Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why shoud we be so surprised?

Why should we be so surprised?

It is so curious to sit back and watch the hostility and aggression being used to decry hostility and aggression. Sadly, this tragedy, while presently newsworthy will not change things appreciably. Nothing will change this sort of behavior until our fundamental orientation to each other and to our world changes. Watch the venomous finger pointing, blaming, holding certain people and groups accountable. This sort of thinking is not much different from the deranged thinking of a Jared Loughner. Be scared, be angry, and point it at someone you do not like!

We are sadly reminded of the pervasive violence in our country by the horror in Tucson. But why should we be so surprised? We are and have been a very violent nation.
What Jared Loughner did merely reflects who we are as a nation. Responsibility for his actions must be borne by all of us! What one person does, we all do.

Now lets talk about fear. Specifically, how fear has been used to manipulate individuals and nations. This is well documented. When Germany was in a serious state of economic crisis, a man named Adolf Hitler capitalized on the national fear and distress by maximizing every German’s fear, and subsequently identifying an enemy: the Jews. You know the rest of the story.

Now, there are many other instances of how peoples fear was manipulated: Jim Jones, The Crusades, Pol Pot, religious extremists, Ku Klux Klan. They all utilize the very same strategy. Whip up as much fear as possible and find an enemy to take it out on. Power hungry people are skillful at manipulating fear, then identifying an enemy to blame for the fear,

Human violence permeates all of our lives. Not just the newsworthy violence that captures our attention until the next news item is put in front of us. There is the violence perpetrated on a small girl, alone in her bedroom being sexually abused by a family member. There is the woman who gets her jaw broken because she was 3 minutes late coming home form the store. There is the hate and violence aimed at blacks, immigrants, gays/lesbians, Democrats, Republicans, etc. Fear attempts to frighten and silence. So why do we act as if the actions of Jared Loughner are so out of the ordinary? They are not! The just remind of what we wish to ignore on a wholesale scale.

So why aren’t things going to change as a result of this violence? Well, simply put , because of fear. When we relate to one another out of fear we no longer can feel any sort of empathy. Fear turns others into things to protect ourselves from, and we then react accordingly. Fear blinds us (hence the saying “blind fear”). The child is no longer a child, it is a thing to act out power and control needs; that woman is no longer a loved one, rather a thing that threatens; Democrats/ Republicans are no longer people who have hopes and dreams, but villains, which threaten the very fabric on our country.

So, you see, this tragedy in Tucson will not change unless, we as human beings, wake up and recognize how dreadfully our most basic fears are being manipulated for the gain of those who want power, wealth, and fame. As soon as we recognize this sort of manipulation, we will be far less likely to be driven to rain violence down on each other. We will be able to live by the words:

“You are none other than me with a different name and a different face.” And treat each other with great patience, openness, and compassion.

Fear is the basis of all violence, greed, hatred and war! Stop the manipulation! Think for ourselves!

When we listen to and begin to live by the great teachers (Christ, Buddha, Krishna, Merton, King, Gandhi and of course many others) then this madness will stop.