By Eric Gmeinder |
On Saturday, October 19, the first #OutNow protests will begin in New York and Los Angeles, with the intention of spreading. While I think this is the only decent think to do—and it might have a positive impact on an impeachment inquiry that I thought would never proceed—I can’t help but be reminded of the protests of November 4, 11, and 18 [in 2017], which followed the same scheduling pattern but did not result in the struggle we had hoped for a la the Arab Spring, South Korea, and now Puerto Rico. As Lillian Foreman wrote, “Shamefully, many people fearing violence from armed Trump supporters failed to find the courage to come out, even as they told us they agreed with us. And still too many Americans were comfortable and could ignore what was happening. Too many didn’t want to give up the stability of their lives to stand up in the face of rising fascism.”
One of the things that undoubtedly gave them comfort and stability was privilege. And part of the reason I’ve been involved with Refuse Fascism since it was first founded and subsequently become a political filmmaker—my first two works can be viewed here and here—is that, as a gay autistic man, I am anything but privileged. RF’s framing of its goal as not just a struggle for a better future, but any future at all, is very real for me.
Those who have called the camps where undocumented immigrants have been sent and separated from their children “concentration camps” are correct. However, for me they also set a frightening precedent. Jews were not the only victims of the Holocaust, and before you know it other groups could join undocumented immigrants in those border camps. Don’t tell me that can’t happen. I’ve studied the far right enough to know they want me dead because of my sexuality and erased at best because of my disability. I may be relatively safe in California, which has long taken a liberal-leftist direction under states’ rights, but for how much longer with the specter of indictments of progressive judges?
And speaking of California, we have born the brunt of the Trump/Pence regime’s war on the environment. There have been at least three outbreaks of deadly fires in the past two years, and they haven’t just been deadly for the people near them. Sacramento, where I currently live, is far away from these fires, yet in November 2018 it had the worst air quality of anywhere in the world. It is a ripe target because of its lower altitude. Neither I nor any other living thing on the planet can wait for 2020, let alone face the possibility of that election not going smoothly.
I used to have a love-hate relationship with the works of Michael Moore, but it was his remarks since the 2016 campaign that have really driven me into his arms. He predicted that Trump would win at a time when many others scoffed at the idea. He also shares my frustration at the people who are choosing to be “good Americans,” even if people like me must suffer for it.
In my opinion, none of the increasingly horrific events of the last almost three years have happened because Trump and Pence have been president and vice president. They have happened because of these “good Americans.”
Like Sarah Roark, another Refuse Fascism contributor, I disagree with the far-left activists who make up quite a bit of RF’s leadership. But we tolerate each other’s views because we all share a common goal. And as the Trump/Pence Regime (and, by extension, the Republican Party more generally) edge ever closer to achieving their dystopian vision for the most powerful nation on Earth, I’m afraid I have to agree that revolution is the only viable way out. Talk of revolution used to be restricted to the radical or fringe left, but since Trump’s election I have seen more and more mainstream liberals talk about things they probably would never have dreamt of five years ago.
Even if few come out for the first five weeks out of the #OutNow protests, that is something we should seize on. And we should keep protesting, and accepting donations to make our message as impossible to ignore as the consequences of being a “good American.”
Finally, Trump has retweeted Christian fascist pastor Robert Jeffress, who threatened a civil war greater than the last one if Trump is removed from office. I may be terrified of the current political landscape, but I’m not afraid of retaliation from Trump’s base. Martin Luther King once said, “A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.” Whether it’s Alex Jones or the LAPD, the reason the far right has gone after Refuse Fascism specifically is that it knows we’ve been right the whole time. And the “establishment” social justice organizations, like the ACLU and the Women’s March, despite their intentions, have been wrong.
I hope everyone reading this who lives in one of the cities where Refuse Fascism operates will come to these protests. I know I would if there was one in Sacramento.