The Need for an Enemy

After a brief conversation about the history of the Klu Klux Klan, I began to wonder how it could be that the organization still exists. While it is undeniable that unconscious, rationalized, subtle racism exists in each of us, it strikes me as perfectly fantastic that some people consciously declare the superiority of one race over another.
In wondering how that might be, I began thinking of many groups and individuals. Irate Republicans, irate democrats, angry fundamentalists, furious environmentalists, zealous anti-theists… the list goes on.
However much one might like to think that human beings have somehow transcended or tribal nature, it seems that we have succeeded only in altering the categories of our tribalism. The basic nature that there is a “them” out there that is the source of most or all of the problems in the world.
It takes everything we have to truly believe that the line between good and evil runs down the middle of every human heart. Our nature would have us believe that once we rid the world of terrorists, or conservatism, or religion, we’ll suddenly find ourselves holding hands in the world of John Lennon’s “Imagine”.
All this was a humbling thought. For, indeed, there is nothing but hypocrisy to be found in this if I fixate on others, refusing to take the above as autobiographical.
In ignorance, I can get frustrated at movements I see within society. I have been quite angry, in fact, but it seems that this door is now closed to me. I am forced to see that such anger is condemnation. It is the belief that it is this movement which is largely responsible for what is wrong with the world. But here I begin to see part of the point behind Christ’s admonition against judgment. It is frightening, even terrifying, to turn the finger of judgment on ourselves, yet it must be done.
For, once this is done, how can I continue to hate? How can I be angry that others are causing problems in this world? I have seen the source of what is wrong in the world; I’ve seen that it lives in me, and that it will not be extinquished by passing a guilty verdict on others.
Rather, it comes when we turn our eyes to the divine, and ask for the power to love those whom we would otherwise condemn.


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