The question is not what you look at, but what you see.

“The question is not what you look at, but what you see.” — Henry David Thoreau

When gazing upon a person of the Islamic faith do the xenophobes of the U.S. see a human being who was born into a religion of diverse sects, upon whom U.S. aggression has inflicted four million casualties since 1990?

Don’t bother to answer. We know what the bigots see; they see their own dark, hidden-from-themselves nature projected upon the alien other. A wall of denial must be erected to shield one from the reality of one’s vicious impulses. How else is it possible to act on them?


Yet behind the wall, the heart languishes. Empathy is blocked. The mind is governed by fear. Acts of evil are deemed justified. In despicable times, as promoted by despicable sorts, evil utterances are promulgated and believed as fact. These are the hell mouth times that belch forth the Donald Trumps and Hillary Clintons and the rest of their klavern of psychopaths who ascend to power by climbing a mountain of corpses. The worst retain their voice as individual humanity is muted, is stunned into silence by the rage of the mob.

Yet…speak one must. Even if it is the ghost of one’s humanity howling in lamentation. My mother was a wartime refugee. She fled Nazi Germany on a Kindertransport. The flames of the Holocaust at her back. My orphaned, born on an Indian rez father’s ancestors bestowed me with the inborn knowledge of the barbarism hidden behind the veneer of the misnomer termed European civilization.

I am awake and watching; therefore, I am mortified by the trajectory of the times. The same elitist degenerates are issuing call-to-arms alarums. The same sorts of fools, tools, and soreheads are being taken in by the predictable demagogic palaver of the corporate news cycle.

We have seen this fool’s parade before. (Has it been that long since 2003?) We have witnessed how their dimwit march leads to a bloody-sodden bog. If their designs work out as planned, the elite will, as they always have, enrich their already engorged fortunes on the suffering and death of  the powerless. War is a money train for the rich and connected and a death wagon for the rest of us.

When will it end? Only when we refute their lies and refuse to be led into avoidable tragedy. Only when we defend life with the same insistence that the elites promote death.

Originally published: Phil Rockstroh (Facebook)

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