I was driving home from choir practice Wednesday night, listening to the classical station as usual, when the amount of lightning in the sky ahead of me sent me hunting around the dial for a weather report. I didn't find a weather report. Instead, I found one of those talk radio stations that specializes in whiny, angry (and white, by their accent) men fulminating about things that bother them. The topic was "Dr. Obama" and the proposed changes in health care delivery. As it was voices, and not music of some kind, I listened and heard the statement (not even insinuation--statement) that Obama didn't care about the welfare of white men, and that if health care were nationalized and then rationed, "some Latina or black woman" would get care before "you, because you're a white man."
Besides being untrue and rabble-rousing, intending to cause trouble, the statement reveals that the speaker projects his attitudes onto others...it's clear to me that he was content with a system where women (and men) of color got less access to medical care than he did...and that to him, "equal access" means loss of his rights and privilege for someone else.
But more than that--a lot of bigots still out there, angry whiny guys who think they've been done wrong if others are treated as well as they are. These are the same fellows who appear on talk shows on TV, convinced they have a right to dominate their wives and girlfriends and children...spouting hate for people with a different color skin...certain that anyone who's not like them is an enemy to be feared and hated...the same who believe women have no right to make their own decisions...the same who can enjoy life only if they're acknowledged as better than anyone else without having to do anything to prove it.
Reason doesn't work with them. Facts don't impress them (they can always deny that the facts are facts.) They can't "get it" because they have sewed their mental eyes and ears tight shut; their logic circuits have atrophied, dried up, and fallen off long ago. In their world, only they should have rights; only they should get to make decisions; only they are right.
Scary in one way, maddening in another. Frustrating all around. You can knock 'em off, but then you're just proving their paranoia justified. Their paranoia begs for a reflection from the outside; that's what they want and need. They're easy prey for anyone who wants to play Great Leader and is willing to push their particular buttons.
I kept punching the button until I was back at classical music, because if you're driving into weather, you need a clear head, and listening to that garbage was raising my blood pressure far too high. Knowing it exists raises my blood pressure.
We are all human. One race. One human race. Many cultures, yes. Many different value systems, yes. But the race thing? A lie from day one. Women are human. Men are human. Neither one is more human than the other.
Bigots...are just mean, crazy, humans. I'd like to think of them as Other, so I could treat them as coldly as they treat those they despise, but they are human, just like I am. But bigots, like other terrorists, are lazy. They take the easy way out: it's always easier to break than to make...to hurt than to heal...to destroy than to build. Most of us have a tendency to laziness--we'd like to lounge around more than is good for us, telling each other stories, and probably dramatizing ourselves in the process. But most of us have learned that it's better to contribute--to grow or harvest or cook the food, to make the bed, to make the stuff people need and use, to maintain the systems that keep civilization running, to take care of the sick, to be careful and thoughtful and helpful. Bigots...even if forced to work...are like a spoiled toddler who knocks things down whenever he's annoyed and then blames the "naughty plate" for throwing itself on the floor.
They've been around since humans have been, I'm convinced--you find them all the way back through human history and you find them in every culture I've read about. So we're stuck with them.
We just need to be sure we outnumber them.