Will protest fatigue begin to show?

funny-rally-signs-21

It’s just now coming up on 13 days; not yet two full weeks since the inauguration. I believe there have been protests, rallies and protest-rallies each and every day, with no sign of slowing. There is a subset of our country that seems to have decided it’s better (easier?) to stop going to work, ignore responsibilities to house and home and become a career protester.

Hey, hey, ho, ho…so and so has got to go!

What do we want? <blank> When do we want it? Now.

I am writing this specifically for my friends on the Left. I’m worried about you. There is a problem when you continuously dilute your agenda by deciding everything must be protested. You could eventually succumb to the psychological condition known as compassion fatigue. As defined, compassion fatigue is a condition identified by a gradual lessening of compassion over time. It is common among individuals who deal with heightened emotions. From soldiers in combat, to first-responders, to doctors in emergency rooms and more, when exposed to intense situations over and over, eventually, as a way to cope, you will begin to stop caring. Similar to the boy-who-cried-wolf scenario, at some point, no one will care about what you have to say.

In addition to the gradual loss of apathy for the interest or cause, there are other problems that may manifest themselves. Some side effects of compassion fatigue include feelings of hopelessness, losing the ability to experience joy, a loss of a sense of humor, constant stress and anxiety, sleeplessness and a shift toward negativity.

unhappyprotesterSome say the voices of the regressive-Left are already experiencing these symptoms today. Many have already lost their sense of humor. Everything is mind-numbingly serious. There are those intent on looking for micro-aggressions everywhere, while demanding safe-spaces in which to hide. Some see misogyny, bigotry and xenophobia all around. Even last night on the campus of Berkeley, riots broke out because the tolerant voices of the Left would not tolerate to have Milo Yiannopoulos as a guest speaker. Why? Because he is not lock-step in line with the groupthink of the Left. The constant genuflections within the church of political correctness is leading toward a mass psychosis.

Ask yourself, when was the last time you felt joy? Hopefulness? When was the last time you felt positive about yourself? Your community? Your country? The knee-jerk reaction to decide anyone wearing the jersey of the “other” team must be opposed, shouted down, protested, fought and oppressed is a prescription for eventual self-destruction rather than victory.

Let’s pull back and I’ll try to explain this in a different way. We’ve all had relationships go bad. Whether dumped or divorced, we all know what it feels like to be emotionally hurt by someone we loved. However, over time, most will put that chapter behind us and move on to new adventures. That’s the healthy path. But, occasionally, the bitterness of the breakup will drive some to obsess over their ex, wondering nonstop who they are with or what they are doing? They complain incessantly about what they’ve learned, their words dripping with revulsion and anger. It becomes uncomfortable when they are out in groups. They cannot allow themselves to be happy because of their obsession over the one who hurt them and, by way of extension, like the Dementors of Harry Potter, can suck the joy out of everyone else in the room.

Let me ask you, in that situation, who is actually hurting? Who is really suffering? Is the ex somehow affected by the vitriol of their former love? Or is it the one who cannot figure out how to look for some semblance of acceptance and peace?

This is what’s happening to a segment of the population since the election of Donald Trump. Many are acting like the jilted lover and now that they have been left behind, they are focusing their hurt and anger on the one they believe scorned them. They are trolling nonstop, looking to criticize every word, phrase or action, regardless of facts, logic or reason. They prefer to make themselves feel better by hurting others, while spreading lies, misinformation and partisan rhetoric.

You cannot remove darkness with more darkness. You cannot remove anger by getting angrier. Said another way, by the great civil right’s leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” It’s not easy to do, but, as with most things, it has to begin with you. No one else can do it for you.

This is not to say you must roll over and accept everything. On the contrary, the framers of our Constitution were keen to protect the right of citizens to gather and speak openly. However, if you have set yourself up that when the President says the sky is blue, you cross your arms, stamp your feet and shake your head, are you really accomplishing anything? To willfully disagree with everything means you are no longer protesting — you are throwing a tantrum. And, as most toddlers learn, throwing a tantrum uses a lot of energy and rarely achieves anything other than dreary fatigue. It is more productive and healthier to learn to pick your battles and pay heed to the old adage, you are likely to attract more flies with honey than with vinegar.

King’s dream dying in a race-obsessed world

What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form, in moving, how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals!

Hamlet, Act II, Sc. 2

SHAKESPEARE-WORDS-facebookI’ve read this passage from Hamlet over and over in the last few days. I keep looking for the obvious racial tags that I’m told exist, but can’t find them. I have said these words aloud and in front of the mirror, trying to find any micro-aggressions (as coined by Columbia professor Derald Sue to refer to “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color”) that must exist. After all, Shakespeare was a white, Anglo-Saxon, male and therefore is inherently racist. So, I search over and over, wondering where those racist words or phrases exist.

“What a piece of work is a man!”

Hurm? There is no mention of color or any particular race, but just a human being in general. Can’t be there.

“How noble in reason! how infinite in faculty!”

No indication of race, yet, and the words ‘noble’ and ‘infinite in faculty’ are positive and uplifting, so there doesn’t appear to be anything aggressive there.

“In form, in moving, how express and admirable!”

Still no racial indicators and to be admired certainly isn’t negative.

“In action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god!”

Again, nothing here seems to call out the color of one’s skin, country of origin, ethnicity or cultural upbringing. If anything, there may be a bit of hyperbole given that no one is perfect, but at least it seems this part of the passage errs on the side of human beings wanting to strive for excellence, rather than being pejorative.

“The beauty of the world! the paragon of animals!”

Dammit. Still nothing to indicate the micro-aggressions and racist thoughts that must exist in the collected works of William Shakespeare. How can this be? After all, Dana Dusbiber, a Sacramento English teacher, says she avoids Hamlet and all of Shakespeare’s works because she believes her minority students should not be expected to study “a dead, white guy.”

Therein lies the deceit. In an effort to be all-inclusive, non-offensive and politically correct, while staying racially and culturally sensitive, Leftists have given rise to the unintended consequence of judging the merits of an individual solely by pigmentation rather than the quality of their character. After all, if you accept the premise of this teacher (and many who think the same way), you would have to conclude minorities cannot identify with such topics as lust, greed, anger and remorse. They lack the ability to relate to infatuation, teenage love, anger at one’s parents or being treated unfairly. They cannot relate to the notions of the power of kings, the machinations of tyrants, the manipulations of advisers and the benevolence of the clergy. Apparently, these subject matters, and many others cutting across the complete works of Shakespeare, only relate to those with fair complexions.

This is patently absurd! Which is more offensive, a belief that non-whites cannot relate to any of the above, or choosing to consciously deny the words of Shakespeare to them?

mlkihaveadreamgogoThis Leftist mindset of determining worth based on race is like a raging weed, taking hold and spreading it’s choking roots. Rather than help usher in the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who looked to the day when his “four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”, it has turned the goal of a colorblind society into one that is becoming solely obsessed with race. Think about many of the stories told in the mainstream media and across social media in the last several years. There is an obsession in our current culture with bringing race into the discussion, either as an excuse or as an indictment. And the problem with any obsession is it creates a paradigm of embracing a pinhole, tunnel vision of the world. It looks to find the one subject that fits into its lens, while ignoring everything else. It’s like the phenomenon married couples experience when they are getting ready to have a baby. Suddenly, they see pregnant women everywhere. Of course, “everyone” isn’t going through pregnancy, but it appears that way to the person who is focused on their own condition. The same applies when an obsession with race takes hold. Regardless of facts, it will seem as though evidence of racism is everywhere. If someone wants to see racist signs and intentions everywhere, they will.

So, what’s the best way to combat this presumption that all whites are inherently racist? If you buy into that notion, you have no choice but to elevate the minorities who are its target and denigrate the offenders. Therein lies the shift in Dr. King’s dream. It’s no longer about looking at the qualities an individual brings to the table, it’s only about countering the belief that all whites are racist and all minorities are victims; therefore, all whites are bad and anyone “of color” is good. This simplistic, one-dimensional, good/bad scale is such a dangerous way to approach any issue, let alone that of race. When the paradigm shifts to such a degree as to convince a person the color of their skin alone is the litmus test that labels them as victim or subjugator, all logic and reason is lost in the wide brush strokes of true bigotry. It leads to the belief that the only way to bolster a minority is to punish the non-minority. Rather than embracing the idea of a rising tide lifting all boats, it chooses instead to support the concept of drilling a hole in someone else’s boat so yours will eventually be higher than the one you sank.

By the way, I wonder if that teacher knows Shakespeare had a mistress? Though he was married to a white woman, he wrote passionately about a secret love. Here’s a sample of one of his most famous sonnets about her:

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

– Sonnet 130

If the poetry of Shakespeare’s sonnet to his mistress is hard to follow, all you need to do is break down the descriptions and see what images form in your own mind. His mistress’ eyes are not bright like the sun, but dark; her lips, too, are on the opposite end of the ‘red’ spectrum, dark and brown; her breasts are also dark (“dun”); and, her hairs feel like black wires on her head. Is there any mistaking that Shakespeare’s mistress is of African decent? To refuse to teach the words of the Bard is to not only deny someone access to one of the greatest writers in the Western world, but also to ignore the fact that he saw through race and color in his own time, falling in love with his dark lady.

Like Shakespeare who saw past the color of one’s skin, it’s time to return to Dr. King’s dream and take the current discussion on race back onto the path where color is no longer a reason to be pro or con. Judging someone, either positively or negatively, based solely on color, is an act of bigotry that not only will continue to erase the gains of the civil rights movement as it exists today, but also, if left unchecked, threatens to consume our nation in a tide of anger and hatred over such a shortsighted, ignorant and ill-conceived stance.

Shakespeare is not the enemy. Yes, he was white. So what? Does that diminish the worth of his contributions to the world? Alexandre Dumas was black, born in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), the son of a French nobleman and a slave girl. Should we elevate his works over others simply because of his skin tone? Or do those unforgettable words of his Musketeers stand on their own regardless of his race — “one for all and all for one!”

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have a real conversation on race with those words of the Musketeers in mind, rather than the ones we are having rammed down our throats today, where we are being told color actually does make a difference, keeping us from being all for one and one for all? Is that what Dr. King would support if he were sitting at the table? Dumas? Shakespeare?

Shylock, in The Merchant of Venice, notes we are all the same when he states:

If you prick us, do we not
bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you
poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall
we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will
resemble you in that.

When you take away the surface, we are all the same underneath, each with our own gifts and flaws. Our skin has no bearing on our contributions to the world — only our actions. Our color does not make a person good or bad. It does not determine someone’s intellect, honor, civility or disposition. It is as thin of substance as the air and more inconstant than the wind.

In our day, isn’t it time we got back to putting the content of ones character over the color of their skin?