It is difficult keeping track of where a person fits into the spectrum of ideology these days. I thought I was comfortably in the middle ground and then the Prez next door throws out this ‘Alt Left’ category. With the Alt Right on one side and the new Alt Left on the other, that must make me an Alt Middle.
I was never certain where the term Alt-right came from. I can see an alternative right if you don’t quite agree with the conservative or Republican viewpoint but the Nazis and the KKK crew are even further out there in space – probably what should be called the Ultra-Right. Maybe that’s what whoever coined the phrase meant – ultra, not alternative – but you know how easily words are often taken out of context.
Anyway, whenever I hear that ‘Alt’ word I harken back to the bad old days when your computer would lock up or freeze with the blue screen of death and the only thing to do was hit ctrl alt del simultaneously and reboot the whole system. If you are curious you can try hitting ctrl alt right and left arrows to see what happens – but not before you finishing reading the news!
The thing was, when you rebooted your computer, all the programs came back to life and you could carry on after replacing a little data that disappeared into the ether when the system failed. Some may think a crtl alt del switch might be the appropriate action for those neo-Nazis and KKK types but then there might be some who would feel the same way about the alt-left folk.
However, if we cannot delete those extremists amongst us, can we at least de-fang them? Should we destroy or remove all their symbols; tear down their statues; cut up their portraits; burn their books; and scrub their tracks from history? Can we forbid them to fly their flags and banners; have them laser off their tattoos; demand they remove their tasteless tee shirts and regalia?
Well of course we a) can; b) can’t; c) should; d) shouldn’t or e) think about all of the above or f) just ignore them and hope they go away. Too bad we can’t just hit ctrl alt del and reset things back to a time in history when . . . (you and your closest neighbour both picked the same date, didn’t you?)
Exactly. As much as we might all like to go back and fix things at a point in history, it just is not going to happen. What we need to do is apply the appropriate Band-Aids and prescriptions to fix the body politic and proceed cautiously into the future. Education of the Alt Rights (and Lefts) is going to require time and patience by us in the Alt Middle.
In the meantime we can all stand around shouting and waving placards at each other in a room damp with gasoline and gunpowder. We’ll be okay unless someone lights a match. Would someone kindly empty Kim’s and Don’s pockets?