In the short time we have to exist on Earth, the moments that are most precious are those when we are at peace. Of course, there will never be a utopian society wherein all is peaceful and tranquil. There will be times when our worlds are rocked by events—earthquakes, floods, war—beyond our control and there will other times when we find it difficult to find inner peace because of illness to ourselves or loved ones or because of relationship struggles. For many peace is difficult to find because they are trapped in tumultuous circumstances—in unpleasant environs like refugee camps or violent neighborhoods. Yet we know that some can find peace even in those situations. But peacefulness is impossible to attain when your mind is poisoned by hate. Couple hatred with greed and fear and you have the recipe that makes our world more dangerous.
There are greedy people among us who promote hatred because fostering hatred fattens their bank accounts. Some conservatives have managed to create a talk show industry out of the hatred of liberals. According to Forbes Magazine, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck raked in $109.3 million in 2014, with Limbaugh garnering the lion’s share of $63.8 million. Much of their broadcast time is spent spewing out vitriol against liberals, the liberal media, and the nation’s liberal-in-chief, President Barack Obama. There are others—Mark Levin, Michael Savage, and Larry Elder to name a few—who disparage the President at every opportunity just to make a buck. Former Illinois Congressman and talk radio host Joe Walsh reached a new low in the wake of recent violent events, warning members of the Black Lives Matter movement and President Obama that “real Americans” would be coming for them. I tune into these programs occasionally for my own entertainment purposes—usually to hear them whine about events that shatter their conservative orthodoxy. I had a delightful time listening to their venting about the Supreme Court’s decision to support same-sex marriage.
It is the greed of the plutocrats that has helped create a society where 10 percent of Americans are controlling 75 percent of the nation’s privately-owned wealth. This is largely the result of supply-side or “trickle down” economics or, as George H. W. Bush called the idea: voodoo economics. Give the job creators more resources and they will create more jobs and they are—in Asia, Latin America or any other place where the labor is cheap. The plutocrats depend on politicians to do their dirty work—passing legislation that reduce their taxes, dilute regulations that protect American consumers, and neuter labor unions thus weakening collective bargaining. They have a willing political base who are indoctrinated by the propaganda promoted by radio talk show hosts. All their woes are due to the man in the White House.
It is the greedy gun manufacturers who bear responsibility for these latest tragedies because they use fear to promote their deadly trade. They fan the flames of the conspiracy theorists who warn that any new gun laws will lead to jack-booted government thugs coming to get your guns. They promote the notion that more guns in America leads to a safer environment: only a good gun can stop a bad gun. But we will never know because gun-related research has been defunded. Weak-kneed politicians do their bidding because they are fearful they will lose their jobs if they dare to cross the National Rifle Association.
Guns, hatred and fear were the common denominators that led to the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of police officers, and to the deaths of Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael J. Smith, Brent Thompson, and Patrick Zamarripa at the hands of a deranged sniper. Sterling and Castile owned guns because they were led to believe the only way to be safe in America is to arm yourself. The officers who shot them had guns because they were entrusted with the responsibility of using deadly force. The sniper in Dallas had a gun because anyone can carry a gun in Dallas.
We can create policies that may reduce the probability of these atrocious events occurring. Police officers need to be screened more carefully. There could be a national standard for the use of deadly force by police officers. There should be some common sense restrictions on buying, selling, and carrying guns. But getting rid of the hatred will take some doing. We can begin by turning a deaf ear to all hate mongers. I am not sure we need to love everybody, but you can never be at peace with yourself as long as you harbor hate. It is a vile and corrupting energy. Those who would stoke hatred and division among us for political gain, for wealth, or for power can go straight to hell. All others go in peace.
The post Peace is Elusive Where Hatred Prevails appeared first on Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy.
Written By Charles E. Lewis Jr., Ph.D
Peace is Elusive Where Hatred Prevails was originally published @ Charles Lewis – Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy and has been syndicated with permission.
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