Daily prompt: Hatred is a flawed foundation on which to rebuild


In the midst of the horror and grief following 9/11, I do remember having one coherent thought.

Please, President Bush, I thought, please think before you act. Please ask yourself why this happened, and the best way to stop it happening again. Please don’t go off half-cocked in a knee-jerk reaction.

But of course he did. He set about whipping up fear and hatred – which goodness knows was child’s play in the circumstances – and threw in the odd bit of dubious ‘intelligence’ to justify bombing the shit out of Iraq for reasons that to this day remain spurious. And we all know how well that turned out.

In the wake of Orlando, I have two coherent thoughts.

First, Omar Mateen bought his assault weapon legally. I find this outrageous and insane, but perhaps I might finally have reached some level of understanding as to why American gun laws will never change.

In order to defeat an opponent as politically and financially powerful as the NRA and an attitude as firmly entrenched as that of America’s gun lovers, you must maintain your outrage at the results of their hysterical self-interest.

But how can you? With shootings an everyday occurrence, the basic human instinct for survival demands that you curb your outrage for the sake of your own sanity.

But it’s still worth thinking about the numbers.
2,996 people died as a result of 9/11
4,491 US service members died in Iraq between 2003 and 2014
33,000 + people die in the US each year from gunshot wounds.

My second thought was similar to my thought following 9/11.

Please, I thought, don’t anyone go off half-cocked.

But of course they did.

According to his ex-wife, Omar Mateen was violent, unstable and homophobic, but according to a couple who frequent the Pulse Nightclub, Mateen was a regular there. According to various sources, he was a terrorist sympathiser, but according to his father and the head of his mosque, he was religious but not radical. So it seems fairly unlikely that we’ll ever really know why he did what he did. Perhaps he didn’t know himself. Perhaps his last-minute claim of allegiance to ISIS was a desperate attempt at self-delusion, to put a noble spin on what was really a reaction to a deep fear that he himself was gay. We don’t know. We can’t know.

But according to Donald Trump, he is the only one brave enough to call it as it is: Omar Mateen is a poster boy for why all good God-fearing Americans should rise up against the threat of Islam.

Hitler tried this tactic in Germany, to make his country great again after the crippling reparations of WW l. It’s an oldie but a goodie – or it was: historically, nothing unites a country like a common enemy. But you see, Donny, the world’s changed since then. Hitler lost, remember. The Holocaust was not acceptable, and targeting Muslims the way Hitler targeted Jews will not unite America.

Oh sure, you might manage to whip up enough hysteria, as Bush did, to make the enterprise appear initially to be masterstroke of glorious patriotism, but it won’t last. Anymore than it lasted during Iraq. Because, you see, you can’t rebuild a country on hatred. Hatred begets hatred. It doesn’t win hearts and minds. It rots them, makes them bitter and suspicious until they turn on each other and everything implodes.

Orlando was a tragedy. Surely a country of America’s intelligence will not allow one shameless, egocentric buffoon and his gullible minions to manipulate it into something even worse.



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10 Responses to Daily prompt: Hatred is a flawed foundation on which to rebuild

  1. George Bush kept Americans scared because it gave him free reign by deflecting notice off his hidden agenda- oil, and money. Trump is doing the same, but his agenda is feeding his racist misogynistic ego. I am amazed at the blindness people have when fear is in the mix.

    • I think he’s also tapped quite cleverly into the dark side we all have in varying degrees, and given people permission to vent their frustrations by being as nasty and bigoted as they like, with a handy hook to hang it on. The combination of anger and fear is even more potent. His callous cynicism is breathtaking.

  2. I personally think he was a nice Moslem boy who also happened to be gay, was unable to reconcile this to himself, for himself, lived a clandestine existence that drove him crazy(ier?) and shot up a night club. It seems to me that the guy’s life was filled with macho posturing (majoring in law enforcement, owning weapons, beating up his wife). But why should we look at him as an individual with personal problems when it’s so much more useful (socially) to look at him as a homophobe or a terrorist?

    • Exactly. There’d be no political mileage in that, would there, and god forbid we pass up any possible potential for political mileage. I wonder whether if it does turn our to be the result of his personal problems, investigators will be persuaded to delay the announcement ‘in the public interest’. I also wonder whether Trump can grasp the concept of individual problems, or whether he thinks entirely in strategies.

      • I feel sorry for that guy. I think we need — across the US — better gun laws because that might have saved that father for his child and all the other people in the club. Trump is a complete narcissist. I think he thinks everyone BUT him has a personal problem. I think you give him too much credit to imagine he thinks at all, least of all in strategies. He’s just scary noise and the scary part of that noise isn’t him; it’s his followers. That anyone would follow that brain-dead blowhard is beyond me.

  3. I still harbor a lingering belief that, in the end, Americans are not stupid enough to elect Donald Trump. I could be wrong, but I think not.

    • I hope you’re right for all our sakes. Americans are certainly not stupid, but at the moment he seems to be playing them like a fiddle, which is pretty daunting. I’m also reassured by the fact that as you pointed out, the President doesn’t have as much power as Trump would like to believe, but victory for him would create an interesting dilemma for the Party. Would they support him because he’s theirs, or would they block his wilder schemes for the sake of the country?

  4. Agree with you ‘Hatred is the flawed foundation on which to rebuild’ ! Here is a post you may like to take a look at from another author

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