Using story to distinguish between intent and reality.
I don’t break bread with monsters.
The most beloved Christmas story, by people of all political persuasions: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
It's the story of a guy whose hallucinations convince him to abandon the GOP platform and he and his community live happily ever after.
The gops love it. They don't have their own version, which would be:
The inspiring tale of a hero who abuses his employee, talks shit to his nephew for being poor and to some guys who are trying to help the poor, calls the employee a thief for wanting a day off and goes home.
It's 10 pages long.
So yeah. Stories don't work for this.
If I knew any Republicans well enough to talk to them about this, I think I'd start by asking them about all the good, kind and generous things they do (I don't want to assume they don't do charitable work through their church or other things that help people just because they're Republicans, that wouldn't be fair.) And then I'd ask about the Republican Party: When the Republicans come to call, do they ever draw on the good and kind and generous side of your personality, or do they restrict themselves to pushing other buttons, like hate and fear?
And then, if they were still talking to me, I'd ask them to think about what happens to a person when only the worst aspects of who they are is what's repeatedly called on, and never the best. The Republican party does YOU a disservice, because it doesn't draw on all that you are.
Damn. Brilliant af.
So this explain Hollywood's well-known liberal bias: Nobody likes stories starring assholes.
I love this strategy of using stories to change the focus from intentions to results. In Social Justice World we have a saying: "Intention does not equal impact." Intention matters sometimes, but impact always matters. And even when intention matters, it does not matter as much as impact, and it is not an excuse or justification for impact. One of the biggest contributors to the perpetuation of oppression is our cultural tendency to excuse even the most horrible actions if the instigator of them can convince us they meant well. The bottom line, though, is that if you truly mean well, then you will notice and acknowledge the impact of your actions, and hold yourself accountable when that impact does not align with your intentions. If we held each other to that, consistently, it would be much harder for everyone to conflate intention with impact.
This could be brilliant in a therapy session - just because we never assume the client/patient is speaking in good faith; therapy is what (could) bring the patient out of bad faith, and into a heart centered alignment with (for lack of a better term) “things as they are”. None of the haves believes anyone - even his superior self, could possibly conceive of his or her superior self as an asshole, let alone believe his/her condescension is unwelcome: noblesse obliges is like the essence of good faith for an asshole. Sorry if I am not expressing this well, I just want to say it would be difficult over a meal with celebration and alcohol to expect an asshole to get the epiphany but in therapy- this is a must to try 🙏🤞🏼💓
Incidentally, I've been estranged from my mother since the middle of the pandemic (Trump and nasty rhetoric related). Out of the blue she sent be a text to wish me Happy Birthday and that she "hopes, I am still alive."
This was while reports of Trump's "vermin" speech were still in the headlines.
Part of me wanted to reply, "I'm vermin, why would you hope for that?"
The timing may have been just a coincidence, but my spidey senses were telling me, "She KNOWS this will irritate the eff out of you on account of Trump's recent comments and she wants the engagement more than she actually wants the relationship."
I decided instead to just continue radio silence. I have SO MUCH PEACE in my life since I stopped trying to have a functional relationship with people who can't help constantly bringing dysfunction into things.
She can tell herself whatever story she likes. I'm just done forcing myself to listen.
My favorite story is about the main character clad in a tight, buttock emphasizing uniform lamenting about the evil in the world and then punching it!
Well done. Thank you.
"What's happening is a critical mass of people are done putting up with abusive bullshit anymore—taking it or excusing it—and I think this seems very divisive and dangerous to people who rely on abusive bullshit for either fortune or identity."
Love this. Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving!
For 40 years I’ve been pointing out to conservatives that there is no evidence of any of their ideas actually creating a better life for anyone who wasn’t born rich. The responses run from “Yeah but we need NEW thinking”* to “It’s just common sense.”
Unfortunately I think they’ve turned the corner on that. They know their “ideas” are not actually popular and never will be, and they’re just going for it anyway. Nothing is going to work on them. It is true that you never know who’s listening and who’s still on the edge. So we keep working.
*(Their ability to convince our six- and seven-figure media stars that “cutting taxes for rich people and eliminating laws they don’t like” is still a bold new idea that has never been tried remains my chief frustration with them.)
This is so freaking brilliant. Thank you.