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Americans are angrier this year. Are hate groups contributing to the anger?

Uploaded: Nov 20, 2021
We Americans are angry, locally and nationally. We have become meaner, more demanding, more defensive and more intolerant. But we also do feel more entitled.

This anger has recently been exhibited thousands of ways across our country:

• An airline passenger got angry at a flight attendant and knocked some of her teeth out. In fact, this year alone in the U.S., there have been more than 150 disruptive passenger incidents on airplanes, forcing many of them to land and evict the annoyer.
• A man killed a Georgia grocery clerk who asked him to pull up his mask so it covered his nose.
• Fauci has become the bad guy to some Americans because he told all of us to wear masks and distance one’s self from others. And maybe because the coronavirus is still with us and we feel we have suffered enough, Fauci is now the man to blame .
• The media has its lowest ratings in ages because some say it can’t be trusted. I am not sure whether people distinguish the press from social media. Most of the falsehoods are circulated on social media.
• Congress can’t be trusted if you are a Republican or a Democrat because you don’t like what Senators and Representatives are doing – or not doing.
• School boards are being deluged by parents complaining about requiring children to wear masks in the classroom or insisting that the history of blacks in America not be taught in the classroom.
• Despite solid facts to prove it, some are convinced Joe Biden lost the election -- Trump is the real president.

You know all this. We are a divided nation, much bluer and redder now, compared to what we were.

One of the reasons may be because in California alone, we have 72 hate groups and 51 extreme anti-government groups, according to the Mercury News. The Southern Poverty Center, who conducted the study, said there are in this country 838 hate groups and 566 anti-government groups across the nation. These hate groups are anti-black, or anti-Semitic, or anti-gay, anti LGBTQ, anti-immigrant. anti-nationalist, anti-Muslim -- take your choice.

"Hate groups are collectives that denigrate other groups of people for personal characteristics they cannot change, such as race, religion, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation," according to the article. The names of the 72 organizations are listed.

So are we being goaded or pushed by groups who we don't realize have become so widespread in our country; groups that are trying to make us more "anti" -- and in the process more angry at each other? We can't do much about them, because they are not illegal and they have free speech rights, too.

We tend to quickly dismiss what someone of the opposite party says, because they are not part of our tribe, or our set of beliefs. We tend to dismiss what "the other" says, because we know our tribe, our party, is right.

What is happening to us and to our society? It feels like a crazy virus is circulating across our country.

What can or should we do? Be aware, first of all.
Care about what is happening. Be in control of what you think and do. Try to be kind, try to care, love others as yourself, as religions declare. Talk to others about this growing problem.

I know that sounds platitudinous, but somehow, we all have to stop this expanding anger in ourselves and others.

Do you have any ideas about what we can do to make America less hateful?

Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Jason Tarlick, a resident of another community,
on Nov 20, 2021 at 3:28 pm

Jason Tarlick is a registered user.

I have been discussing this topic with my colleagues at Stanford. Given the circumstances, current national landscape and polarized mindsets, we are experiencing a civil war of sorts and secession might resolve matters. In other words, separate the blue (coastal states) from the red (inland) states. In CA they may have to go one step further by separating the predominantly rural, white conservative and under-educated Central Valley, north of Marin, and Sierra foothills counties from the more liberal and enlightened blue counties. Orange and Contra Costa Counties could also join the red contingency as their only difference from the aforementioned red counties is median income and education levels. Other than that, most of the residents there are just as conservative as the hillbilly regions of California. This secession is more clear cut on the national level given the voting patterns and if worse comes to worse, people can always migrate to where they are more comfortable politically, socially, and ideally economically. This measure would also allow for two separate presidents representing the Trump Republican platform and the more liberal/progressive, idealistic policies of the Left. And the only time the two countries would need to re-unite is in a concerted war against the PRC. Other than that, just live and let from federally mandated oppression that continually attacks basic civil liberties while promoting overbearing, one-sided curriculum like CRT and non-binary acknowledgments. And as far as illegal immigration, refugee havens and sanctuary cities go, NIMBY blue-leaning Californians can address and resolve the problem while the red states and counties post their 'Keep Out' signs.

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community,
on Nov 20, 2021 at 4:29 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

Americans are stressed. In California, even our governor went "missing." I hope things get better for our country. I pray for an end to the pandemic, and for the well-being of us all.

Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Nov 20, 2021 at 5:21 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

Established media, mainly the press, seem to incite anger by their choice of words. Use of such words as fight, battle, divisive, hate, contoversial, etc. seem to appear in every headline. Time was when we went to a newspaper for an unbiased report, headlines conveyed the facts with more details given below, and left us to make up our own minds as to how to connect to what was going on. Now the media seem to all have political agendas of their own. We are being told what to think, not how to think. We are told to be angry about everything from election results and trial results, to climate changes and natural occurring events. Celebrities for some reason think we will listen to their rants on twitter and everyone from politicians to rockstars and even those who are famous for no particular reason other than they are famous seem to think that their followers will be influenced by their tweets. There are individuals who are called influencers and there are those who are actually influenced by them which beggars belief. Common sense has gone out the window and life seems to be more extraordinary by each passing day.

Anger seems to be a way of life, and in my opinion is not the way we should be. I would suggest that we should be limiting our time in front of our devices, take a lot of what we are being bombarded with with a large pinch of salt, start looking for the good things in life that we can see without media suggestion. Take a walk in the Baylands or in Foothills Park, watch some young children playing in the park, look at the beauty in the fall colors in our trees and sky at sunset. Enjoy our time with family, friends and those close to us. Help those more unfortunate in practical ways as well as monetary giving.

Take time to smell the roses and find many things to be thankful about this Thanksgiving. Don't dwell on the things we can't change, but make some small changes where we can. Enjoy the holiday season in traditional ways and start some new traditions.

Posted by Douglas+Moran, a resident of Barron Park,
on Nov 20, 2021 at 6:14 pm

Douglas+Moran is a registered user.

If by "hate groups" you mean the national media/"the press" ("contributing to the anger"), I would agree.
Your blog includes examples of this:

- "I am not sure whether people distinguish the press from social media. Most of the falsehoods are circulated on social media."

Many of the falsehoods on social media are from "the press", either directly or indirectly. And much of what I see in the corporate press is propaganda for the establishment narrative. Most of my reliable sources are now on social media. Some are prominent journalists who fled suppression at their media outlet and are now on Substack or Medium. Others went to YouTube before the suppression there forced them to, Odysee, Rumble, Rockfin, ... Those channels provide analysis backed up by links to reputable, detailed source materials, such as peer-reviewed research in prominent science journals.

Then there are the press narratives contradicted by long-established evidence. For example, that the 3 people shot in Kenosha 14 months ago were Black when multiple videos widely available the next day showed that they were White. And many related lies.

(portion removed)

Posted by Moses Mosisi, a resident of Stanford,
on Nov 21, 2021 at 8:00 am

Moses Mosisi is a registered user.

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]

Posted by Resident, a resident of Midtown,
on Nov 21, 2021 at 9:14 am

Resident is a registered user.

I find it interesting that you can go online with a pre-conceived opinion and automatically find people that agree with you. We tend to stick to these sources and avoid others, which reinforces the division. The legacy media -- the exclusive "press corps" that follow politicians around with cameras and microphones screaming questions at them -- have become irrelevant. Instead of adhering to journalistic standards which vaulted them to prominence many decades ago, they instead sink lower and lower, using their well-known names to compete against rising publications as they become disgustingly partisan. Try to find a single article on CNN or Fox that isn't naked, shallow pandering. As 2021 draws to a close they have dropped all pretense of objectivity.
I lean to the right but I'm incredibly bored reading Fox, RedState, Breitbart, etc. because they tell me exactly what I want to hear. We're in a fascinating new age where each person is challenged to draw information from many different sources and form his own world view. At this time I steer clear of politics and look for rich, neutral sources of information about random obscure topics because that gives me peace of mind. I avoid getting baited by mainstream "hot button" headlines that would make me angry and waste my time.

Posted by Mirriam Porter, a resident of Cuesta Park,
on Nov 21, 2021 at 11:47 am

Mirriam Porter is a registered user.

Most unfortunately, a lot of people tend to let self-professed topical pundits replace their own thinking and/or thought process. And these are the true ignoramuses whether they are adhering to Fox News, CNN, or dogmatic religious leaders. We will never have unity in the United States because there are too many differing opinions based on politics, the economy, Covid-19, race relations, and immigration. Sometimes it is better to stick one's head in the sand while focusing on the pertinent issues that directly impact one's own immediate existence. Personally speaking, I do not care one iota about the Afghan refugees, those trying to illegally cross the border into the United States, Critical Race Theory, or BLM gatherings and their ongoing diatribes against white society. And while we can never go back to the pseudo-idyllic wonder years of Ozzie & Harriet or Leave It To Beaver, many hardworking Americans are not quite ready to embrace the disruptive and economically destructive social policies of Biden and his party of left-wing socialists.

Posted by Frank Montez, a resident of Ventura,
on Nov 21, 2021 at 12:38 pm

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[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names.]

Posted by Diana Diamond, a Almanac Online blogger,
on Nov 21, 2021 at 3:16 pm

Diana Diamond is a registered user.

No, I don't see the media (NYT, Wash, Post, some Cable stations) as hate groups. Not at all. The Mercury story lists 72 hate groups, including: True Nation Israelite Black Riders Liberation Party in LA, Golden Gate Skinheads, White Aryan Resistance, American Patriot Vanguard, Congregation in LA, the Proud Boys, a, Oath Keepers in several parts of the state, etc. See the Nov. 17 edition of the Mercury News

This column has elicited a lot of conservative comments, some with their own biases. I wish the comments could be broader.

Posted by Hinrich, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Nov 21, 2021 at 6:07 pm

Hinrich is a registered user.

Sorry Diana, what now passes for the news media (mostly tabloid) has done enormous damage - especially outlets like the NYT, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, etc. Honest investigative reporting ended when news saw their circulation and ad revenues decline and began selling anything to gain eyeballs. Add to that social media - Facebook (which I consider the all time most destructive, most evil harm to humanity).
No, Diana - as a member of the press you may not see it and see no further than a reference to the Sj Mercury. The population and our society is not reducible to D's and R's or conservative or liberal. I would say that Americans are angrier this year because they are being played and exploited by media, by politicians, by people pushing activist agendas and no focusing on the promises they made and the responsibilities the promised to address. They are angry because people are fabricating race issues, pushing perverse propaganda to advance minority social agendas and general trying to push the country into globalism and socialism. That just isn't us. People are angry because what they MOST want from those entrusted with our faith is truth - and we aren't getting that. People are frustrated because nuts are running our schools and public agencies and we watch with extreme sadness as the country falls apart. Sorry Diana - you just don't get it.

Posted by Feminist , a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Nov 21, 2021 at 9:59 pm

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Diana, while I feel that rise of hate groups and their presence on social media does contribute to the hate and anger rising in our country, I don't think it's the main problem. I think the two parts of the country list ability to understand each other. Yes I am sure there are some entirely apolitical people out there buys most are on one side of the divide or another. Just look at the comments you received. Immediately after reading then you know what ideology they subscribe to. (And given that basically all you got are conservative voices s.... Notice the amount if disdain they show towards the liberals). I don't know how to bridge this divide; matted of fact I don't think we can. I was hopeful a year ago but once we started dealing with aftermath of January 6, I lost that hope. There are really 2 realities existing in parallel and I don't think they can ever merge again. I have conversations with many European and Asian residents due to my work. Everyone I speak with from overseas is bewildered with the conservatives - especially with the hard ons they all seem to have with guns and the inability to comprehend that society requires one to make some small sacrifices for the good of the group (like wearing a mask during pandemic). But at this point I think the common language we might have had at some point no longer is. And it's entirely sad .

Posted by Umbra, a resident of another community,
on Nov 21, 2021 at 11:14 pm

Umbra is a registered user.

Totally agree with Bystander above. The anger and disunity in our country now is due to the media and news organizations which use the pervasive internet which invades every persons life now in 2021. Mobile devices amplify the endless bad news that is the product of CNN, Fox, NYT, WaPo, et al. Opinion has replaced objective news reporting at all the previously respected news organizations.

Social media titans have caused profound damage to the fabric of society, and unbelievably now embrace the “metaverse-“- a truly dystopian vision of our future- as the road to future profits.

The increased anger in our country closely tracks the rise of the Silicon Valley goliaths that profit from anger - the FB business plans showed that clearly.

Decrease your exposure to the national news- maybe just a quick read daily is enough. Opinion articles are written to inflame you- set them aside. Make your own judgements and opinions- you are as qualified as the opinion meisters!

Turn off the social media- you can make connections otherwise, and you will avoid the disinformation and hate that they promote.

Enjoy your friends and family, music and the beautiful places around us here in the Bay Area. If you can- drive out to the country to see the stars in a dark sky.

Posted by Douglas+Moran, a resident of Barron Park,
on Nov 22, 2021 at 6:00 am

Douglas+Moran is a registered user.

Psychologists such as Jonathan Haidt et al have found that Conservatives understand Liberals but disagree on relative priorities, while Liberals do not understand Conservatives, denigrating most of their values.

I am not a Conservative: My political orientation might be called "Scientist/Engineer": Where Liberals seek change, I seek improvement and am aware that most changes are for the worse. Liberals seek centralization - government control - at a level history has shown begets disaster. I think Conservatives go too far in the opposite direction.

Is the solution to a shortage of doctors and nurses to fire those who reject vaccination because they have acquired immunity from being infected earlier in the pandemic? Liberals - including you? - think so.

Recognize that your comment expresses contempt for people that you show no attempt to understand. For example, your statement about guns and "like wearing masks during a pandemic (section removed)

Diana falsely claims that parents "insisting that the history of blacks in America not be taught". Instead, those parents include Black professionals objecting to their children being taught "No you can't". It's on video.

Posted by CalAveLocal, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Nov 22, 2021 at 7:23 am

CalAveLocal is a registered user.

Douglas, may I ask you a personal question? I am really sorry if I go too far, and please do not feel obliged to answer.
Do you speak/read any language other than English?
Reason why I am asking this question is I am wondering if you have any exposure outside of the US, without having it potentially be tainted by translation?

Posted by staying home, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Nov 22, 2021 at 9:00 am

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[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]

Posted by Yolanda Winters, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Nov 22, 2021 at 9:17 am

Yolanda Winters is a registered user.

Simply put, we live in a society that is deeply fragmented due to economic, judicial, and racial inequality. And there is no going back because both sides of the spectrum are unwilling to compromise. The left-wing progressives promote far too many entitlement programs (most notably for 3rd world immigrants & refugees who shouldn't even be here in the first place) while the right-wing diehards cling to their guns and bibles promoting a sanctimonius agenda. The media feeds off this polarized conflict because to do so is entertaining, generates ad revenue, and allows various self-professed pundits to opine rather than deliver unbiased reportage. Well here is the real news...most Americans are capable of making up their own minds on a variety of issues and it is unnecessary to add fuel to the fire by exaggerating and embellishing the events of the day with petty news pundit commentaries. History has a way of repeating itself so nothing is ever new to begin with. Thus we will always have wars, internal political dissent, cultural revolutions, random street crimes, white-collar Ponzi schemes, urban race riots, and whatever people feel like doing on any given day.

Posted by Hinrich, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Nov 22, 2021 at 9:54 am

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[Post removed.]

Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Nov 22, 2021 at 10:01 am

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I would add to my comment above that there is no longer an attitude of allowing discussion between different opinions. Instead of discussion, there are those who turn to name calling rather than debate. Intelligent people should be able to discuss their opinions, stating why they think that way, allowing others to listen. Sometimes those with different opinions are just looking at the issue from a different perspective and are actually closer in opinion than it would seem. Often in a discussion, another perspect or another way of looking at something gets us to think our own ideas may need tweaking. Nobody is born or turns 18 and keeps their opinion the same on everything all their lives. Experience and maturity give us wisdom.

Additionally, we all have to learn from each other. A wise teacher does not demean students, but asks them questions to help them formulate opinion. We should accept that people change as they grow and their ideas can change too.

P.S. Why does this format remove paragraphs? It is much harder to read without a paragraph break.

Posted by Alan, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven,
on Nov 22, 2021 at 10:30 am

Alan is a registered user.

Perhaps hate groups contribute to the current level of anger, but only in part. If something has changed, it's that the current environment lets ideas that develop into anger take more of our headspace. This current environment contains many elements, including: isolation due the pandemic, the presence of social media technologies that tap into people insecurities, traditional media that sensationalizes to generate sales, the prevalence of opinion-driven punditry on television, intolerant liberal orthodoxy in academic environments, right wing talk radio, and so on. Hate groups may take advantage of this environment, but they didn't create it. I'm not sure what to do about it, other than to promote awareness, and encourage the development of skills to disconnect from the anger. I'm not Buddhist, but some of their ideas on the right track: compassionately observe the chaos around us and how it affects the rise and fall our own emotions, realize that this emotional response can distort our understanding of reality, and recognize that we are all, in some sense, part of the whole. I think it's OK - and sometimes necessary - to be passionate about our political causes, we just need to understand how anger distorts them.

Posted by NanaDi, a resident of Midtown,
on Nov 22, 2021 at 11:34 am

NanaDi is a registered user.

I would like to second the good advice given by @Bystander in his or her first post. It is especially timely as we approach the Holiday Season, to dwell on the simple things all of us can do which might serve to heal the polarization in our hearts.

Posted by Myron Stein, a resident of Blossom Valley,
on Nov 22, 2021 at 12:02 pm

Myron Stein is a registered user.

Hatred towards others can manifest itself in countless ways, sometimes subtle & sometimes not so subtle. And all things considered, isn't the BLM movement a hate group in its own right? They despise what they perceive as an exploitive white American society while also embracing an inherent contempt towards successful Jews and Asians who they feel are leading privileged lives at the expense of black people. The recent smash and grab robberies throughout the SF Bay Area indicate a perverse sense of entitlement and speaks poorly of those consumed with blaming others for their life's failures.

Posted by Jack Peterson, a resident of Barron Park,
on Nov 22, 2021 at 12:26 pm

Jack Peterson is a registered user.

Personally speaking, I would prefer to channel my inner hatred towards pedophiles and sociopathic murderers regardless of their ethnicity or political alliances.

Posted by Eeyore (formerly StarSpring), a resident of Adobe-Meadow,
on Nov 22, 2021 at 1:25 pm

Eeyore (formerly StarSpring) is a registered user.

I have found that not reading the comments sections of opinion pieces is the quickest way relative peace with what the press puts out. Let's ignore that I am here and commenting, for the moment :)

Practically every comment here, on both sides, contains a snide reference about "that other side"

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Posted by Douglas+Moran, a resident of Barron Park,
on Nov 22, 2021 at 3:30 pm

Douglas+Moran is a registered user.

@CalAveLocal: Because of years of disuse, I no longer have even basic proficiency in other languages. However, many major non-US media outlets have English language versions. Israel is a center for COVID research. AFP is the French correlate of Reuters. Indian outlets are interesting for news about China, the Indian Ocean, the South China Sea, PRC expansionism, and the rising anti-China coalitions of nations. Biased, but provides awareness of issues.
@Bystander: "no longer an attitude of allowing discussion between different opinions."
Yes, but this is largely the Progressives' Cancel Culture and De-platforming. "I didn't leave the Left, the Left left me" is a common phrase from people who suddenly found themselves classified as Right-wing Extremists (RWEx), White Supremacists, ... Interviewers who would have been Center-Left to Left just a few years ago report that they can't get Progressive guests. If an interviewer "platforms" a non-Progressive, that interviewer is labeled an RWEx. If someone is interviewed by an RWEx, they become labeled an RWEx, resulting in their being de-platformed by the Progressives. Universities are particularly vulnerable to this. De-platforming has been in force for more than a decade, recently extending from individual speakers to panels. If the U arranges a spectrum of perspectives, the Progressives threaten to withdraw unless the "wrong thinkers" are disinvited. Failing that, they withdraw at the last moment, forcing the cancellation of the event.
I recommend the "Ground News Explorer" browser add-on. It has major news outlets categorized by partisanship and shows where the article you are reading is also covered. I find it disturbing -- but informative -- how different the covered *topics* are.
Note: "Conservatives" and "Republicans" are very different. The 2016 Republican Presidential Primaries/Trump Revolution demonstrated the massive breach between the Conservative base and the Republican Establishment.

Posted by Menlo+Voter., a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Nov 23, 2021 at 7:50 am

Menlo+Voter. is a registered user.


you talk like progressives are the only ones that "deplatform" and "cancel". Have you been paying attention to the republicans and the right wing at all? They do exactly the same thing. Both sides do it and you're being disingenuous making out that only progressives do it.

Posted by Phillip Johnson, a resident of Woodside,
on Nov 23, 2021 at 8:57 am

Phillip Johnson is a registered user.

In response to : Are hate groups contributing to the anger? The anger has always been there. Donald Trump merely ignited the fuse and the hate groups are the ordinance.

Posted by John Donegan, a resident of another community,
on Nov 23, 2021 at 11:01 am

John Donegan is a registered user.

Change. Political polarization is the result of new agendas and differing demands for change. Today's conservatives largely embrace the beliefs that liberals held only a few decades ago,before they "moved on" to newer ideas. For example, conservatives largely support racial nondiscrimination and integration, while liberals have morphed into a heightened emphasis on race and identity, and considering nearly everything according to the race of the parties. Or gender. If someone had suggested just a decade or two ago that men be allowed to compete in women's sports, or use women's locker rooms, merely upon a declaration of a new gender identity, most feminists would have been outraged. As long as one side keeps demanding radical social changes, there is bound to be strife and conflict.

Posted by staying home, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Nov 23, 2021 at 11:28 am

staying home is a registered user.

all for creating a kinder and gentler world, but firmly believe that the increase in "hatred" is in reaction to racist and classist beliefs rising to the surface and being mainstreamed.

Web Link

"The paradox of tolerance states that if a society is tolerant without limit, its ability to be tolerant is eventually seized or destroyed by the intolerant. Karl Popper described it as the seemingly paradoxical idea that in order to maintain a tolerant society, the society must retain the right to be intolerant of intolerance."

Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Nov 23, 2021 at 12:40 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

Entering into the discussion again, we don't need to look very far to see what is happening in the Bay Area (and others) in respect of crime. When large mobs target high end stores and loot them, or when a 2 year old in a car seat is shot on a highway, or when "side shows" take place every weekend presumably from participants using technology (or social media) to organize them, we know that our society is not what it was.

I generally speaking don't think I hate anyone, but I do hate to see the changes that make this place a much more disturbing place to live. When I see children in grade school all winning trophies, when I see schools and parents failing to discipline yet supporting walk outs and protests, when I see sports and celebrities being disrespectful to leaders and authorities, and when I see crime meaning that car catalytic converters are being stolen in less than a minute, I can't help feeling that society is not doing enough to raise the next generation to become tolerant of all. We are being divided enough by tribal identification and instead of those we should be united against the negative influences which are damaging to all of us.

Posted by Douglas+Moran, a resident of Barron Park,
on Nov 23, 2021 at 3:19 pm

Douglas+Moran is a registered user.

You have provided an excellent -- but unfortunately common -- example of why it is so hard to have a discussion: I said "largely"; you said I said "only".

Posted by Menlo+Voter., a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Nov 24, 2021 at 7:27 am

Menlo+Voter. is a registered user.


Conservatives are just as guilty as liberals of "deplatforming" and "cancelling". Liberals don't do it any more than conservatives do. You are a perfect example of both sides. You can't recognize that your side is the same as the other in their behavior. I'm an independent, moderate, so I am critical of both extremes. They both do the same things to the same degree.

Posted by Penelope Cook, a resident of Sylvan Park,
on Nov 24, 2021 at 9:35 am

Penelope Cook is a registered user.

Until everyone embraces the true teachings of Christ the hatred will continue. This also involves disavowing oneself from any and all religions that either politicize or emphasize societal retribution and the loss of civil rights, most notably die-hard followers of Conservative Christian dogma and radical Islam. Another alternative is to embrace the teachings of the Buddha and be less greedy.

Posted by Mike Lane, a resident of Woodside,
on Nov 24, 2021 at 10:18 am

Mike Lane is a registered user.

According to some psychologists, hatred towards others often stems from a self-hatred of oneself and this might be the case in terms of both the radical left and right. None of their proponents or followers appear to be happy people and perhaps they are merely projecting their own insecurities and shortcomings upon others. Besides, who in their right mind would want to be a part of any program (i.e. a church or political affiliation) that replaces one's own thinking?

Posted by resident, a resident of Stanford,
on Nov 24, 2021 at 11:45 am

resident is a registered user.

Many of us are tired and weary and exhausted from the ugliness that you highlight in your article. Unlike you, however, I do not think we need to try to listen to and understand the beliefs of the "other party".

The Republican Party has accepted Qnon conspiracists, Nazi sympathizers, white supremacists and incels into their party. I must "dismiss what someone of the opposite party says" to save myself.

Rather than ask "Do you have any ideas about what we can do to make America less hateful?", let's ask "What can we do to save our democracy?".

Posted by resident, a resident of Stanford,
on Nov 24, 2021 at 11:47 am

resident is a registered user.

This is the time that we need to stop complaining and start to act. Let's focus on things that we might be able to achieve. Here are some suggestions.

1. Replace the police who quit because they do not want to be vaccinated with women and minorities who, by their very presence, may change police culture.

2. Remove Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act that states that "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider" (47 U.S.C. § 230). This protects Facebook, Youtube and other social media outlets from liability for their algorithms that circulate hate speech or misinformation to increase profits from advertisements that they attach to the content. These companies will change their algorithms when they become liable for the consequences of pushing misinformation and hate speech. Until then, the algorithms will continue to make these companies more profitable. We cannot rely on the good will of CEOs and company boards to change the algorithms that generate profit. The government must create an incentive to change the algorithms.

3. Make Puerto Rico and DC the 51st and 52nd states of America. There should be no taxation without representation.

4. End the filibuster for voting rights bills and then pass the Voting Rights Acts of 2021 (HR 4 and the John Lewis Act). A minority must not be able to suppress the votes of the majority.

Posted by Tristan Rogers, a resident of another community,
on Nov 24, 2021 at 11:52 am

Tristan Rogers is a registered user.

In order to move forward we must stop worshipping the dollar sign along with its inherent and evil manifestations. A preoccupation with materialism is the root of our social and economic problems as we reside in a world of wasteful haves and poverty-stricken have nots. This pervasive imbalance of wealth will lead to even more domestic and global turmoil as mankind is inherently avaricious regardless of one's ethnicity or religion. Countries should also strive to remain homogenous in order to avoid racial conflict but this avenue is too late for America as the idealistic melting pot has become little more than example of poor cooking where the use of too many ingredients have detracted from the recipe itself.

Posted by resident, a resident of Stanford,
on Nov 24, 2021 at 12:03 pm

resident is a registered user.

When a house is burning down, you don't try to understand the people who started the fire. For now, we really do need to save the people in the burning house. Understanding and forgiveness can come later. Also, this "both sides now" argument is not helpful.

Posted by resident, a resident of Stanford,
on Nov 24, 2021 at 12:23 pm

resident is a registered user.

Carrying this firefighting analogy farther (perhaps too far), the firefighters are our government representatives (e.g in the House and Senate), as well as organizations such as the Movement Voter Project, Indivisible and Swing Left. Unfortunately, when we ask them what they need, it is money. That is because Justice Roberts led the Supreme Court decision called "Citizens United" that made money the currency of our democracy. For now, money seems to be the solution, along with public protest events. Perhaps in the future, we will be able to overturn Citizens United. For now, we have to use money to fight the efforts of other well-funded groups who are trying to overturn Roe vs. Wade, voting rights and other fruits of our democracy. I urge you to investigate groups before you send money. There are a plenty of groups and government representatives that are ineffective or, worse, fraudulent. Best of luck to all of you who are fighting the good fight.

Posted by resident, a resident of Stanford,
on Nov 24, 2021 at 12:27 pm

resident is a registered user.

one last piece of good advice - the Movement Voter Project, Indivisible, Protect the Vote, Fair Fight, and many other groups have non-profit organizations that you can donate to and get the charitable gift tax write off.

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community,
on Nov 24, 2021 at 1:25 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by Resident, a resident of Midtown,
on Nov 24, 2021 at 2:44 pm

Resident is a registered user.

Welp, you wanted a leftist to chime in Diana. There you go... *smirks*

Posted by resident, a resident of Stanford,
on Nov 25, 2021 at 9:32 am

resident is a registered user.


Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Nov 26, 2021 at 1:05 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

Reading about the recent crimes in Palo Alto, downtown robberies/looting, car chases on Embarcadero in daylight and nighttime side shows in the Baylands with subsequent crash and death of a dog as well as injuries to the occupants, I can honestly say that life in Palo Alto is rapidly going downhill.

If Americans are showing signs of being more angry, is this a cause or effect of the uptick in crime? Is round the clock reporting of protests, crime and civil unrest allowing a subset of society to misbehave in a more serious manner?

Posted by Bill, a resident of another community,
on Nov 27, 2021 at 3:00 am

Bill is a registered user.

The only thing keeping my face straight is assuming Diana's question in the title of her piece is rhetorical. Seriously? Could hate groups be contributing to the overall anger coursing across the fruited plains? Duh, much?

For so long, much of the divisiveness in America was subcutaneous. Then a certain man named Trump took over; and more damagingly, kicked over the rocks to allow a certain sub-species of angry, disenfranchised, boiling cauldrons of anger, resentment and even rage, to come out and see the light, some for the first time. Subsequently, many on the left (I am a progressive liberal) are pining and keening and cringing while wondering how we get THAT toothpaste back in the tube. Not going to happen.

Posted by Hinrich, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Nov 27, 2021 at 9:37 am

Hinrich is a registered user.

Authority is breaking down. This should not be a surprise to anyone. Agree with all of Bystander's observations. Bill thinks this is political but it's actually too many people breaking away from and being less responsible for the values that valued our shared traditions and responsibilities. We remember better times and better communities. The problem isn't Trump Bill. The race for wealth and competition on the peninsula are factors. The birth of social activism in the sixties has advanced like a plague ever since and we, now, entertain unsound policy, elect unfit leaders, endorse crazy reforms, and underpin authority at every turn. We elect based on skin color or national identity or gender with no clue anymore how to elect leaders. We support make believe issues like racism is everywhere. We find out teachers have been abusing young children by telling them they are born flawed or born victims, that gender is ‘fluid', that our country and our heritage is evil. Why did we let them do that? So, authority, truth, tradition, shared values and community are all breaking down. Crime follows. No, it isn't ‘hate groups' - those are symptoms. The cause is us - we don't demand civility and have abandoned authority.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Midtown,
on Nov 27, 2021 at 5:09 pm

Resident is a registered user.

Still blaming Trump are we? If it wasn't for Facebook's election meddling maybe you could blame Trump again, but as it stands you ought to let it go and try to be a positive force in society. All those Trump controversies and impeachments were fabricated by the number one hate group in the country: the mainstream media, but you fell for it hook, line and sinker. Hope you've seen the light now toothpaste Bill.

Posted by Menlo+Voter., a resident of Menlo Park: other,
on Nov 27, 2021 at 5:46 pm

Menlo+Voter. is a registered user.


I bet you think Biden didn't win either, don't you?

Posted by Resident, a resident of Midtown,
on Nov 27, 2021 at 5:58 pm

Resident is a registered user.

If you mean having monopolistic tech platforms curating propaganda and judiciaries willing to change the very way we vote so we can proceed to throw the middle class into a meatgrinder, well he won in that sense.

Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Nov 28, 2021 at 1:40 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

This is an aside.

Please can we get back to having paragraphs on these blogs. The fact that we are limited to a certain number of characters is fine, but for a longer comment, please give us the ability to write paragraphs and have them appear as comments with paragraphs.

Otherwise the comments are hard to read.

Thank you.

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