Sunday, November 20, 2016

Note to Self: Resistance Principles as of Nov 22

1. Resist “Wait and See.” This is my strongest urge to confront. “Maybe it won’t be so bad,” my brain says. “He hasn’t sent the National Guard after anyone yet.” But that’s not how it works. People who've lived through it say that fascism moves 3 times faster than you expect it to move, but that it also moves gradually, testing resistance, establishing new norms, and letting people get comfortable with them. Each disgusting appointment, each provocative statement, each hateful bill is a test to see what we will tolerate. We have to nip that shit in the bud, starting yesterday.

2. Empathy Sucks. Do it Anyway. For Voters, Not Trump. I’ve a few Trump voters left in my life and I intend to talk with them. Not on Facebook or in front of their friends, but privately, and with great care. This sucks to have to do. Why should I care about the feelings of racists, xenophobes, and bigots? Well, because they still have a strong voice in this country, that’s why. Sucks, but that’s reality. But this is not new. Remember when you had to befriend people who believed your love was inferior? Remember when you had to come out and persuade people who were very nice to you, but thought you were going to Hell? If we want more empathy in the world, we're going to have to be the ones to put it there.

3. The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Friend. Most of the arguments I see on Facebook are of the Circular Firing Squad variety. I don’t have the stomach for that. Being right about Bernie or Hillary or Stein doesn’t keep the meds coming to my friends with HIV. It doesn’t keep marriages intact, families together, or the Bill of Rights working for everyone. There will be plenty of time to argue about the future of the Democratic party, once we’ve saved the democratic process. So I reach out to Libertarians, Greens, Berners, Bros, Bitches, Bad Hombres, Romney Republicans, and #NeverTrumpers of all varieties, and even those who did not vote. I have no beef with anyone who will help kick Trump’s ass.

4. Lose Early; Lose Often. There’s a lot of defeatist talk, and a lot of it is correct. Trumpers now control all the big levers of power and have no moral compunction against setting them how they like, then breaking them off. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t dog their heels at every step. They are in charge, but they are still a minority. We have our voices, our money, our art, and the ability to organize and participate. If we need an example of how many small voices can change the world, we need look no further than our own opposition. Tea Parties and Town Hall Meetings are a lot of what got us here. We can do the same. We can do better.

5. Fuck the Sidelines.  “That protest is stupid.” “The Electoral College was always there, crybaby.” “Give him a chance.” “That safety pin is embarrassing.” “You’re doing it wrong. You can’t change this. You can’t change that. To even try reveals how stupid you are.” These “moderate, rational” voices have, intentionally or unintentionally, aligned themselves with the status quo, and the status quo is our enemy. Actual demonstrations and protests are, in this moment, among the most powerful things we can do, because they help to drown out the forces of normalcy. The press and opposition and even some Democrats will want to find a way to get comfortable in the new status quo. This impulse toward normalcy be just fine if any of this were normal, but it’s not, and anyone suppressing your activist urge by claiming that it is should either stand with us or go sit down.

6. Use Social Media; Don't Let It Use You. It's a sad truth that Social Media values your eyeballs more than it does your voice. It doesn't care what you have to say, just as long as you're clicking a lot and looking a lot. Liberal and Conservative sites alike use provocative headlines to get your attention. The aggregate of all this provocation is a feeling of dread and anxiety among its users. And, while deep concern is a rational response to current news, we don't make great decisions under the cloud of fear. So, for me, for now, Social media is for organizing specific, positive action.




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