Sometimes I have a great idea for an essay, today is a day like that. Fair warning, it will not be about food, nutrition or losing weight. It is a weighty issue though, and I hope you bear with me to the end…
Today on the long drive to work I tried a new radio station and the very first song I heard was “Killing in the Name” by Rage Against the Machine. Here is a video of this song, released in 1991–a very different time, but if you listen to these lyrics, obviously a very much similar time.
If you watched the video then maybe you are thinking ahead that I am going to be exploring the recent police brutality incidents, or that I will be taking the other side of the argument lamenting the killing of our police forces by enraged citizens, but you would be wrong, my argument goes deeper–I hope to convince you that both sides of every issue irritating America are doing what they think is best for America.
Last week I had a lengthy debate online with a couple of men that think the US needs a Trump administration. They were afraid of ISIS, they see a United States threatened by shadowy enemies. They love this country.
I, on the other hand, see a strong-man candidate as its own kind of looming threat to my way of life. I think that to try and kill every enemy of this country would be a modern form of Black Plague, leaving about one third of the world’s people dead, and would make many more enemies in the process. I love my country too.
The hateful language used by the Trump side of the debate toward the Clinton side–“pussy,” “head up their asses”–is trying to persuade us that we aren’t seeing the danger. They are very frightened for the country they love, for the lifestyle they love, for the way things are now. On our side we are frightened for the country we love, we call them “idiots.” We call them “nazis.” What they are is fellow countrymen that fear all of the enemies they see. They fear the homosexual, they fear the man that was born a woman, they fear the Chinese buying up their country, they fear the black kid with a gun, they fear the black kid in a hoodie, they fear Wall Street, they fear Free Trade, they fear the Muslim, they fear the Mexican, they fear Obamacare, they fear Social Security, they fear abortion, they fear gun restrictions, they fear for all of their shitty little possessions that they think someone wants to sneak into their houses to take, they fear for their lives, they fear for your life, and they don’t know why you can’t see how scared you should be too.
Their fear is the fear of a mother whose child is leaving the home for good for the first time. Mothers can see all of the things in the future that almost got them, that happened to their friends, families and in the news. For a mother giving up her prized possessions to the world the world is a very scary place. But it is still just the world. Most people leave home and make their way, and mothers get used to the new reality where each person is in charge of their own decisions and safety.
The love your conservative friends have for you and your society is like the mother’s fear that never goes away. Their love is strong, and their fear is strong. Their language reflects their inability to convince you that you should be scared, too. Their frustration that you don’t see the need for bombing our enemies and friends is only understandable if you look past it to find the love for you and for our country that it contains. Your conservative friends are on your side. They are just really, really scared.