Monday, June 15, 2020

Rage On, Calmly or Not, But Do Rage On

Charles Blow in today's NYTimes makes an important case for "insatiable rage." He explains why the passion, the rage and indeed the outrage we see in the streets, continuing and expanding into the greater causes of civil rights and the failures of American Experiment, cuts so deeply. This isn't about merely about "winning" or persuading or effecting reform or law---it is about deep, abiding collective feelings that must find expression.

The collective hopes, dreams, frustrations, indignities, violations, and abuses of Black Americans will be heard and must be acted upon. There is no appointed moment for this to cease, and I mean for protest somehow to end.

Among the important features of this movement, the courage and determination of peoples' oppressed to be heard and to provide inspiration and witness to this criminal history and neglect. Personally, I hope there is enough endurance and perseverance to extend all the way to November. We must not underestimate the opposition. They will do everything they can to thwart progress including lie, steal, and cheat---because they always have. If too quickly we may return to diffidence and timidity then the cause will once again fail. This is Mitch McConnell's answer to every bit of progress: wait it out, the liberals don't have the votes and more importantly don't have the commitment. He must be wrong this time.

Everything about future depends on it. Justice denied must rage on so that it becomes justice served as our daily faire. I am heartened truly by the sensibilities of sympathy and empathy that have arisen too in support for those so long oppressed and denied. There are White Americans out there protesting and I hope they learn, listen, and show up on November 3rd too. We who have lavished in unearned privilege must act to make real amends, and have the decency to be stalwart in support and actions.

"Rage" is not something that Americans value or appreciate as a virtue. It can be a hard sell even around here. What I mean by that is Rajanaka's teaching about Rudra and Kali and the Sammelana characters whose rage is a key feature of their identity. Rage means a relentless passion for values, for what's -worth- the fight and knowing when it's going to be a fight.

Rage also entails living to fight another day when you won't win the day. Rage means living with yourself when you have failed or disappointed or _are_ disappointed. Rage takes it a step further because you have to live with trauma for the sake of the rage ahead. I have argued elsewhere that the utter outrage we feel about symbols of hate is wholly warranted. That freedom of speech protects the symbols' use privately or on private property is a price we should pay. Does that cause us more rage? Does that cause us more rage? Does it cause harm and trauma? Of course it does. No one is spared, never, expect it. Don't acquiesce. Don't give in. Rage on.

That is one of the things that Rudra, Kali, and company are showing us: that there is no world in which we escape the hurt or the trauma that might well be demon-inflicted. We can manage the demons and must but we can't rid ourselves of them nor of all the damage that they will do. We live with the damage, with mitigate it and try to relieve the pain, but every cause of goodness and every form of freedom has its price. What we gain from censorship we may well lose in freedom. I'm not suggesting that this is in any way a settled matter.

THAT is a feature of the rage too. The rage refers to the complexity, the irresolvable, the ambiguities, the compromise, the impurity and inauspiciousness that we WILL have to live with. Life doesn't have a cure for what's wrong. Life give us the rage to feel and express and address our rage. Rage keeps good company and that means rage should never be left in isolation or separated from other qualities we will also need: like patience, fortitude, sympathy, compassion, and care. Rage on, calmly.

Here is the reference to the piece by Charles Blow: