Machetes, Mean Speech, And Genocide
The machete slices through the weeds, the stems bleeding milk, a plant toxic to my horses. When I read about people calling President Trump and his supporters Nazis, I hear the opening credits to Hotel Rwanda -- “The Tutsi rebels, they are cockroaches…we will squash the infestation.”
I can’t think of a label more dehumanizing, except the N word. If someone’s a “Nazi,” people feel justified using violence.
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in Not in God’s Name says “pathological dualism sees humanity as radically…divided into the unimpeachably good and the irredeemably bad.” He cites the steps to genocide: “Pathological dualism does three things. It makes you dehumanize and demonize your enemies. It leads you to see yourself as the victim. And it allows you to commit altruistic evil, killing in the name of the God of life, hating in the name of the God of love, and practicing cruelty in the name of the God of compassion.”
We are sliding quickly towards committing altruistic evil, thinking we are cleansing society of the Nazi, the white supremacist, the people who voted for Trump. We need to back out of our righteous hatred. We need to know people are more than their politics and find common ground -- as Americans, as people living in bodies that share the same pains and joys. If we don’t, I fear the machetes will flash, the bullets will fly, burying themselves in fellow Americans’ bodies.