Culture of Hate: Part Deux
I’m not a psychologist but I’m starting to think the electorate needs one to explain to the rest of us, what’s going on in America.
We have one week left till Election Day and I’m trying to understand if people are inherently bad or is it a learned behavior. When I was growing up, I remember an episode of the classic ‘Twilight Zone’ series called “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street.” It was about a neighborhood where once people felt their safety and security was threatened, they turned against each other. At their core, they were probably decent people but conditions turned them into, well...Monsters.
I’m seeing a dilemma among my Republican friends that they don’t buy into the extremist views of their candidate but dislike the other option so much, they feel they have no choice.
And most of them are not ‘monsters.’ They reject the bigotry that forms a very vocal base of the Trump contingent of voters. They abhor the sexual innuendos, the race-baiting as it goes to the very core of their beliefs.
I have friends who say: I don’t know ANYONE who supports Trump. I say: get out more and stop being afraid to get into a dialogue with someone whose views are different. Now, granted, some of the people I urge you to talk with can’t be talked to. They talk AT others, just as I have met scores of them on the Democratic side. Extremists in any party scare me.
CNN showed a Trump rally where an attendee turned towards the media and shouted an Anti-Semitic rant. It was offensive We have seen the same attacks made on every race and culture.
Now, I am smart enough to know this is NOT the entire face of Trump supporters but when the candidate himself merely disavows these fringe groups, he’s showing a lack of leadership.
This is not ‘Mission Impossible’ where ‘the Secretary disavows any knowledge of your action.” Trump can’t be passive. If you truly want to stamp out a sickness such as prejudice, you can’t keep a few of its germs alive just for laughs…or effect.
We’ve heard it all for centuries; Asians can’t drive, Jews are cheap, Italians are in the Mafia, African-Americans don’t work, Indian people smell, gays hang around schoolyards, Irish people are drunks, Middle Easterners are terrorists. Should I go on?
If the preceding paragraph reminds you of your favorite joke, you missed the point.
I’d LIKE to believe in 2008 and 2012 we became a better country. We elected a Black President: twice! But consider this fact from Pew Research in 2008: Obama won a higher percentage of the whites making less than $50,000 (47%) than he did among whites making more than $50,000 (43%). So why did they leave and why are they going to Trump? Could it be they see Clinton as the 1%, American royalty who doesn’t know nor care about their plight? Perhaps that’s part of it. They felt no one is listening.
So I go back to last week’s column about how megalomaniacs capitalize on fear. We see ISIS recruiting the outsiders, we have seen cults lure in the lost and we now see the ones who believe they were left behind, buying into the fear and hate. If racism and bigotry is part of our nation’s fabrics, so is embracing those we don’t know who want a better life. We have 47% of America clearly drinking the Kool-Aid.
And we remember what happened the last time the masses took a drink.