Electing Trump: a connection with male violence
I'm not shocked at all by Trump's victory, as I saw it coming. That doesn't mean, I'm not worried sick about the potential for his contempt, climate denial, misogyny, and racism to undermine US and our societies. But we have to learn from this. I believe his election, has been a sort of combination of an anarchic/f..k the system response, from people who have become embittered by the belief that they no longer matter. We have to understand that the "Neo-Liberal Capitalist" experiment has created a society that has benefitted a self serving, self justifying, elite and has left a lot of people disenfranchised, poor and maybe with no hope for their future. It is in this disconnected, vulnerable state, that people look to blame and hate others for their circumstances. What is scary, is how easy it is for the powerful, to semi acknowledge their legitimate hurt and anger, but then divert and escalate this anger and hatred away from themselves, and direct it to other vulnerable, disenfranchised groups. Violence and abuse occur when we create a society with 'us' and 'a demonised other'. Where the 'other' lose their ability to tell their story, to share there commonality and connection.
As Noam Chomsky said: “As long as the general population is passive, apathetic, diverted to consumerism or hatred of the vulnerable, then the powerful can do as they please, and those who survive will be left to contemplate the outcome.” Interestingly I find this same phenomenon, when counselling men (only a small percentage luckily) after a relationship breakup. Their partner has left them, they are hurting, isolated, distressed, but instead of reflecting on their lives, acknowledging their own part in the relationship breakdown and working towards making some form of amends - bitterness, contempt and resentment take over their lives. In this place, she becomes an object a thing "a bitch" who has been contaminated by all the other "bitches". She is to blame, the Family Court is to blame, the Police and the system are to blame, for all his distress. It is from this hateful, I'll teach her a lesson, anarchic/f..k everything place, that these men can become extremely dangerous. As a society and community we need to work out, how to put limits on these men, whilst still staying connected to them. Understanding what it is about their lives, that has contributed to this increasing anger and hatred. Is it formed in their current lives, from their disconnection and alienation, mixed with a cocktail of misogyny and patriarchy? Or is it from their childhood trauma and wounds, that we have not acknowledged and allowed them to heal from? Or a mixed up combination?
When working with these men, we need to allow them to belong, matter and be acknowledged, whilst standing with them, against their bitterness and hate. See my Blog on "Understanding men's grief after a relationship breakup"
We can not just demonise these men and see them as an aberration, that should be shamed and excluded from our society, if we want to really come to terms with their violence. As a society, we need to face up to our dark side, the way we accidentally support and tolerate violence against women and children. The way we objectify and create "others" rather than an inclusive society. How we do not critique entitlement and power. We also need to openly explore the attitudes and beliefs that support violence and hatred. A society that openly (or secretly) supports racism, misogyny, hatred of the vulnerable, will be a more violent, scary, and less inclusive society. I wonder what Donald Trump has unleashed and how dangerous it will become?
There is going to need to be the same sort of reflection, in regards to Donald Trump's election win. We need to do this, if we are to get behind, our own prejudices and judgements and really explore what is going on. We need this to be inclusive, and not formed by expert (elite) opinions, but to really talk and listen to people and draw out ways, of making their lives meaningful and worthwhile, in the process of developing an inclusive, fair and just society.
But we are now all vulnerable to adopting, Trump's way of looking at the world. We will be tempted to blame, hate and demonise Trump and the people who voted for him, instead of reflecting on our society, looking at what has gone wrong, really questioning our attitudes and beliefs, acknowledging our part in the process before working towards a safer, more connected and just society.