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.