We’re better than fear, hate

In a conversation with a friend the other day about life in other solar systems, he referred to an astrophysicist from Iran…

In a conversation with a friend the other day about life in other solar systems, he referred to an astrophysicist from Iran who was asked why, if such life exists, it doesn’t contact people on Earth. The astrophysicist answered, if you were a peaceful being, would you want to contact such a warlike planet?

The truth of it remains a mystery.

But the warlike description is difficult to dispute, whether discerned from afar or within. A fabric of fear is enveloping us humans, arguably more than ever before.

This includes Canadian humans.

Our federal election, for instance, may be decided on fear. Issues recently forced to the top of the debate agenda include government regulation of the niqab, a veil worn in public by some Muslim women. Then there’s the suggestion that some Syrian refugees may be terrorists, so Canada should continue to curtail their immigration. Not to be forgotten is the Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act, complete with an RCMP tip line.

The act, which ostensibly is to crack down on polygamy, is the perfect tool for exploiting fear. Based on its title, it is intended to pit neighbour against neighbour, citizen against citizen.

This same tactic has been used in many a war, under many a dictatorship. Barbaric is in the eye of the beholder. Like many countries, we have, and have had, a host of barbaric acts in Canada, if we care to take an honest look. Residential schools, for instance, were over-the-top barbaric. Yet adequate reparations have never been made and an aftermath of exploitation continues.

There is a theme to these election issues, and it’s all about fearing people who may be different. That usually means people with a different skin colour, or a different religion, or a different way of dressing or eating.

I often think of babies as a guide to what’s human. Most people love babies, and most babies, unless they’ve suffered a trauma, love other people. Babies don’t make judgments on race or income or religion.

All the major religions share a common basis – love. Treating others how you would like to be treated.

I think a good guide would be for people to get to know at least one friend of a different background – in the case of the current fear-mongering, one Muslim, before deciding to choose fear and hate. Because the truth is, that’s how a better town or province or country is built. Through people making connections with other people, truly getting to know each other, supporting each other. It can’t be done overnight, but it’s much more satisfying than exuding hate and the rhetoric of fear.

This is not a naive, Pollyanna way of thinking. It’s what we humans were made for. No one is born hating.

As the rash of college and high school shootings in the U.S. makes abundantly clear, this is not what humans want to be doing. We do not want the pain and anguish of hate.

At the risk of being considered flaky, a risk I’ll gladly take, I hope voters choose love, not fear and hate, in this federal election.