Monday, May 3, 2010

Fear and Hate

I was trotting along on my jog today--still trying to shed all the weight I put on over my three-year-long bender--with Lady Gaga blasting in my ears, thinking about two things: how in AA, we're told that most of our drinking is the result of dealing ineffectively with fear and resentment, and second, my class this morning, in which we discussed reasons behind bigotry, racism, and prejudice. Suddenly the two things collided in my head. Alcoholism is one way people deal with fear. Hatred is merely another method of dealing with fear.

See, when I peel back the layers of things, most of the time when I drank to excess (and wound up addicting myself to alcohol), it was because I was afraid of something. Somebody called me an idiot? They're a dumb asshole! But deep inside, I was thinking, maybe they're right. Are they right? The fact was, I was afraid I really could be an idiot. I was afraid I'm a fraud. I was afraid all the people who like me have been hoodwinked. Hey, this person is messing with my self-esteem! I need a drink, pronto.

Likewise, if we peel back the layers of things, it seems to me most hatred is caused by fear. So people in Arizona don't like all the illegal immigrants coming in and freeloading at the taxpayers' expense and taking their jobs? What are they really afraid of? If you research the issue, you'll find the law was written by an attorney associated with FAIR, an organization with a eugenics philosophy. The founder of that organization, John Tanton, has written that if the present majority (white people) keep allowing illegals (brown people) to enter the country, they'll keep breeding until they're the majority. So he, in any case, is afraid of losing his status, his power, his privilege. (Read about this here.)

During these rough economic times, we seek to find the culprit for our troubles. Some blame the banks, corporate greed. Others blame Wall Street, more greed. Others blame "the system." And others blame immigrants (same thing is going on right now in England, with the question of Eastern Europeans immigrating into the country.) Same thing happened when Hitler came to power in Germany. The economy was a mess, so the convenient scapegoat was the Jews. They were responsible for poaching off the German econonmy. And they were trying to wrest power away from natural-born Germans (Aryans). They were a blight that had to be eliminated. Am I exaggerating, drawing a parallel between Nazi Germany and the situation in Arizona? Perhaps, but at least one Republican Congressional candidate in Iowa has recently suggested microchipping illegal immigrants so we can keep track of them (read about it here.) Microchips are a modern-day Star of David.

I'm not saying a Nazi mentality is what motivates most people who support the law in Arizona. For most people, it's FEAR. Fear they'll lose their job, or not be able to find a job, fear they'll lose their house, fear their children will have to compete for fewer spaces at the local community college. If they were like me, they'd try to drink their fears away. But since they're not, they're choosing something else: they're choosing hate, rage, screaming that (like the Tea Partiers) they want "to take their country back!"

Back from what?

If it's not illegal immigrants, it's socialists or communists or gays or liberals. Pick your scapegoat. Blame anything but yourself.

Drink, drink, drink. Blame everything but yourself for your chaotic life.

They're two unhealthy solutions to the same thing: an ability to cope well with fear.

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