Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The politics of fear; and harnessing fear in the fight against Trump (and racist, sexist patriarchy, more generally)

I don't know who said it, but there is a popular (ish) saying that goes: "Fear is a powerful motivator."

This is very clearly the case. Fear motivates us to hold our children, family, and friends close. It motivates us to save our money for a rainy day, to give our animal and human family members vaccinations to protect them from diseases...

But it can also motivate more dangerous emotions. When faced with someone or something that we do not understand we often immediately fear...and when we are unable to get beyond our fear to a proper understanding of the other, we are lead to hate. Fear can make us to hate. And hate is terrifyingly more powerful than fear.

I'm not saying that we should not hate. There are many things - mostly ideas or actions - that we should continue to hate. I hate racism, sexism, Islamaphobia, speciesism, violence, gender norms, homophobia...

In my fear for those who are victimized by Trump and his supporters, I became angry and hateful towards all those who voted for Trump, or who supported the Conservative party in Canada's most recent election.  In my anger I decided to hate...not just ideas, and actions...but people..often ignorant, uneducated people who may not understand the implications of their support for Trump of Harper. During the past week I have seen others take this turn. The world that I know has erupted into a mess of shit slinging in all directions, from the left and the right. People are terrified, and the mass media and social media are allowing for this fear to descend into anger, resentment, and violence (verbal and physical) in a way that I have never experienced. I was too young to give a shit when Al Gore lost to GW Bush, but I know that there was probably similar outrage.

And some of us are hurting each other, and losing sight of the big picture in our terror.

This past week I have seen images depicting violence against visible minorities and women in the name of Donald Trump. I have seen young people cry trying to understand why our world is such a shitty place.

I can imagine that this week is just the beginning. Judging by my conversations with friends, family, and strangers, the fear is very real. And very powerful.

But it is not entirely unproductive.

Women across North America are organizing and harnessing their terror and demonstrating against the the fear turned hate of the radical right. Sons and daughters of immigrants are joining together with queer and trans folks to take a stand against the violence being perpetrated against them. Where the radical white right wing fear of the other has led them to hate those who they see as invaders, the invaders - feminists, people from diverse backgrounds, LGBTQ+++ folks - are taking an opposing, though not opposite approach. They/we fear the hate, and as such we hate the hate, and we are harnessing our collective otherness to fight it.

How are we/can we continue to do this? How can you get involved?

Consider these options (some of these are taken from a Facebook post by some women on the left who are committed to the fight against Trump):

1) Donate to the following organizations:
American Civil Liberties Union
Sea Sheppherd
20 Feminist Organizations
2) Learn how to practice compassion and model it for your kids
3) Write An Op-Ed For Your Local Newspaper
http://newsoffice.duke.edu/duke_resources/oped.html <--- teaches you HOW to write an Op-Ed
4) Have an impact on the economy by boycotting big businesses, and in particular those owned by Trump and his buddies.
5) It might sound vague, but 

In solidarity, and with love,


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