Guest Editorial, Scott Gilbert |
I re-read the essay titled, “It Doesn’t Matter How Much You Hate Donald Trump. What Matters Is How Much You’ve Accepted Him.” What most challenged me in this essay was, “…what has been the cost of your acceptance?” This has been banging around in my head, firing synapses I did not even know I had, making me internally scream to the point where sounds are now ricocheting off the walls of my room as I yell, “No More!” “…what has been the cost of your acceptance?” “…what has been the cost of your acceptance?”
The normalization of fascism in the U.S. and the silence to it has been deafening. The absence of sound opposing and stopping this Fascist regime does not even end when I am sleeping. I am haunted by Kristallnacht, pictures of Auschwitz, my mother’s story of watching her school principal being shot because he refused to raise the Nazi flag, the boats filled with refugees fleeing Nazi Germany to Ellis Island only to have these refugees denied entry and forced to return to the horrors of fascist Europe, my family of Holocaust survivors on those boats, and then the faces changing to immigrants of Central America, children with indelible ink numbered tattoos on their arms, families ripped apart, sirens at night wondering who’s door has been knocked down…waking up with the image of the eternal Scream–Edvard Munch’s painting of the infinite scream passing through nature, now passing through all of us.
Millions of us HATE this Trump/Pence regime and its ever increasing crimes against humanity. And yet, the normalization goes on. Three years of organized, state-run fascist acts. This week, Trump pardons 3 war criminals in the U.S. military. These murderers now join the ranks of Trump’s “fine people” of white supremacists who murdered Heather Heyer. And yet, the normalization goes on. Federal prosecutors pursue an indictment of Massachusetts Judge Shelley Joseph for releasing an “illegal” immigrant to avoid being arrested by ICE, sending a chill through the whole judicial system of anyone who stands up to the regime’s agenda. And yet, the normalization goes on. Step by step. This is fascism unfolding and in power.
“If we adjust to the injustice of this regime, do not ask how the German people could have accepted Nazism in the 1930s.” —Refuse Fascism Call to Action
We cannot allow ourselves to become “Good Germans”. We cannot say we didn’t know. And we cannot allow this normalization of fascism to make us think what we in Refuse Fascism are doing is wrong just because many others have not taken the steps to act on what is right, or, we become part of that normalization.
We must get ourselves and others out of the current dominant outlook of individualism and “me-first-ism” and have a collective, scientific understanding of what is happening here and around the world, face it head on even if it makes us uncomfortable, and continue to challenge people to act on that understanding. We must let people know that just putting a “thumbs up” hand signal or saying “I agree with you” when they pass us carrying a Trump/Pence Out Now! sign while they say they hate Trump and all he represents does not cut it. It will not stop the juggernaut of fascism. This is unacceptable complacency. They are lying to themselves and everyone around them if they think “thumps up” will stop fascism. They are actually saying “I condone the crimes of the Trump/Pence regime even if I don’t like them.” This is all part of the normalization of fascism whether they are accommodating, conciliating, denying, avoiding, ignoring, or hoping it will all go away. This all amounts to passive collaboration with the fascists holding state power.
We must collectively figure out the mental blocks people have that are holding good folks back from acting and shatter those blocks so we break from this passive collaboration.
We must inspire people to get out of all the political silos. In Germany in the 1920’s & 30’s different groups fought hard for women’s rights, labor rights, housing for all, but no one called for a collective effort of millions in the streets to stop the rising of Nazi fascism. It is not enough to fight for abortion rights while many states have already passed laws against abortion waiting for the Supreme Court’s approval to ban abortion. This allows the normalization to go on. It is not enough to try to shut ICE down while the number of concentration camps and deportations grow larger. This allows the normalization to go on. It is not enough to try to close the Keystone XL Pipeline while the U.S. military increases its burning of fossil fuels and Trump pulls out of the Paris Climate Agreement. This allows the normalization to go on. It is not enough to denounce police brutality against people of color while Trump tells the police “don’t be so nice.” This allows the normalization to go on. All of these struggles are extremely important, but none of them will be successful without driving out the Trump/Pence regime and giving all of us “political breathing room.” At a certain point, the opportunity to drive out the Trump/Pence regime will disappear (a sudden declaration of war, a call for martial law,…) and no one will be allowed to fight for what is right.
We must break the deafening silence of normalization of the Trump/Pence fascist regime. The sounds we need to hear are from millions of people in the streets, determined non-violent sustained demonstrations day-after-day, night-after-night, dancing in the streets, blowing their whistles with the single unifying message of Trump/Pence OUTNOW! until the sounds are so deafening to the people in the halls of Congress that they must respond or get pushed aside. This is how we make a better future for all of humanity.