Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Resistance is Proper

The pressure to be polite, to accept, to "agree to disagree", is overwhelming right now. Accept what's happening. Shrug. Don't make anyone uncomfortable.

In the South, we have a saying for when something is really, really annoying: It burns my ass. And that's how I feel right now. But I'm having a lot of trouble putting the depth of my feelings into words. Yes, it burns my ass. But I have so much more to say to try to help others understand.

So I'm reading news sites voraciously; all the time I spent watching TV news is now spent reading a diversity of news sites. Not just headlines: I have a personal commitment to read entire articles now, the way I used to, before the Internet. And that reading has often been a solace in the madness descending on my country, and the world.

One of my favorite authors is Barbara Kingsolver. She's wrote an essay back in November, Trump changed everything. Now everything counts, and it's amazing. You should read it all. But if you read nothing else, just read this:

Our civic momentum is to trust the famous checks and balances and resist any notion of a new era that will require a new kind of response. Anti-Trump demonstrations have already brought out a parental tone in the media, and Michael Moore is still being labeled a demagogue. Many Democrats look askance at Keith Ellison, the sudden shooting star of the party’s leadership, as too different, too progressive and feisty. Even if we agree with these people in spirit, our herd instinct recoils from extreme tactics and unconventional leaders on the grounds that they’ll never muster any real support.

That instinct is officially obsolete.

Wariness of extremism doesn’t seem to trouble anyone young enough to claim Lady Gaga as a folk hero. I’m mostly addressing my generation, the baby boomers. We may have cut our teeth on disrespect for the Man, but now we’ve counted on majority rule for so long we think it’s the air we breathe. In human decency we trust, so our duty is to go quietly when our team loses. It feels wrong to speak ill of the president. We’re not like the bigoted, vulgar bad sports who slandered Obama and spread birther conspiracies, oh, wait. Now we’re to honor a president who made a career of debasing the presidency?

We’re in new historical territory. A majority of American voters just cast our vote for a candidate who won’t take office. A supreme court seat meant to be filled by our elected president was denied us. Congressional districts are now gerrymandered so most of us are represented by the party we voted against. The FBI and Russia meddled with our election. Our president-elect has no tolerance for disagreement, and a stunningly effective propaganda apparatus. Now we get to send this outfit every dime of our taxes and watch it cement its power. It’s not going to slink away peacefully in the next election.

It may feel rude, unprofessional and risky to break the habit of respecting our government; we never wanted to be enemies of the state. But when that animosity mounts against us, everything we do becomes political: speaking up or not speaking up. Either one will have difficult consequences. That’s the choice we get...

With due respect for the colored ribbons we’ve worn for various solidarities, our next step is to wear something on our sleeve that takes actual courage: our hearts.

Right on, Ms. Kingsolver. Resistance is proper. This matters.


Also see:

No comments:

Post a Comment