I was watching the gorgeous and ever graceful Meryl Streep give her speech at the now famous Golden Globes awards of 2017. I watched and listened as her voice faltered with raw emotion as she spoke of a very powerful man who mocked a disabled reporter who dared to disagree with him. Even though I am an Australian of Indo-Burmese descent living in a bubble that is not affected by America’s President Elect, I could not help but absorb her fear. The fear that this world is angry and is taking it out on the defenceless, the very ones who need our support and empathy. I am beginning to sense the Jungle law being silently enforced and I fear deeply for the weak, the disabled and the meek.
My entire life I have seen the stronger prey on the weak, my mother’s family had suffered financially at at hands of a greedy cousin who stole the family’s wealth as my hapless widowed grandmother stood alone in a male dominated cruel world. I too inherited my family penchant for tragedies and in college the mean girls club took it upon themselves to alienate me and systematically ostracized me for daring to be different, sounding different and being opinionated, and these were educated women from respectable families. My father had visited the United States of America in the early 1980’s and he was refused service in an ordinary cafe because he wasn’t white. He had a lot of respect for American’s right up until that time. I still remember him telling me, they (the whites) pretend to be very evolved but deep inside racism is still deeply rooted in their hearts, never mistake their tolerance for acceptance.
My Mother had a different understanding she believed that money transcends colour, race and background. She spoke of how people were very happy to trade their deepest sentiments for the jingle of money in their pockets. She spoke of how a crazy person turned into a respected eccentric, an ugly woman into uniquely featured, an arrogant man into a straight talking individual, blood enemies would bury the hatchet all because they get coloured with money. Have enough money and offer it to people and they will follow you no matter what your colour, background or ideology.
Years later I read a narrative by Ravi Zacharias, Can Man Live Without God, in it he mentioned a paraphrased story about Stalin by Soviet novelist Chingiz Aitmatov that resonated with my mother’s reasoning. The story goes that in order to make a point to his henchman Stalin called for a live chicken which he then grabbed and proceeded to pluck it’s feathers one by one. He then placed the traumatised chicken on the floor and threw a few breadcrumbs at it and astonishingly it hobbled towards it and followed him around. “This is the way to rule the people. Did you see how that chicken followed me for food, even though I had caused it such torture? People are like that chicken. If you inflict inordinate pain on them they will follow you for food the rest of their lives.”
Self-sustenance is mankind’s primary goal along with resisting change. People are scared of those who are different especially those who are bold enough to voice their views because they pose a threat to the status quo. They respond the only way they know how, with mean and cruel taunts in the shelter of like minded people. Change, whether it’s circumstances or opinions, scare people and the only time they are willing to accept it is if it offers a better safer future.
This innate behaviour stems from the primitive need of humans to survive. This pack mentality where there is one leader who forcibly vanquishes any alternative thinking has sustained mankind for centuries. The weak were weeded out allowing only strong bloodlines to survive and this survival instinct to systematically eradicate non compliant humans has been etched in the DNA of humans for far too long to let one speech abate it. Augmenting this is the sheep mentality, the followers who without question rally behind the powerful, the strong in the hope that they will be favoured, once again ensuring their survival.
The comment section for the video featuring Meryl Streep’s speech was inundated with hateful remarks by Trump supporters. They insulted her, attacked her credibility as a decent human, questioned her right to comment about their glorious leader, one even likened her and all those in the entertainment industry to a monkey whose sole purpose was to entertain him, all because she said it was wrong to mock a disabled person. It reminded me of a racist comment by a woman on Facebook who called Michelle Obama a monkey in heels that was responded with a , ‘You just made my day.’ by a woman who held a government job in a predominantly white upper-class neighbourhood.
I shuddered with fear and disgust as I digested the stark reality that haters are now an overwhelming majority and with their leader holding one of the most powerful positions in this world we the minority better be scared. They are consolidating and encouraging each other and they are getting bolder, louder and more dangerous.
We the different, the quirky, the weird, the strange, the odd ones, need to follow suit. We need to gang up but instead of attacking them the way they do us, we need to respond with love, compassion, logic and most of all patience. We need to inspire these primitive minded people into realizing that food and shelter isn’t everything, but honour, integrity, and most of all our humanity is. Let us forge a new way of evolution, the one that involves everyone and no one gets left behind. The future is a sum total of all our actions, let’s make ours count.