Raging on — and taking good care

A good friend wrote me yesterday that he’s concerned about the “rage” of such columnists as Charles Blow and Paul Krugman. He says he realizes they are both “morally and politically correct” and that he shares their rage.  But my friend is concerned that relentless rage will pull us down and weaken our resistance to Trump.
Here is the gist of my reply:
I don’t believe these men’s outrage is a “politically correct” response to Trump, though I do believe it’s both a politically savvy and morally grounded response —perhaps because I share it.
As a matter of fact, I receive the intense anger of such journalists and other public figures as a gift that empowers me to stay in touch, a day at a time, with how utterly bankrupt the Trump administration is by every important measuring rod, especially morally.   Regardless of what he and his gang do, their actions, including their words, reflect hate, divisiveness, violence, and contempt toward humankind and creation. There is no peace-making with such wickedness, and no desire for any reconciliation with it.
Being outraged is an emotional means of  steadfastly refusing to “normalize” Trump.  It is also, I believe, the only way to stay informed, engaged, and a constructive participant in building a creative, effective resistance.
For example, the “Time to Talk” series which the NAACP is holding in Brevard NC is steeped in community rage at Trump.   You feel it, you share it, and you have to respect it as a source of creative energy — whether in the life of a 10 yr old white boy trying to organize other kids, an 18 year old black girl with a mom from Sudan who is fighting this immigration ban, a 50 year immigrant from Jamaica, married to an American Jewish activist, who is organizing against racism, anti-Semitism, and religious bigotry here at home; or this 71 year old white feminist Christian who personally lives a charmed life and yet is furious fucking mad at what Trump, Bannon, et al are doing to our community, our nation, and our world.
Here in the beautiful Appalachian hills, we are meeting one another in a common determination NOT to falter in our rage as a root of love for America and the world, for this community and each other, and for God’s own inherent rage against injustice and hatred.
Still, I share your worry about whether we could drown in our rage. This is why self-care and care of one another must be our top priority.
Let me speak for myself: If not for dogs, kitties, and horses; if not for music and books and movies — and, yes, journalists like Charles Blow, Paul Krugman, Nicholas Kristof, Rachel Maddow, Joy Reid, Eugene Robinson, and many others;  if not for people like you to love and work and play with; if not for sacred moments of silence, walking in woods, humming songs,  reciting poetry that meets me through memory; and if not for good sleep (much of the time) and good food (most of the time), I surely would be swallowed up by rage.
But I am less worried about drowning in rage than about being lulled by time into an apathy of simply waiting to see what happens next.
I find myself wondering what others have been doing or thinking in the very early months and years of terrible times, like in Germany in the mid-30s, or Chile in early-mid-70s, or more recently in Hungary…
Please make sure you’re taking good care of your remarkably brave, bright, and loving self, my friend.  There is no one like you. Don’t forget — none of us can do it all, or do it perfectly, but each of us can do a little as well as we can — and that is enough.
Much love,

5 thoughts on “Raging on — and taking good care

  1. My response would be a little different if there is a significant difference between anger (a normal emotion that can be controlled by the angry person) and rage (an extreme for of anger that cannot be controlled the the raging person). The former can be very empowering, the latter is difficult to sustain for long periods of time without damaging the raging person. HOWEVER, having said that, I agree completely that self- and community-care are essential … the message of the Gospel. Thank you for keeping our focus on “godding”. Blessings.

    • Pat, I know what you mean, and I agree. In this particular instance, I was thinking of “rage” as sustained anger. But I certainly do believe, with you, that strong anger, fury, rage, whatever the intense emotional response to wrongdoing, must be channeled caringly and compassionately in order to be constructive and sustainable. Thank you! Carter

  2. Back in the days when I actually worked for a living (and some of the folks with whom I worked might question whether I ever worked), I worked as a lab director of a relatively small medical laboratory in MN. Twenty five other labs were included in the network, most of them significantly larger than mine, and, oddly enough (perhaps not so oddly enough), far more prone to making consequential errors, largely arising from their size. Typical for the corporate world, a one-size-fits-all mentality prevailed, and often HQ would insist that we comply with those very processes causing the increased rate of errors because that was the only model HQ understood. I used to tell the folks who worked with/for me that my principle job was to convey my outrage at such inane demands. I did not always prevail . . . but the occasional breakthroughs were delicious – and necessary for the quality of patient health care. Outrage is IMPORTANT.

      • Oh Peter, I can see you now in that medical lab, conveying outrage at inanities and stupid behavior. Did you ever think that our “lab” in 2017 would be our government? Carter

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