Thursday, December 24, 2015

Season of Hating, Pt 1: Giving Thanks for an Abundance of Bigotry, Phobias and Racism

Different Fruits of Abundance, Same Flavor: HATE

The Country of NO

While America's Grand Ole Party (GOP) has come to be known as the Party of NO, the same can be said about the country itself.

With the latest flap about Syrian refugees (half of whom are children), the country shows its xenophobia in the worst way. The NYT columnists DAVID D. LAITIN and MARC JAHR proposed a solution (Let Syrians Settle Detroit):

Detroit, a once great city, has become an urban vacuum. Its population has fallen to around 700,000 from nearly 1.9 million in 1950. The city is estimated to have more than 70,000 abandoned buildings and 90,000 vacant lots. Meanwhile, desperate Syrians, victims of an unfathomable civil war, are fleeing to neighboring countries, with some 1.8 million in Turkey and 600,000 in Jordan.

Suppose these two social and humanitarian disasters were conjoined to produce something positive.

But conservatives like Ann Coulter will have none of it: 

"The New York Times Prefers Syrian Refugees Over Black Americans" 

This is the same Ann Coulter who once said "America is the world's most compassionate country."*

The Syrian crisis shows the world that "compassion" is no longer America's middle name.

The Numbers of Crisis and Compassion.

  • 12 million Syrians have fled their homes because of conflict;half are children.
  • 4 million Syrians are refugees; most are in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan.
  • Children affected by the Syrian conflict are at risk of becoming ill, malnourished, abused, or exploited. Millions have been forced to quit school.
  • More than 700,000 Syrian refugees and other migrants risked their lives this year to travel to Europe.
And we can't won't take in 70,000. 

If the hysteria over refugees has a recent ring to it, consider the plight of Central American Children:

(CNN July 16, 2014)
Earlier this month in Murrieta, busloads of babies in their mothers' laps, teens, 'tweens and toddlers were turned back from a detainee facility.
They were met by screaming protesters waving and wearing American flags and bearing signs that read such things as "Return to Sender."
What's In The Past Cannot Stay In The Past

Recent history (past 100 years**) may be the best view of America's "No!" problem: Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, Latino and Mexican Americans, African Americans, Native Americans, gay Americans have all felt the sting of intolerance. Communities have killed and battered them while Congresses have rallied against them. Those communities that have given them acceptance, solace and sanctuary (like my city, San Francisco) have been pilloried by Right Wing interests. Pulpits (albeit manned by steadfast Fundamentalist pastors) have demonized them to the point that showing any acceptance labeled a church "heretical" in that it didn't conform to strictly conservative view (read: biblical literalism).

In other words, bigotry, racism, xenophobia (and other phobias as well) are still with us, and our socio-religious-political interests are still fueling them. And while "Return To Sender" attitudes have not been extremely violent, the day may come when violence, to some, may be the only option in exercising their right to hate. 

Abundance vs Abundance

Regardless of all the hatred, the intolerance and the sheer mean-spiritedness brought out of America by people on the Right, America still has an abundance of good to be thankful for. The problem, as some see it, is that the leaders making it a "Country of No"are very greedy, reserving that goodness, that compassion for its own and relatively select few: "we have an abundance of freedoms, powers, money, services and goods - but only for us." 

Only for us. 

* Yes, ironic coming from a woman who constantly refers to herself as a "mean-spirited bitch" and who, when it comes to compassion and charity, makes Scrooge look like a combination of Mother Theresa and Santa Claus.

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