I suppose we could smugly sit back on our couches and say "I told you so." Some of us who voted scratch our heads at how the country could have let this happen, while others of us saw this under-welling of fascism forming back in the late 80s and early 90s, and were shouted down. After all, the Nazis, the White Supremacists, they were all tiny minorities who could never come to power...
and yet here we are, crossing over the threshold into ugly, with a president who has all but crowned himself while one side of congress sits back so as not to anger their "base" and the other side tries to reach a compromise, some midpoint between mediocrity and utter madness, when they should be pushing for fairness and excellence.
Over the past decades, the left has compromised their way into the right, while the right shifts ever rightwards. It's a tug of war, and the only way to stay in the midpoint is to have balance, and if one side is tugging with all their might, the other side has to tug as hard.
This week's revelations have a lot of liberals who believe in "standing in the gap" or reaching across to bring together both sides, finally realizing that in order to stand in the gap you must shift your position, not just your point of view, toward the other side. Believe me, the right knows this, which is why they don't shift.
I've recently cut most of my social media ties, and no longer use my Facebook page to shout rage into the echo chamber. It's like lying in bed at home with the covers over my head screaming at the top of my lungs "there are monsters out there". Everyone in the sound of my voice has already heard it. I know, because they're screaming, too.
What all that cowering and screaming does is create an air of helplessness. Do you think everyone in post WWI Germany thought that Hitler would rise to power? or wanted him to? Today I read an article in The Root titled White People are Cowards. There is, of course, an element of truth in this. It's also divisive. Perhaps it's meant as a goad, to shame the silent white into speaking up, speaking out, or taking action. As a majority, you'd think that whites would feel empowered. My experience is that many white liberals do not, that we are, as a whole, too worried, too soft, too considerate. As a group, liberals are afraid to call out evil, because while "actions" are evil, "people" are not.
I am here to say that if you revel in evil acts, you are evil. If you believe that stealing kids is OK because their parents had the audacity to come to our border and request asylum, something that they are allowed under international law, then you are evil. If you believe that Black people are less human, less intelligent, less capable, less divine than white people, you are evil. If you believe that Jews are secretly pulling the strings of the world economy and need to be stopped, you're paranoid AND evil.
For the last 30 years I've been worried, and I've started quoting more and more often from Malcolm X's speech, The Ballot or the Bullet. Now I understand that a lot of people would distance themselves from Malcolm X in this period because of his beliefs surrounding the history of mankind and the origin of white people in particular, but I've always found that understandable (if not excusable) as the product of his social environment. What IS important in The Ballot or the Bullet is the idea that
it's time now for you and me to become more politically mature and realize what the ballot is for; what we're supposed to get when we cast a ballot; and that if we don't cast a ballot, it's going to end up in a situation where we're going to have to cast a bullet. It's either a ballot or a bullet. [Malcolm X, The Ballot or the Bullet, 1964]The right is already talking about taking up arms against the left. We've seen it in the NRA responses to school shootings.
We need to stop pretending/hoping/praying that this is a mere difference in political opinion. We need to stop talking about it, and start actively resisting the oppression and fascism in this nation. We need to vote, we need to march, and we need to wake up and face the ugly truth that there are factions in this nation that would gleefully make it another Nazi Germany, that we have allowed the atrocities to become normalized, and that we've granted evil the reigns of power in our country.
It's time to take to the streets and to the ballot box. It's time to march, to show solidarity, to gain power and hope in the numbers of those who earnestly desire a nation of fairness and freedom. The ballot is always preferable to the bullet, but the shots have already been fired from the right, literally, in our churches and our schools, sanctioned by the gun lobby while politicians offer nothing but "thoughts and prayers".
The left has to offer more than our thoughts and prayers. We need to offer aid, resistance, strength, and hope. All that comes from action. If the talk on social media doesn't promote action, than what are we doing except wallowing in helplessness and pain? That emotional overload, that feeling of being totally overwhelmed and helpless in the face of this madness, is exactly what the right counts on to keep us in line, helpless, as our nation erupts into evil.
One thing you can do, one little start, is to take a couple hours out of your day on June 30 to take part in the march Families Belong Together. There are marches all over the country, in cities and towns, and if you click the link or the image above, you can go to the website and search out a local march or rally.