Nobody has any real ideas about how to address the racists marching– and killing– in VA. I’ve asked over and over, with no truly satisfying answers. I think it’s because we’re all doing what decent people do when confronted with the horrors in their backyard. We’re asking ourselves what we did wrong. How are we responsible?
But what if that’s the wrong question? What if “we” aren’t responsible at all? Not this time. What if the fault lies squarely, irrevocably at the feet of an inevitable, tiny, poisonous rat-core of evil humans? “Humans” in name only, completely immune to rationality, to empathy, individuals who have long since seceded from the brotherhood of humanity?
What if America doesn’t have a problem, but a parasite?
Before you suggest that I am washing our cultural hands of the evils of our past, denying our part in creating an untenable life for untold numbers of minority individuals and families, let me just say: you are absolutely right. These are conversations that have to be had. And they are happening, thankfully.
But what if that’s not what’s behind the racism we see in VA? What if Charlottesville represents another kind of human depravity entirely?
What if these racists are not “misunderstood and disenfranchised” white people, but are actually irredeemably poisoned lunatics, propagating hatred to their children like a cancer subverting healthy cells?
When a body contracts a cancer, it doesn’t guilt itself for being sick. The body attacks the cancer. Or a doctor removes it surgically.
What if there is nothing for it but to take drastic measures against the poison of blatantly race-hating communities: to isolate them, identify them, and ultimately make it impossible for them to spread their virus?
It’s extremely scary ground, I know. I can imagine the endless, terrible ways such a precedent could be abused. But what if we were extremely careful and deliberate? What if we could safeguard against the slippery slope by defining racial hatred by the most blatantly unambiguous terms: the loud and overt preaching that one skin color is superior/inferior to another, accompanied by verbal degradation, epithets, and mockery of those races. Like what we are seeing in VA.
For the sake of disambiguity, let’s call this Rabid Racism, as opposed to privilege, or unconscious prejudice, or whatever people think Trump is, or even the intellectual debate over racial differences.
What if we made Rabid Racism an outright mental illness? What if these people were institutionalized for their own good, and that of those around them?
What if their kids were rescued from their influence and put into homes with healthy, loving people who teach and exhibit sane and healthy attitudes toward diversity and other cultures?
What if by simply asking for a permit to march for “white power” they were automatically 1) denied the permit on the grounds of public safety and well-being, and 2) put on a watch-list and/or interviewed directly by psychologists to determine their fitness for public life?
What if such people were entered into an official database for employers to peruse before hiring decisions were made, particularly in education, banking, or law enforcement roles, where their poison would directly influence the lives of the people they hate?
What if their websites and online meeting places were outlawed, or at least strictly monitored, making it far harder for them to anonymously metastasize into actionable communities and hate-groups?
To be clear, I am not talking policing thought. These people are free to think whatever their ugly black hearts desire. But what if we policed everything else: their words and actions? What if we made it not merely socially unacceptable but outright illegal to preach and act on indefensible, irrational hatreds rooted in nothing more than base human evil (or actual psychoses)?
If we made racism a diagnosable mental illness (as proven by the person’s actual, incontrovertible words and actions, not mere ambiguous outside assertion), we could begin to excise the cancer. We can’t erase the sickness of hatred from individual human minds, but what if we made it much, much harder for that hatred to spread?
What if we quarantined it?
I am dissatisfied with the other answers I have found. The navel-gazing. The vigils. The “teach your children well”. Not because those things aren’t good and essential, but because most of us are already doing them, and they just aren’t enough.
They don’t address the parasite among us.
The rat-core of poison racism endures. It’s dying a slow, rabid death, but it’s far from dead. It’s cornered. And that may be why it’s erupting so viciously now, bursting to the surface like a long-festering boil.
I am bored and annoyed and frustrated with the hectoring on social media, as if a few “outraged” posts and some self-congratulating amens from the choir of our friends was going to make any difference whatsoever.
I keep asking: what do we really, actually, DO?
Maybe none of the ideas I’ve listed would work. Probably they are simply illegal, antithetical to everything we stand for as freedom-loving Americans. I’m just spit-balling here.
But what if we don’t have a “problem”? What if we have a cancer? Do we not, at some point, have to shift our gazes from our own bellies to the actual festering parasite on our culture? It can’t be allowed to be part of us, right?
So if what I’ve proposed is impossible and anathema to a liberty-based culture (as it surely probably is), then what do we do instead? How do we face the real ugliness directly and unambiguously?
How do we excise the cancer?
How do we remove the parasite