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  • marshallb31

Hate is not a mental health issue

The past few weeks have stirred up a lot of thoughts in my mind. I keep hearing the song from South Pacific - "You have to be taught to hate and fear" and worry that our country is under assault by fear and hate mongers. If those of us who love, who see good in life, who follow the golden rule of treating others as we would like to be treated, remain silent at this time, hate will win. I am reading Hermon Wouk's Winds of War, which was published in 1971. It looks back at the slowly increasing level of hate in Nazi Germany with the rise of Hitler. How America stayed silent for a long time, while the German tanks rolled into country after country killing people with impunity. I am amazed at the similarities I am seeing in how public sentiments can be manipulated towards hating a group of people and how the silence of the masses can become the wind beneath the wings of open and viral acts of persecution.

Last time I looked at the DSM V, the diagnostic manual for mental illnesses, hate was not listed as a disorder. Hate usually stems from the embracing of an ideology, a belief that some people should be seen as better than others. It is developed from of a sense of fear of loss - a naked insecurity that someone else is a threat. To weaponize that fear, the ideology has to raise doubt about the meaning of life and replace the growing sense of powerlessness with one of false superiority. When that ideology is being broadcasted, and the weaponization of fear is legitimized in open attacks against "the other", harmony recedes and the growth of a nation is halted. Hatred and legitimizing the mistreatment of a group or groups of people destroys our freedom to stand up for what is right, silencing our better souls. This hatred is the cancer of a menacing, unethical ideology - not a symptom of a mental illness.

Hate is growing in our country. Children are being torn away from working, honest parents. Mothers and fathers are losing their lives to bullets spraying at their children on a sunny shopping day. Police are running into danger where the shooter believes he has the blessing of his country's leader to become a martyr in the elimination of people not deemed as good as him. This horror is showing it's ugly face in Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Latino, African American, LGBTQ and other communities. In other words, it is in all of our communities. It is only a matter of time that people you love will be directly affected, if they haven't already. Just today the news reported the slashing of tires in Jewish communities in New York. The cancer is growing. To remain silent is to accept victimization . To believe "it can't happen here" is to close your eyes to the reality around you. It IS happening here. The Congress must act to save our democracy - and maybe our combined voices can help them find their way. What ever your belief system is your voice is critical now- call your elected officials and demand a stop to this hatred.

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