by | Mar 18, 2024 | Culture, Politics

Republicans in power attempt to stay in power by fostering conflict between races, offering up scapegoats, pitting rich against poor, black vs. white. Cruelty is a byproduct.

Cruelty is the point.

Last month two children and their mother died trying to cross the border at the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass.  The Border Patrol silently watched, the children and mother slowly drowning, screaming, the agents paralyzed by Governor Abbott’s inhumane and deadly policy.

The agents who bore witness to a child’s slow and horrific death prompt the question:  what does that do to a person’s humanity, to their core, their integrity, knowing they are witnessing a gruesome murder, a child’s murder, and they remain frozen, silent.  A stain gets imprinted on these agent’s souls, on their humanity, which in turn facilitates their willingness to commit the next atrocity.

“There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.” Howard Finn

Cruelty is the point.

As the Third Reich spread its terror across Europe, the SS would arrive in towns and announce they would be executing all the Jews in the town: men, women, and children. The SS didn’t have the personnel to execute this pogrom, so they solicited the town’s citizens to carry out the genocide. Most volunteered, eager to engage in the next days’ brutality, having been saturated for two hundred years with antisemitism, a good portion from the pulpits all across Europe.

You gotta ask: in executing a pogrom, what does that do to a person’s soul and humanity? What is the damage, the trauma, to a soul that participates in unimaginable barbarity?  Do they become dead inside, easily pliable when called upon to perform the next atrocity?

Cruelty is the point.

After the Civil War, as Jim Crow was being re-established in the South, the sheriff would often conduct hangings of Afro-Americans in the town’s square, the community bearing witness, including women and children. It was treated as a festival, entertainment for the whole town. You gotta wonder what kind of cruelty implant is pasted onto those children’s souls, witnessing horror that is treated as entertainment. And what becomes of those children, infected with hateful propaganda embedded into their hearts and minds, passed down from generation to generation, their souls hardened, soaked in racist propaganda?  Their descendants, you might have seen roaming the Capital grounds on January 6th, 2021,  banishing Confederate flags.

Cruelty is the point.

In Ohio, a pastor was arrested for opening up his church to the homeless 24/7 so they wouldn’t freeze to death in the bitter cold.  Apparently, there is some arcane law that disallows first-floor residency in a commercial zone. And the town, following a complaint from one of its citizens, decided now would be a good time to resurrect this law while the temperature outside was below zero. Their message to the homeless—just fucking die.

Cruelty is the point.

In Texas, with its triple-digit temperatures, Republican Governor Abbott gave final approval to a law that eliminates local rules mandating water breaks for construction workers.

I have no words.

Cruelty is the point.

The Georgia legislature passed a law stating that no one could provide food or water to citizens standing in line to vote, even to an eighty-year-old grandmother, trying to withstand the withering Georgia heat, casting her ballot as guaranteed by the Constitution.

Like a cockroach, Jim Crow refuses to die, constantly changing its colors and its machinations of cruelty.

Cruelty is the point.

Republicans in power attempt to stay in power by fostering conflict between races, offering up scapegoats, pitting rich against poor, black vs. white. Cruelty is a byproduct. The result of disinformation causes both sides to retreat to their bunkers, sabotaging attempts for common ground, and failing to recognize their common humanity. Republican lawmakers offer rationalizations for why their constituents’ lives are miserable—not insight, but cookie-cutter excuses as to why they aren’t responsible for their poverty.  Trump, the poster child for—‘I did nothing wrong’—indicted on 91 counts, he broadcasts that he is innocent of all charges—every freakin’ one. My, my, my, doesn’t this guy have the worst luck? Falsely accused 91 times—gotta be a record for bad luck.

The theme here is the unwillingness to take responsibility.

Poor whites blame poor blacks for their condition. Whites look down, searching for scapegoats: Hispanics, immigrants, Jews, blacks, scapegoats all manufactured by Republicans.  Instead of looking up, which is where they would find the invisible forces pulling the strings that sentence them to generational poverty, pollution clusters, denial of a woman’s right to choose, lack of of medical insurance, their community saturated with guns.

Following their deity, MAGAs take responsibility for nothing, clinging to their scapegoats, served up by their false prophet. Irresponsibility breeds cruelty. Adopting scapegoats breeds cruelty because it labels humans ‘others,’ in other words, not human, enabling, and justifying acts of cruelty.

Cruelty is the point.

For admission into this exclusive club of cruelty, Republicans demand loyalty, blind faith, and a willingness to join a mob fueled by disinformation. What’s the difference between the January 6th mob with its hanging noose meant for the Vice-President and other perceived disloyalists, and the southern mobs who took it upon themselves to hang Afro-Americans for Friday night entertainment?

Cruelty is the point.

Mass shootings continue to spike, despite the fact there are solutions, simple solutions that would save hundreds of children’s lives, but Republican Congressmen subvert each bill that would offer solutions to the holocaust.

“After Bill Clinton banned assault weapons in 1994, mass shooting dropped by 43%. After the Republican Congress let the ban expire in 2004, they shot up by 239%. We don’t need to arm teachers; we need to BAN assault weapons again!” Lee Turner, Democratic Congressional candidate for South Carolina District 04.

After each massacre, Republican lawmakers offer their thoughts and prayers, willing to sacrifice children in exchange for campaign contributions from the NRA.  Republican lawmakers have blood on their souls, knowingly condoning the execution of our children.

I have no words for this sacrificial cowardice.

Cruelty is the stock and trade of Republicans. They have no vision, no policy, no plan to alleviate the suffering of our citizens.  Their cowardice and insecurity breed violence and cruelty: witness the proliferation of armed far-right groups like the Proud Boys, each cell armed to the gills.

Cruelty is the point.

Back in 2017, the Trump administration was confronted with the border crisis. Their solution was to separate children from their parents and lock the kids in cages. If that wasn’t cruel enough, the Trump administration went to court to ensure the kids got no soap or toothpaste.

They went to court to argue why kids shouldn’t have soap and toothpaste.

I have no words.

Cruelty is the point.

This essay is all about the perpetuators of violence, but we often ignore the damage done to their souls, and how that makes them less human, less kind, susceptible to disinformation, and primed for the next act of violence. It’s a gradient process, the hardening of one’s heart, dictating future behavior, each act of violence setting the table for the next brutality.

Cruelty comes from insecurity, a hidden fear of others. When you are terrified, insecure, you latch onto anything that lessens your fear, usually a demagogue who offers up scapegoats to explain how you are not responsible, that ‘others’ are the source of your discontent.

Each act of violence chisels away their integrity, their goodness, and their empathy, making it easier to embrace disinformation, violence, and scapegoating.  There are two victims here: the victims of violence, and the perpetuators of cruelty whose souls are forever blackened by each transgression against humanity. As citizens of the world, we have a responsibility to cleanse, and to repair our brother’s soul of this trauma of generational violence.

In South Africa, they had Truth and Reconciliation hearings designed to restore one’s humanity. It was a nationwide confessional box that presented South Africans a path to unburden their sins committed during Apartheid. It prevented the souls of South Africans from falling into the vortex of scapegoats, racism and disinformation, with truth being the cleansing agent.

America is still under the shackles of racism, fueled and fostered by disinformation. Recently, a Presidential candidate, Nicki Haley, stated that the Civil War was about State’s Rights —no mention of slavery. If a Presidential candidate is promoting blatant falsehoods that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery, then America has a long road to hoe. These lies about history, race, and culture are passed on from generation to generation, propaganda that serves as a powder keg for violence. We saw a triggered mob in living color on January 6th.

Man is basically good, and each transgression, each act of violence and malice, tarnishes his soul, tainting his native state of goodness. This in turn makes him less human, less kind.

America can cleanse itself of the wildfire of lies, the infestation of disinformation, and racism by shedding light on transgressions committed by the perpetuators of violence, which, in turn, will help diffuse and disable the triggers and mechanism of violence. Truth and reconciliation will make America great, not again, but to a level that honors the ideals our country was founded on.

Be kind.






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