Machetes, Mean Speech and Genocide

By September 11, 2018Uncategorized
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My machete slices through the weeds, the stems bleeding milk, a plant toxic to my horses. When I shopped for one, blades three times as large as a kitchen knife, one edge serrated like a saw, creeped me out. The opening credits to Hotel Rwanda flickered through my thoughts. —“The Tutsi rebels, they are cockroaches…we will squash the infestation”–Machetes, the weapon neighbors used against neighbors. When I hear people calling President Trump’s supporters, fascists, Nazi’s, Russian bots, I hear language that justifies violence.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in Not in God’s Name says “pathological dualism sees humanity as radically…divided into the unimpeachably good and the irredeemably bad. (51).He cites the steps to genocide. “Pathological dualism does three things. It makes you dehumanize and demonize your enemies. It leads you to see yourself as the victim. And it allows you to commit altruistic evil, killing in the name of the God of life, hating in the name of the God of love, and practicing cruelty in the name of the God of compassion” (54).

            We are sliding quickly towards committing altruistic evil, thinking we are cleansing society of the Nazi, the white supremacist, the people who voted for Trump. We need to back out of our righteous hatred. We need to know people are more than their politics and find common ground—as Americans, as people living in bodies that share the same pains and joys. If we don’t, I fear the machetes will flash, the bullets will fly, burying themselves in fellow American’s bodies.  

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I’m Katie Andraski. That’s my perspective.

If you’d like to hear me read this, click here.

We found these chicken eggs along our fence row. There’s something humble about chickens, who train us to feed them when they are hungry and who are mostly limited to walking on the ground, when they have wings. I want to leave us with the hope that eggs signify because I think we can stop ourselves by checking our anger and name calling. 

Oh and one more thing. Here’s why I think there’s hope. On Sunday when Bruce and I were driving to an outing with our bicycles, and I was buried in my phone, I heard a horn tooting. A man in a big pick up signaled for me to roll down my window. He called out, “You lost your bicycle wheel. It’s on the otherwise of the tollway bridge by the mail box.” I thanked him, thinking how horrible it would have been if we’d arrived at The Sweet Ride without a wheel on Bruce’s bike. We turned around and drove back. I found it lying in the weeds, undamaged, like these eggs

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  • Kristi Stone says:

    I’m with you, Katie. It’s disgusting what we have allowed our precious selves to sink into, and so gross because we’ve been through this stuff before (remember the Jews? and so many others in history). Thanks for speaking out against this growing attitude of justified hatred, and for reminding us that people still have some good in them. <3

    • katiewilda says:

      Thank you for your wise comment. Justified hatred towards anyone, bad language towards anyone, is not a good thing. It’s verbal abuse. We need to police ourselves and be kind. There are stories about people reaching out to the likes of the KKK and changing their minds. Now that is important and daring work.

  • ems rixon says:

    This is really interesting – I feel like this has been on my mind a lot lately because I’m currently in Berlin and it seems to be a big issue here. Hearing the rhetoric of people who claim to be anti-fascist but who use fascist methods to force people into agreeing with them has made me re-think how I think and talk about people who hold different views to me. I may not ever agree with or like what they think, but they are people, products of their environment and education, and fighting hate with hate will never work. It might take longer, and it might be harder, but love is the only way to change the world. Thanks for a great read!

    • katiewilda says:

      I’m seeing that too–the anti-fascist people using fascist methods to force people into agreeing with them. Eboo Patel said that while there are diverse races and ethnicities on campuses there also needs to be diverse thought. (He started a a center that helps people of different faith traditions come together on campus.) I wonder if it’s an important work to ask people to consider other views. I so agree that love is the only way to change the world. Thank you so much for commenting.

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