Often the question is asked, how did the holocaust happen? The answer is as easy and as predictable as every time it has happened since then. The pattern goes something like this, our innate feeling of superiority leads to a feeling of entitlement which leads to frustration which leads to resentment which leads finally to anger. Once we reach the point of anger all that we need is a target to focus that anger. It has happened time and time again. Whether it was the Armenians or the Jews or the Japanese or the Chinese or the Blacks or the Tutsi or the Mayans or the Muslims or any other group that has faced genocide in human history. It happens time and time again. It leads one to the inescapable conclusion that we, as a race of beings, are born with the ability to commit the most haneous of crimes against each other.
The only question to how far we are willing to go is how much the "target" has been dehumanized or devalued. In the case of the victims of genocide, the target has been so devalued that they are no longer viewed as worthy of the same right to life as the perpetrators. The victims are viewed as "monkeys" or "innately evil" or "sub human" or "dirty" or something less than <.I would ask those on the left whether they feel "superior" to those on the right? Do you think that you are better because you care more about the preservation of our planet? Or because of your more tolerant attitude toward people who are different? Or because you are against war? Those on the right may feel superior because of their religious beliefs, or because of their greater sense of patriotism or because the color of their skin. Are you superior to your neighbor because you have a higher IQ than they do? Are you superior to your neighbor because you have more money than they do? Are you superior because your kids go to better schools? Are you superior because you shop at better department stores than do? The fact is that doesn't matter what the reason is, we are always looking for a reason.
Our ability for cruelty, hatred and disdain toward our fellow human beings is seemingly limitless. Our current political discourse is just an example of our seemingly congenital need to feel superior to someone or some group. Those on the right see Godless, unpatriotic hippies on the other side and they feel superior to them. Those on the left see racist, hypocritical rednecks on the other side they feel superior to them. It is just a continuation of our need to subjugate someone to make us feel better about ourselves. The thing is that there are lots of shared views on both sides of the debate. I'm fairly sure that at church on Sunday, there are representatives from both sides of the isle. I'm pretty sure that both sides pray to the same God. I'm fairly sure that both sides have their fair share of patriots, rednecks and hippies. There are Gays, Blacks, Jews, Asians, Mexicans, etc, who vote Republican at every turn. And there are Whites from Georgia, Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia, etc, who are dedicated Democrats.
As Abraham Lincoln once said, there is much more that unites us than separates us. But as we use terms that devalue others based on something as insignificant as political views, we are fulfilling a basic tenant of the human condition. Does it matter what we issue we use to separate ourselves? Does it matter whether we open a boiled egg from the big end or small end? Not really. We will find what makes us different and someone will always be there to exploit our need to feel superior. Whether for political gain or monetary gain or a power grab, those looking to gain something will always be able to manipulate some portion of the masses to go along with them as long as they appeal to one of our most basic needs. The Human Condition allows us to commit the most horrible of acts without a second thought. I guess we can be grateful that our current political discourse has not yet devolved to the point of an armed conflict. Yet we are only a few short steps from taking up arms under the guise of protecting ourselves against an as yet unnamed enemy. If history has shown us anything, it is that every society (regardless of how supposedly enlightened it may be) is cable of turning against itself. That is the Human Condition.