resistance

Responding to Hate

beyond hate

The tragic events last week in Charlottesville, Virginia stand as a reminder that the actions of some of us express staunch opposition to what we might call Good.   Steve Tanner, writing under the umbrella of 500 Pens: an anti-hate news project, offers an annotated list of thoughtful actions we might take when confronting hate in EveryDayLife.  In Mr. Tanner’s own words:

By arming ourselves with a solid understanding of best practices, we can all be ready to respond properly — and safely — when acts of hate unfold before our eyes. Every situation is unique, but the following list is meant to serve as a guide for how to best respond to acts of hatred and bigotry.  ~Steve Tanner 

His brief list of suggestions includes the following.

  • Draw Attention Away From Hateful Protests and Demonstrations
  • Do Not Engage with the Attackers
  • Focus on Protecting the Attacked Person
  • Alert the Police and Other Authorities When Appropriate
  • Prepare in Advance

Food for thought:  Consider the principle of the “golden rule” which appears in some form in almost all major religions and which forms the basis of Good to which this blog often refers.  Does a “hate stance” espoused by a group seeking to exclude others fall within the definition of a golden rule-type Good?  (Do not answer too quickly.  This so-called golden rule is not the same as “live and let live”.)

For example, a white supremacist might be perfectly willing to live in peace as long as non-white folks (and in some cases Jews) live elsewhere.  While some hate groups essentially preach genocide, others simply do not want to have to deal with others they do not considers to be “us”.  Is this a non-Good stance?  What are the criteria for Good?  How can we effectively express Good—treating others as we wish to be treated—in a pluralistic society? Perhaps the deeper question is this: What are the requirements for a pluralistic society sustaining itself within the idea of Good? What does freedom look like in such a context?


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Reich on Resistance

Hportrait - Robert Reich.jpgow are you feeling these days?  Are you depressed, weary, feeling lost, even hopeless? Are you feeling as if every other day you finch at the seemingly uncanny events erupting in Washington, DC?  Perhaps you believe the mainstream media’s coverage of DC events beleaguers and distracts from a crusade to rid the country of “neo-liberal” political machinations designed not to help, but to dominate. Perhaps you are feeling that sometime in the future–certainly not now–that the country we call “land of the free” will feel that way again?

If you are feeling something—anything—take a look at a May 22 video by Robert Reich.  Mr. Reich offers encouragement, admonition, challenge, information and clarification. You might agree or not.  Let his words be a catalyst for you to form your own opinion and decide what you want to do about it.

If you agree, please do not take this as a feel good moment, to sit back, comfortable in your complacency.  Take up the challenge to act in accordance with your current opinion.

If you do not agree, please do not just utter your usual epithets against those “others”.  Rather, understand that Mr. Reich genuinely seeks Good for us all.  That he, taking the phrase “We, the People” very seriously, asks us to think about how (if) we care for one another and how we might insure that our government does the same.

If you feel somethings…do somethings!


Robert Reich is an American political commentator, professor, and author. He served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter and was Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1997.  If you find this video interesting, you might want to check out Professor Reich’s YouTube channel for frequent videos of this kind, posted under the name ResistancE is FertilE.