Can I Have A Word? by Venessa Bowers, MSW, LSW

So, let’s be honest – most of the blogs I write for Lioness Vizions have more to do with finding self-worth, a sense of belonging, and gratitude. But today, I feel I need a word on politics. Perhaps I feel this need because of the fact that I typically write about things that attempt to make us better people and politics has an amazing way of bringing out the absolute worst in most of us. We need to talk.

One of things I absolutely despise about politics is that words that have very specific meanings in the dictionary are used to lambast someone who thinks differently. For example: socialism and fascism; are not the same thing. So, comparing the President of the United States to Adolf Hitler is ridiculous on its face. However, for the last four years, that’s one of the favorite phrases of folks on the opposite end of the political spectrum. Let’s define our terms:

Socialism:  a theory or system of SOCIAL organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.

Translation: If I make the ish, and you make the ish, WE own the ish and we share it with other people making other ish. Dig it?

Fascism: a GOVERNMENTAL system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.

Translation: If you ain’t white, straight, male, and protestant (and you must be ALL four)– it is open season on YOUR ish.

Socialism leads to shared wealth and community – again that interesting notion of a sense of belonging. You no longer “work for the man” you ARE the (wo)man. Fascism leads to genocide. Which means you are NO LONGER if you just happen to be different than the dominant ideology – or is that idiot-ology? I think I have to look that up.

So why does this label keep getting applied to the President? Mostly, in my mind because he is DIFFERENT! He doesn’t meet the threshold for what is considered to be normal – he is not white, he is not ignorant, and he is not poor. Let’s face it – the majority of people who yell FASCIST at the president cannot read beyond a fifth grade level. I am not saying that to be mean – I’m saying it because it’s true. They are also predominantly poor or lower working class. They are however white. And according to bell hooks, it’s always better to be poor, uneducated and white than it ever is to be black. And DON’T YOU FORGET IT.

For whatever Obama is, he is no dictator. If he was, we’d have jobs. We’d have better education. We’d have health care. But wait, that means EVERYBODY gets it – so even then he’s not a dictator.

So, what is behind this language that we see and hear daily? In a word: fear. We fear what we do not understand. We fear what we do not know. We fear difference. We fear change. Bottom line, we are afraid for our lives. Fear paralyzes us. It makes us do and say unconscionable things. It makes us believe lies and myths, and it makes us crazy.

I’ll be honest. Shortly before writing this blog, I had a Facebook fight with a person who identifies himself as a republican. He called the President something I will not repeat because it is so, so, 1860 thinking. I found myself losing all sense of propriety and doing the equivalent of a virtual bitch slap on him. To what end? I called names, I insulted his intelligence, I questioned his values and I was just a witch. Did I win? Nope. After I did it, I felt awful. It didn’t make me feel better to beat this guy up (ok, at first it did- BLAM). But what I saw in myself is fear – fear that his rhetoric and that of those like him would unseat a man I worked my butt off to help get elected. Fear that my economic class would be taxed higher, my rights as a woman would be compromised, my ability to get health care lost, if a republican took the White House.

Aren’t those the same fears as the other side? Pretty much. Yet – we slam dunk each other over the fact that we fear the same thing. Again, fear makes us crazy.

That said, I can’t promise I won’t step into another person who says horrible things about other people under the guise of humor. But stepping into them doesn’t have to mean sacrificing my dignity. Dignity is the word I’d like to have.

~definitions taken from dictionary.com

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