America’s Cult(ure) of Anger and Blame

Years ago I had the pleasure of studying with a very wise rabbi (H.C. Brichto, z”l). Of his many quotes I can remember, this seems to be the most fitting for what underlies recent events in America: “Most people live as though their lives are determined, but it’s the other guy who has free will.” Take some time to let that sink in. read it again. Perhaps you have seen your life through such lenses–I know I have, when younger. To tell yourself that you didn’t have a choice for the way life has gone, job opportunities missed, relationships gone sour, etc. is a way of taking no responsibility for yourself, your choices and motives. This, in turn, can lead to anger: “I’ve been cheated!” “Life isn’t fair, to me.” And anger leads to blame.

Take Dylann Root, the shooter at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston in 2015. He said he killed those church members because “N—-rs were gettin’ everything.” You see, it had nothing to do with his being an uneducated, drug-taking drop-out. No, black people were getting what should have been his by right. The fact that they were all well-educated and hard-working had nothing to do with what they had gained in life–including a welcoming attitude to their murderer. Therefore Dylann didn’t have to take the blame and his anger had just cause–“N—-rs were getting’ everything.”

Jump forward five years, and many African-American deaths later, and nothing has really changed. We have the same anger and blame cult all around us. Why? Because white shit-for-brains supremacists won’t do the HARD WORK of self-examination. That’s too goddamn scary for them. It is far, far easier to blame others: Blacks, immigrants, Hispanics, educated people, Democrats, liberals, Jews, gays–and they have unlimited blanks to fill in. It is ALWAYS someone else’s fault. Thus their feeding frenzy on any and every conspiracy theory that appears. “It ain’t us, it’s them!” Maybe now that the King of Conspiracists has turned on them, a few might actually examine what led them to follow him in the first place.

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