Fuck the Fear.

Fuck the fear. I’m not having it.

It is obvious tonight that America is not ready for the future, for progress, for inclusion. America just pushed back, and hard.

I was born of the white working class and raised by my anti racist, Catholic parents who were born in the middle of the great democratic experiment known as New York City.

And I am worried about the fears of white working class people – Christians and heterosexuals, for the most part – who are scared about the changes, who are scared of people like me and my wife, who are scared of Obama and smart black people, who are scared of faggots and immigrants and Muslims.

It’s because they don’t know us. It’s because they don’t know there is a way to live, to create community and art and love and ethics and beauty despite difference. They don’t know the awesome world we live in, and instead, they live in fear of who they think we are instead of who we actually are.

I have been white and heterosexual and Christian and I was raised, like most of us are, to denigrate queer folks and non-Christians and non whites. So many of us were. What changed me? What changed any of us? It was having the opportunity to be put in situations where I realized fear was something that limited me, that made me mean in ways I didn’t want to be. It gave me faith in things that had nothing to do with my worth – my skin color, my sexuality, my dominance as a Christian American – and so I could make space to welcome more kinds of people, more kinds of living, more kinds of beauty and community.

I also know that marginalized people are who create the world, over and over again. I teach the idea that those of us who do not have dominant viewpoints know not only what we know but also what the dominant folks know: women know how men think because we have to, because it keeps us safe. Black people know how racist white people are because it can keep them alive. And what we know, all of us who live on some liminal edge in this culture, is that we are up against it all the time.

Nothing has changed. Patriarchy, white supremacy, American exceptionalism, homophobia, capitalism and its woes – all of those things were with us yesterday and are still with us today.

We will find ways to persist, to create, to love, to keep each other safe. We will find new ways to combat suffering, to bring beauty and peace to the world.

Because the world, after all, is ours: the underdogs, the marginalized, the hated, the feared.

We know who we are. We know what it means to love deeply, to need beauty, to feel compassionately.

Those are the things that defeat fear. Those are the things that create community, that push progresss, that allow us to live with meaning, to practice love and patience and empathy.

We are it, folks. And we will prevail. Fuck fear. Love deeply, make art, create community, and ORGANIZE. We are better than their fear of us.

And the rest of you? Who voted out of fear, out of racism and misogyny and who are terrified of change, who are so awash in your own arrogance that you can’t even see our humanity? Get over yourselves; the future is coming and your goddamn vote isn’t going to stave it off much longer.

The future is ours. Try to get used to it.

5 Replies to “Fuck the Fear.”

  1. I hadn’t allowed myself to cry about the election results until I read this. Yes. WE are IT, folks. Pioneers have always been the minority, and they, WE, always change the world for the better, Eventually. Thank you Helen for your fuming, persevering, enlightened perspective. I feel empowered again.

  2. I think America is more than ready for change. (See this NYT article: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/09/us/politics/election-exit-polls.html). It’s just that the change process isn’t done yet.

    Trump becoming president is a (right-wing) indication how far Americans are finally willing to go to get the change they want. The left-wing “savior” was supposed to be Obama. Hillary didn’t offer the kind of change Americans want, which is a FUNDAMENTAL kind of change. Obama didn’t deliver it either. Sanders alluded to it, but lost his way. I don’t think Trump will deliver the kind of fundamental change people want either. But I could be wrong.

    I’m encouraged by the result, not because I voted for Trump (I didn’t) but because Americans are only just beginning to see that the White House is not the seat from which fundamental change emerges. You are right, change comes from the marginalized. I think those who want fundamental change are the largest marginalized group. This election, they made their voice heard (by voting third party or staying home as 49% of people didn’t vote), or voting for the lesser of two evils that was more likely to bring the change they want. Trump may make it worse for us. But the “worse” is going to bring better by making the contrast between what we want and what we’ve got so large, more will demand better.

    I think that’s a really good thing.

  3. Thank you, Helen, for posting this. I found that it gave me light during the darkness following the election. It made me realize it is okay to mourn today, but tomorrow we get back to work.

  4. Thank you so much, Helen, for posting this. It points forward, which is where we have to look. Letting ourselves give in to fear, to endless lamentations, to bleak and hopeless pessimism just breeds the immobility which keeps us from helping define the world, from trying to make it better. That is giving in to what the forces of darkness want. Thank you for sounding the right notes: defiant, angry, but also believing in ourselves, and working to achieve our goals. Others wouldn’t have done it for us, anyway. I needed this. I think a lot of others do tonight as well.

  5. I’ve shared this multiple times on all platforms because it speaks to what’s needed right now. I’ve shared it with artists, women, real men, dreamers and anyone who feels oppressed by the dark and stupid forces of reactionaries. I said this to myself and went out in public knowing I live in a city that still has my back, and spoke to people who love me because together we’ve beaten back the dark forces of addiction.

    Ring the bells.

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