NOTE: There are so many thoughts in my mind about this topic that I fear this post is somewhat scattered. Bear with me. I’ll get it all out in a series of posts. I welcome comments – please – a dialogue is good.
This morning, I asked a question on my Facebook page. “Is the number of nasty, intolerant people in this world increasing or are they just getting more airtime??”
Almost immediately, a dear friend, a beautiful witch (from the local Reclaiming community) and intuitive wrote back. “Both, and the number of people who are awakening and called to notice and affect change is also increasing…more sensitivities all around. As the energies change, the ones who hold baggage are clenching more tightly and the ones who are evolving are doing so at a more increased speed and intensity.”
This brilliant insight is frighteningly true. Consider the following:
- Those involved in discussions about American politics became more strident and verbally abusive to those who disagree with them. Our beautiful country has become a hotbed of violent language and twisted priorities. The people who supported Mitt Romney have not ceased their attacks on Obama. He is, according to them, still Hitler, still a Communist, still deserving of assassination or, at the very least, impeachment. He was still born in Kenya, still wants to take away everyone’s guns and still wants all our money to *gasp* make sure all Americans have health insurance. Conversely, those who supported Obama have not stopped tearing down and exposing Fox News, the Tea Party, the Republican Party, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and so on, because they truly believe they are right. Meanwhile, programs to help the American people are moving at a snail’s pace, if at all. American people are hurting and nobody in Washington seems to give a hoot about it.
- Those who believe that women should have the right to determine when they bear children are increasingly under attack. Instead of having a rational national discussion, which should include a philosophical component, the current discourse includes one group screaming about murder, wrapping family planning in the cloak of religion, and doing everything in their power to restrict women’s access to family planning services, and the other group categorizing them as ignorant, dumb hicks who can’t put together an intelligent argument to support their irrational beliefs.
- The gun lobby, for some unfathomable reason, decided to hold a “Gun Appreciation Day” on Martin Luther King’s birthday, saying he would have approved. This was vocally supported by millions of “patriotic” Americans. Since the gun lobby (specifically the NRA) wears the Constitution as a lapel pin, they dare anyone to challenge them, labeling those who do as “un-American”. Here is what King actually said about guns, shortly after Kennedy was assassinated. His words are eerily appropriate now – we have not evolved as a nation one bit since these words were spoken.
Our late President was assassinated by a morally inclement climate. It is a climate filled with heavy torrents of false accusation, jostling winds of hatred, and raging storms of violence.
It is a climate where men cannot disagree without being disagreeable, and where they express dissent through violence and murder. It is the same climate that murdered Medgar Evers in Mississippi and six innocent Negro children in Birmingham, Alabama.
So in a sense we are all participants in that horrible act that tarnished the image of our nation. By our silence, by our willingness to compromise principle, by our constant attempt to cure the cancer of racial injustice with the Vaseline of gradualism, by our readiness to allow arms to be purchased at will and fired at whim, by allowing our movie and television screens to teach our children that the hero is one who masters the art of shooting and the technique of killing, by allowing all these developments, we have created an atmosphere in which violence and hatred have become popular pastimes.
- Conspiracy theories abound. 9/11 was a government conspiracy to give Bush a reason to attack Iraq. The tragic school shooting in Newtown, CT was a conspiracy to allow Obama to take away all our guns (a theory that I find particularly disgusting). Chemtrails induce stupidity; the New World Order is the Bush crime family’s attempt to control humanity; AIDS is man-made; water fluoridation is part of a conspiracy for the Illuminati to take over the world; Hurricane Sandy was man-made by the government (using the Navy’s HAARP program) to get Obama re-elected; and on and on and on. What is frightening about these theories is that people completely believe them. They claim to have irrefutable proof and exhaustive research results. They get angry, even violent, in defense of them. They are holding onto their baggage with both hands. I can give conspiracy theories a VERY minor forgiveness pass, because I understand that they are only humanity’s way of coping with horror. They are a way to wrap one’s brain around the massive scariness of Life. This is the same mindset that gave rise to the existence of God in early human cultures. How do we explain what is beyond our understanding?
- Americans are increasingly intolerant of Latinos and Muslims. A woman I work with said this about all the patients at a local health clinic: “They’re all Mexicans or Columbians – they’re all short and don’t speak English. I pay for my visits (insinuating that all of them don’t) and I speak English so I refuse to go there anymore.” I was stunned. Between the eyes with a hammer stunned. I was similarly stunned when I read about some “Christian” preacher in Florida who was going to burn the Koran (which incited anti-American riots around the world) and then went ahead and DID it! What exactly was Christian about that?
There are thousands of examples of intolerance that have surfaced in this country over the past few years. If you count the individual people who are willing to sacrifice relationships with friends or family, that number exponentially increases. A relative of mine recently told me on Facebook to “grow the f*** up”. Twice. There was more verbal abuse included, but I deleted the whole mess and removed myself from that “friendship”. What led to that? A discussion of politics and his holding on tight to his rabid, conspiratorial beliefs, and me holding on to my Earth Mother ones.
Why are we as a people, as a human family defined by invisible borders, doing this? Why are we so willing to abuse others? What is it about our national mindset that makes us think we are the ‘IT’ in the world, or, thinking smaller, that we as individuals are right and everyone else is wrong? I think there is a pomposity in a large percentage of Americans that buys into the belief that we are somehow better humans because of our birthplace, or our birth religion, or our birth skin, and that those who are so unfortunate to be born elsewhere are sub-human and less deserving of our respect. This, to me, is tragic. There is no human in this world who is more or less deserving of rights or love or respect than I am.
There is a wide diversity of political and philosophical thought in the world. America, sorry to say, most assuredly does NOT have all the answers to the human condition, despite her arrogant claim to do so. Look at the widening economic and philosophical divide in this country. We are tearing apart at the seams, and the people who might be able to fix the problems are not listened to because they are not radical enough. I think we, as a people, need to shut the heck up. Religion is not the answer. Closing the borders is not the answer. Love, respect, and humility are tools we need to cultivate to get into the conversation where we can find the answers to our problems.
Let go of your baggage, America. Listen – truly listen – to people with differing opinions. Let go of your need to be right and acknowledge that there may be a better way. Drop your arrogance and listen to all ideas as equal to your own. Let’s evolve as a nation. Come on, let’s fix this thing…
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