In Frankfurt, Germany at the airport Sheraton Hotel while I was overnighting there for an early morning flight back to the good old USA, I was able to see the talk you recently gave in Ohio about Hillary. I have always been a strong supporter of your work (as I feel you could be of mine if you knew it) and, I was so glad to see and hear your entire speech.
It helped wash some of the slime away that has been puked over me since this election started.
I have experienced more out-and-out meanness in this last few months than I ever have in my entire life.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I can be mean at times (not often, of course) and some of my friends and ex-husbands can be mean. That’s why they are “ex.” And, in general, I do not live in a mean world. Meanness – slimy gooey, stick-to-you meanness is just not part of my everyday world.
I can be grateful for that!
And, although Hillary tries to hit back in kind and Donald has his moments, even they do not seem to be capable of spewing out the kind of meanness that women (I am shocked), men, and even some Blacks and Hispanics show when they light into Hillary. That kind of meanness fills the air with poison (we can taste it in our mouth), plops on our heads and runs down our bodies like dung-filled molasses and sticks to everything it touches. It gathers around our feet so we become immobilized with the putridness of it all. It takes a long time to wash it off and by that time, it has seeped into our pores and begun to suck life out of the tiny cells that want to live, grow, and rejoice in life.
After each experience of this kind of nastiness, I find myself saying: “Who ARE these people? And where do they come from?” Surely these are not people I know – – –
- And they are!
Recently, I returned from being in Hawaii and was looking forward to seeing my friends in Arkansas. Hawaii is such a gentle culture with so much Aloha in the people and the land. I find it so healing and I hang out with the local people and the culture as much as I can.
And, yet, I always look forward to returning to Arkansas and “my people.” I was born there.
One of the first places I go is to my favorite auction for my – what I call – “auction therapy.” Many of us have been attending this auction for years and I have a deep love for the people I have come to know.
On my return, I was given a seat across the aisle from where I usually sit. In the friendly atmosphere of the place, I greeted and hugged old friends, gave condolences to the wife of our oldest elder who had recently died, and, in general, felt back in a warm bath – for a few minutes.
Then it started. I have never heard such filth coming out of the mouth of what had seemed like normal people which was directed toward Hillary.
- I was in shock.
The people behind me, the people across from me and those behind and in front of them began a litany of vile barrage about Hillary. Rarely, ever, have I experienced such hatred especially at our “friendly” auction.
I sat there stunned for some time as the endless outpouring continued. Being Irish, I thought of many things I could say to cut them off at the knees. Then my grandmother’s words came to me.
- “If you can’t think of something nice to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.”
I sat there thinking that there must be something I could say to help things return to normal without being a phony, a con artist, or a liar myself.
I just kept repeating “Who are these people?” I left the auction early, feeling like I had to speed home and stand in the shower for hours and scrub myself.
I am a person who almost always can find something good in everybody and something to talk sanely about, and that night, I went home feeling very, very frightened and a failure.
- I felt like I had no good options.
- I will not be dishonest and I felt that my silence was a kind of dishonesty.
Since then I have been in Europe for a month of the campaign and there have been many times as I have watched the news that I was appalled with the ferocity with which some people – especially women – went after Hillary. I even felt poisoned by the TV screen.
As a person who has a doctorate in psychology and who has spent my life working with helping individuals, families, groups, organizations, and even nations heal, I felt at a loss.
There was no psychological theory I could find to explain the intensity of this behavior – – projection, repressed rage, early abuse, women’s hatred for other women?
Nor was in there any theological theory either – sin, evil – I did not want to go there. All were dead ends as far as communication and healing were concerned.
- I rarely feel fear and I felt fear.
- I felt fear in front of the TV screen – a soul-threatening fear. I had not felt this kind of fear even when I worked on the criminally insane ward at Bellevue Hospital in New York City.
I have always believed in redemption for everyone. And, at that moment, I could not even see an avenue for us all.
So, thank you, Michael Moore. You had some supporters in the crowd and with grace, ease, and sensibility you were able to stand up there and bring out the goodness in the people there. You did this by having the group make a list of some of the good things they could say about Hillary and what she has done. You and the group were able to move past the searing hatred and let the healing seep in.
- I thank you for that.
I, for one, do not see Donald or Hillary as anywhere approaching “perfect.” In fact, I do not see anyone that way and if they see themselves as perfect or approaching perfect, they are in big trouble. Indeed, that kind of someone would be very difficult and not fun to work with and would probably need some professional help. I will say, however, I just happen to like and feel more comfortable with Hillary’s faults than I do with Donald’s. In fact, I don’t like his faults at all, see them as pretty lifelong and internalized, and dangerous to our society as a whole.
- Hers I can work with.
So, thanks, Michael, you always do come through in the end.