Saturday, November 28, 2015

Sane Zombies

Sane zombies?  It doesn’t work as a concept.  It’s a contradiction in essence.  But that’s the point.   

In my last blog post,  I talked about werewolves and vampires as symbolisms of human monstrosity, our devastating effect on the ecology and meteorological homeostasis of Earth.  Also, our relationships to each other, and animals, the exploiters and the exploited, the consumers and the consumed, the powerful, the toadies, the thralls.  Souls, the potential to actualize with dignity and health, are sacrificed to this maleficent trench.  The zombie theme adds yet another component:  the  teeming senselessness.  Idiot conformity and, in response, the validation of gory  killers.  Our airwaves endure an orgy of zombie parades, and the de facto deputized resisters, little islands of the beseiged, trapped in a sea of compromised flesh, butchering the lost in droves.  When we see characters in the Walking Dead slaying the mentally withered through varied means of bloody violence, it taps into a subconscious disgust of  fellow humans.

Let’s be honest, many liberals are disgusted with humanity.  As are those on the other side of the fence, who chant to the fascist rhetoric of Donald Trump.  Warnings about Trump’s trajectory toward police state have already been written, excellent op-eds in newspapers like the Washington Post and the New York Times.  Here’s a few, one is explicitly Hitleresque:

We all partake in the actualization of the vampire, werewolf and zombie themes.  The people who read this blog are most likely privileged.  We may not be aware, not often, but we buy things, all kinds of things, made by the exploited.  We suck the life blood out of those in sweatshops, and callously plod along the path of consumerist devouring.  We in the USA contribute to greenhouse gas emissions at a grossly disproportionate rate.  With the boomer generation as bellwether, we have become blithe in our habits, our driving of vogue cars, our casual flipping of the coal-hungry electric switch.  The vertical production chains around food and clothing showcase other ways in which we support (effectively revel in) the degradation of workers, the ongoing wreckage of Gaia, the extirpation of Her creatures.

Despite all this, as I hinted above, there is a difference between monsters.  That we are all to blame does not make us equally culpable.  Or equally ready to effect much needed change.  Imagine if Trump became President.  He could.  He erects a wall between the USA and Mexico, coercing our southern neighbor to pay for it.  He registers Muslims in a data base.  He feasts on social veins of ethnic antipathy, even as he bloats them.  He has said America must do the “unthinkable.”  Are we to assume his gross narcissism will stop short of nuclear options?  Should we just hope he won’t go too far, as many did with Hitler?  Narcissists and sociopaths, engrossed in selfish excitement, need to up the ante to get their rise.

Too often we use the idiom ‘nuclear option’ in casual ways.  We should really stop.  We need to be alert to the tens of thousands of ICBM’s launchable by a hate-mongerer like President Trump, or by any one of the other leaders in other troubled countries that possess such doomsday weapons.  India and Pakistan are a rancorous pair, locked in mutual seethe.  North Korea, absolutely Orwellian in its totalitarianism, has nuclear weapons.  And so on.  I haven’t even mentioned global warming--about which the GOP is in utter denial--and how it lards the odds of anomie.

It comes down to how we deal with our disgust and rage.  I think Martin Luther King, Jr. had it right.  Only love has a chance to overcome hate.  Hate in response to hate results in unmitigated violence.  Hitler’s hatespeak led us into WWII.  We can’t afford to let Trump’s hatespeak reign.

It’s tremendously hard not to mock and taunt the Trumpites, their starry-eyed “amens!” Presented with history, the xenophobia of past generations, even targeting their ancestors, they deride the argument, refocus on the “evil” of liberals.  Trump’s obvious lies do not bother them, if they can see the obvious at all.  Trump mocked John McCain’s status as a war hero, a Republican Senator who was imprisoned in Vietnam for years.  The Trumpites don’t even care about this attack on a patriotic solider, a symbol they usually hold dear.  Trump can mock whoever he pleases, even his followers, as long as he validates their fearful racism.  The insular purity of their apple-pie white bread myth.

This article came out yesterday:

Love is the only way to challenge the momentum of such rancor.  The sort of love espoused by King.  Or even the Bible.  Jesus was compassionate toward the poor and the weak.  If liberals respond to Trump's followers with agape, the kind of love King endorsed, or Buddhist compassion, or any other spiritual tradition of care, as opposed to attack, it will make it harder for Trumpites to see those outside their in-group as subhuman.  It could disrupt the black-and-white worldview.  Perhaps more importantly, it could influence those who are still undecided, apathetic or unaware.  Those on the fence.

Humanity seems to be marching in good zombie-fashion toward doom.  The USA, with its supreme military, harbors tens of millions of citizens foaming at the mouth before the infectious vitriol of their grand hotspur--a needy man of huge ego who, according to his ex-wife, kept a book of Hitler’s speeches next to his bed.  Americans, especially the white classes who adore Trump, have it pretty good.  They can, for instance, spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a gun, money that constitutes a month or even a year of wages in other countries.  Still, Trump has managed to fill their minds with ugliness and loathing.  A complete lack of appreciation for historical perspective.  I wonder how many people watching zombie shows are mentally substituting “illegals” for the ghouls of drama.  Subconsciously, at least, I think that would be a large number of folks.  How many displays of hate, bolder and bolder by a dark leader, will it take before the fury that lurks below leaps into the real?

White protesters with guns in Dallas, standing near an Islamic sanctuary.  Scary, scary photos:

What we need, of course, is not sane zombies.  That’s impossible.  We need to stop looking at each other with dehumanizing hate.  We need to stop thinking of each other as no better than zombies--and instead embrace love.  It’s trite.  But so what?  “The great way is easy, yet people prefer the side paths” -- Lao Tzu.

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace."
-- Jimi Hendrix