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The most influential American voices now live along the fringes. They drive the conversation, elect perverts and misanthropes, and fuel extremism in those “leaders.”

We hate when, and this sounds simplistic, we don’t love. We once lived within the embrace of communities, were cared for by our families, and spent our lives alongside co-workers who became second families. You don’t hate these people even when you disagree with them, because they’re part of you, maybe the best part, even when they make you mad enough to spit. But today, because we are divided from those bonds of community, everyone is a stranger, most of our friends we see only on a screen, and their voices we rarely hear. Alone, we are ripe for predators. We have devolved from son, brother, sister, co-worker, and friend to prey.

The youngest and poorest among us find the security of community in gangs — until our young stop breathing. Those of us who older and less aware of our need for interdependence, who believe the lie that we are secure despite our fledgling bank accounts, find our power in ideology: Left, Right, Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Anarchist, Victim. But beliefs do not trump community, nor pad our fragile bank accounts, or cause our government to give a damn about our plight. Trapped, we lash out. Against people unlike ourselves. Against those we don’t understand. Against those who don’t look like us, don’t believe like us, don’t speak our language. Against those who threaten what little we have.

Americans are fringe because we are no longer part of something bigger. We are alone. Scared. And like frightened animals we fight. Because we have nothing left to lose.