We like to sing this song about living in the home of the brave. Which is funny when you consider we have a proud history of selecting one group or another and finding all kinds of ways to be afraid of them.
They’re not like us. They want to be like us. They have too much stuff. They want to take our stuff. They want to change us. They want to replace us. They want to kill us.
We’ve selected various groups over the years and treated them terribly. Then we’ve had a momentary pang of guilt about it, but couldn’t quite bring ourselves to really change things. So we’d pass laws that made these groups kind of equal but not quite equal and call it a day. And while things may have gotten better for them in a legal sense, we were really good about figuring out how to keep being afraid of them in all kinds of subtle ways. Resenting them the whole time for making us have to work so hard at it.
We did it to the African-Americans. We did it to the Native Americans. We did to the Irish, the Italians, women, Japanese-Americans, Communists, Socialists, gay people, Muslims, transgendered people. You name it, we’ve been afraid of it. We’re still afraid of it.
Except, of course, for the awful creatures our fear turns us into. Those people we get along with just fine.