There Are Many Aspects Of Xenophobia Besides Racism From Which Trump Voters May Choose — Or Any Voter For That Matter

Every human ever born has been hardwired for xenophobia. Xenophobia can range from the nearly harmless to the deadly. For instance, you could hand all entering a stadium armbands alternating between red and blue, and by careful manipulation of the crowd have those with the red armbands find fault with those of the blue and vice versa. In other words, it’s all tied up with our competitive spirit as well as our sometimes fears and hatreds of the other.

While there is absolutely no way to avoid the endless forms of xenophobia, there are many ways to rise above its more sinister aspects. And in a multicultural nation such as America, our survival depends on it. President Abraham Lincoln understood this when he stated many years ago that a nation cannot long endure half slave and half free. America’s worst enemies see our diversity as our weakness, a weakness to be exploited via aggravating our various inherent xenophobic negatives.

It requires a certain level of maturity and just plain good heartedness to rise about the more destructive forms of xenophobia. Some folks are simply born much more open-minded and inclusive in the way they relate to people and ideas in general. Some raise above their more destructive forms of xenophobia though education and having experienced diverse relationships. On the other hand there are primitive minds that relish wallowing in their most harmful forms of xenophobia as some sort of badge of superiority. Often times these are paranoid types nursing an outsized inferiority complex. Just the kind of folks that demagogues find useful for building a following — right Donald.

Currently we have a president that is straining our nation’s will to survive, a president that conservative columnists George F. Will calls a jumbled mess of irredeemable insecurities. Indeed a president who takes great sadistic pleasure in pitting groups of peoples against one another, a purely destructive force of nature that others so inclined joyfully rally to his hateful intentions, folks that in some cases are envious of the success and good fortune of others.

In a multicultural nation this sort of divisive leadership is the severest type of challenge possible to try and overcome. In an odd sort of way, however, the Donald may end up, as an unintended consequence of course, making the nation stronger in the long run — if he doesn’t first destroy us. Since the beginning as a people, beneath our county’s high ideals that all men are created equal, just the opposite feelings have often festered. Trump is ripping the scab off that rotten sore. It’s all coming out into the open now. And as they say, you can’t fix a problem until you admit you have a problem, clearly define it, and at least somewhat agree on ways to fix it.

As mentioned, xenophobia will always be a part of us. We can’t escape it. But we can learn to foster the sort goodwill that minimizes its divisive and destructive qualities. Cooperation and trust need not be painful, but they do require a minimum of thought and effort. For some ultra competitive types that may not be possible. But then that is why society came up with the notion of laws and jails — right Donny boy?

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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