I think I have seen this before. It almost seems like a movie, too disturbing to come from real life. I think my breath catching in my throat might be a sign that something here is more wrong than it’s been in a very long time. I think the pit in my stomach is telling me something important, and the inexplicable anxiety I feel is my soul, twisted in some sort of — what? Fear? Disgust? I don’t even know.
Every day, I wonder if we’ve gone too far.
For a long time, people have been telling me I’m angry, and it’s never felt like a compliment. But a few weeks ago, I had this thought that maybe my anger is my power. Maybe, even, it’s my super power, and I get to use it for good.
If there’s ever been a time we need all the super powers, it’s now.
Because we have supposedly already learned this lesson, damn it. We already know what those red, black and white flags stand for, and we know where they lead. We already know what happens when the multitudes fall silent. We’ve already drunk that slow-brewed tea, and it’s a poison brew to be sure.
And when I say slow brewed, that’s exactly what I mean. Hitler didn’t rise to power over night. It wasn’t like people were surprised by the Nazi party. It wasn’t like there were a bunch of Nazi’s hiding in the bushes and then one night they all jumped out and yelled “Boo!” before they took over the country. No.
Hitler’s crazy ass took it’s sweet time, took one inch of the national sanity at a time, and all of Germany pretended not to notice. We need to know better now.
We already know what happens when groups of young men are radicalized — towers fall down. Innocent people die. People just like you and me are dehumanized, senselessly murdered, othered. Let’s be clear: when shit like this happens, people get thrown into gas chambers or ovens.
I know that’s blunt. But now is not the time to mince words. And we’re in no position to even think about pretending we don’t know any better.
You remember history class, right? Those pictures? The ones that haunted you when you closed your eyes at night? Yeah. I thought so.
Yeah, I know, I know. Not all white people. But here’s the deal: every single one of us who even thought about uttering that phrase over the past 48 hours damn well better put our money, our vote, our asses where our mouths are. If not all white people then where are all the rest of us?
Where are the now-silent multitudes who voted for Donald Trump and his Nazi party? Has Paul Ryan finished swallowing his own vomit yet to do anything more than Tweet out an anti-hate platitude? Where were you when your integrity actually mattered, Mr. Ryan, and you could have chosen to stand against this hateful administration? But no. You chose power.
And speaking of choosing power. Where are all those Evangelical leaders who claim that Donald Trump is chosen by God to lead our country? Is this what you think God has in mind for America?
Where are our churches? More importantly, where are our white churches? Will we answer this call to get really uncomfortable, to get our share of splinters by carrying this cross, or will we once again leave the work to the ones who are being oppressed to solve the problem of oppression, while we sing our songs in our glittery buildings with our big screens and light shows, and feel good about our annual coat drive?
Look, I don’t know the answer. I don’t know the most effective way to resist the evil of white supremacy, hatred, bigotry. I don’t know how to fix this shameful problem we have of having voted into office a buffoon who seems to only want to prove he can beat everyone else at Monopoly and doesn’t even realize how bad he’s getting played by the people with actual agendas — the Nazi’s who simply want free reign to practice their twisted ideology and the power hungry Evangelicals who think they’ve gotten some special kind of in and forgot who Jesus is.
But here is what I do know. We can hold our church leaders responsible. We can organize ourselves and use our skills — whatever they may be — to make hatred unwelcome on our own streets, in our workplaces, our homes, and wherever else we may have influence. We can start educating ourselves about the issues we’ve only barely paid attention to, or even maybe thought we disagreed with. We can start listening to the marginalized and the vulnerable — the kinds of people White Supremacists target.
If you haven’t given much thought to the Black Lives Matter movement, or if you’ve written it off because it makes you uncomfortable, now is the time to get radically uncomfortable.
If you haven’t felt the need to consider the LGBTQ experience, now’s the time to start listening.
If you’ve been silent at the family dinner table, on social media, or kept your blog posts nice and safe, it’s time to start talking.
Now is not the time for silence. It’s not the time to play it safe and not rock the boat for fear of who you’re going to upset. Shit’s already upset, and we all need to stop being so precious about it.
This is life or death. And history will judge us.