Friday, November 11, 2016

Smothering Hate

I have been saying for years now.
After the Trump campaign, does anyone doubt it's true?
Trump is gonna Trump. The give and take of Washington politics will unfold as it will; there is very little that we citizens can do about that. Did all those marches and demonstrations stay Bush's hand when he was set on invading Iraq?

But the gravest danger of the Trump election is that it legitimizes and normalizes hate speech, bullying, harassment: speech that demonizes. It has the potential to normalizing bigotry and misogyny, allowing the most dangerous elements of the society to function openly and to intimidate the rest of us into silence and acquiescence.

That does not have to be.

We have to work every day for the next four years to contain hatred in the public sphere. What is unacceptable has to be remain unacceptable. Hateful, or bigoted expressions must remain to be seen as "beyond the limits." Bigots must continue to feel that they are constrained in expressing their views in public. It should cost them something whenever they inject poison into the bloodstream of the body politic. They should remain feeling that they are hemmed in and repressed by a culture of "political correctness," which is what they call courtesy, respect, mutuality and democratic culture.

We have to re-humanize this culture. We must all defend the humanity of every person or group that is being demonized by the conservative movement, which is now led by Donald J. Trump: Immigrants, Muslims, LGBTQI people, African Americans, poor people, women, and journalists.

We are holding the public space for an inclusive, big-hearted, and justice-oriented culture.

We are holding the space for beloved community.

It means calling out hateful speech whenever it is heard. It pushing messages of inclusion and justice into the public square by every means possible. It means that everyone wears a button everyday with a message that affirms the inherent worth and dignity of someone who is marginalized. It means that every car has a positive bumper sticker. It means that everyone refuses to be intimidated and that everyone else comes to the defense of the victims of intimidation. It means that we stick together.

Love smothers Hate.


2 comments:

ou812 said...

"Bigots must continue to feel that they are constrained in expressing their views in public." Making hate speech go away does not make hate go away. It drives it underground, where it festers invisibly.

Steve LaBonne said...

I used to believe that. Then I saw the surge in hate crimes that followed the "permission" granted by Trump's election. Constraining outward behavior is VERY important to the people who have reason to fear that behavior.