I know what it’s like to slam my finger in a car door. The pain is intense. Yet, at the same time, I curse myself for being stupid. That’s how I feel whenever I watch the 45TH American president on television. I suffer when he lies; I curse the embarrassment we’ve heaped upon ourselves by electing him.
Sadly, I’m old enough to have lived through a similar debacle. Richard Nixon left the White House wearing a big smile after plunging the country into national shame. The pain I felt then was severe, and I hoped never to experience it again. Now, that pain is back.
Some might be happy to see the office of our 45th President unraveling. But, what comes to my mind are the words of Joseph_de_Maistre, a diplomat of the 19th century. “Every country gets the government it deserves.”
Even though I’d like to accuse Donald Trump for the divisions that rack our homeland, I mustn’t delude myself. Blaming him is like blaming my shadow when it follows my lead. Donald Trump didn’t create the rage. He merely exploited it.
The Southern Poverty Law Center reports 1,020 hate groups flourish in the United States. (“Hate by the Numbers,” Intelligence Report, Spring 2019, #166, pgs. 39-61.) Most of them cluster along our eastern and southern borders, but Texas and California are standouts, sheltering 83 and 73 groups, respectively.
Some of these organizations have a long history: The Klu Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, Skinheads. Some I’ve never heard of. Many choose labels that start with “anti,” apparently eager to make their animosities clear: Anti-Muslim, Anti LGBTQ, Anti-immigrant, Anti-Government. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s report offers an open-ended category, too. “General Hate.” Maybe that’s for folks with so many hates, they can’t decide. (Ibid, pg.54.)
Frankly, I was surprised that absent from the list was a, “Hate the Rich” group. Several among us seem to bear the wealthy a grudge. Of course, the number of people who line up to buy lottery tickets when a jackpot is high may give these haters pause. In any case, it’s another example of a divided nation or maybe that we are a little divided within ourselves.
I can imagine a day when the demand for hate groups will grow so large, we’ll need an umbrella organization. We might call it, “Hate the Haters.” Someone will think of it, I’m sure. When that time comes, I’m heading to New Mexico where there is no hate group, or Wyoming, where there’s one. Somehow, I imagine I’ll feel safer among cattle.