Cruelty IS US

Before I begin the piece I would like to begin with a game show called “Who Said This?”

“Since we don’t control the air, our good air decided to float over to China’s bad air, so when China gets our good air, their bad air got to move. So it moves over to our good air space. Then, now, we got to clean that back up.”

If you said ‘a 2nd grader trying to explain the challenges to reduce pollution in our country’, you are off the show. If you said’ a candidate for U.S. Senate named Herschel Walker’: ding, ding, ding, you win a giant vacuum cleaner to help Mr. Walker move all that air back to China again.

Please Georgians, send Raphael Warnock back to the Senate again, because there is already too much “bad air”  and polluted bodies moving around in the U.S. Senate and the fate of our planet is in the balance.

Now to the piece.

Do you remember when The Don made fun of a physically challenged reporter during a campaign rally in 2016 and some audience members cheered? In retrospect, for many, that event seems a throw-away event in the din of what has unfolded since, but to me it was what one calls a “drop dead moment.”

If you are a feeling human and that moment didn’t horrify you to your core, please take a moment to watch the video of the event and let it sink in.

If we witnessed a child acting that way, we would be appalled, but could forgive them because they are a child. We would take them aside and help them understand the meaning of their actions, have them apologize and work with them to understand the difficulties people face because of their distinct challenges. We would help them understand the pain cruelty can cause. 

Children respond that way because they feel uncomfortable and do not have the capacity to tolerate the discomfort, so they respond by projecting their discomfort outward at the expense of the other.

Our job as the significant adults in their life, is to open their minds and hearts to embrace difference. Our hope is that the experience will be a meaningful moment in the development of tolerance and empathy that will continue to develop into adulthood. 

Unfortunately, this process, the capacity for tolerance and empathy, which by the way, is what all the major religions preach and teach, is sadly lacking in too many adults. That the majority of Evangelical Christians support The Don, despite his inability to have compassion for others and his outright delight in his cruelty, is something that should keep them awake at night, but clearly this is not the case.

As humans, we all have the capacity for cruelty. If we are honest with ourselves, all of us have experienced a moment where this kind of impulse arises, but most refrain from  expressing them. But sadly, some take pleasure in perpetrating cruelty on others.

As bad as the “Access Hollywood” tape was in what it revealed about The Don’s misogyny and disdain of women, for me, the mocking and belittling of the reporter exposed a deeper level of meanness and cruelty. 

As far as I am concerned, that was the “bridge too far” moment that should have ended his candidacy. After all, someone who can do that on a public stage no less, and find pleasure in it, is someone with no empathy and as a result, capable of extreme acts of cruelty and dehumanization of others.

What does it say about us that we elected The Don president? What does it say about us that after watching four years of continued devaluing and denigration of others, and the fomenting of violence, that he received 74 million votes and almost won again? (Well, according to almost 70% of Republicans, he did win!) What does it say about the lawmakers of the Republican party who would vote for him again if he were their candidate for president in 2024? It is a statement that cruelty and dehumanization of others is a principle component of the party platform.

When those in power use their power to dehumanize others, we create the petri dish for fascism. It is us against them. We must get rid of them or they will take what is ours. That’s how Hitler came to power. 

In the most recent iteration of “Cruelty is Us,” Ron DeSatanist and Greg Abbott decided to deceive Venezuelan immigrants seeking asylum by promising them to take them to a “sanctuary,” where there were people to help them get on their feet. The place was called Massachusetts.

Imagine the harrowing and desperate journey of these asylum seekers across multiple countries, encountering danger at every turn, arriving in our country with hope and being used in a dehumanizing publicity stunt.

Here’s what Domingo Garcia, a leader of a civil rights organization working with Hispanic Americans had to say about a group of asylum seekers brought by bus to Kamala Harris’s residence:

“They were just literally dumped like human garbage in front of the vice president’s house. That’s un-Christian, un-Texan, un-American, and something that should not be allowed.”

In the Republican Party, or as they say “the party of Trump”, cruelty is not a bug, but a feature in their attempt to gain power. When people in power, like The Don and DeSatanist believe it is okay to flaunt their depraved and cruel selves on a specific group of people, we are all dehumanized and those who don’t understand this, and take pleasure or support it become dangerous, as taking pleasure in this process is the nadir of being human.

So what can we do about this descent into darkness? We must summon our humanity and rise up to make sure these people are defeated and lose their power. If we fail to do this, our country will pay a steep price.  

As far as DeSatanist goes, how about we tell him he is being taken on a trip to the White House and make a detour to the nearest jail for being convicted, according to one legal analyst, by a statute called “Kidnapping by inveiglement.”

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