I need less hate in the New Year.
I did not vote for Donald Trump, so, as you can imagine, 2016 hasn’t exactly been my favorite year ever.
The government is now run by people who don’t even come close to sharing my values, and the voting results proved to me, empirically, that I am surrounded by people who I do not understand.
I personally can’t comprehend WHY someone would vote for Trump.
But that doesn’t mean I should demonize those people.
Well, I’m fine demonizing the super-racist Nazi guys. (**** those guys.) But the rest of the normal electorate… I can’t accept the idea that my friends and family who decided to vote for Trump are some kind of irredeemable villains. I can’t believe that. I won’t believe that. I know these people.
But, man, I can’t understand them and, as winter approaches, I’ve been feeling lost and untethered. After this vicious election cycle (and its aftermath), I don’t have the strength to spend another year being told that I need to hate half of the country.
The core idea is this — during the election year, a lot of really hateful people got energized. (I think even many Trump supporters would agree with this.)
However, Jones doesn’t accept that those hateful people are the majority. There are millions of people with hearts full of love and who value empathy and inclusion, but the problem is… they don’t know what to do. They’re not organized.
The Love Army is all about doing that.
It’s not a Democratic Party thing, which is great, because I can’t even stomach to look at most Democratic leaders after the election. (Except for Joe Biden, who I will never stop wanting to buy a beer.) It’s just an “organizing to do good work” thing.
Van Jones wants the Love Army to “stand-up for the most vulnerable people” (again, WHO can argue with that?).
According to Jones, “We're going to do national teach-ins starting very soon — once a week, every week, standing up for the most vulnerable people: Muslims, the DREAMers, Jewish people, women, trans people, black protestors. And once a week, give the whole country a chance to show a whole lotta love — both to demonstrate and deepen a solidarity with those groups, all under one hashtag… #LoveArmy.”
Are people going to politicize #LoveArmy? Sure. Are there people already criticizing the idea? Of course there are — on both sides of the aisle. (A recent Jezebel article titled “Love Is Not the Answer” argues that “frankly there isn’t much to the idea that complex issues can be solved with a kumbaya circle.”)
And here’s the thing — I don’t know if it will work. I don’t know if Van Jones will just turn this into an angry political platform. I don’t know if a “Love Army” can actually accomplish anything. I don’t actually care at this point.
BUT… it’s the best idea I’ve heard so far.
If there’s a better idea out there, please let me know, because I feel like a friggin’ sap saying that I’m all on-board for a “love army.”
But, more than anything, I just know that I can’t spend the entirety of 2017 being ANGRY.
I did that for 2016 and it was awful. I feel awful.
I spent a whole year calling one half of our nation stupid, preaching to the choir, seething at soundbites, and being indignant that everyone in the world didn’t agree with me.
It accomplished nothing.
I am not a big believer in political action any more.
But, if you’re telling me that the Love Army is open to anyone, that it’s about standing up for the little guy, and that it’s about looking into the heart of the malignant nastiness of our country right now and trying to offset that by trying to bring more empathy and compassion into the world… I can do that.
That sounds goddamn refreshing in comparison to how I’ve spent 2016. I really wouldn’t mind surrounding myself in love in 2017.
Maybe it’s all a sham. Maybe the Love Army will turn out to be some big grassroots liberal wank. Who knows?
What I do know is that I spent 2016 seeing what hate can accomplish and I didn’t like the results.
I need a change in 2017. I need to rebuild my faith in humanity in 2017. And, if a “Love Army” can help me do that, I can’t imagine why I wouldn’t enlist.
If you want to learn more about The Love Army (this isn’t an endorsement… I really hope it doesn’t suck), you can check it out at TheDreamCorps.org.