Fear & Bigotry has become Our Culture

I’m heartbroken by recent events. The terror attacks in Beirut, Paris, Mali… the state of affairs in the Middle East… our own country’s failed policies where “fighting terror” is concerned… the racial strife I see everyday here in the US… the fear mongering and outright bigotry I see from many of our own elected “Christian” officials.

My views aren’t popular, and as soon as I speak them, people tend to tune me out. That’s ok, though. It won’t shut me up. Small as it may be, this is my forum. My place to say what’s on my mind.

Our hands – the hands of the United States – are not clean where any of these tragedies are concerned. We cultivated wars in the Middle East, we worked with others to kill millions in that region, and we now have the audacity to act confused, scratching our heads, wondering, “What caused so many people to hate us? Why are so many in the Middle East so radical these days?”

Those are stupid questions. The US didn’t consciously create ISIS and its sympathizers, but to pretend our foreign policy of the last 20 years had nothing to do with it is dumb.

Yes, dumb.

We made orphans of a lot of kids in the Middle East over the years. Those babies aren’t babies any more, and now that they’re grown, they have an axe to grind.

I don’t defend ISIS, I don’t defend evil, and I for damn sure don’t defend the death and destruction of innocent people. The thing is, I don’t defend those things in any circumstance. I don’t defend it when it’s ISIS chopping off heads, or deploying suicide bombers in crowded arenas, and I don’t defend it when it’s government-sanctioned drone attacks or boots-on-the-ground action in the Middle East either.

As a nation, we’ve messed up. That’s not an anti-American sentiment. It’s an honest opinion. I love my country. I love being an American, and I wouldn’t choose to be anywhere but here. That doesn’t mean I can’t speak out when I believe our government has acted foolishly, and it doesn’t mean I have to agree with or support the current climate among my fellow Americans.

What’s happening overseas is depressing enough, but that’s not the full story, either. Our own nation is turning against each other. Turning against fellow citizens of the United States of America. Racial turmoil is the highest I’ve seen in my 37 years of life. In some places, such as where I live, we seem poised for all-out war. A civil war, with sides chosen based on the color of one’s skin.

The hypocrisy of it all is astounding. Just. Astounding.

In one breath, I hear people taking rioters to task after the killings of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner and others. Screaming about how vile, vicious and violent the black community is. In the next breath, these same people are cheering Donald Trump’s stump speeches, while he deliriously yells that we should “bomb the shit out of Syria!”

We have people doing their best to refuse Syrian Refugees in their states, but those same people support the NRA. This wouldn’t be surprising, except that the NRA wants us to continue allowing people whose names are on the No Fly List to legally purchase assault rifles in this country.

Let me get this straight: You don’t want the refugees in this country because they might be terrorists… but if they happen to make it here, you want them to have the ability to purchase weapons?

What kind of sense does that make?

The answer is that it makes the same kind of sense that allowing people deemed too dangerous to board a passenger jet to purchase assault weapons makes.

As in, none whatsoever.

The common thread in all of it – whether ISIS and refugees from the Middle East, or people of color in our own neighborhoods – is fear. We justify our hateful, bigoted policies – domestic and abroad – by pointing to our fears. Fear of a religion we don’t understand, fear of people we don’t respect because their skin color is the wrong hue.

My heart is heavy.

 

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