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Fear and the Election: [A Green Perspective: USA]

This is a very interesting take on the recent southern Illinois election by Green Party Congressional Candidate, Randy Auxier. For context, many in the democrat party, and other non-republicans saw his candidacy as threat to removing the rebublican incumbent, Mike Bost. Thus they pressured and guilted people towards voting for the democrat. However, Bost won anyway, and even if all of Randy's votes went to the democrat, he still would have lost by over 10K votes. Short lesson: Fear was unfounded.

From Randy Auxier: Post-mid-term election 2018: 

"Thanks to everyone who worked on this campaign, especially Sabrina Hardenbergh, Josh Hellmann, and Rich Whitney. And thanks to everyone in the Green chapters and evreryone who donated. The faith of the mustard seed. May it grow into a delicious bush and we'll have greens with mustard for our rewards in time. Our result was not what we hoped and not even what we needed, but we did our best and we did well, and we did what we thought was right. We stayed true to ourselves and our values and fought the good fight. I will hold my head high and I hope all of you who voted Green and served the ideal ends will do the same.

What I have learned, to take forward and for what it is worth: (1) fear is a powerful thing; (2) the medium is not the message, but the noise is; (3) the same 100 activists who exhaust themselves in service of every cause in my area are the least unified in politics, strategically and tactically, while the laziest Republicans and Democrats have no difficulty getting on the same page; (4) people don't vote their values (hearts) or their heads, or even their pocketbooks, they vote their solar plexus, the home of the fear chakra.

Since we Greens will never use fear as a motivational tactic or strategy, and since we cannot rescue even our closest friends from acting on their fears, and since hope seems ineffective in countering fear, we have to work to make the world less frightening, so as to create a space for people to find their hope again. That is easier said than done. It begins by not being afraid, personally and individually, and setting the example of calm, reasonable discourse, and dedicated action.

For myself, I will form a coalition to bring a commuter train system to this region. Anyone who wants to join that effort, contact me."

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  • Thanks for this -

  • Dr. Randy Auxier responds to this blog: 

    Thanks Michael. Yes, it has been a bit of a shock to learn how many of my friends are so easily dominated by their fears. It isn't exactly about courage or cowardice, it's more complicated than that. I think that many of these people who behaved so badly might have been courageous if the threat were like an immediate home invasion, or a battlefield. This is a looming ominosity, a vexation about what might happen, not concrete enough to be fear of an object, but not generalized enough to be Angst in Heidegger's sense.
     
    And yet, there is a quality of courage that refuses to be vexed by mere possibilities while retaining a robust sense of how the actual points to a future actuality. But that future actuality isn't wholly settled and can be affected by courses of action taken and chosen in the present. It is that last part, present action, that has to be held inviolate from mere possibility (much of the frantic scurrying I saw among the most frightened of my "friends" failed at this level), but it must allow real probability to inform its sense of what is genuinely possible.
     
    So, if I erred [during my political campaign], it was in thinking that I really could win. It looks like, now, that even had I succeeded in convincing my frightened friends to have a little optimism, it wouldn't have mattered unless we could, together, cut into the total [numbers] of the Republican [side]. But that total was secured by the fear peddled by Trump and the caravan he probably financed to frighten my uneducated neighbors into voting for someone they don't really like or trust.
     
    Winning an election in this climate of fear means finding a way to counter-act the most visceral fears stirred by these shameless ones. They know that racism (anti-brown as well as anti-black) is what gets these people off the couch and to the polls. I have no way of countering that except to not be like that and not to allow my personality to be distorted by those who fear my lack of fear (and hence attack). And of course, it isn't true that I'm not in fear at all, but it is true, I think, that it doesn't have the better of me."
     
    https://docs.google.com/uc?export=download&id=1-rAZ48FILWD0hnIuvxLIK4FzS7OeMhct&revid=0B27uEgBSOjFaalc4dHFuY1VGT0txNFkrSUlMSG9ENTVSL09BPQ" />

    Randall Auxier
    Professor of Philosophy and Communication Studies
    Southern Illinois University
    Carbondale, IL 62901
  • I really wanted Bost to be voted out. I was excited when I saw Randy on the ballet as his replacement and voted for him. I voted early and only after did I read posts from other colleagues saying the only way to vote was blue all the way. Telling folks to not vote with their heart and values but only against what they feared....

     

  • I really appreciate Randy's (Green political) view here... and that he has been supportive of my work for a few years as well. He really drills down to the core of what he learned about our times-- "they vote with their solar plexus, the home of the fear chakra"-- and, sure, truths are to be told in all that Randy... and, I think we have to go beyond "not being afraid" as that's a discourse from long-gone days... we need a new fear education based on a fearlessness paradigm--and, one with a whole lot more creativity to boot!. Best Randy and your followers on your next projects... 

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