I am not a student of political science. I don't have a deep understanding of how the American government works ("I'm a doctor, Jim, not a poli sci professor"). I love my country, though, in a non-worshipping, pragmatic kind of way. I am thankful that I have grown up here, that I was given many opportunities to succeed, that I am able to work and raise a family in relative peace. But given my upbringing/background, I have always felt that it could be taken away. You see, I have family members that survived the Holocaust. Not close family members, and I have never heard their stories, but they are there in the background of my life, reminders of how truly evil people can be. And I believe that this sort of evilness can happen anywhere, even here in the US. It is the kind of evilness that begins insidiously, infects a few people, then more and more, until it is epidemic. I also believe that most people can get caught up in that kind of situation. Mob reaction, crowd psychology, call it whatever you want. People can incite each other to perform actions and do things that they may not otherwise have done alone. To me, this sort of behavior manifests by targeting a smaller group, a different group, and making them a scapegoat or a sacrifice. That group is isolated, their difference is magnified, and then once a group is "different" enough, then it is just a small step to violence.
I am sure you know what prompted this post -- the shooting at the Holocaust Museum yesterday. It really bothers me. "Bother" is too weak a word, actually. It makes me afraid. To me, the purpose of the Holocaust Museum is to teach those who have no connection to it and to remind people that this can happen and does happen. And to have such a person perform such an action (for whatever reason might have crossed his mind) at that place upsets me almost beyond words. For you see, I am a member of a religious minority group. I live in a country where 76% of the population identifies themselves as Christian. I have worked with people who literally didn't understand that when the US is referred to as a "Christian Nation", it makes me uncomfortable and uneasy. My daughter has been proselytized while at her after-school program.
Please don't read this post as being anti-Christian. It is not, and I am not. I am not a believer, but I am not the type to judge what other people believe, as long as they don't try to convince me that their beliefs are the "right" beliefs. I am not anti-German, not by a long shot. My best friend is German; I have been there several times and found the people to be just like anywhere else. (And the scenery where my friend lives is much nicer than mine...).
But it can happen here. It can happen anywhere. There are people who hate others because of the god they worship, the color of their skin, their country of origin. It shouldn't happen here. We shouldn't let it.