We are a profoundly racist, classist and misogynist society, but most of all we’re a fearful society. We’re afraid of everything we shouldn’t be and nothing we should be. We’re afraid of the other, be it black, white, indigenous, colonialist, immigrant, Jew or Christian. We’re afraid of our government taking away our ‘rights’. If you’re white, you’re afraid of losing your status to blacks or immigrants. If you’re black or trans, you’re afraid of losing your life to the police or yet another white dude with an AR15. If you’re a kid, you’re afraid of dying at school in a shootout. There’s no limit to the things we’re afraid of but what we really should be afraid of barely blips on our radar: capitalism. Billionaires. Climate change. Pandemics. Yet another white dude with an AR15.
Why are we so afraid of what we shouldn’t be? Why aren’t we MORE afraid of what we should be? The enemy isn’t our neighbor. The high-income neighborhoods have more in common with the low-income neighborhoods than they do with the Jeff Bezoses, the Elon Musks, the Bill Gateses of the world. We’re all just one short run of bad luck away from becoming poor, disabled or dead. But most of us, at least here in the U.S., don’t seem to give a damn. We buy into the myth of American Exceptionalism and the truly skewed idea that if you’re poor, it’s somehow a moral failing. Lift yourself up by your own bootstraps! Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!
Our huge national love affair with guns is just another facet of this bizarre fear and thinking. The second amendment was needed when we had enemies at our borders. We don’t any more. Instead we use the guns against each other and claim it was self-defense or whatever BS excuse we come up with. I have nothing against guns per se. My grandfather was an avid hunter and taught me how to shoot a small rifle when I was twelve. He also taught me gun safety and how guns could never, ever be considered ‘cool’. Unfortunately for too many ultra-conservatives, that lesson was never taught. We don’t have to look further than their obscene Christmas cards, featuring children gleefully toting assault weapons for proof of that.
I want to shake people awake. It’s not duck season or wabbit season; it should be Elmer season. The enemy isn’t your neighbor, it’s those who are pitting us against one another for their own gain. And unfortunately, many if not most Republicans (especially the tangerine menace) fall under that umbrella. There is no ‘great replacement’ going on, just as there are not multiple races. We’re all one race, human. Isn’t it time we started growing up and realizing that?
Or is it too little, too late for us?