do it with politics.  They also tried to foment dissent on vaccines and on anything they could get people to argue about.  SInce 16, China, North Korea and Iran have also gotten into the game of fomenting dissent and putting out lies to get more people angry with others.  Those countries win if we descend into chaos.  That is their goal.

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17 minutes ago, vonfirmath said:

I don't put out a sign partly because they are stolen and vandalized locally.

 

Yes, that happens here and I have heard of it happening (first-hand) in another state. 

Also, dh does not put a political sticker on his work truck because he believes he will be targeted for vandalism. 

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29 minutes ago, Hunter said:

I am worried, too.

The United States is still a very new country and the current government was an experiment. We are discovering some of the weaknesses in the experiment.

The civil war in Yugoslavia during the 1990's is an interesting war to study.

And part of that was a conspiracy by certain people to cause part of that war.  Note what happened in Croatia and Slovenia.  That was all fomented by other parties who ginned up fake stories,etc to cause war.

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7 minutes ago, hjffkj said:

I have zero  grave concerns about the state of the union.  Every 4 years I hear people talking about how terrible it is in the US and I just don't see what they're seeing, or at least not to the extent that they see it.  Sure shitty people are doing shitty things but I don't think it is anything more than other previous times of unrest. 

 

I could see this varying depending on where you live.  Personally, in my 50+ years, I have never seen or felt this level of simmering contempt toward one another.  And due to social media, this contempt seems far more blunt and things seem to escalate much more quickly.  

I'm not really concerned about the state of the union in the long term, but I absolutely think these times will stretch and change us.

(When I say "long term," I don't mean the forever long term;  all nations have their ebb and flow.)

 

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2 minutes ago, TravelingChris said:

That is what I keep saying.  The one conclusion that was not at all disputed and the main conclusion and main target of the indictments were foreign actors- and the conclusion was the Russia, in the 16 election, main goal was to cause social discord.  They don't just do it with politics.  They also tried to foment dissent on vaccines and on anything they could get people to argue about.  SInce 16, China, North Korea and Iran have also gotten into the game of fomenting dissent and putting out lies to get more people angry with others.  Those countries win if we descend into chaos.  That is their goal.

Well IMO, they are getting what they have been aiming at. The problem I see is that divisive sides never, ever focus on if/which foreign bad actors and bots are stirring up strife. I mean, never have I ever seen a FB post saying, “Oh, those silly Chinese bots, trying to make me think vaccines are evil!” 

The news stations constantly agitate based on political parties or sub-groups in the US. People focus their contempt upon the opposite political view. 

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2 minutes ago, Quill said:

Yes, that happens here and I have heard of it happening (first-hand) in another state. 

Also, dh does not put a political sticker on his work truck because he believes he will be targeted for vandalism. 

Yeah but that has always happened everywhere.  During more heated elections it just happens more.

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2 minutes ago, calbear said:

I would suggest that you watch the Netflix documentary the Social Dilemma. Here is a commentary (language warning) from Dr. Z about it. 
 

 

I just watched it. It was very good. 

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19 minutes ago, Hunter said:

The US started out as a never-before-tried experiment. We’ve been at this for 240 years. We still don’t know if the experiments will work long term. We hope it will.

This is why studying US history in the context of world history is so important.  

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27 minutes ago, Quill said:

We disagree on this point, but I can let it go. I see/hear examples of contempt every time I go out and about. My friend was scorned verbally by a random stranger for wearing a mask yesterday. Now, what business is it of that guy if she wears a mask? 

It may be that we differ on what we view as extreme, but to me, the trajectory matters. I don’t think people pre-meditate, say, driving into a crowd of protestors, but such actions are born out of the inward contempt from which violence springs. 

Quill, I think it may be were you live.  I just went on a  3 week road trip through 16 states.  Now the areas I was in were almost exclusively red areas.  But even though many of those states had no mask order and we were wearing masks everywhere inside, no one ever accosted us or even gave us any nasty looks.  People were friendly.  We did hear comments from people regarding concern about other parts of the country=-==we were gone when the two police had that execution attempt in Southern CA and I did have a brief conversation with a woman in South Dakota about that and how horrible it is and a few more people joined in and mentioned riots and looting and burning that concerned them too.  

 

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Just now, hjffkj said:

Yeah but that has always happened everywhere.  During more heated elections it just happens more.

I’m responding to SKL and HappySmiley, who said they don’t see this. 

I, personally, did not see that in elections before 2016, though I knew people who were very committed to their candidate. We had a political sticker on our car for years and years and neither dh nor I was at all worried about the car being targeted by people who hated that candidate. 

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1 minute ago, Quill said:

Well IMO, they are getting what they have been aiming at. The problem I see is that divisive sides never, ever focus on if/which foreign bad actors and bots are stirring up strife. I mean, never have I ever seen a FB post saying, “Oh, those silly Chinese bots, trying to make me think vaccines are evil!” 

The news stations constantly agitate based on political parties or sub-groups in the US. People focus their contempt upon the opposite political view. 

Bold:  I've seen some, but mostly I scroll on by stupid posts rather than give the jerks what they want.  Hopefully others do the same.

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2 minutes ago, Quill said:

I’m responding to SKL and HappySmiley, who said they don’t see this. 

I, personally, did not see that in elections before 2016, though I knew people who were very committed to their candidate. We had a political sticker on our car for years and years and neither dh nor I was at all worried about the car being targeted by people who hated that candidate. 

My observation was that in 2016 a lot of people were afraid to publicly admit their support for a certain candidate.  That seems to be less of a factor now.

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1 minute ago, SKL said:

My observation was that in 2016 a lot of people were afraid to publicly admit their support for a certain candidate.  That seems to be less of a factor now.

I’m seeing it now, in both conservative and liberal parts of California.  And I’m hearing that blazing contempt in both places.

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27 minutes ago, OKBud said:

Definitely this is true. Not for you and HappySmiley, but I mean across the board. As a relatively small thing, I think it's pretty extreme to fire someone [almost all someones- obviously it matters here and there] for having an opinion unrelated to their job. But whenever that happens, some will cheer for the reason that they also don't like the opinion. And this is, of course, something that's been predicated upon people who identify with both the right and the left in the US as well as centrists. Again, just a small example of what I mean and I don't want to digress and get into acceptably-fireable opinions!

I agree and it has gotten bad enough that people are being fired because their wife or kid or parent has some opinion.  Now people being fired because they threaten to kill or urge others to kill or die or whatever violent sayings that are being thrown about are, in my opinion, worthy of firing.  And that is on both sides.  Threatening and urging violence should be denounced.

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