What’s the end game?

The question came up for me in seeing coverage of the much-too-frequent police violence against Occupy Wall Street and again in the Ferguson riots: What’s the end game?

Really, now, I imagine I might have asked police, what’s your fucking end game? Do you really want these kids, who will eventually go back to their neighborhoods and have kids of their own, to forever distrust you? To forever remember your actions in this case with absolute contempt? Why would you even consider taking the risk of worsening community relations? How can you ever hope to ever have civilian cooperation when we see scenes like this? What kind of a country do you even want this to be when you treat it like occupied territory and us like a hostile population?

Now that seems to me to be an insanely rich topic for inquiry and maybe critical analysis. But that’s not the direction I’m following today.

I just can’t help but wonder: When, in this profoundly polarized country, we refuse even to listen to each other, how can this country possibly reconcile and what is each side’s end game? Is this really just about whomever musters the most votes being free to impose their will on the vanquished? That is, until a few years hence and the vanquished becomes the victor and reverses it all?

No matter where you are in the political spectrum, what do you expect to happen to your opponents when you win? Do you care? Or are you just functioning from a level of hatred—yes, even on the Left—for people who disagree? Do you expect they’ll just disappear? What will you do when the tables turn and they gain power? Or do you just really not care about how a diverse country is to be governed?

I hope no one actually thinks like that, totalizing their political opponents as subjects who should not be heard. But I’m dearly wanting evidence that they aren’t.

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