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Monday, November 21, 2016

Love works. But how?

I'm seeing a lot of frustration with the politics of nonviolence or even respect mere politeness lately. 

Trump's fractious, thin-skinned nature isn't helping.
His babyish ill-tempered response to the Hamilton casts' heartfelt & respectful address to v.p.-elect Pence* for instance, is being held up on Tumblr as an example of why polite discourse with him and his followers isn't going to be possible.

The contrast with how Obama and Hillary took public humiliation--actual intentional humiliation--is stunning.  But it worries me to see people like (Buffy creator) Joss Whedon tweeting what looks like some kind of threat:

The replies to his tweet involved a discussion about who would win a civil war. Not the hipsters, everyone agrees. This was one reply to Whedon's tweet:

But, guys---a civil war?
HOW ARE WE EVEN TALKING ABOUT THIS?
The American Civil War wiped out at least 6% of the population.  Today that would be around 21 million people. And that's just the deaths.

Meanwhile, I saw on Tumblr this quote from Anne Frank.
It has more notes (1,795,393 kudos or reposts) than any post I've seen there:


How do we transfer that belief into political action?

Along with frustration, I'm seeing groups dust off nonviolence and civil disobedience training. 
bink told me about a meeting she went to that involved a training on how to intervene on behalf of someone who's being harrassed or attacked. There was a lot of concern about how to do this and stay safe yourself
That might not always be possible. 

Nonviolence plays the long game; it may not work in the short run, and it's hard on the nerves, and on life and limb.
But what more effective weapon do we have in our arsenal?

It can even happen on Twitter, that not-very-nice site. You've maybe seen this New Yorker article from 2015:
"
Unfollow: How a prized daughter of the Westboro Baptist Church came to question its beliefs."

So, geez it feels weird to be writing about this, but it seems the time has come to start training.  Love, like any tool, takes training to use well. It can't hurt to bone up on nonviolence--it applies to all of life, anyway, not just politics. 
Like,…going to the family home for Thanksgiving, for some people. (I don't even try that anymore--haven't for decades.) Or, in my case, I'm looking at being around family when my father's health declines.

(After I blogged this, I emailed my sister accepting her longtime offer to go see a family counselor together. Gotta take my own advice, I guess. Also, I keep having nightmares about SIL.)

As astronaut Chris Hadfield says: 
“Anticipating problems and figuring out how to solve them is actually the opposite of worrying: it’s productive.”
―  An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth 

He also says, be prepared, and enjoy yourself!

I'm meeting the week after Thanksgiving with the communications director at the church to see about starting up an art group, which could fit the bill for me:
Art has power (rather more along the lines of gardening than guns),  and also, frustrations aside, being creative is almost inherently enjoyable.
________________________________________

* This is what Hamilton cast said to Pence:
“We, sir — we — are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights. We truly hope that this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”

4 comments:

The Crow said...

That's a wonderful example of 'speaking up'!

ArtSparker said...

I was heartened a little by the fact that Pence went to Hamilton in the first place, and then that he evidently heard the statement in the hall afterward. Because - art can't solve all problems, but it's one way to get people to listen.

However, I can go the rest of my life without hearing about a0oi
4enother of Trump's tweets - most of us could write them for him at this point and they are a predictable distraction from stuff going on in front of our noses AND behind the scenes. I do agree with you re nonviolence and the long term. I hope Obama has a good vacation, because he is going to be key in this movement, and keeping my fingers crossed that Van Jones comes out from behind the CNN desk.

ArtSparker said...

Oh Yeah, and about Whedon - Trump is going to get bored so fast, it's not him we will have to worry about for long, it's probably Mike Pence (face like a fist) unless some cabal successfully takes over.

Fresca said...

CROW: Bring on the megaphone! :)

SPARKER: I agree (or I hope) that it's probably not Trump, the man himself, we have to worry about--it's what he unleashes, and then ongoing reactions (including ours) to that.
I just bought a new pad of watercolor paper---that's my reaction of the moment! :)