Thursday, June 08, 2017


Picket lines. Lines in the sand. Lines on the playground. It's important to know which lines to cross and when. If you are coloring, it's best to stay within the lines. When the lines get blurred, it's difficult to know where to stand. Waiting in line is a sign of respect and patient. Cutting in line is not.
There are plenty more ways in which lines rule or confirm our lives. Some of us are good at them. Some of us are not.
That's why they have to bring in the police. They help, in a very similar way to that which I enforce the line to the four square game on the playground, but with a little more effect. When the line is the kind that has another across the street or park or some other public site pushing toward it, then that "opposites attract" thing becomes dangerous.
This is not news to the people of Portland. They were visited by a herd of competing lines of shouters in the wake of the killing of two good Samaritans who lost their lives defending two young women. That's when Portland's mayor asked if everyone could back off a little while tempers and reason returned to normal.
But that's not an easy request these days. Normal has so many shades, and it could very well be that civil unrest is the new normal. Consequently, extremists from the right and the left met with eyes blazing over last weekend to express their opinions on the matter of free speech. With clubs and knives and brass knuckles. These are the lines that most of us wanted to avoid, but now we can only anticipate more.
Like the ones that formed in Boulder, Colorado over that same weekend. Members of the far-right Proud Boys group showed up in this liberal enclave to exercise their right to riot free speech. From behind their barricades, they pushed and screamed and yelled their vision of the world while across the courthouse lawn, an equal or larger group hollered theirs. All on a summer's day. Red Rover, Red Rover, send Dietrich right over. With a sharpened screwdriver.
This game really isn't that much fun anymore.
Or healthy.

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