Here we go again. An angry man, whether justified or not, pokes a stick in the eye of the object of his anger. Then he wonders why the object of his anger does not like him. Barack Obama says, let us have a healthy dialogue. Well, get the stick out of my eye and maybe I’ll talk about it.
It is the classic case of the self-fulfilling prophecy. Reverend Wright says, “God Damn America.” Does he expect white Americans to embrace him with love and kindness? No – that embrace would not serve his purpose. Osama Bin Laden blows up our buildings and kills innocent people and then says, figuratively, God damn those Americans. George Bush bombs the Muslim world – then he says, again figuratively, God Damn Muslims.
Self-fulfilling prophecies are usually more subtle. I remember back in the early 1980’s a study was done in a third grade class. The social scientists found thirty children who tested as equals. They introduced the children to a third grade teacher with a bias. They told the teacher that twenty of the children tested average, five tested above average, and five tested below average. They waited and watched. At the end of the school year the twenty introduced as average tested average. The five introduced as above average tested above average, the five introduced as below average tested below average. The teacher unwittingly and unintentionally fulfilled the prophecy.
If we assume the worst we get the worst. If we assume the best we get the best.
Reverend Wright has done his community a grave disservice. People like Osama Bin Laden and Rush Limbaugh do the world a grave disservice. Sure, they are popular with other angry people. They have a following. But they are not leaders – they merely gather like minded angry people and fuel the fire.
Each of these folks would benefit from a class in Anger Management. Their anger may be justified – but their behavior is their own. Angry people justify their behavior with the cause of their anger – then they are more angry when they are not appreciated.
George Bush is befuddled. He has killed many thousands of people. And he feels justified. He is thinking, “People just do not understand. Some day people will look back and see that I was justified in my behavior.”
Is there a difference between Reverend Wright and President Bush? Both have fallen victim to justifying their atrocious behavior. And both feel that uniquely human quality of martyrdom.
When others return anger with anger – the original perpetrator feels justified and exonerated.