Friday, July 1
Some of the differences are over immigration - how much is needed to keep economies running smoothly. Immigrants fear retribution and separation from families. The unemployed and under-employed fear competition over jobs, and businesses fear labor shortages. Tight communities fear cultural change.
The voters express their fears in extreme and negative ways. One older woman asked Donald Trump in New Hampshire why more retirees and military retirees could not get jobs with the TSA. "Get rid of all these hibi-habis they wear at TSA."
Such anger comes from a deep insecurity - the fear that others are judging their politics, education background, religious beliefs, worth and society. Few, especially the young, who have experienced or studied previous decades like the 1950s, 1960s, or 1970s do not want to return to an era of gender and racial inequality. They do not want the "freedom" to stand in a group and toss off insults about others based on religion, race, gender and more.
Most are comfortable with diversity. But others are deeply troubled when the young or newcomers in a society present a different point of view on politics, entertainment, or religion. Displaying or expressing a difference may suggest traditional ways are wrong.
And thus this poor woman's resentment for the hijab - another religion requires the head covering as a symbol of modesty and this dictate, beyond her control or realm of experience, becomes a source of shame. Her response is to ban such people from her life and her community. As I wrote in Fear of Beauty,
More opinions came from having more to compare, and too often we fear our preferences... Our minds
constantly assess, determining which ways work better and which do not.... Those who prefer continuity
avoid comparisons and regard any hint of choice as criticism. New interpretations from others might
twist their own opinions in unknown ways....
Comparisons can establish ideals or form the basis of sins like jealousy, greed, pride, or sloth.
Intolerance and isolationist tendencies, the inability to compare and accept, are forms of self-torture.
Photo of five Afghan lieutenants working with the US Armed Forces, courtesy of Mass Communications Specialist First Class Elizabeth Burkey and Wikimedia Commons