Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
The Wikipedia page on “sectarianism” focuses on the term as it is used to describe “sectarian conflict” across religious and political lines. It has extensive subsections for nations in Europe, Africa, Australia, Asia, and The Middle East. There is nothing on this page regarding the United States.
I’m not writing this to be flip. We have been given a clearer picture than ever during the past week of the level of religious fervor some people have adopted around the figurehead of Donald Trump and the fabricated scriptures of QAnon. We have seen via affidavits and screenshots of posts on Parler and Reddit describing the zeal and anticipation for committing future violence. We know what actions some in the crowd might have followed through upon if they had managed to capture any of the “treasonous” politicians they prized. They brought tasers, pipe bombs, and homemade napalm. They beat a police officer to death with a fire extinguisher.
We know how many of them see the failed January 6th coup attempt as a victory and we know that they will keep trying, buoyed by a belief that their cause is just and mandated by powers beyond mortal understanding. They see hundreds of allies in legislatures across the country who feel empowered to support them with rhetoric and other deeds, in the brightest light of day.
And the deadliest engineered firearms known to man are available to them right now with the flimsiest of background checks, a few hundred dollars, and some hummed bars of a song they titled “freedom.”
We have very thorough histories of how sectarian conflicts have played out in one society after another over the course of centuries. We know how long some of these lasted, or have continued to endure, and the catastrophes that accompanied even the ones that subsided.
We cannot keep dressing the truth of our horror in polite, ridiculous terminology such as “political differences” or “divergent opinions.” We cannot let those who only realize now how poorly they’d miscalculated the weight of their own cynicism escape back into their undeserved positions of power, muttering insincere calls for “unity” and accusations of “divisiveness.”
It is going to be bad for awhile. Your despair and disgust will be cultivated against you by people who wish you to share their own rotten, primal worldview, who will then entice you to step into an arena with them to decide the argument with trident and gladius. They will press on the part of you that wishes desperately for relief to deflect you from the activities that might weaken and destroy them once and for all. They are adopting the role of “sect” and need you to be one as well, to validate their delusion that war is necessity.
This is not an essay about turning the other cheek. This is not an essay about refusing to fight back, or standing with noble silence upon the higher ground. The fight is going to happen; the fight is happening as we speak; the fight has been going on for some time. There are bleaker places to which the fight can go, however, hungry singularities that can never be escaped once one is caught in their gravity. The people who attacked the Capitol last week can feel themselves being pulled into that oblivion and are grabbing at our legs to ensure they won’t be suffering there alone.
There will be much cause to stay alert for the foreseeable future, and not all of it is going to be about them.