This morning, the sun came up as it always does and if you’re like me, you were lying on your bed for a good hour thinking “is this really happening”? It has been a difficult 24 hours for a lot of people and people have had various ways of coping – some are still processing the information, others are protesting, while others haven’t stopped crying. All are valid reactions to what is traumatic news. Sometimes questions arise if this is an act of self pity or fragility, a distraction from the work that needs to be done. And that got me thinking about why I believe the things I believe.
My vision for society, like those of many, is one underlined by a basis of love, empathy and solidarity. We work towards a better future for all, because we want a better future for all. Right wing populism fills the vacuum when a strong alternative is absent. It offers the working person, the illusion of solidarity while manipulating them into turning against their neighbours and ultimately undermining their own interests. At its heart is selfishness and a lack of compassion. The right in general has isolated me for as long as I can remember for this fundamental flaw (among other things) — the inability to show empathy. Such displays are mocked as feelings, a display of weakness, or something that is inherently illogical.
So, yeah, it’s okay to cry. It’s okay to cry with friends, its okay to vent, its okay to shout and its definitely okay to be there for your friends; because love, empathy and solidarity form the fundamental basis of ideology. This doesn’t mean we don’t aggressively target oppression or go on the offence, but it also means that displays of emotion and engaging in self care are not selfish acts of weakness in the face of a challenge. Rather, they are part of how we survive in spite of the challenge. We mourn, we take care of ourselves and then we rise again.
There are people out there who are right to be jaded and have dark visions for the future, and this is true – we have a tough fight ahead of us. But for me personally, I have to believe and hope, no matter how jaded I get – because if I don’t have that, then I don’t have any beliefs at all.