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Just Politics by Anjal Chande

Just Politics
Music, Text, Dance by Anjal Chande
Debuted at 38th Annual Work in the Works
Studio Azul, Berkeley, CA
November 13, 2016

#thisisnotnormal #justpolitics ?! #electionblues #compassion

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“It’s just politics.
Relax, everything is gonna be okay.”

“Humans seem to have evolved to practice denial when confronted publicly with the unacceptable.” Those are words from Masha Gessen, a Russian and American journalist who has written about the unlikely rise of Vladimir Putin.

So you think it’s not really true that he stands on such a horrific platform? So you think we shouldn’t believe that his extreme words will translate into action, his personal abuses will ripple out and influence national behavior? So you think politicians will say anything to get elected, even hate-inciting remarks, and we should know better than to think there is real gravity to any of it?

Gessen also writes, “In the face of the impulse to normalize, it is essential to maintain one’s capacity for shock.”

For the first time in my short life, I have witnessed a public figure mobilize so much support on a blatantly racist, misogynist, xenophobic campaign. Yes, I know injustice has been persisting in our country for centuries, and it’s nothing new to have to rise up and keep fighting that. Yes, I know the ugliness he brought out in people was perhaps always there just never before emboldened in the shadows. Yes, I know his message resonated with the many communities in decline, those who feel left behind. But we know how awry this can get, if only we will be relieved and surprised.

I will leave my jaw dropped as I accept the reality that such a slimy, power-hoarding, power-abusing, villain-like, autocrat-wanna-be will continue to capture the attention of our collective consciousness. That he will wield his more-than-symbolic role in inhumane, insensitive, disregarding ways. … In the face of the impulse to normalize, I will be vigilant when the moment calls for dismay.

I ponder how to reconcile the supposed “overreactions” and “under reactions”. How do I reconcile the privileged voices, the oppressed voices, the woke voices, the ignorance-is-bliss voices?

Through these thoughts, I don’t wanna preach to the choir, I don’t wanna be in an echo chamber. But I also don’t want to dissipate energy in conversations with those who think differently. We are mutually stubborn. And it’s okay, I think. Intolerance is not, but thinking differently is okay, right? I don’t want to change people because I don’t want to be changed. Not by force, frustration, or contempt at least. Not by arrogance guiding my activism.

So. Compassion, then.

For everybody.

I’ve heard that democracy rises up from the dark.

May compassion grow in this dark.

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