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Letter: Emotion most to blame for nation’s divide is frustration
Police move in to Piedmont Park to prevent protesters from toppling a Confederate monument with a chain after they spray-painted it Aug. 13 in Atlanta. The peace monument at the 14th Street entrance depicts a angel of peace stilling the hand of a Confederate soldier about to fire his rifle. Protesters decrying hatred and racism converged around the country on Sunday, saying they felt compelled to counteract the white supremacist rally that spiraled into deadly violence in Virginia. - photo by Associated Press

We hear so much about hate: They hate us. They hate our way of life. They hate the sight of us. But “hate” is not the proper word for what these people are feeling. It is only a name for the emotion. It tells us nothing.

A better word — and a better explanation — is frustration, an overwhelming frustration coming from a number of very real experiences in that person’s life.

“Haters” feel they have been wronged in any number of ways. They have been used, manipulated, ignored and disrespected, and these injuries have been inflicted upon them unfairly and without cause.

Yes, I’m talking race, but skin color is only the most obvious example. Linage, culture, education — or lack thereof — play important role. Then there is biology. Fear of the other, is almost instinctual.

However, explanation is not acceptance. Violence toward anyone is violence toward all, and it must be stopped. However, it can’t be stopped unless we understand what motivates it and we deal with the cause.

We all experience frustration at one time or another. Why does one individual turn to violence while another doesn’t? Because the person who doesn’t commit violence has other options. These options may have been conferred on him or her at birth — a healthy family, a stable environment. Or it may have developed through time — good fortune and a good education.

For whatever reason, the intellect plays an important roll, and intellect can be developed when reason is valued over emotion. Today, unfortunately emotion predominates in the media and thus in politics. This is why so much of what we do is counterproductive.

Beware the politician who appeals to the emotion, who likes to stir up his audience, who tells people what they want to hear regardless of the truth.

Joan King

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