Back in November, I got kind of obsessed with the repercussions of Trump being elected. The US election coincided with my toddler refusing to nap anywhere but on me, and I often found myself trapped underneath a 30lb kid, with nothing but my phone, scrolling endlessly through Twitter and reading articles on obscure websites by historians and journalists that the mainstream media had shunned. I read a lot about the ways in which a Trump presidency would lead to a rise in the legitimacy of white supremacy, but whenever I mentioned this to fellow Trump-haters, this view was seen as a little too ridiculous. Like, yeah, Trump is awful, but chill with the fascism rants, please. It’s a bit much.
Gradually, most people I knew began to think that the connection between Trump and the alt-right wasn’t utterly ludicrous, and we started debating whether or not it was okay to punch Nazis. Everyone is allowed to voice their opinion, right? And even with all of the flipping of tables, Jesus was nonviolent. I know you’re angry, but take less joy from seeing Richard Spencer being punched, really.
And now we have Charlottesville. White supremacists were given the right to have a freaking rally because, hey, free speech. We’ve got to the point when someone says “Huh, there’s a massive Nazi rally happening in Virginia” and I’m not shocked. None of us should be shocked. We know white supremacists still exist. They never went away. We probably know people who share their views–I know, I know, it’s horrible to consider, but it’s true. We like to “other” them and make them seem like some little fringe group, but there are a lot of them, and they’re incredibly mainstream. They’re holding a freaking march, without wearing masks. They’re not scared about being recognised. They’re proud to promote their beliefs.
We need to stop being shocked, and start being enraged, and start acting upon that rage. Sure, calm it enough to actually do something productive (punch a Nazi, rather than wasting your energy on a wall, etc) but stay angry enough to be motivated.
We’ve got past the point where anyone can conceivably suggest that we should just talk to white supremacists as if they’re rational human beings who might change their minds if we engage them in a debate. Like, really? They’re not advocating for more wind farms or higher bus fares, they literally think that people of other races are less equal. That they don’t deserve the same rights as us. That they don’t deserve to live. They’re advocating for freaking genocide. You don’t debate people like that. You don’t give them a voice and a platform and an opportunity for even more people to hear their ideas. You shut them down, and stop them from spreading actual hate speech.
You’re not going to change their minds by having a calm debate. Making them feel like equals, allowing them to have the opportunity to talk about the ideology they love so much, just gives them more legitimacy. We can’t educate kids about the Holocaust and talk about how we’re never going to let this happen again, and then let Nazis hold rallies. The whole “never again” slogan loses its meaning when we talk about the rights of fascists to put forth their ideas. We’re setting ourselves up for “again” to become a horrifying reality in the not too distant future.
I mean, if a group were speaking out about how terrible white people are, how they’re sub-human and should have less rights, how we should ship them all of to another country, would we really be having this conversation? If this were an anti-Christian rally, would it even have been allowed to even happen in the first place?
I get it, it’s hard to actually call these people fascists or white supremacists when they look like you, when they claim to share similar religious beliefs. Because then that makes you wonder just how similar you actually are, and if there are some problematic things that you believe too. You start to wonder just how complicit you or your political party or your faith has been in allowing this to happen. In allowing this movement to build momentum, to become legitimate enough to hold mass rallies, to literally mow someone down with a car and have it called a “tragic wreck” in the mainstream media.
It’s so much easier to say “This isn’t what our country/our faith stands for” and condemn it. It’s much harder to admit that, yeah, racial inequality has always been part of the history of your country, and Christianity played a big part in legitimising that inequality. The Bible has been used to justify slavery, the idea that women are the “weaker vessel”, and the discrimination of LGBT+ people. It’s been used to hurt a lot of people. We can’t ignore this.
Any time we say “This isn’t us”, we’re complicit. Any time we refuse to acknowledge the racism deep in our heritage and faith, we’re complicit. Any time we suggest engage literal Nazis in dialogue, we’re complicit. Any time we suggest allowing them the right to free speech and hold rallies, we’re complicit. Any time we equate fascists and those fighting them, we’re complicit. Any time we dismiss Nazis as a little fringe group that just needs to be ignored, we’re complicit. Any time we pretend that this is a US problem and it doesn’t matter in our country, we’re complicit. Any time we act like there can’t be white supremacists in our families, our streets, our workplaces, our churches, we’re complicit. Any time we don’t call someone out on a racist joke, we’re complicit. Any time we insist that nonviolence is the only acceptable way to deal with this issue, we’re complicit.
We can’t pretend this isn’t a big damn problem any longer. These fascists didn’t just pop out of nowhere this weekend. They’ve always existed. They feel safe enough to walk in public, faces uncovered, because of all of this talk about free speech and engaging in dialogue. They’ve been feeling safe for quite a while, to be honest. People were reporting on the hatred growing at Trump rallies, of the white supremacists who attended these meetings, and we dismissed their concerns. And then people freaking voted for Trump because, hey, he was the pro-life option, right? Whenever I called people out for voting for a massive racist, I was told he was the lesser of two evils. I mean, like, yeah, he’s empowering fascists, but AT LEAST HE DOESN’T KILL BABIES.
I need a freaking drink.
You cannot defend your decision to vote for Trump any longer. Wrap it up in a neat little bow and explain why he’s not that bad, why he’s pro-life, why he represents Christian values, or whatever other crap. You can even throw “It’s about economics!” in there, whatever the freaking heck that means. You can’t take back what you did. You freaking did it. You empowered white supremacists because you couldn’t bare to vote for someone who was pro-choice.
Well, I’m your friendly pro-choice pro-anarchy pro-punching-nazis Christian, and I’m here to tell you what you can do to improve things now that you’ve realised that you’ve enabled fascists to feel safe enough to murder and beat people.
- Freaking call people out when they say racist stuff. Just do it. Colleague tells a racist joke? Shut it down. Report them if you have to. Grumpy old relative? Shut it down. Let them know that they can’t speak that way in your presence, in your home, in front of your kids. (Obviously not if your racist relatives are also abusive).
- Is your church not talking about white supremacy? Call them out. Why the heck aren’t they? Nag them until something happens. Hold them accountable.
- What are the hiring guidelines for your workplace or school? Is one of them “Don’t hire actual Nazis”? No? Argue until it is.
- Support organisations who actively fight white supremacy and aid minorities. Here are some in Charlottesville. There will be some near you. Find them. If you can’t volunteer, donate. If you can’t donate, tell people about them. Make sure other people know they exist.
- Is someone proposing something like this in your area? Lobby for the event to be cancelled. If that fails, show up in counter-protest.
- Tear down fascist stickers from lampposts and bus shelters. They’re there. You’re just not seeing them. Look for them.
- Talk to your kids about racism. The whole “kids don’t see race” thing is a load of rubbish. Of course they notice differences in appearance.
- Talk to people who aren’t fascists. The kind of people who are still arguing that fascists have free speech and crap like that. Point out how utterly ludicrous those suggestions are. Remind them about Hitler and the Holocaust. A lot of people seem to be missing the similarities, so maybe they just need reminding. I don’t know. I’m not sure how people can’t see it? But it’s worth a try. Be that boring person who won’t shut up about fascism.
- If all else fails, just rant on the internet, because maybe you have a relative or colleague or old school friend who somehow hasn’t heard about all of this stuff, and maybe you’ll encourage/inspire/enrage them to do something useful. Who knows?
- Just make it clear that white supremacy is not okay. Anyone supporting it or encouraging it? Also not okay. So, yeah, probably denounce Trump, if you’re American? I don’t know, write to people, turn up at the White House and refuse to leave until he’s impeached.
- Deconstruct the oppressive capitalist patriarchy that allows this kind of stuff to fester.
Just stop normalising white supremacy. Stop being polite to Nazis. Stop being shocked, start being enraged enough to fight this. Stop apologising for your privilege and start using it. Stop pretending you weren’t complicit and just do this.
I could edit this to make it more polite and less angry, but I’m done censoring myself so white Evangelicals aren’t offended by the suggestion that they elected a fascist. I get it, you preferred it when I was the sweet SAHM who blogged about Amish romance novels and posted recipes and pictures of my kid. I’m still that person, just with bonus rage about the normalisation of white supremacy. I’m not sorry if it makes you uncomfortable, or challenges your worldview or voting choices. That’s kind of the point.