By Troy Headrick
I realize that this blog is not primarily a place for political writing, but bear with me for a paragraph or two. Though this piece is going to have a political start, it’s going to end up being about culture and human relations and teaching. In it, I’ll even make a recommendation about actions we need to take during this scary political moment in world history.
I had a piece written for Pointless Overthinking that I planned on posting today, but then something happened this past weekend that made me reconsider. If you’re not an American and don’t consider yourself very political, you may not realize that President Trump—I always shudder when I type “President” before his name—is terribly corrupt and acts like a dictator wannabe. Because of this, he’s been investigated, by all sorts of investigative bodies, since the day he took office. This past weekend, the Special Counsel investigation, headed by Robert Mueller, ended and a summary of the findings were released by Bill Barr, the United States Attorney General and a Trump sycophant, which supposedly exonerated the president. Of course, this summary stunk to high heaven—something definitely seemed rotten in Denmark—and everyone, with the exception of Trump’s followers, are concerned if not outraged. It appears that Barr’s summary of Mueller’s findings bear the signs of being a blatant whitewash.
Trump is as evil as he is clever. He uses divisiveness to pit groups of Americans against one another. He does this to great effect, and we all know this is tearing the fabric of American society and the body politic. To stoke tensions between groups of citizens to give himself more power—divide and conquer is his modus operandi—is hateful, despicable, and nihilistic.
Racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia are on the rise in America and Europe (and possibly elsewhere). Thoughtful, inclusive, and caring people everywhere have to pull together when fascist politicians what to tear us apart. I’m lucky to live in San Antonio, Texas, a very multicultural and progressive city. My wife is a Muslim and an immigrant and has never been treated badly by anyone in this part of Texas. We very much hope things stay that way. I, in fact, have been an immigrant on several occasions and can tell you, firsthand, how hard it is to move to a faraway place and to confront the isolation that accompanies such a relocation.
Years ago I declared myself a pacifist and thus I shy away from conflict of all sorts. It therefore pains me to have to write the following sentence: We are going to have to push back (very vigorously) against the forces that want to tear us apart. We may have to very strongly stand up for what we believe in. We may be forced to do things that make us feel uncomfortable and fearful. We cannot allow hate to crush love.
While doing this pushing back, just remember that your Muslim neighbors are your brothers and sisters. They might dress differently and worship differently than you do, but they are human beings who yearn and love and feel sadness and want to make the world a better place.
And immigrants, no matter where they came from, are mostly hardworking people who often leave their home countries out of necessity. Having been an immigrant myself, I can’t tell you how hard it is to leave comfortable surroundings to go to a place where one often doesn’t speak the local language and feels culturally and financially adrift. People don’t uproot themselves on a whim. People who do this sort of uprooting are tough—indomitable survivors. Such individuals are the sort one wants to have in one’s country because they have struggled and understand what real struggle looks and feels like. They have character and integrity.
I realize I’m probably mostly preaching to the choir here. I’m not writing this for the regular readers of Pointless Overthinking. I’m writing this to encourage those with an open mind to share this message of love and tolerance with everyone. Spread it far and wide. Preach hope and love and tolerance and goodwill toward all. Plant seeds of acceptance in the mind of everyone you meet.
Troy Headrick’s personal blog can be found at Thinker Boy: Blog & Art.