So what might validation rackets like the Klan teach us today? I would like to think the Ku Klux Klan was just an aberration, but I doubt it. Too much profit is made in monetizing misery. The far-right and far-left have no incentive to change their game.
We’ve been conditioned to believe the great divide facing America is between liberals and conservatives, left and right. blue states and red states. I completely disagree. The current war tearing America apart is between those trying to help out other people and those compelled to call out flaws.
…what happens when the call-out culture triumphs?
There is the difference between a liberal and a leftist or between a conservative and a fascist. The liberals and conservatives still subscribe to a help-out culture. They can’t help everybody. That would be impossible. But each helps out in little ways, lifting one person at a time. A teacher tutors a boy in algebra, a doctor sets a broken arm, an engineer designs a road. A banker helps process a loan. We help our families. When our waiters or our waitresses work hard, we give good tips. We say please, and we say thank you to each other when we’re grateful. We cheer our friends on, and even cheer on a few people we don’t know. We plant trees. We clean up after our dogs. And at night we often find out we are happy.
But what happens when the call-out culture triumphs? Whether it’s a screed from Westboro Baptist telling us God hates certain people, a missive from Antifa, Neo-Nazis or the Klan, or a scathing sound byte from the Chair of the Department of Grievance Studies at some arcane university, how is anybody helped when we repeatedly are lectured that we suck, that we’re trash, that we’re deplorable, expendable, or losers, that all white cis-hetero patriarchal scum are racist, rapist “überHitlers”, that we’re heretics or homophobes or traitors, or Islamophobes, that by breathing we are killing off the planet?
So here’s the red flag. It’s okay to be more liberal than I am or more conservative as long as you will give me a fair hearing, lasting the same amount of time as I’ll give you. But when all you have to offer me are loathing and emotions, when you claim those who disagree with you are losers or deplorables, you are not helping. And you aren’t part of the solution, you’re the problem. The Klan destroyed people, and you aren’t all that different.
In contrast, I’m reminded of a quote from Mister Rogers who in retrospect was smarter then he let on..,
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” – Fred Rogers
Now go be one of them.