This has been a tough week for me, as I suspect it has been for many of you. For the last three days I have been trying to find small moments, hopeful moments, within what feels like a cacophony of hateful macro implications.
My brain tends to trend towards dissonance regardless of the circumstance, and so I made a conscientious effort this week to slow myself down, to open myself up to feeling, and to let my brain become jumbled and confused. To keep myself honest, I forced myself to write notes on the brief bits of personal clarity that I experienced, and then forced myself to revisit and amend them as the week progressed. Below are some of those notes presented in the largely unedited stream of consciousness fashion with which I wrote them.
- Intellectualism is not to be blamed, or belittled. We should be thirsty to learn, and champion those who aspire to higher knowledge, never satisfied in their pursuit. That in no way excuses those of us lucky enough to have access to quality education who have too often ignored those who have none. However, willful ignorance should not be tolerated. I will give you the chance to learn, and help you along that path, but if you are resistant to change by your own volition, and are not willing to educate yourself because of your own fear and hate, then I will push back at every turn.
- I am in a position to be a bigger person without personal consequence because I am insulated by my privilege. That takes little courage, and is nothing more than self-indulgence. Change is not made above the fray, it comes from the crucible, from the muck and the mire. Apathy is a luxury, and if you choose to exercise your privilege with apathy, then you are disrespecting and dehumanizing those who cannot afford to be apathetic. There is a fine line between being the bigger person and blind capitulation. If being that bigger person means I forget about the people who now feel smaller, feel less safe, I will resist. If being the bigger person means I am immune to the fears of those that are most affected by this week’s events, then I won’t accept that privileged position.
- Opinions do not deserve automatic respect. When your opinion is on food, style, or a tv show I will respect it. If it is tied to misogyny, racism, homophobia, bigotry, or any other hateful ideology, I will shame it, fight it, and completely disrespect it in every possible way. If you claim you don’t agree with intolerance, but accept it, or vote for it, then you are part of the problem. If you do not actively resist, push back, and fight intolerance, then you are part of the problem.
- Ultimately society is a pendulum that swings forward, the back swing becoming ever shorter, the forward swing ever longer. We must ensure that the next shift forward is as long a sustained arc as possible, especially when faced with the start of a backwards path.
- The media has focused on unity and normalization for the past three days. That urge stems from a point of rationality, but we must remember that much of the coming platform comes from a place devoid of that same rational thought. Do not come together in unity for unity’s sake. Come together for a positive unity, a unity that promotes all and truly means it, not because some political process says you must. I would love to unite as much as anyone, but there is no room in unity for hate and discrimination. Be hopeful, but don’t give yourself over to hope.
- The protests are necessary, and valid. This sad result is immense and overwhelming in its scope, its precedence, and its danger. Just because things may not devolve into tyranny does not mean that a stand shouldn’t be taken preemptively. If we are only reactive instead of proactive as a society, we will fall prey to more dangerous ideologues moving forward.
- Small gestures and big action don’t have to be mutually exclusive. We can and we must do both.
- The hateful won’t stop fighting, and neither can we. Progressives have long been asked to accept that which is not moral, nor righteous, and it is time we start fighting for our ideals as vehemently as those who oppose them. Love and tolerance can be used as a weapon. Violence does not need to be present for an idealogical brawl.
- Emotive behavior often escapes me, my predisposition being one of self work rather than efforts in relationships. Now more than ever I will seek to reverse that personal trend and work with others for a better human experience, while simultaneously doubling down on the work I need to do on myself.
- The assembly of thoughts during something so macro is a frustrating task if you don’t let the confusion in and accept the uncertainty.
- It’s been difficult to ground myself in the trivial, but we must hold onto this pain and let it inform us, while still loving, laughing, and living.
- I grew up in an environment that never questioned the equality of any living person. More than ever I realize that looking at all people as the same is not enough, and that I must try harder to put myself in their shoes.
- Don’t wait for a champion to be chosen for you. Choose one you believe in from the word go, someone who will champion your beliefs.
- With something as large, as monumental as this situation we find ourselves in now, voices need to be heard. Continue the discussion. Be open, but also resolute in the moral imperatives. Do not mock those who are expressing. Do not mock those who are venting. Instead open a dialogue, or ask a question. If you see hate, combat it fiercely with love and rational thought.
- Thought, discussion, love, passion, compassion, and empathy are just a few of the tools that will help us strive to find ourselves positioned in a more positive experience.
Feel free to share this with anyone you think may be interested, or might want to contribute thoughts of their own. Respectful opposition is welcomed and encouraged. In the meantime I will continue to write down my jumbled thoughts, and plan to look into ways of volunteering my time for causes I care about, both politically and socially. I encourage you to do the same.