thoughts on the inauguration

Watching footage of the inauguration has magnified one of the central themes of this election: fear. It exists on both sides of the equation: people support Trump because they are afraid, and people oppose him because they are afraid. In both cases, fear has been born out of a sense of powerlessness. And what do people who feel powerless do? The only thing they think they can: protest.

Protesting is as much a maneuver to accomplish emotional security as it is a political or social statement. I know. People protest because it gives them a sense of having some control, of being able to do something.

A protest, in my mind, is like a sugar factory. The air is filled with a fine haze. Tiny granules of sugar float around, each particle less than 500 microns wide. Pack all of this into an enclosed space. Add oxygen. Under the right conditions, even something as mild as friction or a spark of static can cause an explosion.

Why do protests turn violent? I’m not sure. But fear incites more fear, and fear causes people to behave recklessly. This is true for protesters and officers alike. At some point, you reach a threshold, and all you need is a little friction for ignition.

What does this accomplish, though? How does breaking the windows of a shop or trashing a car parked on the street help the cause? And what happens afterward? Protesting comes with an adrenaline rush, but the aftermath feels bitter, empty, discontent. People are arrested; those that aren’t go home, feeling as though they’ve achieved . . . what?


Are you less afraid now?

questions without answers.  I admit that I also feel very powerless in this situation, so I’m writing about it; which, I guess, is it’s own form of protest. 

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