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Bomb scares and the politics of the apocalypse

The Washington Post – Dan Balz: “America is a country on edge. Days ahead of crucial midterm elections, the talk is not of better days or a brighter future. Instead, the climate is one of fear, of threat and of division, of caravans from Central America and angry mobs. And now, of explosive devices sent to two former Democratic presidents and others. The devices sent to the home of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, to former president Barack Obama, to CNN and to others may be the act of a lone individual, perhaps someone isolated and unbalanced. What is known is that all of the packages were sent to critics of President Trump, or people criticized by the president. But no one knows at this point the political leanings, if any, and motivations of the person who sent them. Teams of law enforcement officials will seek to answer those questions.

…This is a time of the politics of the apocalypse — an all-or-nothing view of the difference between winning and losing an election and of holding power or not holding it. There is no middle ground on what winning or losing means. This has been on the rise for a long time. But it has intensified of late. No one really knows how to roll it back. Politicians say that it is time for the country to come together. But on whose terms? Political rhetoric has escalated dramatically, spurred by the ideological divisions and aided by social media. This has created two Americas, and turned those in one America against those in the other. Forces that not that long ago had been suppressed, though not eliminated, have been emboldened and unleashed. Racial antagonism, anti-Semitism and a more general fear of the opposition permeate at least a part of many political conversations…”

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