Down With Trump: Hating Each Other Is Not the Answer

Donald Trump and others are able to inject hatred and racism into the hearts of the masses, to fan the flames of enmity among the deprived and the oppressed. It’s going to take something major to stop the rot.

An illustration of Sayed Kashua lifting up an exploding globe.
Amos Biderman

It’s this feeling that things are about to explode. Have to explode. Well, let it come. Things can’t go on like this. And I’m not talking about occasional small explosions, but about one big blast that will shake the planet, dislodge it from its orbit. One huge bang and then only silence, everlasting tranquility.

Sometimes I think about those who will survive and discover that there’s nothing left, that nothing remains of what they knew – and they knew there were planes, smartphones and refrigerators, compounding their frustration. If they aren’t engineers, they won’t have the foggiest idea how to make even a transistor. Instead, they will have to start all over with fire, or the wheel, and maybe those who come after them will continue from where they left off, until industrial and technological breakthroughs are achieved that might possibly lead to another destruction of a different kind.

And if engineers survive, though they will know about the existence of Plato, philosophy, the humanities and social sciences, the Enlightenment period and the post-Enlightenment era, they will have no idea where to start – maybe from “all is water,” gods of the hills will merge into one God who will be executed and rise from the dead until the next destruction.

But there’s no way things can go on like this. Too much headache, too many wars, too much work, and all in vain.

Sometimes I think about farming as an escape hatch – no, definitely not farming in the Zionist sense, but a small piece of land where we’ll grow what the family needs to live on, maybe also a few chickens, a cow or two. And yes, I will eat some of the eggs and drink a little milk. I will not be vegan, maybe vegetarian – and that, too, without any connection to guilt feelings or desire to be a better person than others, but just so I won’t have to kill.

Sometimes I think about the winter and the first people who came to this part of Illinois. I don’t mean the white man, but the humans who perhaps arrived in the spring, liked the place and started to work the land. The summer wasn’t all that bad and the fall was pretty tolerable, until winter arrived with its terrifying cold. But by then it was too late; there was no place to escape to. Maybe a lot of them died and others survived, some fled and others decided to prepare accordingly for the next winter. In the meantime, the years passed and the people here were divided into Republicans and Democrats, and a minority still die of the cold: for some the winters are warmer, but for others it’s still cold.

And people have love in their hearts, compassion and concern for the town and the community they live in. The people here, like people everywhere, have big ambitions and know that money generates miracles, and not everyone has it. Most of them work hard to survive, some live in nice homes, they have cars and flat-screen TVs. But they know it’s not enough, that they can’t rest for a second, that they have to work nonstop, worry about the future, and maybe they’ll have to work hard their entire life. Even if they have a job, it’s never guaranteed; there’s nothing that can ensure their livelihood in the season ahead or in another few years.

There are some whose future is guaranteed by birth. They will inherit their status, their fortune, their power. The people in the town view their successful sons with great admiration. Some delude themselves into thinking that everyone can achieve their high status, that there are no obstacles or innate divisions between people. From the TV and the rich townsfolk, they will learn buzzwords like desire, determination and hard work, and maybe a sentence or two related to Providence that will make them realize it’s all in their own hands, that they alone determine their fate.

And they will truly work hard and go to church or synagogue or mosque, study and believe, and discover that the way is hard and the obstacles many. They will turn to the gods who pay their salaries and sell them their food, fuel and cars. And the high and mighty ones will tell them that they are right, that there is no reason why industrious folk like them, who go to the right house of worship, are not reaping the promised fruits. And from their place on high, they will point to the reason for the weakness of the subjects by pointing to other subjects who go to different houses of worship and are of a different color and speak in a different accent. Those subjects work hard, too, and complain less, because their ambitions and definitions of success are more modest. And so the estate owners are able to direct the rage and fire to the wrong places.

In this way, Trump and others are able to inject hatred and racism into the hearts of the masses, to fan the flames of enmity among the deprived and the oppressed. And this is seen as legitimate, as part of the survival game of cruel reality. In the same way that people usually marry into their own social class, they also display hatred and racism toward members of their own class. Just ask the Palestinians and Mizrahim (Jews of Middle Eastern-North African origin). Not, heaven forbid, that the monarchy and God’s chosen aren’t racist by definition, but they hate everyone to the same degree. They are color-blind when it comes to different skin hues, mute when it comes to accents – and they’ve long since bought off God and dictate to him the verses that will serve them.

Sometimes I want to believe that this situation can’t go on forever. That, ultimately, people will wake up and understand who the true oppressors are who deprive them of freedom and suck their blood, as one was taught at home and as it was written in the Communists’ books. For it is inconceivable that the wicked shall be jubilant forever, because there is nothing stronger than the will of the nations. Because in school we were fed those clichés about the homeland, about mutual aid, good citizenship and respecting the laws. And in history class we memorized the sentences about the importance of history for understanding the future and all kinds of nonsense that have nothing to do with the reality from which we are disqualified.