On Thursday afternoon the House passed HR 4038, a two-day-old bill calling for tougher restrictions for Iraqi and Syrian refugees who hope to enter the United States. The ostensible aim, according to the bill’s author, Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX), was to address the “gaping holes” in the country’s current management of its refugee program.
In the U.S. South, violence against Black citizens was so pervasive that instead of the descendants of this racist generation owning their acts and deeds, they project onto Blacks the threat of violence that they, themselves, have a history of expressing. (This is not true of all, but it is widely identifiable.)
I think something similar is taking place here; and it does NOT define all (even most, I hope) Americans.
The brute aggressive acts of U.S. militias scarring so much of the Middle East is the dark shadow this group cannot embrace. In order to distance themselves from the guilt--particularly if they voted for foreign wars or sent their children to fight them--they must project it onto those they demonize. It's the Old Testament 'god' of punishment that must rationalize that those on the receiving end of horrors deserved as much.
Carl Jung referred to this psychological defense mechanism as avoiding One's Shadow.
About 33 years ago I was taking a class in California--U.C.S.D-- entitled, "Healing and Communication." It was taught by a charismatic medical doctor.
He instructed us to do an exercise where you look at the person next to you and consciously send--or convey--thoughts of love.
Then he had us do the opposite. The intent to send negative feelings made me feel incredibly uncomfortable, and I suspect that's true of all healthy souls.
Who doesn't feel good opening the door for the elderly lady, writing a card to a friend to acknowledge their contribution, or sending an actual contribution to one of so many worthy causes?
When individuals hold back the capacity to care for others, and that includes entire demographics, their thwarted emotions cripple their souls. And lots of those sorts of cripples are now walking around Capitol Hill. Like right wing radio's shock jocks, they attract followers who are full of anger and seeking a target for their wrath.
It's the scapegoat protocol that worked quite well for the Nazis... in, for a time, establishing a totally militarized state.