Fear can divide us as a people. Just look at the world today, so many of us are experiencing fear. Right now we have a ‘divide and conquer’ taking place in politics and in many countries.
In my own life I am experiencing this on a big scale.
Those of you reading from outside the UK may read all about Brexit, where the UK voted on a referendum to leave the European Union (not Europe).
Much of the news outside the UK (and a large proportion in the UK) is geared towards remaining in the EU. So many inside and outside the UK believe a lot of propaganda being shared by mainstream media.
I voted to leave.
Now, those of us who voted leave were lumped into the following categories:
- Trump followers
- Old people
- White Supremacists
- Stupid and thick
- We didn’t know what we were voting for
While there may be a small percentage of these types of people who were uneducated and easily persuaded to vote leave on issues around immigration, many of us did not vote leave for this reason.
However, because we voted leave, we turned into enemy no 1.
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” — Aristotle
In my heart, I feel I voted leave for many different reasons, most of which I have shared across social media. In response I have had demands from those who voted remain for more reasons why I voted leave. I have received aggression, name calling and private letters of attack. All because I voted leave.
What do I want? I simply want my vote to be honoured, because I know in my heart if remain was the winning vote, I would have accepted this completely, but the mainstream media (and opposition MP’s) have whipped up the country so extremely, into a fear-based reality that all rationale, all sense of community, has been thrown out of the window.
We No Longer Trust ‘The Other’
We have been divided and as prospect.org said regarding Donald Trump, we now don’t trust the ‘other’:
Democracies require sufficient social trust that citizens regard the views of those they disagree with as worthy of equal consideration to their own. That way, they’ll accept political outcomes they dislike.
Trump’s divide-and-conquer strategy is to destroy that trust.
Our trust has been destroyed on many levels.
I am lucky that I have a few good friends who are remain voters, who balance constructive disagreement with understanding, but I also know people who are very locked into fear of what is unknown, because we have not left yet, that has become the foundation and filter for how they judge what they see as their opposition – leave voters.
It is understandable that EU citizens living here would feel fear, I get this, but I also have listened and can see that until we leave, we cannot know how this will all work out.
The clarifying thing about the whole ‘divide and conquer’ mentality is that not only does it cause mistrust among communities and divide people, which is not great, it also has the positive effect of revealing people who ‘appear’ on the surface to be kind-hearted, compassionate and understanding to be inauthentic. You certainly learn who is genuine at times like these. This has been both a positive and negative, because it has caused division in families, groups and friends. Most of my family are leave voters, but I can only imagine what it must feel like having a divided family in this extremely volatile time.
And this goes to both sides, be it ‘leave versus remain’, be it ‘Republicans versus Democrats’.
We begin to see the shadow of hate and resentment from racists and prejudice that was hidden behind the facade of social acceptance being not only leaked out, but shown loudly in how they respond and react to those with opposing viewpoints.
We also begin to see the shadow of resentment and prejudice from far left viewing the ‘other’ as wrong, bad, stupid, misinformed and so forth.
I probably would say I used to be more left in my way of thinking about the world and politics, I am certainly swaying more to the right and centre primarily now. What this has made me see is that while we condemn extremism in the far right, we ignore extremism on the far left which can be equally dangerous, because that extremism is seen to be far more socially acceptable.
If it means people destroying property, hurling abuse at politicians with their children close by, encouraging young people to get arrested in Environmental protests, this is still extremism. It may appear a far softer, more palatable form of extremism, but if you are of the opposing viewpoint, it would feel as extreme as racism and other types of prejudice. Neither are better than the other.
It Hurts To Feel Such Hate and Disgust Directed At You
It hurts to feel such a large group of people hate on you, not just hate on your viewpoint, but on you as a person, which many are doing right now.
For example, I don’t dislike those who voted remain, I don’t agree with why people want to remain, but this is my opinion and I have a right to it, as do they.
However, I do feel something has shifted in our society, that ‘normal’ ordinarily rational and ‘sane’ people feel it’s okay to group together enmasse to attack and persecute a group of people based on their choices.
To me this is no different to white supremacists hating and attacking those who disagree with their extreme way of life.
To actually admit to being a leave voter for example, is to become an outsider.
We are not part of a socially acceptable group (unless we are in primarily leave constituencies) and even then leave voters are very hesitant to speak out (unless they are of the more uneducated and extreme voters who will be vocal and show the shadow side of the leave camp) .
What I see is that remain voters are more socially acceptable, so it is a great group to ‘belong’ to. You don’t really get as much flack as leave voters do, because we just want our vote honoured, but remain voters?
Many want our vote discounted and stopped altogether. So, we are both coming from very different sides of the coin in this.
There is a local town I go to every couple of weeks, a place I used to work in and do a lot in. It is called Stroud. I used to be very much ‘new-age’, ‘left’ in my views and I really fitted in there. Stroud is a remain constituency and to say you vote leave there is to expect an avalanche of judgements and personal attacks. I sometimes wonder if they had pitchforks it would be pitchforks at dawn for those who voted leave.
Fear Of Change – Fear Of The Unknown
And what is causing all of this?
False Evidence Appearing Real.
Across the world, especially in the Western world (exception those countries being persecuted and in risk for their lives) many are fearing what they don’t know or don’t want to know or understand. Much of it is future fears, fears of what may happen, but equally may not happen.
And fear makes humans do strange things.
Fear can make us act irrationally
Fear can make us feel persecuted
Fear can make us not trust those around us
Fear can make us not trust LIFE
Fear can make us absorb mainstream news and emotionally driven headlines (which are made to provoke emotion reactions – not to share truth!) as real.
Fear can make us feel that there is an ‘Us versus Them’
Fear can make us attack those who share a different viewpoint
And yes, there are things going on in this world that are atrocious, things we need to be aware of and protest against, but when protests involve protesting against a democratic vote, I fear we are moving away from community and into a deep dark division as a people.
How Do We Trust the ‘Other’ Again?
We stop gathering in groups that aim and intend to bully the other into submission and acceptance of our will and opinions.
We check in with ourselves if what we are saying is true, are we creating community or walls of further division?
We ask if we were in their shoes, how would we feel, can we understand where they are coming from? If not, why not? Are we even trying to see the other person’s perspective?
Sometimes we need to walk away from others with different viewpoints, not because we don’t trust them or understand them, but because their opinions have become more volatile.
It saddens me that I have had to let people go who I know are kind, decent people, but who are locked into fear right now (which is understandable), that they want anyone who believes differently out of their lives. And we really need to take care of ourselves in this process of ‘divide and conquer’ be it if we are under attack or feeling threatened by ‘the other’.
Don’t Vote From Re-Action
It’s also important to see that Governments and politicians often create measures that can make the poorest and most vulnerable people worse off and more likely to vote for those who promise to give them what they want and need.
However, it is exactly during this time of increased vulnerability that we need to have a wise head on our shoulders to manipulation, even towards what is perceived ‘positive measures’.
After the First World War, Germany and its allies were required to pay, in today’s money, a sum totalling about $450 billion dollars in reparations in the so-called War Guilt clause of the Versailles Treaty (the surrender treaty which Germany was not even allowed to attend, being given a ‘take it or leave it’ ultimatum).
This level of financial punishment proved to be impossible for Germany to honour. It destroyed the German economy and was at least partly responsible for the hyperinflation which occurred. At its worst, the value of the Deutschmark fell so far that one dollar was equivalent to over 4 trillion marks ($1 = 4,000,000,000,000 Deutschmarks) and people would use wheelbarrows full of Deutschmarks to buy a single loaf of bread.
This led to deep poverty, with the German people left in a very vulnerable position, wide open to anyone who promised to ‘Make Germany Great Again’. (Ring any bells?)
Enter Adolf Hitler. We all know how that worked out..
Research Truth – Back To Source
This is why it is important to remain very open, do thorough research, trust ourselves (not our emotional re-actions), to fact check directly to sources (not sites like factcheck.org) and to take what ‘all politicians, MP’s and mainstream media’ says, with a healthy pinch of salt. Don’t get dragged into emotive news headlines.
In the UK, we have the Conservative Government who brought in austerity measures after the previous more liberal Labour Government destroyed the economy with their more socialist measures and as the Conservatives often do, to increase the economy, they give more leeway to the rich, so these measures they put in place penalised those who needed the help the most.
However, those vulnerable people may now vote from a more desperate place, a knee-jerk response to headlines on mainstream media, instead of the wisest more centred place.
Any leader can be corruptible, even those who appear on the surface to be ‘good genuine people’.
“One who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived.” — Nicholas Machiavelli
Unity Instead of Division
How do we as a human community in the UK, USA, Europe AND beyond come to a place of unity instead of division? How do we do this when our leaders and politicians on both sides are self-serving and deceitful? How do we allow change in a more humane and compassionate way?
“Promoting unity doesn’t mean brainwashing people or embracing conformity” liberationist.org
I don’t have the answers right now, but I look forward to hearing if you have any ideas.