It’s probably my imagination but people espousing cruel ideologies seem to be crawling out of the woodwork these days, whether it’s the politician in India who insists that women who are raped should be hanged http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/14/rape-comments-india-election_n_5147124.html or Congressman Paul Ryan’s proposal to cut off services to low-income Americans, http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117333/paul-ryans-budget-bad-poor-and-bad-math, or the on-going hate crimes against Jews like the recent one at the Jewish Community Center in Kansas. http://www.commentarymagazine.com/topic/kansas-city-jcc-shooting/
As with most people, I am at a loss to account for the mind set behind behaviors like these, but a study out of Northwestern University may provide a clue, one which most of us could have guessed. Fear is the motivator. Researchers found, for example, that when “’independent’ white voters were told they were becoming racial minorities, their views became sharply more conservative.” What’s more this response has intensified since the election of President Obama. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2014/04/demographics_conservatism_and_racial_polarization_could_america_become_mississippi.html.
If fear is responsible for the recent upheavals around the globe, I’m as much at a loss on how to quell it as I am to explain what it means. Is the violence reported in the news a rising tide in human behavior or is it the death throes of the ideologically hardened? I’d like to believe it is latter — that as a species we are coming together and this communion is driving fear into the hearts of those who are comfortable with divisions.
During World War II Franklin Delano Roosevelt warned the nation that, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” His words were some of the wisest I’ve ever heard and they pertain to all facets of life. When fear is master, intolerance is its servant. Yet if history has anything to teach, killing the “other” is no solution.
So what do we do with this fear that pulsates within us? Perhaps, the answer is as simple as a memory. Since the dawn of our existence, we have always been one people and one race. Let us remember who we are and practice being human.
(Courtesy of fumblingwiththestringsofthelunarharp.wordpress.com)