As the attack on our institutions intensifies, I’m finding it necessary to write an essay about Things. The last time our Republic was in danger, I posted essays in a special section on my site. Right now, my site is split between the pages you can see, and the new pages on my server. Because of that, I’m posting essays here until I get my new site up. I’ll move them then; but in the meantime, I can’t be silent.
I originally wrote this on June 28. I normally leave a day between writing and posting, as a kind of “cooling off” period, to get some distance from the words and look at them a bit more objectively. In this case, router problems, and then other obligations, kept me from posting until today.
June 28, 2018
After the last few days, it’s become apparent that we are in the fight of our lives.
We didn’t choose this. We don’t want to be. But we have been for some time, whether we admitted it or not, and it’s high time we admitted it, and started to fight back.
The good news is that we vastly outnumber our opponents.
There are way more people of good heart, who believe that everyone is, indeed, created equal. That we are entitled, by the social contract that binds us together, to things like a working wage, support in illness and old age, freedom, education, the right to marry the person we love, and so much more.
That we are entitled to these things regardless of our skin color, country of origin, circumstances of birth, ableness, health, weight, gender, religion or lack thereof, or anything else that can be named.
That infants and children should never, ever, be separated from their families and incarcerated simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
That seeking asylum is not a crime, and immigrants help our economy and make us stronger.
That the only way to lose the things we are entitled to is to break the social contract by intentionally harming another living, breathing human being.
That owning these entitlements does not deprive anyone else of them.
That it is not, in fact, a zero-sum game.
The bad news is that there is a sizable number of people who seem to be laboring under the belief that it is zero-sum. That anyone else claiming the things they are entitled to is somehow depriving them. They fear and hate the “other,” and want nothing more than for the “other” to be forever subservient, at their beck and call. And if they will not, then the “other” must cease to exist.
These people have, at this point, taken over all three branches of government. They are imposing their twisted view on all of the rest of us.
To paraphrase a friend of mine (Gwen Smith) the monsters are no longer afraid of showing themselves for exactly what they are.
The bad news is that, if we don’t want to be part of their world, forever subservient and happy to take any abuse they want to dish out, we will have to fight.
Fight as if our lives depended on it, because they do.
In order to fight, we will all have to make sacrifices; especially people with privilege. Yes, I mean white cis straight people, men in particular. We have to give up the comfortable view of our own future, if we had one, and realize that we aren’t in it for ourselves any more. If we cannot unite, put aside our petty squabbles, our talk of purity, our own prejudices, and work as a cohesive whole, we will not win this.
We have to give our time, to make phone calls we don’t really want to make, and write letters we’d rather not write. We have to take time to march, and protest, and get in people’s faces. We have to risk arrest to do this.
We might have to give up space in our homes, for housing those who are most at risk, sheltering those who are traveling to march, or who need medical care not available where they live. (Yes, I am talking about women who need abortions.) We have to be willing to be a meeting place, even if that entails some risk.
We have to give some of the money we wanted for extras to make life more pleasant, to organizations or people that will make continued life possible for others.
We might have to give up time and space we would ordinarily use for business or pleasure to write political essays. Even if we feel that no one is really interested in what we have to say.
But the good news is that if we do, if we watch out for each other, and have each other’s backs. If we stop worrying about what terms should be used, and whether someone is pure enough, and if someone is fighting the way we would fight, then we can.
Because united we outnumber them more than 2 to 1.
Don’t let them divide us.
Don’t let us divide us.
United we stand, and we will fight, and we will win justice and equality for all.