Thursday, November 26, 2015

Resist the Witch Hunt Mentality

Hi, friends:

I know it is Thanksgiving and we are all expected to post things about gratitude and turkey and stuff. And don't get me wrong, this is my favorite holiday--I'm all about such posts. But I suddenly feel the need to post about something serious and disturbing today. There is a mood of fear, hate and other ingredients in our society and the world today that leads to something I call the witch hunt mentality. That is when we place all our fear and hate onto certain groups and target them. It doesn't matter if the group is Planned Parenthood (women--make no mistake, that's the target there), Syrian refugees or Muslims in general: once the witch hunt mentality kicks in to a culture, a lot of bad, violent, not to mention illegal things are carried out and the people doing the carrying think it is all justified because they see the targeted group as dangerous, evil, bad, other/alien/foreign, and/or subhuman.

We turned our backs on Jewish refugees in WWII, fleeing for their lives. Now we are doing the same thing to Syrian refugees. There are so-called leaders trying to ban even the ones who do get vetted and allowed into our country from going to their states. There are so-called leaders who want to start databases of all Muslims in this country, including American citizens.

I want to link a powerful video here in which George Takei​, an American citizen, born here, whose parents were also born here, talks about how he and his family were shipped to an internment camp when he was a small child (five years old--and he was there for three years, until the age of eight). This was a prison camp. There were several of these across the United States. Why was he sent there? Why were American citizens who had done nothing wrong sent there? Because they were of Japanese ancestry and we were scared to death of "Japs" after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

America had never been attacked on her own soil before. Of course American citizens were traumatized and scared, and of course the government wanted and needed to spring into action and protect us. But the fear led to an irrational witch hunt mentality, targeting anyone and everyone who LOOKED "Japanese". We didn't send any Americans of European ancestry to camps, even though we were also at war with Germany. So there was definitely racism and targeting those who look "alien" to the majority involved.

Anyway, I see many frightening similarities between the mood in the country (and world) today, and the tenor and substance of the fear-mongering going on, on the Republican campaign trail, for one, and coming out of many governors' (also Republican, I must say) offices re they won't allow refugees into their states. I see Planned Parenthood being irrationally targeted and violence against it repeatedly being incited by presidential candidates, no less, and people in congress.

Folks, we truly must learn from history or else I very much fear we are condemned to repeat it. So in this time of fear and terrorism in the world, of xenophobia and instability, let us resist falling into a "witch hunt mentality" in which we dehumanize any group and put our fears and hate onto them. It leads to us, in America, ignoring our rule of law, our democracy, which is what makes us great. It also leads to violence and cruelty, which are the real enemies.

Watch this video:

http://io9.com/george-takei-describes-his-experience-in-a-japanese-int-1533358984

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