Thoughts: Fighting For The Cause

Comment to a friend the other day:

“Anger has it’s place for healing but isn’t really productive when it comes to positive change”.

Another friends comment to me yesterday:

“I think anger has it’s place for change too. I mean you really want someone with a fighting archetype on the front lines of your cause.”

It really made me reevaluate my perspective. I came to the conclusion (subject to change) that anger fuels action. Action is obviously a necessary component to fuel change so maybe anger isn’t counterproductive after all.

My take on how to effectively create the reality of open records has been one of mediation and it’s no secret that this is not at all a popular choice with many of my fellow open records advocates.

Where did I come up with my perspective? Why do I even bother engaging in conversation with those who oppose open records instead of fighting for my rights and just telling them to piss off (WHICH by the way I HAVE done, I just try not to)? Well take MLK or Mother Theresa for example. They both had a powerful impact on society and implemented HUGE change. It is important to note that neither would take part in anything that remotely suggested anger, violence, war etc… In other words they would take part in a march for peace but would not take part in a protest against violence. Make sense? Semantics? Maybe. OR is it simple physics? When you push against something you experience resistance. God knows we experience enough resistance when it comes to open records without creating more.

Anyway, this has been my problem with the concept of “fighting” for open records. Am I pissed off that they are sealed? Absolutely! Does it drive me batty trying to come up with a fair amount of patience when talking peaceably with self-righteous closed records supporters who seem to be around every corner? Absolutely! But it has been my experience that the chances of helping someone see the light are far greater when I don’t piss them off. Piss them off and they stop listening.

That being said I must also convey that due to my friends comment I have changed my perspective to a certain degree because I can’t honestly say I am not incredibly glad to have “angry archetypes” on the front lines fighting for my rights. I think in many cases they have been extremely successful. In all fairness though to the “mediator archetype” I can say that too has seen it’s share of successes.

Maybe at the end of the day there is room for both types? Maybe what truly supports our success is mutual respect for the idea that both are needed. Both have their place. When one is ineffective the other steps in, creating an environment of teamwork. Because after all we ARE on the same team. We shouldn’t forget that.

Oh, and totally unrelated to this post: Regarding the open records parable I wrote (below). I thought it was endearing AND hilarious that you guys thought my car was actually stolen! LOL I love you all.

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8 Comments

Filed under Open Records

8 responses to “Thoughts: Fighting For The Cause

  1. When I first started therapy (with my WONDERFUL therapist), I wouldn’t even ADMIT that I was angry. I couldn’t say the words. She eventually said, “WHERE IS YOUR ANGER?” I looked at her like she was insane.

    The house I grew up in wasn’t violent. But my parents were very passionate. Any disagreement turned to yelling which freaked my sensitive spirit OUT. FREAKED IT OUT. So I associated anger with only negative feelings for a really long time.

    It took my therapist explaining that anger is not only okay but, if you deal with it properly, it can be used for really good things. Learning to use your anger in appropriate manners, of course, isn’t exactly easy. It’s hard to keep your anger directed in a positive direction and in check in certain situations.

    But since I’ve been working on properly channeling my anger, I’ve made a lot more process than when I completely ignored its existence.

    Anger can be good. Use it wisely!

  2. “Anger can be good. Use it wisely!”

    Exactly.

  3. suz

    Good post Mia. I think about this alot. I agree that there is much to be angry about in adoption, much to be supremely, royally pissed off about. I never discount someones anger. However, where I struggle with it (and I think you were saying something similar) is in using it to make change.

    As a communications professional, I daily coach people how to say this or that, what word to use or not, etc. I cannot help but think that supremely, royally, pissed off attacking people are likely to be written off by the people who can make change, that is, they will assume we are total nut jobs.

    I struggle with balancing diplomacy and tact with sheer rage. If you are approached by a rabid dog, foaming at the mouth, do you reach out and touch it and pet it or do you run the other way?

    I have been of the belief, perhaps erroneous, that we can use our passion adn anger to fuel us, to move us forward to sustain us, but we must control it in discussions so that we are not immediately discounted.

    When first mothers come out full force angry and “bitter” we are easily labelled as unstable and we deserved to lose our children. When adoptees come out as angry, they are labelled as genetically defective from those pathetic first mothers. Its all crap of course, but I still think walk a very thin line and must use our anger effectively.

  4. “I struggle with balancing diplomacy and tact with sheer rage.”

    Me too Suz. It’s not easy is it? But yea, using anger effectively must be the key.

  5. “at the end of the day there is room for both types”

    As an aparent, it isn’t mine to say, though as you know we have experienced just a bit of it on our daughter’s behalf.

    I can say that in general I think you are right that there is room for many ways of doing and many ways of being, both in the same movement (or the same fight) AND in the same person at different times.

    Cornel West gives the example, as you have, of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. He says that seeing Martin Luther King, Jr as “wholly peaceful” or “without anger” misses “the rest of that speech” (“I have a dream”) but there is a man who was heard, and because he was heard, was powerful — and feared most by people who benefited from the oppression he fought.

    I think everyone needs to be *able* to feel anger, even rage, the energy that burns in her core for change — but I also think that certain people are filled with sensitivity and insight, and sometimes those gentler (they needn’t be quieter though they might be at greater risk for being silenced) voices can shake everybody.

    (I’ll add, too, the maybe problematically psychologizing remark someone close to me once made, which is that someone expressing extreme sadness needs to learn how to feel and show anger, while someone expressing rage needs to learn to grieve, though I’m not sure where to go with that).

  6. Ron Morgan

    The struggle for adoptee rights is at its heart a political struggle, and the movement has and will continue to evolve depending on its skill at effecting change in the political system. Anger is a powerful political tool, but only if it is focused. Standing outside your state senators office spewing bile will not only lose you a potential supporter, but earn you the jacket of a nut job. However, using your anger against a legislator who opposes open records by campaigning for their challenger is a good use of anger.
    Politics is polarizing, separating the wheat from the chaff. Anger is polarizing, either something angers you and others or it doesn’t. Again, polarity is good if its effectively used.

  7. Amyadoptee

    I like that idea of yours Ron. Using my anger to help campaign for the challenger of the legislator who is against adoptee rights. I really like that. I think that I will get my uncle on that one in Indiana.

  8. You guys have given me a lot to think about. Abebech now I want to read what Cornel West has to say. Any suggestions?

    Ron I can agree with that; either something angers you or it doesn’t. I absolutely am angered by closed records. I still stand by my preferred method of channeling that anger but I can see how using the fire anger creates can turn out to be a really positive thing. I guess what I’ve learned is that it’s not as black and white as I thought. Thank you for your input.

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