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rambling on the topic of the hour

Sorry, I'm not cut-tagging this.

I'm very disappointed in the results of the US and state election all around. Bush's win doesn't even bother me as much as all the Republican gains in the US House and Senate. And the Californians who voted down the milder 3-strikes law, and who voted in favor of creating a DNA database of everyone who is arrested for a crime (not found guilty, *arrested*). And the eleven states that declared people in same-sex relationships can't have marriage or civil unions (or, in one case, even domestic partnerships).

I know people voted Republican and punitive and restrictive for many different reasons. I wish I knew the breakout of the different reasons so I knew how to counter them. I'm afraid that countering them with facts and reason, which is the only kind of politics I feel like I have any talent at, won't necessarily work. That makes me feel pretty powerless to change people's minds and behavior.

I want to believe that people are sensible and care about each other. I've learned over and over again in the past few years that while this might be the case when people feel safe, it's not the case when people feel unsafe or threatened. I'm very sad about this because I think the best and only way to feel safe is to care about one's fellow beings and to feel like they care about you.

I believe that humans are instinctively social animals, and simply hoarding weapons, money, and things that help us physically survive doesn't ultimately give us[1] a feeling of safety if we feel others are against us. I think it creates more fear because we feel we have more to lose.

Sadly, when humans feel unsafe, some of us tend to lash out and destroy our relationships with others. Leading to feeling even more unsafe. What an unhappy vicious circle.

I wish I knew how to help people feel more safe. I wish I knew how to help stop the divisive anger people feel toward other people who think differently. Throughout this election season, whenever I saw people who share my political beliefs directing hatred at people on the other side, it upset me. Not only because I have issues with anger, but because I felt that it was counterproductive.

But...I know it's easier to create anger and fear in people than to create safety, and I know the people in power in the US now have gotten where they are by creating and exploiting anger and fear. So maybe there's no point in acting on my beliefs and trying to help people feel more safe and connected. But I really can't imagine acting politically from any other point of view.

Anyway, I agree with wild_irises, who posted:
here's my plan: to get up every day, to live in the world as I have been living in the world, only more so, to do my work on myself, and to do my work in the world. And not to let those hatemongers make me more of a hater than a lover.
And I'll add "not let them make me more of a doubter than is good for my productivity." The doubting is what's really eating at me.

[1] I don't usually speak for everyone like this. It might not be a good idea. But I do think this is fairly universal.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 3rd, 2004 06:52 pm (UTC)
Well said.
Nov. 3rd, 2004 07:06 pm (UTC)
The problem with the three strikes measure was that it wasn't just modifying three strikes. I'm highly suspicious of any measure of the form "vote for X AND Y -- for the children!"

As for the DNA, I voted against it, but, since it passed, I can only hope it will be used to show innocence at least as often as guilt -- "Nope, the DNA evidence doesn't match yours, so you're free to go."
Nov. 3rd, 2004 07:46 pm (UTC)
I love you! And I wish you a fantastically productive balance of confidence and doubt.
Nov. 3rd, 2004 07:48 pm (UTC)
I wish I knew how to help people feel more safe. I wish I knew how to help stop the divisive anger people feel toward other people who think differently.

What are you doing on Wednesday nights for the next few weeks?
Nov. 3rd, 2004 08:48 pm (UTC)
I'm afraid I'm booked up in November, but I'd love to hear about any future events in the area.
Nov. 3rd, 2004 09:51 pm (UTC)
I'm in Oakland regularly now. If you do any kind of a regular thing for piece and justice, er... peace and justice, on a weeknight, I'd love to join in. - Hugs -
Nov. 3rd, 2004 09:41 pm (UTC)
Stef, you are the voice of reason. I'm still in fucking disgusted mode. Enough said.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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