On Courage

Sarah (on Olyblog) posts often, and I really like a lot of what she has to say. She also takes a lot of flack by conservatives that hang out on Olyblog, which she seems to be pretty good-natured about.
The NSM has targeted her because of her work with Unity in the Community. They talk a lot about her on their website. She gets regular hate mail and threats because of this. She recently posted about this on her blog, Olympia United Against Hate. Please note: this contains graphic, offensive language. It should be disturbing to anyone, but might be too much so for some people:
Pieces of the puzzle
At one point I decided to change the emphasis of my blog some, in hopes that the "other side" would also mellow out. No such luck. Time for me to do what is in my heart to do.

Read the excellent post over on Orcinus, fits into my post here handily.

So who is this man, this Matthew Ramsey, this Jim Ramm? We are able to piece together some of his journey, but what brought him here:


What brought this man to this point in his life to send this message to someone he does not even know?

Reading about various Neo-Nazis gives me some pieces of the puzzle. I've learned the lay of the land to a certain degree. Reading about and also reading and listening directly to their words has taught me more. Images can be a mind expanding addition to this learning process. The cut of a jaw, the way the features distort in mid scream, the shirt untucked, all tell us something.

But never enough. Why on earth would Mark Martin send me this:

Subject: Re: Fuck off you worthless slag! You commie whore

You say you don't hate, but you DO! You're a filthy jew-sucking, hypocrite!! DIE from AIDS you cunt!

What happened to these two men when they were children? What happened in their lives to bring them to that moment of sending hate emails to people they do not even know?

What brought them to this place of being able to easily dehumanize people, call them muds and sluts and commie scums and jews and mental deficients and you name it they say it.........why do those words trip so easily from their tongue? What brought them to this place of inciting violence, of deception, of experiencing their lives as WAR, with all the rest of us supposedly their subhuman enemies?

What the hell did this to them? Are they still able to make independent choices at all?
posted by Sarah at 5:42 PM

I wrote this to Sarah on Olyblog:

Sarah, you're our hero!


That really sucks. Those sort of words have so much power. They trigger such horrible thoughts that is a sort of a weapon. Sometimes I find myself getting wrapped up in fear. Recently I imagine things like the Nazis targeting my family- beating up my partner, harrassing my daughter, or showing up at my house. Or worse things. What helps me (though maybe its cheesy) is imagining myself as sort of a hero in the story. I think about this thing that Kevin (EGYHOP volunteer) said: that we as Americans need to reinvent heroism. We need to imagine a kind of hero that we can be. So I think of myself as a hero standing up for justice, and love, and the earth. (You can think of whatever your hero would stand up for-its probably stuff you already do.)

And I realize, wow. You don't have to be anyone pure or finished-up to be a hero. You just have to invent in your head an idea of what you think would be heroic and then do it. It really works, because if you think about it- heroism almost always has to do with being courageous, and courage is simply not being stopped by fear. So then your fear becomes like an opportunity to be heroic. Its fun.

Some great things have come out of this little thought process. Like for a while I was feeling scared about the FBI surveillence and their targeting of activists in town. I would imagine being watched, people I know getting arrested, or me getting unjustly arrested, or them murdering people and making it look like an accident, or whatever. I was scared to talk to anyone about this, because I was afraid of the FBI. I felt paralyzed. I had nightmares about a police state.I was basically peeing my pants.

And then I sort of conjured up a hero, and I realized that my hero would wear a t-shirt around town that said: "FBI:Survey This. " With a "one-finger salute" on it. So now I'm going to make that t-shirt. (I just hope they make note of it in my file.)

Most recently I've been e-mailing the NSM, politely but persistantly asking them to add me to their list of "NSM haters". This was something I was and still am afraid to do. So then I think, "Wow. I'd be so scared to do that. Oh, wait--I did. That is so cool." Anyway, that's what I do.

Another thing that inspired me was at the event tonight, a guy in the movie had Nazis throw a brick through his children's bedroom window. He was talking about how horrible it was to realize he couldn't protect his family. He was a doctor- I imagine someone very accustomed to having power. He said, "I realized that I could not protect my family. I had to let my community protect my family." And I think that is a beautiful thought. That is a really beautiful thing to imagine how many people that you don't even know, Sarah, are protecting you right now.



Post a Comment

<< Home

Web whatthistownneeds.blogspot.com