Uncommon Sense

October 8, 2021

They Made it Acceptable

Recently a New Hampshire state government meeting was disrupted by rowdy protestors. The meeting was halted after Department of Health and Human Services employees felt threatened and left the building under State Police escort, something that has not happened in New Hampshire before.

New Hampshire politics has always been passionate (their state motto is “Live Free or Die” for Pete’s sake) but has always been civil until now. Similarly it’s happening across the nation: Angry anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers are undermining democracy, science, and civil society. They are disrupting school board meetings, town council meetings, any gathering where a loud minority can shout down elected officials.

Why this outbreak? Why now?

As I understand it, it is because of the January 6th raid on the Federal Capitol by Trump insurrectionists. The key point is: they got away with it. Just like the Abu Ghraib torture incidents, a few underlings are thrown under the bus, but the people in charge get away scot free. Anytime an outrageous outlier occurs, it empowers people to fill the gap between the former “most outrageous thing possible” and the new “most outrageous thing possible.”

This is the true danger the Trump administration posed and poses to our political system. People self-limit their behaviors, but when someone ignores norms by such a degree, something half as bad seems acceptable. One act of an extremist creates new spaces to fit in lesser activities that exceed former boundaries but are now not considered the worst thing that could happen. And the people doing those things would never have gone that far before.

Trump has empowered all of these people to act this way with little fear of punishment. We need to bring back the stocks and public humiliations.


  1. You are correct, of course. While numerous persons who engaged in the actual violence in DC (some 600 have been arrested so far) for the most part the perpetrators got little more than a slap on the wrist, and the instigators behind the violence have gotten off scot free and continue to portray this violent episode as a “peaceful protest”. Even denying that it happened in the first place.

    That’s the problem we have with our justice system in this country. A few low level scapegoats might be arrested and brought to trial, but the actual people responsible for it are never brought to justice.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by grouchyfarmer — October 8, 2021 @ 12:04 pm | Reply

  2. Why can’t we all just get along? *sarcasm*


    Comment by Nan — October 8, 2021 @ 1:08 pm | Reply

    • Why do the rich want all of the money? Why do their lackeys go along so peacefully? Why do so many politicians sell their souls? (I know selling something you don’t have and getting real money for is is a “selling the Brooklyn Bridge moment.”) Why are so many assholes attracted to careers in politics?

      Oh, I gotta lot of questions.


      Comment by Steve Ruis — October 8, 2021 @ 1:54 pm | Reply

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