Displays

Screen Shot 2018-10-28 at 11.08.00 AM
Guernica (Pablo Picasso)

Halloween is this Wednesday.

There’s a chain link fence around the front lawn of one of the homes in our neighborhood, replete with warnings that the property is being monitored by cameras. Inside the fence is a Halloween display of political figures, with the ruling party’s portrayed as attractive and human, and the minority party’s portrayed as ghouls of different races and nationalities. The scene is frightful and grotesque. Its smug elitism, entitlement, and shameless and irrational bigotry are on garish display for all to see.

***

On Twitter this morning (and I scold myself for checking it, for I’m always sorry when I do), there were an abundance of tweets commenting on and remembering the victims and intended victims of this week’s attacks. Sprinkled among these were declarations that if Jews wanted to be help they would take Muslim refugees into their homes. These were accompanied by an equal number of tweets citing examples where they had done just that. Also in the mix, were photos of Israeli soldiers confiscating a child’s bicycle.

It always happens, doesn’t it? People of color are victimized by police, or slaughtered in their churches, and the next day social media and the news are flooded with stories and images about gangs and hold-ups.

Cities and villages are bombed, children are shot for doing nothing more than trying to live and play, and the next day we’re reminded of terrorist threats.

Families seeking asylum are arrested and separated. Little ones are herded into concentration camps, sobbing and screaming for their parents, and within days the media and an army of ruling party shills are dishing out mountains of rotting garbage about the imminent threat of a terrorist and gang-infiltrated “caravan” heading to our border.

God forbid we should be allowed an ounce of compassion or sympathy for the suffering of others. God forbid we should grieve with them, or offer our hands and arms in understanding. God forbid we should see our own vulnerabilities in them, our own humanity. God forbid.

I’m sick of self-serving leaders who demonize people for no other purpose than focusing a populations’ grievances at them, rather than at those leaders where they belong.

And I’m equally sick of those who veil their grievances and bigotry with self-righteous moralizing at a time when victims and families should be allowed to recover, honor their dead without being blamed for the sins of complete strangers.

I’d rather see the bigotry up front and center, on excessive display, than have it cast in such an insidiously manipulative, spurious manner.

It just makes the problems worse.

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