James Baldwin, in The Fire Next Time, wrote, “I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hate so stubbornly, is because they sense once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with their own pain.”
So just what is this pain? It might be the pain that gets re-enforced every time we suffer tragic incidents like Aurora, Colorado, Newtown, Connecticut and Boston, Massachusetts, knowing that they will happen again and again. You know what I mean; that pain that gets suppressed with pithy public claims of our unity, while we buy more guns and ammunition to protect ourselves from invisible enemies.
Or maybe it’s the pain of knowing about the trials and tribulations too many people suffer from the economic brutality that floods our senses when we read or hear the news. Or that comes from the acknowledgment that the average working American keeps falling backwards while the wealth held by international corporations and the mega-rich 1 percent, grows exponentially.
Or maybe it’s the pain that a father feels when he reads about the billionaire who takes delivery of a $100 million mega-yacht, while he can’t make ends meet on his income from two part time jobs with no benefits.
Or maybe it’s the fear that comes from knowing an average American can go to prison for possession of a drug, while the financial executives who brought the entire economy down, continue the same practices that still put that average America’s life savings at risk. Yet they suffer no consequences.
Or maybe it’s the pain that he feels when a homeowner realizes he owes more on his home than it will ever be worth in his lifetime. Or the pain folks feel when they pay inflated gasoline prices while their tax money goes to subsidize a highly profitable industry that sends oil taken from our homeland and sends it overseas to maximize its value for even more profit.
Or the pain one feels knowing our children eat genetically modified foods that assure the food industry continually improving profits but we don’t know which ones they are and what their ultimate effects will be on our children’s health.
Or the contaminated meat that requires 70 percent of all the antibiotics produced in the U.S. to make it fit for human consumption. Or the lethal super-bugs that now resist antibiotic use in humans as a result of their overuse in the meat we eat.
Then again it might be the fear-mongering by our politicians to convince us we need their ideas to protect us from those invisible bogeymen who hide behind every bush. Or all the Muslims who are constantly thinking about jihad against every single one of us.
Or the scary Mexican immigrant who sneaks across the border to find work because his children are starving in an economy failing by no fault of his own.
That’s the very same Mexican who does exactly what we would do if our children were starving and all it took was a one day, albeit dangerous, walk across a desert to work for the money to feed them.
Maybe it’s even the residual pain left over from the realization that we invaded a country for no reason whatsoever and the architects of that invasion have suffered no consequences even though thousands of human beings died in the process and we were plunged into a financial debt because the war was charged to our national credit card.
Or maybe it’s the pain of seeing our government in paralysis while society, infrastructure, educational systems and social programs for the elderly and marginalized crumble. Or seeing the people we elected to represent us, ignore our wishes and carry out the wishes of moneyed special interests.
We have lots of scary things that need to be covered up with hate. Sadly for us, we also have enough hate to cover them up.
Robert De Filippis