A week of hate in Amer­ica

Hate of dif­fer­ence says ev­ery­thing about the hater and noth­ing about the hated.

The Southern Berks News - - LOCAL NEWS - By Mike Zielin­ski Colum­nist

Re­flect­ing upon a week of hate in Amer­ica makes you won­der if any­body ever lis­tened to The Bea­tles’ song “All We Need Is Love” — which be­came syn­ony­mous with the now hope­lessly an­ti­quated 1967 Sum­mer of Love ethos. Then again, John Len­non was gunned down, too.

The week of Oct. 22 to 27 in Amer­ica was Hell jump­ing into a H.G. Wells time ma­chine and com­ing back from the af­ter­life to this life. Hell on earth is no place for civil peo­ple to be.

The land of the free and the home of the brave has be­come a cruel and fore­bod­ing place with all of us po­ten­tially liv­ing on the precipice of man-made catas­tro­phe.

The prob­lem is there are too many peo­ple among us whose minds are dark woods full of light­ning bugs, folks with itchy trig­ger fin­gers with an up­roar­i­ous ap­petite for de­struc­tion.

The raw vi­o­lence in Amer­ica has be­come com­mon­place. The blis­ters on the heart and the sear marks on the soul have be­come com­mon­place.

In the ca­coph­ony of chaos the in­ces­sant re­frain is in­deed eerie — the howl of the wolf and the bleat of the lamb.

A week that will live in in­famy be­gan on Mon­day, Oct. 22, when pack­ages con­tain­ing ap­par­ent pipe bombs be­gan ar­riv­ing (some were in­ter­cepted by au­thor­i­ties) at the doorsteps of high-pro­file Democrats in­clud­ing Bill and Hil­lary Clin­ton, Barack Obama, Joe Bi­den, Max­ine Wa­ters, for­mer CIA di­rec­tor John Bren­nan and bil­lion­aire Ge­orge Soros.

On Fri­day, Oct. 26, po­lice ar­rested 56-year-old Ce­sar Savoc, a staunch Trump sup­porter and al­legedly a wild con­spir­acy the­o­rist.

On Wed­nes­day, Oct. 24 there was a shoot­ing at a Kroger’s in Ken­tucky. That two peo­ple died at the gro­cery store wasn’t a stun­ning sur­prise, con­sid­er­ing that 96 peo­ple are killed by guns ev­ery day in Amer­ica and hun­dreds more are shot.

Ge­orge Alan Bush al­legedly ex­e­cuted a black man and a black woman but didn’t en­gage a white man out­side be­cause, as a wit­ness re­ported, he ut­tered “whites don’t kill whites” as he passed by “non­cha­lantly.” Later it was re­vealed that he tried and failed to en­ter a pre­domi-

nantly black church min­utes ear­lier.

Then on Satur­day, Oct. 27, came un­fath­omable car­nage when an avowed an­tiSemite named Robert Bow­ers, armed with three pis­tols and a semi­au­to­matic as­sault-style ri­fle, walked into a syn­a­gogue and killed 11 peo­ple and wounded six more after scream­ing, “All Jews must die!”

The deadly shoot­ing at Tree Of Life Syn­a­gogue on the Sab­bath in Pitts­burgh’s Squir­rel Hill neigh­bor­hood — which iron­i­cally once was Mr. Rogers re­al­life neigh­bor­hood — is con­sid­ered to be the worst at­tack on wor­ship­ing Jewish peo­ple in Amer­i­can his­tory.

A week dis­gust­ingly pop­u­lated with crimes uni­fied un­der the same ban­ner of racism, vi­o­lent rhetoric and anger.

In the winc­ing wake of all this, rea­son­able peo­ple de­cry the avail­abil­ity of guns — es­pe­cially high­pow­ered ar­tillery — in Amer­ica as well as all the hate­ful rhetoric spew­ing like poi­sonous spit­tle from sea to shin­ing sea.

Yes, words at times do elicit ac­tion. It is a mat­ter of stim­u­lus and re­sponse. Just ask any lab mouse.

But there is a big­ger pic­ture here than just guns and ver­biage. Why do we hate? And why, in par­tic­u­lar, do we hate dif­fer­ence?

Ha­tred of dif­fer­ence ex­plains why peo­ple hate a whole race of peo­ple or hate a whole set of peo­ple with cer­tain sex­ual ori­en­ta­tions or gen­der iden­ti­ties, etc.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­spected psy­chother­a­pist An­drea Mathews, who spe­cial­izes in cog­ni­tive and transper­sonal ther­apy, that kind of hate is pro­jec­tion.

Writes Mathews, “I’m inse­cure in my­self, in my iden­ti­fi­ca­tion with my cul­ture, in my sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, in my gen­der, so I pro­ject ha­tred onto you be­cause I’m not real sure that if I don’t, I won’t hate my­self.”

So here’s the thing about hate of dif­fer­ence. It says ev­ery­thing about the hater and noth­ing about the hated.

“Pro­jec­tion means that I’ve got some work to do on my­self to be­come a whole per­son,” Mathews writes. “Pro­jec­tion means that I’ve split my­self off into com­part­ments of con­scious­ness and un­con­scious­ness, so that I don’t know things that I don’t want to know about my­self, and I pro­ject those things onto oth­ers for them to carry for me. Pro­jec­tion means that I need to be­come con­scious of those things I’m re­press­ing so that I can own them and be­ing to cher­ish them as unique and mean­ing­ful as­pects of a whole me.”

Un­for­tu­nately, too many peo­ple who pro­ject hate are blind in their mi­as­mal fog and couldn’t find their whole me if you handed them a com­pass and a GPS.

Sadly, a seis­mic shift in the cli­mate of fear and loathing in Amer­ica hardly lies taut on the hori­zon like a drawn bow­string.

TX Tagline: Mike Zielin­ski, a res­i­dent of Berks County, is a colum­nist, nov­el­ist, play­wright and screen­writer.

Mike Zielin­ski

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