We need someone to blame it all on.
Someone to hate. Someone to blame. Someone to point at with the finger of righteous indignation, and say j’accuse. It’s all you, you fuck, it’s all your goddamned fault.
Sometimes that’s easy. You go to a war, a righteous war, against a clear and evil enemy. Hitler, WWII. We had someone who needed a lot a hating, and we found we’re good at that. We took a man who, quite simply, defines evil in teh 20th century, and made him a cartoon villan, laughed, scoffed, and hated him and all his. We swept in with bombs and tanks and leveled great cities, because, you know, he was the enemy and he needed killing.
Usually it’s not so easy. Usually things are not gift-wrapped in tidy packages, rubber-stampped evil, enemy. Yet we need enemies. We must have them.
We’re a tribe. We need to belong. We’re a social entity, humans. We group and gather, and eventually, subdivide. There’s got to be an us which means we then eventually will have a them. The other tribe, the other clan, the other town, the other club, gang, state, nation.
We need it. Something fundamental in our nature requires a them to hate. It lets us be angry, good, clean, powerful anger. It lets us blame. they did it, it’s their fault. We are free of blame, of ownership, of responsibility. We are empowered by this.
But what happens when there’s no clear us and no clear them? That’s easy. We make a them. That race, that creed. That ethnic origin. Sometimes we have a nice label; terrorist. Sometimes we just hate for no reason, because someone has the wrong shoes or the wrong haircut or is in love with the wrong person.
We did it in the fifties. Commies. They were here, undermining out society. Pinkos. Today, it’s the gays. That damned homosexual aegenda. Those people, they get married, they undermine the institution of marriage, the family itself. Never fucking mind that the family is pretty well undermined already, and that gay families do as well as any other kind, if not better.
It’s not all racial. It’s not all big. It’s not all sweeping.
Sometimes it’s small. It’s not us and them. It’s you and I.
We make imaginary enemies on a small scale as well. We label the head cheerleader enemy. We make the rival at work enemy. We make a parent or child or spouse enemy.
We need enemies. They free us, from us. They are a target for anything bad in our world, our country, our life, our household. They give us a target for blame, a receptacle for anger, for fear, for angst. They let is focus on something outside, which is so much easier than the dark and fearsome inside. Inside, we own. Inside, only we can fix. Inside, where the darkest demons and evils live. Where the hate festers and seeks an avenue of escape. Enemies are the pathway out for all this.
But when our enemies are entirely imagined, what then? How do they bear the weight of hatred, of blame, of anger and transfered angst? How do they live with the lebel, enemy?
You treat one as an outsider, a foe, a target for long enough, that person can assume the role. Attack me? What have I left but to attack you back?
The imaginary enemy is the unconquerable foe. You cannot strike at smoke; you cannot win when you fight a mirror. You cannot triumph against a phantom foe. For that foe is you. Love is the only weapon in that battle. Love, and clear sight. Look inside without fear, and embrace what lies within.
There is no enemy.