I understood the desire for the slogan "Love Trumps Hate" from Secretary Clinton's campaign, but I thought it was a bad idea. I thought it was a bad idea because Love doesn't really trump hate, unless you're living in the novel A Wrinkle in Time. I also thought it was a bad slogan because because it repeated the opponents name (though I suppose that wasn't really Secretary Clinton's fault) and because Trump wasn't preaching hate, he was preaching fear, and that's different.
Fear is a tricky emotion, because it's often not rational, and fear doesn't often get a situationally appropriate response. I am afraid of mice and rats; no, I am phobic of mice and rats. Very briefly my apartment had mice (we have not seen evidence of them for YEARS) and I put out traps. I was talking to my father who, very sensibly, said, "You know, the mouse is more afraid of you than you are of it," and I practically spit out my water.
"Don't be ridiculous!" I told him, "The mouse isn't BIG enough to be as afraid of me as I am of it." He laughed at me, and while I understood what he meant, I didn't think it was relevant.
I don't hate mice. A small white mouse in a cage is kind of cute. I understand people who have them for pets, but I just don't want them living in my apartment. Sound familiar?
During the 2012 campaign the Ego in the White House wasn't peddling hate, he was peddling fear; fear that a world that people understood was gone forever and he could save it for them; Fear that good people were being overlooked or taken advantage of by BAD people, people who weren't playing by the rules; Fear that the world you remember with your rose-tinted glasses is never coming back and it's THEIR fault (fill in who THEY are for yourself, it's probably a different them for different readers).
On Independence Day my husband and I attended a We Will Not Be Banned Rally organized by the Council on American Islamic Relations, because it is imperative that we who do not live in fear stand up with those who might. I'm sure somebody wants to tell me to "sit down and check your privilege!" Well, fuck off. Those of us who were lucky enough to have been born here have a responsibility to make sure that our voices are heard as the Ego in the White House tries to make us all afraid of each other. I love this country and what it stands for, and it does NOT stand for forbidding people from coming here for bigoted reasons based on fear.
The next day the New York Times ran a story about how the current Administration is trying to find illegal aliens and deport them, and they're going far back to find people who have overstayed their visas. The Current Administration is deporting Iraqi Christians. These people often voted for Trump because he was going to deport MEXICANS, not them, not people who fled persecution and led respectable lives in the United States, raised children and have grandchildren 40 years later.
These people backed for Trump, and convinced their relatives to vote for him, because Trump was talking about the BAD immigrants, not them.
To get Martin Neimoller's quote wrong; First they came for the Illegal Immigrants, and I did not speak out, for I was not an illegal immigrant. Then they came for those who had overstayed their visas, and I did not speak out, for my visa was in line. Then they came for the petty criminals, and I did not speak out, for I was a law abiding individual. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.
People backed Trump because they didn't realize that fear can move easily if you don't fight it. If you allow yourself to be afraid of one person, it's not difficult to let that fear spread. If you try to get to understand what you are afraid of, or get to know the person whose existence (or perceived success) frightens you, you have cured the fear, and that cure is what trumps hate. Love is blind and often has no reasons, knowledge is different. Knowledge is a cure that doesn't necessarily resolve all fears, but can tell you which ones are based on reason, and which ones are just emotion masking as fact.