Hate Trumps Love. Let’s Fix That.

Lately we’ve been hit over and over again with examples of how hatred seems more popular, more financially gainful, more politically powerful than any other force. This is supremely evident in the difference in giving between charities like water for Flint Michigan and fascist spunkbuckets like Jordan Peterson’s patreon. The latter is way more successful. Likewise, in internet wars between haters and people who want to make the world a better place, haters have more stamina.

I know why hate is more profitable than love, why selling hate is always more successful than selling the common good. It’s because doing good things costs effort, sometimes nominal, sometimes a lot. But it always costs something. And hatred? It actually gives something back to haters, gives them pleasure.

So imagine this. Two lines. One, you go to put in a penny for charity. Oh, easily done. Why not? But if you’re a little busy or distracted, you might miss it. Line Two, you go to eat a free banana split. Hey, maybe the banana split costs a little money, but it feels good to eat, right? Motivation. Whatever good feeling you get from the charity is remote, high-minded, fleeting and ephemeral. Line two is sweet food in your mouth now.

So far I’ve mostly stayed away from sexual metaphors, but that’s a mistake. Because I genuinely believe the pleasure slyme pitters nazis rethuglicans terfs dominionists and daesh get from hatred is – if not always sexual – sex adjacent.

There was a bit of pop science that did the rounds on the internet a few years ago saying it determined looking at pics of cute animals lights up the same areas of the brain as looking at pornography. Why? I’d guess it’s because they’re visual information that speaks to a kind of sensory pleasure. You can pet a cute animal, get busy with a cute human, something like that. And I guarantee you that when Roseanne Barr or some other nazi sees a swastika or a racist meme, that same area of the brain lights up.

The movies American History X and Romper Stomper both included scenes which equated glorying in racist hatred with sexual energy. Fairuza Balk said the N slur with flared nostrils, heavy breaths, dilated pupils. Boned Norton with the same energy. Russell Crowe reading from Mein Kampf during naked time with his main squeeze. Those directors were reading the same thing I’m seeing in the fascist thugs running the world right now. Sleazy pleasure.

So here’s the math: Good deeds don’t feel amazing, and Evil deeds literally help some bad people get their rocks off. Therefore there will always be an energy differential that favors evil in the world.

We can try to ameliorate it by seizing platforms, seizing the means of production, stuff like that. But we’d be a lot more assured of success if we could figure out how to change the math. Maybe we should all train ourselves to get horny for goodness? That’s a joke, but I’m serious about the aim. Can we, by seeing the math at the core of our problem, find a way to change the equation?

I hope so. I can’t see how, but I hope so.


The Resistance, Part One

Work and home life have me running, not sure I can moderate this conversation once I start it. But I think it’s time. Rpjohnston in the comments at Pharyngula mentioned the “Seven Mountains” of Dominionism that helped bring our country to its current horrid state, suggested we could use something like that of our own – an agenda for world domination, basically. So. Here goes:

Ask yourself why the right wing so consistently wields power beyond what they should in a truly democratic society? Why are they able to put forth a unified front the likes of which the left seems unable to muster? There are a lot of reasons that we can’t do shit about. They have the money, they have us so overworked and ragged that we don’t have the energy to fight at the end of the day.

The money especially is at issue. The right exists to serve the wealthy and has since the term was coined. Since politicians are usually wealthy, even the most progressive of them have a vested interest in supporting that agenda. Democrats might want to help the poor in some vague abstract way, but since it serves their families to let Republicans have their way, they just can’t get up the will to fight that hard.

If we want to win, we’re fighting against odds that are completely unfair. We have more bodies to sacrifice if it comes to attrition, but who the hell wants it to come to that? And money has ensured that people power will never be enough to tilt that scale.

There has been some progress made in the social sphere, against sexism and homophobia and racism. The shrieks and bellows and ostentatious evil of those in power are evidence of that progress. We need every approach, all hands on deck. It won’t be enough in itself, but we can look at where progressives have succeeded and try to amplify what has already worked.

This is where I may run afoul of some good people. I think we wouldn’t have the few advances of today without call-out culture, without naming and shaming the perpetrators of evil. What is #MeToo, if not the ultimate ongoing call-out? Call-outs can be too extreme, can cause bad problems when they get out of hand. But let’s not toss this baby out with the bathwater. This is an important baby.

I’m running out of juice for tonight, but let me put it to the crowd – What has worked? Where has human progress been achieved, even in this terrible moment in history?

A call to protest on 15 July

I urge you to join me in reading, adding your name to, and joining in these protests July 15th across the country.

On July 15, 2017:
To all who agonize and rage at what’s being done to the people, protest and demand:
THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO!
In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!

IMMIGRANTS ARE FULL HUMAN BEINGS, not “illegals” or criminals, to be demonized, terrorized, hunted down, locked up, and thrown out. NO! We will not accept the cruel and brutal future of the Trump/Pence Regime … they must GO!

MUSLIMS AND REFUGEES ARE FULL HUMAN BEINGS, not people to be shunned, banned, and cast out to be swallowed up by oceans and wars. NO! We will not accept the cruel and brutal future of the Trump/Pence Regime . . . they must GO!

WOMEN AND LGBTQ PEOPLE ARE FULL HUMAN BEINGS, not objects to be grabbed, demeaned, victimized, and denied their fundamental right to control their reproduction, and how they choose to live. NO! We will not accept the cruel and brutal future of the Trump/Pence Regime . . . they must GO!

BLACK AND LATINO PEOPLE ARE FULL HUMAN BEINGS, not people to be denied the right even to live, gunned down by the police with impunity, incarcerated in genocidal numbers, and denied basic rights. NO! We will not accept the cruel and brutal future of the Trump/Pence Regime . . . they must GO!

THE PEOPLE OF EVERY COUNTRY ARE FULL HUMAN BEINGS, and not collateral damage to be subjected to massive bombing, invasions, occupations, the danger of nuclear war, and a program of “America First” that would bludgeon them into submission. NO! We will not accept the cruel and brutal future of the Trump/Pence Regime . . . they must GO!

THE CHILDREN, ELDERLY AND POOR of this country, as in every country, should have food for sustenance, health care to live, homes to live in, and not be denied with cruel calculation for the benefit of the few. NO! We will not accept the cruel and brutal future of the Trump/Pence Regime . . . they must GO!

THE EARTH AND THE SPECIES WHO INHABIT IT – including humanity – should sustain life and not be despoiled by ignorance, greed, and the disregard of science. NO! We will not accept the cruel and brutal future of the Trump/Pence Regime . . . they must GO!

IN THE NAME OF HUMANITY: THE TRUMP AND PENCE REGIME MUST GO! Only the people acting together in the streets and public square can force this demand before the world. Should we fail to do so, the future and values we aspire to could be brutally cut short by the actions of the Trump/Pence Regime.

The Trump/Pence government has been step by step criminalizing dissent and bludgeoning the truth with worse to come. Stripping away basic rights and the rule of law is at the core of fascism. Group after group is demonized and targeted along a trajectory leading to real horrors. We must not let this be normalized. History has shown that fascism must be stopped before it becomes too late.

The demand: “The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go,” can unify people and our resistance. There are different programs of struggle against the multiple attacks of the Trump/Pence regime, people have diverse views for how to achieve a better future, and all of this should be aired, shared, and debated. But, if we don’t stop the consolidation of fascism by organizing together to demand that the Trump/Pence regime must go, people’s lives here and around the world, and the earth itself will face greater catastrophe.

Now is the time to act. The scandal and turmoil the regime faces is an opening through which the mass action of the people could burst through and make our demand resound throughout the country, in the halls of power, and around the world.

On July 15th “The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go,” must be spoken, shouted, and acted on with fiercely creative determination. We have righteously marched for women, for science, for the climate, for immigrants, for Black Lives, for LGBTQ Pride. Now the resistance must pull together to drive this regime from power.

July 15th must be a day when every person, every group – religious, community, service, political organization – all who feel the tremendous threat to humanity posed by the Trump/Pence regime – stand together showing the world that people here are determined that this regime must go … not in two years or four, but now.

July 15th must mark a leap to more sustained struggle, inspiring people to see the possibility of ousting this regime through unleashing the tremendous power of the people – aiming for the time when millions can be moved to fill the streets of cities and towns day after day and night after night, declaring this whole regime illegitimate – Demanding, and Not Stopping, Until The Trump/Pence Regime Is Driven from Power.

On July 15, with conviction and courage, overcoming fear and uncertainty, we will act together to resist and say NO!… Not for ourselves alone, but in the name of humanity.

Sign this statement, find a protest in your area, or add your own here: refusefascism.org/2017/06/09/july-15-2017-in-cities-across-the-country-demonstrate/

(from Sunsara Taylor)

LAST CHANCE TO STOP TRUMPCARE

In May, Congress passed the AHCA; the bill that will, if passed in anything close to the form in which Congress passed it, leave millions of Americans without affordable healthcare so as to give the richest of Americans a break on their taxes. The bill is currently being argued out by the Senate – who won’t tell anyone what changes they’re making or what they’re currently planning to vote into law. All we know is that they’re almost certainly going to be holding this vote within the next few weeks. (The planned timeline has the Senators holding the vote by June 30th, less than a fortnight away.) If the bill goes through at that point, Americans could end up stuck with a bill that could have a disastrous impact on the most vulnerable of their people – without even the chance to know in advance what’s in it.

However, the bill has not gone through yet, and that means you still have just enough time to fight it.

 

How?

By contacting your Senators and putting pressure on them. They need to hear the strength of feeling on this one, and they need to know that if they support the AHCA they’re going to be very, very unpopular with a lot of Americans.

And they need to hear this not just via social media or e-mails, but via people – lots of people – phoning their offices directly. Because, when your switchboard is going crazy with calls, that’s a lot harder to ignore than e-mail.

If you can show up in person, better yet. If you can show up with others for a protest or sit-in (after reading the links below on how to do this effectively), even better! But if you can’t do those things – still, if you possibly can, call. And ask everyone you know to call too. Because it does make a difference.

But my Senator is a Democrat and is already against the AHCA!

Great! Phone them! If they hear how strongly their constituents feel on the matter, that’s really helpful ammunition that they can use when debating the GOP on the subject.

Also, there are specific things that senators who object to the AHCA can do to throw a spanner in the works of and make it harder for this act to go through – see below.

But my Senator is a jerk who would never listen to a thing I say against the AHCA!

Boo! Phone them! That jerk of a Senator is going to want to announce that his constituents are obviously happy with the AHCA, and he would love to be in a position where he can say that no-one’s calling him to object to it. If he is getting those calls, it’s a lot harder for him to say that (however much of a jerk he is, he still probably wants to avoid being in a position where constituents of his know damn well he’s a liar and can call him out on it). You may not change his position – but at least you’ve weakened it.

But what should I say when I call?

So glad you asked! Here are some helpful links I found:

Indivisible: the Stop Trumpcare in June action plan. An invaluable guide to what to ask for and how to go about it. Covers not just phone calls but also letters to your local paper and sit-ins. This is also the link that specifies what you can usefully ask of a Democrat senator in terms of practical opposition to the AHCA. Indivisible have also given sample scripts for Republican and Democrat senators.

Political staffer Celeste Pewter has tweeted some very helpful advice on how to call your representatives. (She’s also tweeted another helpful list on the AHCA fight specifically, here.)

And Bustle highlight an important point: If you have a personal story of how the AHCA would impact you, include that. The staffers answering the phone are human beings. It’s pretty hard to remain unmoved when you’re hearing stories like ‘My child needs lifesaving treatment for [chronic illness] and, under the AHCA, I won’t be able to keep affording that.’ Of course, most stories won’t be quite that dramatic; but still make them heard. Don’t be overdramatic, but do let the staffer you speak to know. (And anyone else you can. People need to hear how the AHCA will impact actual people they know.)

To summarise the important points:

  • Be prepared to give your address/zip code first off (they will want to check you’re actually a constituent; stick to calling your elected representatives)
  • Once you’ve done that, ask to speak to the staffer in charge of health (there will be a specific one).
  • Be polite but firm.
  • Ask for your senator’s position on the AHCA.
  • Be specific in your requests. (See the Indivisible links above for more useful details on this, but, in summary: If they’re against it, let them know you don’t find that acceptable because X, and you need them to support it. If they’re unsure or trying to dodge the question, same thing. If they’re for it, ask them to work actively to slow the bill down as much as possible, in the ways given in the ‘Democrat senator’ link above.)
  • Let them know any ways in which the bill would personally impact you. If it wouldn’t, give a one-sentence summary of your general concerns (‘This bill would leave millions without affordable healthcare’, for example).

 

Finally, if you really can’t phone – and I know there are good reasons why not everyone can – is there anything else you can do? Letters and e-mails may carry less weight than phone calls, but they still count for something, and the more communications representatives get by whatever means, the more they know the strength of feeling on the matter. Spreading the word to other people – even if it’s just sharing the information on your Facebook page – means more people potentially willing to join the list of those calling and taking part in other actions.

Good luck to all.

A Global Letter to Trump…

Dear

Avaaz has a global letter going, and they’d like to get 6 million signatures. I’ve signed. Please, sign yourself, and boost the signal! We can make our voices heard.

With the Muslim ban, Trump has shown that the worst fears about his Presidency are true. Add your voice to the open letter below to join the resistance — then spread it far and wide:

—-

Dear Mr. Trump,

This is not what greatness looks like.

The world rejects your fear, hate-mongering, and bigotry. We reject your support for torture, your calls for murdering civilians, and your general encouragement of violence. We reject your denigration of women, Muslims, Mexicans, and millions of others who don’t look like you, talk like you, or pray to the same god as you.

Facing your fear we choose compassion. Hearing your despair we choose hope. Seeing your ignorance we choose understanding.

As citizens of the world, we stand united against your brand of division.

Sincerely,
[Add your name!]

Please sign and share!