Every time there’s a disaster – natural (hurricane, wildfire, flood) or man made (terrorist attacks, mass shooting, and yes I chose to use MAN made rather than HUMAN made intentionally there) – some dipshit “minister” like Pat Robertson blames feminists/abortions/Teh Gay for it. “GAAAAWWWWDDD is PUNISHIN’ yaw FAAAAWW YAAAWWW SIIIINNNNSSSS!” howls someone conman like Jerry Falwell. And those of us who are in full possession of our wits roll our eyes and move on, quietly deleting those chain emails (are those still a thing?) from Grandma and old racist Uncle Fred.
Well, wait a minute. Maybe God is punishing us – or at least some us – for something.
What are the bottom five states in…?
- Overall health rankings: Alabama, West Virginia, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana
- Low birth weight: Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana
- Infant mortality: West Virginia, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi
- Obesity: Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, West Virginia, Arkansas
- Children in poverty: Arizona, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana
- Median household income: Kentucky, Louisiana, Alabama, West Virginia, Mississippi
- Least educated states (educational attainment, school quality, and achievement gaps between genders and races): Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, West Virginia
- Percentage of high school degree holders: Louisiana, New Mexico, Mississippi, Texas, California
- Percentage of bachelor’s degree holders: Louisiana, Kentucky, Arkansas, Mississippi, West Virginia
- Percentage of graduate/professional degree holders: Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Arkansas, West Virginia
- Pollution? Well, the EPA ECHO site is a bit more complex to maneuver, and the Rust Belt doesn’t tend to fare all that well, either, but I’ll give you one guess about where there’s a lot of air and water pollution and hazardous waste. (If you guessed former Confederacy/Jim Crow states, give yourself a gold star.)
Notice a theme?
Maybe what God is punishing us – or some of us – for is a history of racism, slavery, and Jim Crow we have never properly addressed or made recompense for.
(Column interruption caveat: Yes, I am well aware that the majority of the states that were states at any given time permitted slavery in at least some forms at some times, at least prior to the Emancipation Proclamation. But only some states committed treason and started a war to try to preserve that system. I am also aware that virtually all states had some form of Jim Crow laws at some point. But only some states maintained those until they had to be overturned by the Supreme Court within our lifetimes. I’m also well aware that the KKK was in fact founded by Southern Democrats during Reconstruction, DAD. Would you care to explain what your party has been up to since 1964? Whoa – that got personal there for a minute.)
Race is a shadow issue for the national character of the United States. Per Jung, shadows are the negative aspects of personality that operate out of our more base instincts, below the level of our conscious minds, in the realm of our subconscious and implicit biases. “Whatever we deem evil, inferior or unacceptable and deny in ourselves becomes part of the shadow, the counterpoint to what Jung called the persona or conscious ego personality.” (reference)
Freud posited that the way we deal with the shadow is projection, where you attribute negative instincts and characteristics in yourself onto The Other (however you define that, and hello, paging so-called President Trump).
Jung advocated excavating and dealing with our shadows. He cautioned that the WORST thing you could do would be to deny and repress that side of yourself, which does nothing more than feed it until it grows into an uncontrollable monster that makes, say, lynching your neighbor, or setting fire to a church, or carrying torches while chanting “blood and soil,” or running over peaceful protestors with your car seem totally reasonable.
And, although I don’t believe in imaginary friends of any sort (God, Allah, Buddha, the Flying Spaghetti Monster), I have to think that any Higher Power that would be worth following would not be down with lynching and arson (particularly of buildings dedicated to him) and threats and intimidation and terrorist attacks like vehicular homicide.
Which brings me back to my point. We as a country have never dealt with our horrible legacy of racial oppression. The South IN PARTICULAR has not only never dealt with their horrible legacy of racial oppression, they’ve attempted, in many cases, to re-write history to celebrate it, or at least pretend that it wasn’t so bad (hey, according to Bill O’Reilly, the enslaved had it good – they got free food and housing). Looking at the fruit of that harvest enumerated above, I’d say God seems to be pretty pissed off at them about that. Maybe it’s time – nay, past time – to start working with that shadow and making amends. Maybe taking down ALL the Confederate monuments is a good start.
Image found: no way am I linking to the wingnut site where I found this. Unh-unh. Nope.
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