To the editor:
I found the DMG article “What was the cause of Irish-Cornish hatred?” by Graham Jaehnig [Weekend Edition Apr. 18/19] interesting both from a Copper Country history perspective, as well as a commentary on society today. Jaehnig’s article reminded me of my own Irish grandmother’s story about the “soupers” – supposed protestant missionaries to Ireland during the Great Famine. They offered soup to the starving, but only if they changed their religion. Even as a small boy, my take-away from her story was that conversion by coercion or submission is no conversion at all, but rather it has to come from within; from the heart.
Hatred – even to the extreme of one’s own brother – is as old as humankind itself, as any Christian believer can tell you. In today’s secular world the difference between the Cornish and Irish is unrecognizable for most people. But, when humankind gives sway to moral weakness, fear and hatred easily finds another target – the left, the right, the Asians, Arabs, African Americans, and so on.
In times of war, governments have used the power of fear to rally the citizenry to defend the nation. Everyone joined together against a common foe. Fear is a powerful force.
Now, unbridled fear rules the day stoked by an ever diminishing number of the ruling class. The wealthy and powerful are whipping people into a frenzy of mistrust, fear and hatred. It’s my conviction these purveyors of fear are half as interested in the objects of their hatred as they are in maintaining power over their followers and the material wealth it brings.
Fear is easy; hatred is cowardice. As a gospel singer once shouted, “Jesus didn’t say ‘good times.’ He said, “good news.'” The good news is that life is hard, complex and requires sacrifice. In other words, taking up our own crosses. Any voice of authority – propagandist, politician or preacher – who says it’s all black and white, and consequently, someone else’s fault is a fool and shouldn’t be listened to. And, for heaven’s sake, don’t give them your money! Perhaps all they require is a nice bowl of soup!