I know, there are probably hundreds of articles written throughout the blogosphere with this title, but I wanted to take a look at the one thing that I think the current group of terrorists are right about. When Al Qaeda decides to attack an American, they don’t care if that American is white, black, yellow, rich, poor, southern, etc. All they see is an American joined together by more common goals than separate us from each other. So why can’t we see that same thing?
Fear, Hatred and Class and Racial Division are fodder for political campaigns and used to retain power by those that desire or have already acquired it. ‘They’ want to keep us all at our throats so that we will continue to feel that we need ‘their’ help in combating perceived injustices and inequalities. But it’s all smoke and mirrors, a trick better than anything Houdini ever tried to accomplish.
For example, decades ago the Democratic Party ratcheted up their fight against poverty and racial inequality. At the time it was a needed fight, laws were in place that allowed and even fostered these situations. But as time passed and most of these were taken care of the party saw that the power they gained from taking on these fights was potentially slipping away. They hammered at smaller and smaller perceived injustices, blowing them out of proportion in order to keep the emotional states of the populace charged with anger and bitterness towards each other in order to remain needed and in power.
For the most part, poverty is a thing of the past. What we call poverty would have been considered luxury 40 years ago. The large number of people considered in poverty with televisions, cars, cell phones, playstations, Nike wear, etc is unbelievable. The poverty rate has dropped over this time, through 6 recessions, from 22 to 12 percent, one of the largest drops being in blacks between 18 and 64. Yet we still spend time targeting the class inequalities as a Mount Everest to climb. (source)
Racism, as well, is no where near as institutionalized as it was several decades ago. Recent statistics show that math and reading skills in nine year old children is at a 30 year high. Black children posted a 30-point increase in reading since 1971 and almost half of that increase was in the last 5 years. Scores for everyone are increasing but those for Black and Hispanics are increasing at a much higher rate, narrowing the gap between the races. (source)
And to be honest, most people are starting to realize that racism itself is a parlor trick, considering that recent discoveries show that we all have descended from the same individual thousands of years ago and that the differences in our skin color is nothing more than pigmentation changes from localized environmental factors over time. That makes the thought that ‘those people are different’ when we know that they really aren’t completely discredited. (source)
Yet the division continues.
But the Democratic Party is not the only one to employ these tactics. The Republican Party has done a very good job of perpetuating fear on the American political landscape as well. From the rise of the evil communistic threat of the 20th century to terrorism being used as a political tool, the division keeps going on. If you don’t support the Republican Party, well you must be a traitor! You’re ‘un-American’, a phrase that I was sure had died out with Joe McCarthy, has recently resurfaced. Now people who speak out against the United States are hated and reviled, simply because of a differing political viewpoint.
It of course, does not stop there. The use of religion in our political environment is nothing new, and it is actually used much less now that in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. But both sides still continue to target the fears and concerns of those who have embraced religious doctrine over another. By using something that requires faith with no proof, a perfect tool is employed to drive people towards opinions and feelings against others that they would normally not allow themselves to have; that are even opposed to the very teachings being used to drive them.
And just as there are those that are racist and those that look to feed of the poverty stricken, there are also those that do exist who are actively, although perhaps unknowingly, working to weaken the United States against her enemies. But those instances are small compared to the people who are targeted as doing that who aren’t. Racist, Homophobe, Un-American, etc. It becomes increasingly easier to label someone and attack the label these days than to actually combat the political differences between us in a cogent and respectful way, acknowledging that we can actually disagree on something without us being enemies.
We see ‘the enemy’ around us, part of us, our neighbors, our relatives. Instead of banding together as Americans, focusing on the issues that we share common ground, our current crop of politicians spend their efforts dividing us for their own political gain.
We only have ourselves to blame for falling into the trap.