I am not an angry person, by nature. I get frustrated, and may let steam off, from time to time, when someone has pushed my buttons, as people do; but on the whole, I do not practice acting in anger.
My position is not popular.
Lately, everyone is angry at something, or someone. That’s OK, sometimes getting Angry is a necessary response to shitty situations. Anger has use; anger is fire. Anger arouses passion. Anger calls to action.
Anger is a contagion, however.
On Facebook – among my few outlets with the outside world – I have seen the active disavowal, and open call for violence against Nazis. That’s OK, Nazism is a movement predicated on hate, submission, and violence, emotional, physical and spiritual. It is the product of insecurity, and fear, and is used as a weapon.
I have seen regular posts about the value of punching Nazis, the value of general violence against Nazis, and a meme from Inglorious Basterds about taking 100 Nazi scalps. That’s OK, you need to defend yourself, and you need to protect yours and your own. I do not believe – despite my general preference for silence – that there is room for compromise any longer. There was, but it would have been unfair to many, and I don’t think patience is possible on either side, any longer.
That’s OK, patience is a trait that requires practice, but is often assumed to be something innate.
I’d like to tell you a story about a few people, though.
A young filmmaker saw and despised the ravages of war. He was a man who took to the camera like few did at the time. He had taken an interest in the Civil War, and was horrified by the cost of it. He decided to make a great anti-war epic. A polemic that would show the horrors of war.
His name was D.W. Griffith, and his film was the The Birth of a Nation (1915). Upon its release, and the general calls of his tainted racist soul, he was so horrified, he sought to make amends. The following year, he made Intolerance (1916) a lavish, 4-hour film that was as revolutionary for the art of cinema, as it was for its depiction of hate across time.
He is remembered for the first film.
In 2000, Howard Dean was a front-runner for potential president of the United States. During a rally, in what was reportedly a loud, crowded room, he made a shout. Due to the sound editing, the crowd was dimmed, and his chance went bust quickly, despite the fact that – within context – he had to shout to be heard. He is now a footnote.
In the 1900’s in Russia, the proletariat decided that they had had enough of the wealth and corruption of the upper classes, and fought tooth and nail in the Bolshevik revolution. Their leadesr, Trotsky and Lenin succeeded, and in the process re-invented Russia. Then Stalin followed
Under the communist regime in Russia, film was revolutionized as a way to galvanize the masses in support of the regime. Collectivized Farms – a communist policy designed to spread food – caused mass starvation.
In China with the support of Stalin, Mao Zedong took power. Under his leadership, between 90-110 million people were killed (the real number is unknown) based on the tenets of Communism, and the challenges of keeping the masses in line.
To lighten the mood, for just a moment. Joshua Norton, a failed business man, one day decided that he was the emperor of the United States. Homeless in San Francisco, he acted the part in full regalia, and issued edicts. At first a joke in San Francisco, he became a beloved, powerful figure; and he gained a measure of significant political influence. Everyone who met him believed him a kind, gentle, intelligent soul; and his thoughts proved ahead of their time. At his funeral, he was attended by 30,000 people, the news headlines “La Roi est Mort”.
He had 2 dollars to his name.
My point may seem obscure, with these weird, historically inaccurate portrayals of large scale figures. Why should you care about what these people did, why should you care how many people died under them. Why should you care?
Well, first, you aren’t Mao Zedong, or D.W. Griffith: you’re a scared person, who wants to fight for your life, and your ability to live it. Your anger is an act of defense, and a fight for the future. That’s OK, I love you for your passion, and your conviction. I am not going to stop you either, in your support of violence against Nazis, imagined or real.
I’m going to love indiscriminately, because that is the only true thing to me. Everybody, no matter how seemingly unworthy.
But I write this to make you aware: Anger is contagious: you cannot determine its path. You cannot determine what shape it will take, or how people will choose to act on it. As Father John Misty, you can’t control what people use your fake name for.
So if you choose to be angry publicly, to act in the white hot passion of the moment; when you try to make the world the way you see it for others. When you make sure that your anger is the only valid response, the results will rarely be what you anticipate, and likely to circle around back. Because when a contagion catches – when a fire lights – you cannot stop it from spreading. And, if you care, you may accidentally hurt someone you care about. Someone you love may be directly responsible.
I do not share my feelings on current events because my stance should be self-evident. But, more importantly, I am aware that my actions do not have determined consequences. I am aware that even if my anger is just, it may lead to unjust harm of another. I will not do that, for any reason. I will not harm people, because others tell me it is right. I will not act in harm.
It is my duty and desire to love all things and so I will, whether you think it’s right or not. I’m not a moral person – a good person, but I know who I am. And avowing violence against anyone is one thing I will not do.
I will love, no matter what. I will accept, no matter what; and let come what may.
Because I can’t determine what the sunset will look like tomorrow.
May you be peaceful, may you be healthy, may you be well, may you be loved.