This is truly a test of Love vs. Hate.
I know what that sounds like. But I mean it. Hear me out.
The reason that Trump is about to ascend to the most powerful office in the world is because he simply tapped into hate. It was really quite brilliant. He didn’t have to do the hard work of convincing someone of some policy position or getting someone to buy his solution. All he had to do was reach people. And Twitter and Facebook make that easy.
How can it be that Jews voted for Trump? Jews who understand the history of the Holocaust? Jews who know the rhetoric of othering? Because Trump—who just appointed an anti-semite to head his cabinet—said [and I paraphrase], “I’ll be strong in Israel.” And that means no two-state solution. No Palestine. He took the hate of Palestinians and leveraged it.
How can it be that a spoiled, privileged insider rich guy became the Messiah of blue collar workers? Because Trump said [again, paraphrasing], “I’ll take care of those immigrants who are taking your jobs. You’re better than they are. They are rapists and criminals, and I’ll send them away.” He took the xenophobia, the need to blame others to feel better than someone, and leveraged it.
All that cultural change that’s happened in the past 50 years—marriage equality, LGBT rights, abortion, reproductive rights—so many feel that it’s the work of the devil. [Trump implied,] “But don’t worry. We can roll it back together. And since you’re white and Christian and here, you won’t even feel it when I hurt black people and Jews and Muslims and immigrants. It won’t hurt a bit. In fact, it won’t even register in your reality.”
And what of feminism and the Civil Rights Movement? “Unfair! Weak! More people taking away rights. More unwanted change. Return power to white people. To men. Be strong. Get angry. PC culture is ruining America. Blame them. Vote me.”
Divide and conquer.
Each group hating the other.
That reeling feeling so many of us are experiencing this week, is because Hate, quite literally, won. That’s what we are seeing now across the country: Unleashed, normalized, raw hatred. Hatred is King. To the winners go the spoils.
“Love is the way forward.” “Love is all we have.” I’ve said those words myself, but I thought it was just some pollyanna crap because we don’t know what else to say.
It’s actually the only antidote. The only strategy. Show people that it’s a better way. A better life.
It’s the only way I see to break the spell.
“Love is the only way.”
I’m a ball of rage right now. This is not intended to say we should coddle bigots. No. I will continue to call them out. What I really mean is we have to show that the toxic zero-sum thinking that underlies racism, sexism, xenophobia and all forms of bigotry and hate is simply false. It does not make things better. Being against feminism makes it worse for men. Being xenophobic makes it worse for our country. Inclusiveness is better. Love.
I wrote the original version of the above essay in a post on Facebook. My friend and fellow Good Men Project writer, Jed Diamond, wrote this in response:
We can be fiercely angry, but still bring love to our world and look for the humanity and listen to the pain of the people who are being hurtful and hateful to others. That’s how Martin Luther King, Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, and Nelson Mandela fought oppression. The day after elections there were chalked sayings all over our town with words of love and healing. One in front of the Mexican Restaurant (where many Mexican Americans are terrified of being deported) said, “I love Mexicans and I love Mexican food” touched me deeply. Let’s find ways of bringing all our love–gentle, tough, fierce, passionate, to our lives now. Donald Trump didn’t create the hate, he just tapped into it, exposed it, and validated it. Now we can begin to create the antidote.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a ball of rage. And I will fight against these forces of hate tirelessly.
What I really mean is we have to show that the toxic zero sum thinking that underlies m sexism xenophobia and all forms of bigotry is false. It does not make things better. Being against feminism makes it worse for men. Being xenophobic makes it worse for our country. Together is better.
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