The Price of Intolerance

Think what you will of me but the more I ponder the case of Omar Mateen, the more I see a closet gay man crumbling horribly under the weight of an unforgiving religion. These are the conditions of mental stress that are ideal for inane ideas to resolve an irreconcilable life by turning to the self-destructive excuses of ISIS-type jihad.

That the man acted as if he was crazy is clearly true. You see similar stress indicators in most of the other incidents of this type. People go mad as hatters in our midst. We ignore their plight because it's inconvenient and denounces them when pain turns to violence. We have no credible mitigating mechanisms despite decades of declaring our concern.

I wonder why in a plural society like the United States of America, we have let our notions of the right to explore our dreams become trapped by all manner of dogma. I see it on the right, I see it on the left. So many Americans now believe that being different means you must be banished to a lower caste of American. We have lost the very notion of being created equal endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

So here we are, creating the mental illness powder kegs that drive the weakest among us into the devil's arms. And we remain smug in our individual elitism to fail to see that the problem is that we have abandoned the very soul of our Nation.

We too search for excuses to soothe our preconceptions and prejudices. In so doing, continue to kill whatever little we still have that binds us and makes us strong.

In this regard I agree with both President Obama and with Donald Trump. The problem is us and our inability to admit to the inconvenient truths of what we have turned this country into. President Obama is right to point out that we jump too soon to blame others; oddly, this includes himself. Donald Trump is right that we delude ourselves with our political correctness; that we look directly at problems and cannot seem to accept that they are there. Most Americans can't hear him because they're looking for polish instead of content; a bit more charm may help at the moment. The question today is, can we be a good enough nation to hear them both for the attempts they are making to find pathways out of our malaise?

I hope so.