Nous et eux

France did not cower despite the nationalists’ fearmongering about terror and migrants, even as those threats are more proximate to the French than the Americans who elected Trump. This apparent incongruity should be no surprise, for it tracks the same phenomenon in the U.S., where city dwellers who have the most experience with immigration and terrorism tend to vote for candidates who embrace diversity. Perhaps these fears have ulterior motivations: having some enemy, some scapegoat, some other to feel superior to in the cruel hierarchy of power disparities.

After all, the list of culprits more destructive than terrorists or migrants, which we could do something about but do not, is very long, including: inadequate access to medical care, inadequate access to mental health care, inadequate nutrition and exercise, polluted air and water, gun violence, motor vehicles crashes. But these scourges are all too familiar, all too proximate: they are us.

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