America's political pandemic festers on resentment

By Harlan Ullman, Arnaud de Borchgrave Distinguished Columnist
Protesters march through downtown Minneapolis as jury deliberations begin in the Derek Chauvin trial on April 19. The former police officer was convicted for the death of George Floyd. File Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI
Protesters march through downtown Minneapolis as jury deliberations begin in the Derek Chauvin trial on April 19. The former police officer was convicted for the death of George Floyd. File Photo by Jemal Countess/UPI | License Photo

June 2 (UPI) -- A political pandemic, in which truth and fact, along with the collapse of trust and confidence in government, has been infecting and threatening the social fabric and health of the United States.

This pandemic culminated in the Jan. 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill. The condition has worsened as, like cancer, it has metastasized. And no chemotherapy, radiation or immunotherapy cure has been invented to contain the cancer much as vaccinations seem to have slowed COVID-19.


If these symptoms activated alarm bells and warning lights, the nation would be deafened and blinded by the intensity. Yet, no matter how severe, the nation at large is not seeking help. Consider just a few of these danger signs.

Violence committed on racist, anti-Semitic and other ethnic grounds is reaching epic proportions. Gun violence in the form of mass shootings, likewise, is skyrocketing. And the backlash and resentment to this violence are reaching critical mass.


None of this is helped by venomous rhetoric. That one member of Congress has likened the wearing of masks to the worst atrocities of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust is a return to the bad old days of Sen. Joseph McCarthy. That a majority of members of one party refuses to accept the 2020 presidential election results exacerbates the vast political divides. And while the other party seems attracted to adopt "woke" policies to undo the damage done to the Black community since the first slaves were brought to the New World in 1619, that will not address the basic grievances motivating resentment politics.

Even the mere mention or discussion of Black Lives Matter risks retribution or retaliation as the irrationality generated by this political form of cancer makes civil debate virtually impossible. From a neutral or objective perspective that many believe is impossible to obtain, as with anti-Semitism and anti-Asianism, a long and tragic history is significant.

African Americans can point to decades of abuse and hugely discriminatory treatment despite the Emancipation Act, 14th Amendment, Brown vs. the Board of Education in 1954 that ended school segregation, the Equal Rights and Voting Acts that were passed in 1964 and 1965 respectively. African Americans serving in World War II did not benefit from the GI Bills. And unequal and unfair treatment by law enforcement, drug laws and sentencing guidelines have sent disproportionately large numbers of Black people to prison often for longer terms than White people.


This resentment has festered much as cancer cells lurk deep in human tissue. While the murder of George Floyd was one of many outrages committed against Black people, it served as a catalyst to ignite and generate a massive reaction. Decades and even centuries of abuse may have finally reached an explosive point in this community.

This pathology is by no means unique to America, even though one can rightly argue that the treatment of the colonists by George III triggered the Revolution and independence. The outbreak of violence in Israel and Palestine, culminating in 11 days of violence, had one significant difference.

Violence was directed at Arab Israelis, who constitute about 20% of the population, by Jewish vigilante groups. The long-term consequences are unclear but could prove formidable and even existential to maintaining a stable, peaceful and coherent Israeli state.

Many Americans simply cannot or will not understand the politics of resentment and how deep they run across much of society. Reconciliation seems elusive at best and unachievable at worst. Something is very wrong and very dangerous.

The first step in finding cures and remedies is understanding what is driving this hostility and resentment among and between Americans. Some believe that as politics became more zero sum and polarized, this has affected American thinking and attitudes.


Others conclude that both political parties will exploit these differences to unify respective bases to win at the ballot box. And still others argue that the enormous disparities over wealth, social standing and opportunity have grown too great to be tolerable any more in what is supposed to be a democratic and egalitarian society.

Having achieved this understanding, are any cures or remedies feasible in a nation divided 50-50 on virtually every issue? While national security threats are still defined in terms of foreign adversaries and non-state actors wishing us ill, even though right-wing, neo-Nazi White supremists have been declared the greatest domestic terrorist danger, can the nation turn its attention to this political cancer before it becomes irreversible?

The answer to this question is perhaps the most important of all and on which the future tranquility of the United State may rest.Harlan Ullman is the author of the upcoming book "The Fifth Horseman and the New MAD: The Tragic History of How Massive Attacks of Disruption Endangered, Infected, Engulfed and Disunited a 51% Nation and the Rest of the World."

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

Donald Trump supporters breach Capitol, riot over election results

Supporters of President Donald Trump riot against the Electoral College vote count on January 6, 2021, in protest of Trump's loss to President-elect Joe Biden, prompting a lockdown of the Capitol Building. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

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