Fear is very powerful emotional ‘drug’. Fear can help us avoid risky behaviour such as avoiding getting near a cliff’s edge. Fear can also induce excitement as can be witnessed by the numerous Scream/Fear farms that entice thousands to be purposely scared. Finally, fear can be used by those in power to disrupt societal norms to pit groups of people against each other.
For almost 3 years Donald Trump has continued to use rhetoric to alienate his ‘base’. His followers listen to Fox News and listen to the President without questioning the motive behind the words. This week alone Fox News is disseminating information that a group of migrants, on a perilous journey from Honduras, are bringing Chicken Pox to the US. Chicken Pox has been eradicated since 1980. By keeping his base ignorant of facts both Fox News and The President can continue to instill fear of the 'other'.
Yet, when called out for disseminating lies, both Fox News & Trump say it is everyone else that is lying. No wonder things can appear bleak.
But each day we see others outside of Trump’s base that continue to show that all is not lost. JFK said “We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes.” This past weekend saw a group of Muslims start a GoFundMe page with a goal of raising $40K to help with the costs of rebuilding/repairing the Tree of Life Synagogue. The fund has already surpassed that initial goal and is well over $150K.
Even those on opposite sides of the political aisle can come together to help and give hope. This past month saw the House of Representatives and Senate unanimously vote to pass an Opioid bill that has the potential to save thousands of lives.
Make no mistake both sides of our border are seeing Fear used to pit neighbour against neighbour. The US has Proud Boys and here in Ontario is a group called Ontario Proud. (Wikipedia states that "Proud Boys is a far-right organization that admits only men as members and promotes political violence.") Currently Proud Boys has been banned from Facebook, but Ontario Proud has not. Both groups are using hate and fear mongering to keep us from seeing what they don’t want us to see or realize. We are all human beings; we all do good and sometimes not so good things, we all laugh, cry and bleed red. Shakespeare says “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?”'
Thank you Cheryl. What she is teaching us in this writing is to not forget to use our own thinking to discern what the agenda is of the person we are listening to. Healthy, compassionate leaders will not try to use power over people. They will walk with their power in a way that acknowledges the other person's humanity and they will want the other person to feel considered. Now there's a funny thing that you should know about. There is actually research out of Berkley University (http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-mind/mood/article/how-power-corrupts-us?s=EFA_170119_AA1&st=email&ap=ed) that shows that power often corrupts people. Here is a main point from the article....
- "But as they (people) gain power, they lose these good qualities and begin to behave in troubling ways. Two things change. First, when people get power, they tend to become less empathetic, less sensitive to what other people are thinking or saying. Second, when people feel that they have power, they tend to become more impulsive. People are less interested in what others think of them, more focused on their own desires, and they tend to act more impulsively."
Please watch this video of how the Muslims of Pittsburgh raised over $200,000 for the Jewish people of that community and offered to provide security for their synagogues. It is heartwarming and the most resilient response ever to such horror.
Take time to grieve and be angry. Then think clearly about where people are coming from re: what they are saying; and then choose to respond from your values about who you want to be in the world and do something to make it different. That's resilience!