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What’s the difference…?

July 16, 2014

People of every generation – every person – at some point in their life – (often early on) – wants to understand the actions of their father’s and mother’s generation.

Maybe it was the first time you saw your father strike your mother, or, that day you realized that it was always your mother’s third martini, that turned her into someone ugly, and quite often dangerous. The first time you heard of the terms/ideas of  “war”, “rape”, “famine”.

By the time you were in Grade Two, and you were being delightfully punched on by some Grade Five thug in the recess schoolyard, you realized that quite a number of people in the world don’t get it – don’t get how they should behave around each other in a civilized world.

Luckily, there are a lot less brutish women in the world than there are men, but there’s still a great deal of them of both sexes.

Now, much older, I gaze over a newspaper and see how the Israeli Orthodox and Palestinian Orthodox again wage war over they-know-not-what. Each side simply fueled by hate. Thirsty for the adrenaline rush of seeing the front of a café blown apart, and for the pain it inflicts on their mortal enemy.

I read also of how men want prostitutes – use prostitutes – yet, want to continue to create laws that treat them as little more than garbage. Still wanting the public shaming of private carnal actions.

So many of us tasting the bile, but never asking of its origins.


This is not to say that – in my lifetime – I haven’t seen a marked increase in social awareness and ideas of civility. While I’ll still argue that an idea like racism infects the majority of us, the disease is not nearly as wide-spread as it was 50 years ago. Many more of us, at least now recognize the “other’s” right to exist, and that they should be allowed to strive to be middle-class like the rest of us.

Sure, we are still in the minority, and we still live in politically conservative times, but as I watch the far-right fracture into further and further extremes, I can momentarily take heart in their cannibalistic self-destruction, and the fact they have no real political power. Yet. (Powerlessness does not mean, however, that they aren’t dangerous. The FBI has publicly stated that the biggest threats to peacetime America in the 21st century will be domestic terrorism from Ultra-Orthodox religious groups and fringe environmentalists.)

Not surprisingly, those that we most fear, are the ones we most become. Describe for me, if you can, the essential differences between fundamentalist Christians and Muslim fundamentalists?

On the same day, recently, when I read about those maniacal men in some small town in Pakistan who ordered the gang-rape of a teenaged girl as retribution over some perceived slight, I also read about a Republican Senator who wants to pass a bill into law that would make it mandatory for women who are getting a divorce to get a judge’s prior approval before the can again date, or have sex. (Progressive note: the Pakistani men were arrested, and the Republican bill was defeated.)

Israeli bombs today blasted school-children from a beach in Gaza, while it was reported that Tea Party zealots raped and shoot Latino kids trying to cross the border in Texas.

While the rest of us just read on in dismay.

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