“Putin’s team,” Gary Shteyngart writes in a recent New Yorker article, “has discovered that racism, misogyny and anti-Semitism bind people closer than any other experiences.” We have to change this. It feels impossible: “People want to rise from their knees. Even people who weren’t kneeling in the first place,” Schtenygart writes. Can Americans, who have been bathed in rugged individualism since the inception of our country learn how to be there for each other as so many of our writers, activists and empaths are pleading we do so? We simply have to. Shteyngart continues: “My parents and grandparents never fully recovered from the strains of living in an authoritarian society. Daily compromise ground them down, even after they came to America. They left Russia, but Russia never left them. How do you read through a newspaper composed solely of lies? How do you walk into a store while being Jewish? How do you tell the truth to your children? How do you even know what the truth is?”
If we want truth, we must make room for, no, prioritize, the stories of those who have suffered. So, before I share anything along those lines personally, I want to ask for yours. I don’t necessarily mean stories of overcoming, though I’m interested in those – the more specific and less airy-fairy you can be, the better. I mean stories of hardship. I don’t want in any way to normalize anything about Trump’s campaign, candidacy or worshippers. Human history is brimming with bad governments but, with global connectivity, the technological advances in weaponry, surveillance and genetics, and the US having its tentacles all over the world, this seems like a particularly bad time to have a bad government here.
I’m interested in stories not just about surviving bad things but if hardship can be a stronger way to bind people together than racism, misogyny and anti-Semitism/anti-Islamism. Use the form on my About Me page to send in a story of hardship, anonymously, if you’d like, and, when you’re ready, start reaching out to others and sharing in your real lives. Let’s see if we can begin to change this culture of simultaneous superficiality and hatred.
Disclaimer: While the 1st Amendment grants the right to free speech (at least for now), I am way more interested in forming solid opinions that honor the humanity of all rather than simply my right to say whatever the hell I want whenever I want to whomever I want. Racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, hatred or bigotry of any kind will not be tolerated.