Conformity

beale-street-march

Bernie Sanders is a great man who fought for justice in our nation for 30 years (only to then be cheated out of it with regards to justice for himself), and — even after the now-admitted corruption by the DNC — some Dems in the resulting anti-Trump panic are referring to his angry, protesting supporters as “inappropriate”, “classless”, and “overly emotional,” (not to mention the classic “ridiculous”) and condescending to our grief as if they alone can tend to the faint and flickering pulse of our nation, so I jotted down a few things in case it could help clarify the mindset of Sanders’ supporters through all of the armchair psychology and utterly-useless “calm down”’s I keep seeing:

In the course of human history, significant changes in the flow of society haven’t occurred when its individual participants have “calmed down” or conformed to the societal demands of etiquette; societal change has happened because large groups of individuals have somehow collectively come to similar realizations simultaneously, and while this can be an uncomfortable sight for those not also experiencing those realizations, I feel certain that it doesn’t benefit a society to allow conformity to dictate the broader direction it moves in, for I’m sure there were many who thought the participants of the civil rights movement and Vietnam war protests were overly emotional, and that the impolite tactics often instituted during major reforms deemed distasteful and inappropriate; a godforsaken slope that led to such things as slaves being beaten in the barn out of sight of the houseguests it might upset. For even this recent American history tells us that sometimes “passion” looks like “emotionality” to those on the outside of a movement looking in, and some could even make the argument that it is the lack of emotionality in the form of malaise that more quickly leads to the moral and ethical downfall of a civilization.

In the big scheme of things when you look at these people who you’re describing as overly emotional, it doesn’t actually matter if you understand why they act that way, why they’re emotional; it doesn’t matter if you agree or disagree with their feelings; the fact of the matter is is that this is the way they feel. Period. Whether you personally feel the same or understand it at all is not the point. Because the bigger picture is why any of this is happening at all, and the questions that should be asked when 13 million of your fellow citizens fuel a presidential campaign with their own time and money, is this: Are they all just fucking nuts, or is there something legitimately upsetting going on that is making them fight so hard for a common cause?, and if at any point you find yourself trying to answer the former, then welcome to “Societal Anesthetization.” For sitting in your chair acting like Dr. Spock talking to Captain Kirk doesn’t help, and the reality right now — whether you like it or not — is that the Dems are going to need a huge portion of Bernie’s demographics in order to beat back the almost-certainly certifiable Republican candidate so please go-ahead and take your dose of “shut the fuck up” right now. Because you’re going to need it to get through the next 99 days.

Because Bernie Sanders has taught us that you can be strong in the face of a society which isn’t quite “there” yet if only you hold to the broader goal of reducing the suffering you see in the world, and, in the end, your derision and condescension mean little except as an admission of your own sedation, and take it from us Berners: if you can’t allow yourself anger in the face of admitted corruption and injustice, then you are basically allowing yourself to cower in the corner and die the enormous soul-death that comes when you give up striving for what’s right. So forgive me the fuck ever if I take a pass on that, and stand up and fight and embarrass your “polite society” by being what is — in your opinion — an overly emotional asshole.

[Postscript, for complete clarity:

I’m not crazy and would vote for Clinton if I wasn’t in a deep red state which will most likely go to Johnson (it could be a toss-up though actually–the Mormons hate Trump–so I have to revisit this topic periodically; don’t want to inadvertently give my vote to Trump).

This isn’t about Hillary personally (for me, at least): it’s about the insulation that the elite/the system have been afforded for too long at the expense of broader society, including extremely vulnerable populations which literally grow by double digit percentages every year. This year, for example, the Salt Lake City homeless shelter served as many people by May 26, 2016 as it did for the entire year of 2015. Students are coming to school hungry and traumatized because our lifestyles are on the razors edge, and I’ve personally seen parents repeatedly pick up their kids up totally high and in clear sight and awareness of school admin and nothing is done because there is no one to call to help these addicted parents and no beds anywhere for getting them mental health assistance. And people aren’t recognizing it or are blaming the vulnerable for character defects that usually aren’t there or blame Republicans for their inability to be reasonable when really this is a problem with the system wherein money is being hoarded and populations held at bay with excuses and justifications. And society can’t go on like this.

There will be a tipping point; I already see that we are getting close to it. And it is scary. When people have nothing to lose and when inequality becomes normalized, they take their frustrations out in ways which harm the stability of our society as well as our own mental health (insidiously, so as we don’t even realize) and there has to be a better way than what we’re doing now. Because mowing people down with firearms has now become de rigueur, and when a Donald Trump is the figurehead for millions of angry citizens, we have to acknowledge that we are clearly living within a failed system.

Anyways, don’t worry: Hill will get my vote should it come to that. You aren’t privy to my Facebook posts which outline my views on this situation but I go into the fact that Trump is clearly dangerous, and a third party vote pointless so, in spite of my rage at the lawlessness that our democracy has become, I know where my truth lies.]

14 thoughts on “Conformity

  1. alsoknownas says:

    This is spot on.
    I think I would push your point Amy, amending your assertion that “some could even make the argument that it is the lack of emotionality in the form of malaise that more quickly leads to the moral and ethical downfall of a civilization” and insist instead that unless “some could make the argument…” doesn’t change to ” all of us need to make the argument…”, we will assuredly see a dream that has been well fought by the impassioned, diminish to the point that it fades away, leaving us with a curtain of smoky haze obscuring the ideals of a nation that should not be thought to be belligerent and domineering, but rather still capable of being a beacon that inspires the citizens of the world to extend inclusion and kindness to all with liberty and justice.

    1. Amy Palleson says:

      Gorgeous! And so true. I wrote this actually in response to some comments I saw on your blog yesterday, with someone’s “Emotionality” specifically being the word that triggered this response in me, and through many crying jags yesterday, I tried to formulate this. I still shake my head at what people are saying, as if there is something nonsensical about outrage over a 74 year old man getting screwed over by the nation he has fought so hard for, and I don’t even want any of our nation’s children to see what we have done to this fine man, let alone admit to my children–who I took to both Bernie’s Salt Lake rallies and Julia would soon be 18 and caucused–that their country was so bent on betraying itself for money that standing in the cold for hours (it was so cold on caucus day; it was snowing; Julia was even was late for work because the lines were unexpectedly long) to participate in democracy was moot and pointless. It’s a betrayal that makes me wonder how other people can’t be outraged. Hopefully today there won’t be so many tears. 🙂

  2. alsoknownas says:

    No…no…no Amy.
    It only feels moot and pointless. Many of the greatest participants in democracy, in promoting social equality and hope have met with rejection and failure to achieve a contemporary goal, sometimes repeatedly. Teaching your children as you do, to participate in the face of possible defeat is one of the strongest and best gifts you could provide.
    If tears come again, let them be tears of joy for knowing that it’s the right thing for you to be doing and that there are many like minded people who applaud and whole-heartedly endorse the concept of rising above the times so that the future is what we want it to be.

  3. Amy Palleson says:

    aka: I shit you not, as I was reading your last comment, a kitten stepped on my keyboard and made a “mark as spam” thing go up and now I can’t find the comment. You can’t make this stuff up.

  4. Amy Palleson says:

    Relief! Figured it out. (“Luddite” held at bay for a bit more time!)

    In response to the “No….no….no Amy…” comment:
    It has been very hard for me personally to bounce back from this (I wasn’t THIS upset during all sorts of personal crises; this just feels more universally wrong, and it is difficult that HRC supporters are defensive and hazing OR–worse–rah, rah, rah-ing the DNC as if we haven’t just entered an alternate universe, and no one seems to be saying things like “I’m so sorry guys; she is my candidate and still I can acknowledge how crappy this situation is) but I do feel better today, and am not one to let the bastards get me down so….life is moving on.

  5. alsoknownas says:

    I understand the not bouncing back personally aspect. Reconciling that inner world with the one we must move through is mind bending at best and heart wrenching in its lowest moments. The avalanche of conspiratorial moves by the DNC to stop Sanders is reprehensible. I believe these times have to be about the movement, for any one us of could fall by the wayside with the need for change still in place.
    Good to know you are better today.
    Did you hear about the Luddite who invented a machine to smash technological devices faster than ever before?

  6. alsoknownas says:

    hahahaha. Good one. I intend to steal it.
    I have to push away from this one right now and get to a client’s place.
    Later………..

  7. alsoknownas says:

    Got stuck on the phone and still cannot get out the door. The post script here is powerful and I concur 100%.
    I’ll check out the other when I can take the time in the late afternoon…

  8. alsoknownas says:

    It took me a day to get back, but I’ve seen most of what you’ve been saying the last couple of days.
    I can’t yell at the TV anymore. Suki stares at me like I’m stark raving mad.
    That any one of us dedicated persons can muster the courage to move through this is more than should be expected, but some of us will, and defeat will not be in our lexicon, but more so perseverance.

    Kudos for your ability to put into words what legions feel but do not express. You absolutely must write and write well as you do. It gets under people’s skin and that’s what is needed.

    “refusing to speak up makes you complicit in the erosion of societal justice… Love and peace to the tender-hearted, honest, soldiers-of-justice out there.” ~ABP

    Indeed.
    Great minds and all that.

    1. Amy Palleson says:

      Thanks again for stopping in. And that Facebook post you of mine you quote wasn’t hyperbole or based on anything but a worry that the insidious nature of societal degradation often prevents us from acknowledging a single event contributing to it but I really believe that when we reserve outrage when it’s convenient for us to do so we’re simply pushing things down the road and creating a situation where a Trump can take hold because why not? For the ends are now justifying the means and that slippery slope starts with the silent consent of citizens in the face of such things as election fraud. But history will perhaps be the only teacher to us in this and my own voice is needed for other things so I will be moving on from this, and hope for the best.

  9. alsoknownas says:

    Great to know Amy. I’m glad your voice will be shared for other things as well.
    The day is upon us, much to do, time soon for the market.
    be well….

  10. alsoknownas says:

    I agree whole-heartedly with you. Why should Sanders waste time going after the DNC? He’s a far more savvy and complete person than that. We can see the change beginning because he has ” turned it around and built something even better, with passion and anger now directed into guiding citizens towards using this as a civics lesson and inciting them to take back their country.” ~ABP

    I’m about the movement and not just the man. I knew Sen. Wayne Morse on a first name basis…he being one of 2 Senators who voted against the Gulf of Tonkin resolution that put us full scale into Vietnam. He was scorned but relentless.
    The work then was about the movement as it needs to be now. That’s what stopped that conflict.

    I think it’s going to shift that way when more people tear off the bandages from this savage beating and get out there. It has to be a “think global, act local” approach and it can work.
    I’m fired up and haven’t been in sometime.
    This is the starting line, not the finish.

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