Saturday, August 19, 2017

Why should we sit at home?



      It's an attractive fantasy.
      I've heard it time and time again from readers.
      Why not, they write, stay home when the Nazis protest? Wouldn't that be something. Let them stand around with their homemade swastika shields and their slack whitebread faces, sieg-heiling each other while the country coughs into its fist and looks away, ashamed. Nobody would be there to see them, hear them. Crickets and litter blowing through the empty streets.
      Even Tina Fey suggested it, jokingly. Stay home and eat sheet cake. It was funny, sort of.
      There was a logic. Deny them the attention they seek. Register your scorn by shunning them. Why not try that?
      But the answer is both simple and complicated. 
      First, it's human nature to want to witness a wonder yourself. To slip under the tent flap and go see the human oddity. To clap eyes on someone so out-of-fucking-touch with reality that they'd say to themselves, "Yeah, the Nazis! That's an ideology I want to embrace. Because it worked so well for the Germans. I'm sure it would be great in a nation as varied and diverse as the United States. That's a good idea!"
    It's hard to believe such people exist until you see them with your own eyes.
      Second, why should such marvels march unopposed? They feel comfortable showing up in public, airing their psycho-fucking bullshit worldview, of violence against people whose skin they don't like, whose hair scares them. They feel entitled to work themselves up into a knot over the shape of people's noses. Because they think it matters. 
      Why shouldn't the non-crazy, those free of hatred, of self-assigned and wrong-as-can-be superiority, not show up? To register their belief in our country, its freedoms, not just freedom of speech, or to—apparently—tote the guns you need to feel less terrified around in public. But the freedom to lives our lives unmolested by shitheads like these guys. To not sign on to the same old tired racist garbage that we spent centuries trying to pry off ourselves. The dead hand of hatred.
    Why shouldn't we shout that from the square? We who, unlike them, have nothing to be ashamed of.
      We who, unlike them, understand consequences. We who can also plan ahead, long term. Haters stress their freedom to speak their minds, to stretch the term, and they do have that. 
      But they are not free from consequences. That's why they strut around talking violence, then weep for their public shame the next day when the people back home realize its Dwayne, good old Dwayne from the Dairy Queen, wearing a brownshirt and talking about the need to push Jews into ovens. 
     What a surprise it is, for them. From being fired from the hot dog stands where they work because their bosses just don't want to be stained by association. From having their neighbors shun and condemn them. The First Amendment says government won't bar you from expressing the poisoned little sphincter in the middle of your chest where your heart should be. It doesn't guarantee your neighbors won't turn and spit in the street as you pass.
     As I write this, the forces are assembling in Boston. The tiny poisoned fragment that wants to goose-step in public, that thinks they're worth something if they can only pretend that others are less than them.
     And everybody else, patriotic Americans, moms and dads, brothers and sisters, who don't want to see the American flag shat on without raising their voices in righteous indignation.
     It's a beautiful thing. 

21 comments:

  1. The typo seems somehow appropriate: “But legislatively, this [Charlottesville controversy] has been a steak through the heart of their agenda for this year,” Eric Schiffer, CEO of Reputation Management Consultants, tells Newsweek.

    john

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  2. To me the question isn't whether you should show up, but how confrontational you should get. These people want confrontation. They want fights, so they can portray themselves as free speech martyrs and victims of "intolerance." Why else would the neo-Nazis have gone to Skokie? It's not like anyone was going to see them and think, "Why, yes, they were right to throw me in Buchenwald."

    So I guess what I'm saying is, righteous indignation is great, but keep it verbal.

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    1. I agree that they're looking for confrontation, but now that they've received validation from the President of the United States, all bets are off. I can only see violence and chaos coming from Trump's selfish stupidity.

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    2. No fights, but I suppose it's important that people show up. Must avoid another Second Coming, where

      "the best lack all conviction, while the worst
      are full of passionate intensity."

      Tom
      "

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  3. Keep pummeling, Neil!
    Since November, I've jokingly warned of Trump Nazis goose-stepping down Pennsylvania Ave. It's not a joke anymore.

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  4. Published opinion is NOT public opinion.

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    1. Now there's a nice, generic bit of inanity.

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    2. It's all the rage nowadays. If you can't respond to what's being said, respond to something else entirely. As if I ever claimed to be the vox populi.

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  5. Show up. Form a line. Turn your back. React to nothing. The violent contingent of Antifa helps not at all. In my opinion. Was around for the demonstrations in the sixties. Seems once you involve violence or property destruction, you lose credibility. So. Write letters daily. Show up, stay rational. No violence.

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  6. Not all these people are living in their parents basement at the age of 37 or working in hot dog stands. What concerns me is some of them are college educated. Some are government workers. Some are business owners elected officials, judges, police officers. Maybe those folks did not go out and March. Like Bannon said they're losers. If the POTUS, sympathizes with them, more than just recognizes their right to express themselves. You can be sure there are others who feel the same as he does. And some who do are in positions of power. Afraid of loosing the privilege they enjoy. Happy to have these people marching in the streets threatening those seen as different , foreign, or dangerous ( Muslims). Trump may have lit the fuse of a powderkeg. Do nothing? No we must act. Afraid of violence? Could put us on the loosing end of this crisis.i agree avoid violence but don't be lambs.

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  7. Update: Apparently no more than a few dozen alt-right, excuse me, "free speech" demonstrators showed up in Boston, far outnumbered by counter-demonstrators. They ended up having to exercise their speech rights inside the police vans that escorted them away from Boston Common to safety.

    It's perhaps instructive that the Charlottesville "rally" took place just before classes were due to start, ensuring that the "free speech" crowd would outnumber the few students on campus. These guys don't do so well when the numbers go against them.

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  8. I just have one question for the multitudes expressing their outrage with Trump's pets and what they represent.

    Where were you November 8, 2016? Did you vote your outrage against this national nightmare, who happily exposed his bigotry and hate months before that day?

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    1. I knew I was going to vote for Hillary even before she threw her hat in the ring, but you're right, Wendy, too many people stayed home. Most didn't believe Trump had a chance. I remember Neil writing about how Trump could pull it off. I didn't believe it. I thought he was being overly dramatic but he saw something that I didn't. If we've learned nothing else, we've learned that we have to vote. All of us. Oh, and we should listen to Neil.

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    2. "If we've learned nothing else, we've learned that we have to vote." *We've* learned that, Tony, but most of us already knew. The ones that *need* to learn it -- well, I guess we'll see. But that's not all of it. More progressive voters would have been good -- but there were enough voters, regardless. All that was needed in November was progressive voters who realized that the perfect is the enemy of the good. Who'd have been able to put aside their whining about Hillary's deficiencies and their butt-hurt attitude toward the terrible treatment of Bernie by the party that he disdained for his whole career until he decided it was in his interest to *lead* it, and vote for the only person in a position to prevent the election of an incompetent, racist charlatan. I hoped that enough progressives learned this lesson in 2000, but clearly 16 years was enough time for a new generation to enable Jill freaking Stein to pull a Nader.

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    3. You're right about 3rd party candidates, Jakash. A vote for Stein was a vote against Clinton and every vote that Clinton didn't get equaled a vote that Trump didn't need to get. Progressive voters who stayed home had the same effect.

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  9. I think most people, including me, were voting for Clinton.

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    1. We know most voted for Clinton. She did get almost 3M more votes than Trump.

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  10. Whether you counter protest or shun them, keep in mind those who pull the strings, who organised the tiki torches, who feed thise stupid little brains. And who have trump as their willing puppet.

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  11. Long ago, when Fiorello LaGuardia was mayor of NYC, the German-American Bund, a Nazi organization that wanted us to be like Hitler's Germany, marched there.
    He assigned only black & Jewish cops to protect them from counter-demonstrators.
    That's how you do it!

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  12. National voter turnout ~50%, Trump winning the electoral vote despite a 3mm vote deficit. Perhaps if 1 good thing is to emerge from this disaster of a Presidency, it's that Americans might stop taking democracy for granted, get off their asses and vote.

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