Same story – different nation. This time an intolerant, supremacist, right-wing religious extremist allegedly killed 91 people who thought differently than him July 22 in Norway.
The incident just confirms what we already know – that religious and political extremism are the enemy of decent people everywhere. It’s a safe bet that every nutty idea in this butcher’s tin brain started out as a wedge issue that was introduced by someone who wished to rule a political or religious machine.
Divide and conquer is still the key to leadership for those who crave self-serving power over their fellow man and many do so by combining politics with religion, race and scapegoats. That means we must all be skeptical of would-be leaders who want to give us someone to hate – of any politician bearing a wedge issue.
What can we do about it?
American wage-earners are in basic survival mode right now. That means the only issues that matter are those that unite us, like our desire for affordable and healthy food; access to affordable health care, legal services, housing and education; affordable energy and transportation; the ability to borrow money at less than 11 percent interest; representative democracy; and plentiful jobs that feature decent wages and humane working conditions.
Everything else is a wedge issue until those basic needs are met, whether it’s abortion, military intervention abroad, or ridiculous debates about things like the so-called World Trade Center mosque or President Barack Obama’s national origin.
Wedge issues are a political luxury the American middle class simply can no longer afford to indulge in lest we breed more Timothy McVeighs. That’s the intolerant, supremacist, right-wing American religious extremist who murdered 168 people and injured 450 in Oklahoma City in 1995.