Abandoning Outrage - Gay City News | Gay City News
Quantcast

Abandoning Outrage

BY KELLY COGSWELL | I’ve been thinking about outrage lately, and how inadequate it is when it comes to Americans and Trump. Maybe the problem is that outrage requires some level of surprise, and, at this point, surprise seems false, even bizarre, in the face of a president who revealed himself clearly in all his pre-election conspiracy tweets and unsavory deeds: from boasts about grabbing pussy to KKK-filled rallies to asking why we couldn’t just nuke undesirable people or countries.

Yep, he was pretty clear up front about his goal to take us back to the good old days when a man, a white man, could buy a home with a good blue collar salary. And the women and the blacks and browns and gays and dangerous foreigners all knew their third-class place.

The outrage seems especially false when it comes from a Sanders-embracing Democratic Party who share certain goals with Trump — the delusional return of heavy industry, the retreat from international agreements, the rescue of an idealized working class, which is somehow always defined as white and male. They’re still salivating over the mythical Trump voters, no matter that study after study proves poor whites — like poor people of color — actually voted for Clinton. That it was mostly middle and upper class white folks characterized by pathological bigotry that voted for Trump.

PERSPECTIVE: A Dyke Abroad

Instead of trying to rise and resist fueled by outrage — and a good dose of righteousness — why not lie down and concede? Who has the time or energy to think past Trump?

Me, I no longer have the skills. I invested so many years in outrage that there are only ashes left where my brain once was. Outrage, after all, was what mobilized me as a Lesbian Avenger. It was what I’d try to inspire in you with my writing, imagining you’d be forced to act if you felt the same horror and anger I did at queers getting beaten and killed. Or cops gunning down some man raising his wallet in a black hand because they were afraid — and never paying for it. At elections being stolen. War declared for no reason. Prisoners tortured. I’d even offer tips for action. Tell my newly furious readers to call this representative. Write that senator. Think about this law.

I gradually discovered outrage really only works to elicit more outrage. Real action — not so much. Outraged people might send an email, or go to a couple demos, or vent on Facebook, but real change demands a lot more. It is sometimes boring, and always slow, and actually requires a suspension of the anger that got you involved in the first place.

After all, change needs wide support, and to get it, you can’t just tell people something is right — or wrong — you have to persuade them of it. And that requires making arguments. And effective arguments require getting to know someone and finding common ground, at least on that one issue, and accepting that on others you might remain impossibly far apart. Which means you also have to refuse purity, refuse hate, agree to listen more than speak.

Not everyone is cut out for this. Fewer and fewer even try. We’ve replaced analysis with censorship. We have forgotten how to be wrong. We’ve also forgotten how to be right. On Facebook, last week, I noticed that people can’t tell anymore when somebody is trolling them or agreeing with them. Last week on two different pages and two different threads I saw people get blocked in fury because they restated their agreement in different language or wondered what happened if you took the same train of thought a little further.

We’ve all lost our damn minds.

Lately, I’ve started to wonder what would happen here if somebody tried to build a movement in the mold of Macron’s successful En Marche in France. There, they did two important things. They divided campaigns by neighborhood. So whomever you talked to from En Marche probably only lived two or three streets away. Right away you had something in common.

And during training, all the volunteers were told to remain pleasant no matter what. To listen. To never dismiss. Never harangue. Even if somebody was offensive. My girlfriend went out to canvas voters and decided to follow instructions even though she was extremely skeptical. And every night she’d come back after handing out flyers or going door-to-door marveling that in divided, combative, bitterly sectarian France something so simple worked time after time — if not to win a vote, at least to open an honest dialogue among citizens. A dialogue free of hate and outrage that, if sustained, might in time change things much more than an election, though they pulled off the win, too.


Kelly Cogswell is the author of “Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger,” from the University of Minnesota Press.

27 Responses to Abandoning Outrage

  1. essay rush July 10, 2017 at 5:05 am

    Outrage lately is the topic that no one discuss and people forget it with the passage of time.I think we need to tell this kind of things to our children so they understand and aware from it.

    Reply
  2. rankbuilders September 3, 2017 at 10:41 am

    This is actually the kind of information I have been trying to find. Thank you for writing this information.
    principal balance

    Reply
  3. rankbuilders September 7, 2017 at 3:47 am

    I gotta favorite this website it seems very helpful .
    Your Future Career Starts Here | Paralegal Class

    Reply
  4. New India Assurance October 3, 2017 at 7:46 am

    great stuff in the article thanks for sharing

    Reply
  5. تنظيف خزانات بالطائف October 24, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    great stuff in the article thanks for sharing

    Reply
  6. تنظيف خزانات بالطائف October 24, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    This blog is so nice to me. taif cleaning

    Reply
  7. QmmMovers December 12, 2017 at 5:04 am

    Enter text right here!This article gives the light in which we can observe the reality. This is very nice one and gives in depth information. Thanks for this nice article.
    click here

    Reply
  8. QmmMovers December 13, 2017 at 6:38 am

    Excellent .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your blog and take the feeds also…I’m happy to find so many useful info here in the post, we need work out more techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing.
    astra centre

    Reply
  9. QmmMovers December 13, 2017 at 6:38 am

    This is very educational content and written well for a change. It's nice to see that some people still understand how to write a quality post.!
    best buy mobile phones

    Reply
  10. QmmMovers December 13, 2017 at 6:39 am

    Excellent .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your blog and take the feeds also…I’m happy to find so many useful info here in the post, we need work out more techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing.
    astra centre

    Reply
  11. QmmMovers December 24, 2017 at 1:13 am

    Excellent .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your blog and take the feeds also…I’m happy to find so many useful info here in the post, we need work out more techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing.
    according to a news article

    Reply
  12. QmmMovers December 24, 2017 at 1:13 am

    Excellent .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your blog and take the feeds also…I’m happy to find so many useful info here in the post, we need work out more techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing.
    according to a news article

    Reply
  13. HARIS December 28, 2017 at 5:22 am

    Good way of telling, good post to take facts regarding my presentation subject matter, Civil Engineering AutoCad Helpwhich i am going to deliver in my college

    Reply
  14. HARIS January 9, 2018 at 1:57 am

    This is really a great stuff for sharing. Keep it up . asp.net assignment help onlineThanks for sharing.

    Reply
  15. olx55 January 14, 2018 at 4:19 am

    useful information on topics that plenty are interested on for this wonderful post.Admiring the time and effort you put into your b!..
    Digital Marketing Agency

    Reply
  16. olx55 January 14, 2018 at 4:19 am

    useful information on topics that plenty are interested on for this wonderful post.Admiring the time and effort you put into your b!..
    Digital Marketing Agency

    Reply
  17. tempmail01 January 24, 2018 at 1:55 am

    I'm glad I found this web site, I couldn't find any knowledge on this matter prior to.Also operate a site and if you are ever interested in doing some visitor writing for me if possible feel free to let me know, i am always look for people to check out my web site.
    Bürokommunikation

    Reply
  18. Jasa SEO February 4, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    Excellent .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your blog and take the feeds also

    Reply
  19. jamsmalik March 5, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Very good written article. It will be supportive to anyone who utilizes it, including me. Keep doing what you are doing – can’t wait to read more posts.
    see

    Reply
  20. jamsmalik March 22, 2018 at 7:59 am

    Great article with excellent idea!Thank you for such a valuable article. I really appreciate for this great information..
    flipadom

    Reply
  21. jamsmalik March 23, 2018 at 8:55 am

    Thanks for sharing this quality information with us. I really enjoyed reading. Will surely going to share this URL with my friends.
    medical spa edmonton

    Reply
  22. bond550 April 12, 2018 at 1:00 am

    Excellent information on your blog, thank you for taking the time to share with us. Amazing insight you have on this, it's nice to find a website that details so much information about different artists.
    a course in miracles

    Reply
  23. bond550 April 12, 2018 at 1:00 am

    I love the way you write and share your niche! Very interesting and different! Keep it coming!
    a course in miracles

    Reply
  24. bond550 April 18, 2018 at 6:52 am

    Excellent information on your blog, thank you for taking the time to share with us. Amazing insight you have on this, it's nice to find a website that details so much information about different artists.
    a course in miracles

    Reply
  25. bond550 April 18, 2018 at 6:52 am

    Excellent information on your blog, thank you for taking the time to share with us. Amazing insight you have on this, it's nice to find a website that details so much information about different artists.
    a course in miracles

    Reply
  26. syed danish July 12, 2018 at 4:22 am

    Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for your site. You have some really great posts and I feel I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d absolutely love to write some material for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please send me an email if interested. Thank you! WebClimb

    Reply
  27. syed danish July 12, 2018 at 4:22 am

    Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for your site. You have some really great posts and I feel I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d absolutely love to write some material for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please send me an email if interested. Thank you! WebClimb

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


six − two =