All the World’s Woes

If you’re paying attention, you will know that everything is terrible right now. War, and threats to human rights. Climate change, species loss, fracking, hunger, homelessness, inequality, injustice. I assume that you, dear reader, are much like me, and will be nodding along to that list, probably adding to it in your head, in a state of quiet despair. And then there’s Trump, and a victory for mean minded, bullying, prejudiced, planet killing, self serving greed.

What can we possibly do? In face of all that, anger is a natural response, leading us down the path into violence and more war, if we aren’t careful. Haters are fuelled by hating them. Despair is a natural response – these problems are so big, these people are so powerful. There are stories about exhausted people in treacherous conditions who start to think that the snow looks like a bed, and who lie down, and do not get up again. Hold that image.

Tyrants are only allowed to rule when, out of fear, or despair, or apathy, the rest of us sit back and let them. And yes, standing up to tyranny is dangerous, and can get you killed, but the more people find small ways to do it, the harder it is to suppress.

But we have to be careful in doing this, because ‘fighting’ can just have us turning on people whose misery and despair made it easy to manipulate them into making bad choices. The Brexiteres here who thought they were saving the NHS are a fine case in point. Good people can make terrible choices. Right now, we need all the good people we can get, and the people who are being frightened into supporting fascists need our help not our hate. Not everyone voting for the right is voting for the things these ‘leaders’ have done and will do. They’ve voted for empty promises, false hope, and out of a desperate need for change. Do, if you can, call specific people out on any specific acts of prejudice and hate you encounter – there’s a lot of it out there. I’m not writing this to play down real threats, real harassment, violence and bigotry. However, what’s empowering those people is the belief that they are the majority. They aren’t, and we have to make that clear.

We most certainly need change. We’ve got change, but it wasn’t the change we needed. We can take this is a call to start building what’s actually needed, instead. But how does one small person, with no voice, no power, no media machine make a difference?

Cultures are made out of people. Movements are made out of people. Start from the assumption that the people around you are good people – maybe misinformed and frightened, but still good at heart. You’ll figure out who the actual bigots and haters are, and you can withdraw energy from them as best you can. We need to tell each other better stories, and the story we most urgently need to tell each other right now is that the vast majority of us are better than this. The majority of Americans did not just vote for hate any more than the majority of Brits voted for racism when they voted out of the EU. We have to ignore the loudest, angriest voices on all sides, and start looking for the good intentions and the good hearts and the desire for something better.

It’s easy to blame people for ignorance, lazy thinking, being easily led. We have a shared responsibility here – and a media that seeks to misinform. If people aren’t taught critical thinking, if they aren’t taught history so they can learn from it, if they are taught to suspect experts and resent thinkers, they aren’t well placed to make good choices, and the whole democratic process is undermined. A nasty minority easily uses these tricks and vulnerabilities to manipulate people, and this has always been an issue for any kind of popular uprising. If it isn’t rooted in knowledge, in education, and compassion, things will be nasty. But, a popular uprising can have a Ghandi at the front, not a Hitler. Hold that thought too.

So, right now, no looking around at the snow we have to trudge through and thinking it would be better to lie down and have a sleep. Don’t do that. Don’t give up, don’t let the struggle for humanity’s future be lost in the small space that is you. This is a specific fight you can win, just by refusing to be defeated or overwhelmed.

Don’t blame easy targets, don’t pour your energy into getting cross with people who you think have made bad choices. That’s like blaming a domestic abuse victim for not having the means to get away from the person who keeps beating them. (It happens, due to failure to understand the mechanics, good people make bad choices.) People stay in abusive situations when their self esteem is crushed and they feel worthless and hopeless. Getting cross with those who are victims of this process, will keep them clinging to the real aggressors. We can do better than that, because most of us are better than that.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

7 responses to “All the World’s Woes

  • Denise

    Waking up to the terrible news on Wednesday, I had the gut feeling that it was the beginning of the end and on one level, it is. But you’re right, it’s also simply another phase of the journey. I’m torn between despair and determination but the only decent choice is to keep working for a better future.

  • Blodeuwedd

    I think we all needed to hear this. Thank you.

  • Linda Davis

    Yes (cheering). 💗

  • garycohenblog

    Excellent post. Best summary I have read so far. I have noticed that the individuals who have been opposed to recent political outcomes have collectively become very abusive in social networks and the media. While it’s ok to disagree and express concerns it’s not ok to call others racists and stupid fools etc just because you voted for the losing side and have concerns. As indicated in the post it’s much more helpful if you are genuinely concerned to look at what caused someone to vote this way. It’s all to easy to sit back behind your computer screen and call Americans from certain backgrounds, stupid and racist. Have they ever walked in their shoes and taken into account the social and economic backgrounds they live in? Have they considered the years of events that have led to this result? Name calling from your twitter account is merely fuel on the fire and to me appears hypocritical. It’s not ok for ‘them’ to name call but I can call them thick and racist because I am on the good side that should have won. Surely it’s better to find out how we got here and try and improve the situation.
    Voting with the good intentions of wishing to make things better or wanting a break from European political governance does not make a person stupid or racist.
    What this does is it undervalues racisms somewhat. Don’t compare disagreeing over trade laws in European legislation with a vile act of discrimination and hate.
    The so called deplorable people of the states are not the voters rioting at present. Life is not that black and white. I could say more but basically I agree on the whole with Nimue post here. Hate and abuse will solve nothing.

  • Tracy Kruse

    As someone whose perspective comes with a great empathy for everyone in our country, I would remind everyone that the experiences on the planet now, whether related to Brexit or to the US elections is about restoring freedom for humanity. All the information is there if one will but seek the truth and not wait for someone else, particularly in the MSM to summarize it for you. What is happening on an emotional and conscious level is a deep awakening that also is by it’s very nature, dragging out our collective and individual Shadows. There are those who, whether by grace or force have had to do this earlier and who have deep compassion for this stage of growth. It is not the end of the world, but only the beginning of the end of the system of control and slavery of mankind worldwide. There are those who celebrate victory as though they have truly won something, but what has been fought for and won by those with experience is simply an opportunity. As Creators of our reality, the wounds of shadow must be cleared in order to heal and afford the chance for Unity. It is simply part of a spectrum of frequency and vibration, a resonance, not as we so often choose to believe in 3-D as being opposites. It is possible for us all to be winners when we stand together.

  • Christopher Blackwell

    I had a grand time on the bus trip home, after my third trip home from the VA hospital this month, talking with a Black lady truck driver going to pick up her next truck in Dallas after the other truck broke down in Tucson. I kept her laughing most of the trip with stories of my life.

    The skin head behind me found our conversation disturbing, and he moved farther back in the bus. I guess a 70 year old White geezer enjoying talking with a 35 year old Black lady truck driver, with both of us laughing, was just too much of a crime against the White Race.

    Good, the more dangerous of times, it becomes even more important that we do what is right, and that we use our rights more out in the open. So even a fragile old man, who just might die at any time, still can do battle for what he considers to be good. [Grin]

    By the way, this 35 year old lady had only become a truck driver a year ago out of desperation of there being no jobs near her that paid enough to help her support her family with her husband, who also works of course.This is hard on everyone in that family, but the woman does what is needed, and reinvented herself as necessary, as so many women have done all the time.

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