Politics: When Hate is Normal

First posted Jun 17, 2016

 

Political ideologues know what’s going on inside of angry men like Dan White, and they know how to use it.

 

A homophobic Meme showing Donald Trump saying, Get in Faggot, We're Making America Great Again
Homophobic Meme found on Twitter

Dan White grew up a world of normalized homophobia.

Queers were criminals in the eyes of the law, abominations to the Judeo-Christian God, and described as clinically deviant by psychiatry.

White’s political leaders and ministers told him his honor as a man was under attack; they said perverts like Harvey Milk were a threat to everything decent God-fearing patriots like Dan White revered.

Dan White was a straight man.

Dan White was a Viet Nam Vet.

Dan White was a devout Catholic.

Religious and political leaders on the right raged that fags like Harvey Milk and liberals like George Moscone deserved death.

If Dan White was a patriot, he was misguided.

Political leaders who use hate speech to ‘fire up’ their base know that some of those people will act on what they hear.

I assume they want it.

meme of Ted Cruz saying there is no room for athiests and gays in America in a speech at Liberty University.
The cynical use of hate speech to win votes.

Dan White had every reason to think he’d be seen as a hero when he gunned
down Harvey Milk and George Moscone in 1978.

Herb Cain, a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, wrote after the trial about the police Department’s support for White, and their “dislike of homosexuals.”

As a former police officer, White must have known he could use some form of the ‘Gay Panic’ defense and get a reduced sentence.

 Historically, in US courts, use of the gay panic defense has not typically resulted in the acquittal of the defendant; instead, the defendant was usually found guilty, but on lesser charges, or judges and juries may have cited homosexual solicitation as a mitigating factor, resulting in reduced culpability and sentences. Wikipedia

That’s what happened.

Whites defense attorney’s argued diminished mental capacity.

On May 21, 1979, a jury found Dan White guilty of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced him to five years in prison; he was paroled in 1984.

“A middle-class jury, not a bunch of kooks by any stretch, had decided one can kill, twice, complete with coup de grace, and get away with it.” Herb Caen, People Magazine, 1985

Dan White killed himself in 1985.

“Nobody knows what’s going on inside of me,” Dan White once said, but he
was wrong.

Political ideologues know what’s going on inside of angry men like Dan White, and they know how to use it.

A meme that depicts a permit to hunt democrata and liberals
Liberal Hunting Permit found on a right wing website in 2016

(c) Rob Goldstein 2015-2016

First posted Jun 17, 2016 as Turn or Burn, When Hate Becomes Normal

 

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#Poetry: Gestures

Crazy Mothers, crazy fathers, everyone saving each other,
hysterical calls to cousins who call uncles who call brothers;
from San Francisco to Michigan, everyone knows you’re not
doing well.

I don’t know what Michigan looks like.

I imagine a perfect square.

There are thousands of squares in Michigan called
lawns.

There is a lake: its waters flow from corner to corner.

(c) Rob Goldstein November 08, 1984 All Rights Reserved (Revised 08/26/2019)

To my friends in Michigan. I’ve have seen Michigan. It’s beautiful.

#Poetry: As Was Is

As was

is,

her dress

those ruffles

and torn–

As was

is,

her touch

we cry

such wet

such searing

tears–

As was

is,

she hides

those

Track marks

in bed–

As was

is,

her body,

those bones

dried blood–

As was

is,

her smile

her love

these memories

my questions

and grief–

As was

is.

Multicolored Abstract Digital Painting
The Looking Glass

Image and Poem by Rob Goldstein (c) 2016 – 2017-2019

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DID: The ACE Study

A new and profoundly important paradigm for understanding overwhelming emotional pain has emerged over the last few years, with the potential to change the way we conceptualize human suffering across the whole spectrum of mental health difficulties. It is an evidence-based synthesis of findings from trauma studies, attachment theory and neuroscience, which offers new hope for recovery. It also presents a powerful challenge to the biomedical model of psychiatry in that it is based on scientific evidence that substantiates and attests to what many individuals with first-hand experience of mental health problems have always known — that the bad things that happen to you can drive you mad.

A New Paradigm for Understanding Severe Mental Distress

The CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study revolutionizes the way we think about the body and mind.

The ACE Study settles the question of whether we are shaped by genetics or the environment: we are shaped by both.  Nature Versus Nurture: Where We Are in 2017

The ACE study proves that child abuse causes enduring neurological damage that can affect a person’s health and quality of life throughout the lifespan.

The body of a frightened child floods with hormones and prepares to fight, run, or die.

In less than an instant, the amygdala sends an alarm to the hippocampus, which tells the adrenal glands to release adrenaline.

Adrenaline increases heart rate and breathing, oxygen goes to the muscles and brain, which increases hearing and sharpens eyesight.

Adrenaline wears off and cortisol takes over; cortisol is a longer acting stress hormone designed keep the body alert.

Illustration from Harvard Medical School
Understanding The Stress Response, Harvard Medical School

If a child fears for his life, he may freeze and go numb.

For a prey animal in the wild, numbing is a blessing.

For abuse survivors, it means gaps in memory

During the fight, flight or freeze response the brain inhibits the prefrontal cortex.

The prefrontal cortex is responsible for retrieving memories. 

The memory is there but the brain can’t retrieve it.

A chronically abused child lives in fear which damages the structure and
functioning of a the brain. Harvard University

The toll of chronic fear on physical health includes:

  • Immune system dysfunction
  • Endocrine system dysfunction
  • Autonomic nervous system alterations
  • Sleep/wake cycle disruption
  • Eating disorders

The toll of chronic fear on emotional health includes

The Pyramid of effects of abuse on the lifecycle
Abuse Affects the Life-cycle

It takes nine months for the fetus to become a baby that can survive beyond
the womb.

Between birth and the age of two, we have no words; for the first ten years of our  lives, we are helplessly dependent on our parents and communities for our physical and psychological well being.

Child abuse is a betrayal of unconditional trust.

You don’t just ‘get over it’.

People with dissociative disorders report the highest occurrence of abuse and childhood neglect among all psychiatric disorders. This suggests dissociation is the ultimate reaction to significant trauma. Links between Trauma, PTSD, and Dissociative Disorders

A 2018 review found changes in the structure of the brain in people with DID. These changes are complex and  include decreased limbic activity, increased frontal lobe activity, and changes in communication between these two regions.

An illustration depicting a little boy glaring at his drunken mother, passed out on the floor
Child Abuse Lasts a Lifetime

DID is something done to you, like the rapes and daily beatings.

One must accept what happened and make peace with it.

Acceptance means seeing what might have been and grieving the loss.

Acceptance means letting go of the idea that I brought it on myself, that I am shameful and not good enough, and it means not letting the dismissive arrogance I sometimes encounter gnaw at my soul.

Acceptance means holding abusers accountable for the messes they make.

Acceptance means believing the abuse will end.

I am not completely there.

How do I accept the evil of child abuse when the abuse never ends?

For now, broken but better is the best I can do.

DID: When Everything is a Trigger

Get Your ACE Score

(C)Rob Goldstein 2019

‘Child Abuse Lasts Forever” (C) Rob Goldstein 2019

All other graphics were found online and are used here for educational purposes.