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4 months ago · · 0 comments

Trump and #MeToo: A First Attempt at Dialogue in the Current, Polarized Atmosphere

One of the things I have privately mulled over (and grieved), in my own recovery from chemical addiction, is how my prior, substance-induced altered states tended to flatten out or reduce all the nuances or subtleties in life. If you’re seeking anesthesia (and I was, in part, not unlike many other addicts), then drugs are the ticket. But there’s a heavy price to be paid, especially if you value life’s finer shadings and connections.

So it was with interest that I perked up when reading the below article, just this past week:

“Had enough of the visceral response to the Trump era? Try a little nuance instead” by Meghan Daum, Los Angeles Times, January 4, 2018

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-daum-our-uninteresting-times-20180107-story.html

Right from the beginning, Ms. Daum (rightfully, I believe) indicts the psychologically understandable, and increasingly common, reflex of holding up my virtue/your virtue as contrasted with that of easy, visibly fallible targets like President Trump.

“During this period, virtue signaling has become blue states’ own sort of opioid addiction. Post something about toxic masculinity, white privilege or, of course, President Trump (whose name is shorthand for both) and the likes and affirmations will mete out just enough dopamine to keep you going until the next fix.”

The author’s comparison of such holier-than-thou judgment to opioid addiction certainly grabbed my attention, as did her reference to the guaranteed dopamine spike that follows on such, typically impassioned conversations.

Then she turns a more specific word of caution toward the momentous #MeToo movement:

“But if you start to feel less than sincere every time you join a #MeToo chorus, you do what humans have done for thousands of years: Get together and admit privately to feeling conflicted…[where we] turn to our closest confidants and confess to a level of cognitive dissonance and confusion we fear would alienate our followers and possibly kill our careers if we tried to put it into words.”

For anyone who cares about more subtle or differentiated conversations, especially when emotions run as high as they tend to with Trump and the #MeToo movement, Ms. Daum’s introduction of “nuance” into the dialogue feels important and timely:

“Bit by bit, it’s starting to happen. The #MeToo movement is infused with obtuse rhetoric like ‘zero tolerance,’ but it has also led to a handful of more nuanced analyses about the slippery nature of sexual consent and the dangers of failing (or refusing) to distinguish male clumsiness from dangerous aggression.”

At the risk of “alienating followers,” certainly not my intention, I join her and others who wish for a spirit of genuine dialogue, for example, between women who have experienced first-hand gender subjugation, including sexual harassment, and men who “have ears to hear,” including full-on openness to becoming educated in what is entailed in being a real man, not the least of which requires men learning how truly to love. (Have we ever lived in a time more perched and ready for just that core, societal transformation?)

With that desire uppermost in mind and heart — for women’s deep healing and men learning truly to love — I gladly stand alongside Meghan Daum in proclaiming:

“#ResistanceToGroupthink. Call me a cognitive dissident. Chances are, you’re one, too.”

Categories: Addiction, Calm, Creativity, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Happiness, Healing, Life tips, Meditation, Mindfulness, Nature, Philosophy, Recovery, Self-Compassion, Shame, Spirituality

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