Members of a mob don white robes and hoods with slits for their eyes. They arm themselves with batons and crowbars, and march by torchlight chanting, “Jews will not replace us” at which point they proceed to wreak physical violence on opponents, killing one in the process. In the meantime another mob dresses in black; they cover their faces with black masks and proceed to beat up their opponents. Thus far they haven’t actually killed anyone, although it does not appear to be for lack of trying.
For its part, having abandoned deep thinking about Melania Trump’s footwear, the punditry of the left and right is busy doing some its own bomb throwing. They are engaged in a fierce debate about which is worse: mobs of right wing thugs in white uniforms beating people or mobs of left wing thugs in black uniforms beating people.
They are simply delusional. They are delusional because, among other things, the underlying assumption is that these pitched battles are about ideology. They are nothing of the sort.
The underlying cause is better understood with reference to the psychology of ignorant, rootless and alienated young men who want to believe in something; young men driven by their hormones and typically manipulated by their cynical leaders. We have seen them throughout history. They are the foot soldiers of history, the witless sacrificial lambs. They are the Sharks and the Jets; the Crips and the Bloods; the Hatfields and McCoys; the Capulets and Montagues.
The problem we face here is that political leaders have squandered their authority, and have been doing so for years. Perhaps, just perhaps, they will come to their senses, grow up and stop encouraging nihilism for partisan ends before it leads to a crisis of legitimacy; it is a crisis that could be closer than you think. Before it is too late, let us consider the words of the Prince at the very end of Romeo and Juliet:
“We settle a dark peace this morning. The sun is too sad to show itself. Let’s go, to talk about these sad things some more. Some will be pardoned, and some will be punished. There was never a story more full of pain than the story of Romeo and Juliet”. (Act 5, Scene 3).