"Taking himself seriously, so you don't have to."

Enshrining the Racially-Ignorant

With the recent rise of Donald Trump, and his rhetoric that emboldened the white supremacist movement, many people who had been living within echo chambers have suddenly burst upon the scene, speaking their minds into the great conversational forum we call “the internet”. It is a strange thing to witness, when throughout the modern invention, the “zeitgeist” has been such that a fairly liberal (inclusive, accepting) attitude has, more or less, ruled the day. People have been free to express their opinions, and those of us living today are aware of the great cesspool that “the internet” has been, and is, when viewing it as some indicator of collective consciousness. There have always been the odd (usually anonymous) bigot, instigator, iconoclast, one of dark humor, who, with great joy to him or herself, and much horror to others, claims that “Hitler was right”, or some such nonsense.

These are fringe thoughts, peddled by jokesters, shady people, and outright racists, for a myriad of reasons. However, in the history of the internet, these thoughts have never caught on. They would not turn heads, and most people would take short note and move on, as the odd swastika in a bar bathroom, in good company with a thousand other nasty things scribbled on walls in privacy.

This election has brought the nasty bathroom to the light of day, shining upon it the sudden attention of all. And with its elevation (at least sub-textually), we find ourselves face to face with the defenders, the purveyors of this filth, seemingly ecstatic with their 15 minutes of fame, and quite happy to spread their propaganda.

Vocal people are working overtime, at present, to both deny the validity of these claims, and yet, to also understand them. We have had, with eight years of a decent, intelligent black man in the office of the presidency, much time to be as inclusive as possible; to shine light upon those who have felt outcast, downtrodden, forgotten, and denied rights and freedoms generally available only to the “privileged”. These lights showed decent, loving people, who merely would like to be accepted for who they are, and hold no hate for anyone. The transgender movement over the course of the last four years has been astonishing in its inclusivity and general acceptance, from all walks and creeds. Gay marriage has breached the supreme court, and passed the conservative test. Even while the same court shreds the constitution for all1, they have applied contentious, yet accurate, general rights for minorities. The Black Lives Matter movement has exposed the day-to-day oppression of black communities not seen since the Civil Rights Movement. Increased usage of video and its proliferation across the internet has captured abuses where before they would slide through the cracks, with nary a mention in newspapers or general discussion.

And now, as the veil continues to lift from the eyes of America, as minorities fight for their rights, and gain ground by inches clawed through years of ignorance, it feels as though the door has abruptly shut. The old voices of racism and divisiveness fill the air, emboldened by a bellowing opportunist, playing to the lowest fears of a people confused by this new age. They are talking. And this is a good thing. So long as this continues, we will be doing just fine. Broaching the topic is the most difficult, for clashes arise at the outset, and progress is made after this initial contact. It may be ugly, especially when there appears to be such an even divide in thought, but the vocal nature of arguments is most important here. One of the great things about our new technology is that it, more or less, provides an equal voice for any and everyone, and immediate feedback on the number of people reached. This will assuage much anger on the part of anyone angry about anything in this world, for better or for worse. Everyone can rest easy that at least somebody heard you. Even if you live in a shack, in the middle of nowhere, scared to death of your fellow man, a misanthrope of the highest order, the distance in communication is sometimes what you need to encourage communication.

People often say that arguing with someone on the internet is a waste of time. We often lack the perspective to see it for what it really is. Every message written, every status posted, every picture shared is another piece of collective culture, another incremental step by the human species. Our normal awareness is limited. Change is most visible in the abstract, long-term view.

It would appear to me, that with this tool at our disposal, the fascist, xenophobic tendencies exhibited in these recent days will contribute, then quickly fall out of, the collective consciousness. We are living through a judgment of history, a bending of the reed, a war of information, and a record that shows it all in every gruesome detail. It fills and surrounds our lives, permeating through our bodies and minds at all times. Power may change hands. Individuals may use their own fists, and fight for what they believe just, but there is no changing the consciousness to any real fascist measure now or in the future. People are far too aware of themselves and others. Our communication, even at a distance, has brought us closer together. We are incapable of turning on each other racially. We have included everyone who wanted to be included, and now even include those who had willfully excluded themselves. They have, just now, been brought into the fold. And we will be better for it.

“Do not fear the chaotic and the wild; these forces breed in due time, and bring forth beautiful progeny.”

An unfortunate truth: Europeans developed under extremely harsh circumstances. When you think of “cavemen” during the last ice age, you have the evolutionary-psychological basis for the great tendency toward war. We Europeans got very, very good at killing things, and in large numbers. It was the only way to survive. This tendency has exterminated entire past species. This tendency led to hundreds of years of warfare, up to two world wars that we hope shall never repeat themselves. It may even be a collective memory of this horrendous time that leads us to now, seemingly so gleefully, to alter our climate so drastically, to heat the earth such that those great glaciers will never again descend upon us.

The ultimate truth of fascism and xenophobia is this: it is ultimately self-defeating. Any ideology that excludes “the other” for “one’s own”, and attempts to enforce this, is destined to fail. It will find itself gone, destroyed, and annihilated, for the simple statistical fact that there are more “other” than there are “one’s own”. This cannot be denied, overcome, or enforced. It is self-defeating in principle; akin to the suicide cult or the kamikaze warrior.

America, the United States of America, is a living embodiment of the idea of inclusivity, even through all history of genocide, oppression, and slavery. It is nonetheless the land of immigrants, an open world for the collection, integration, and flourishing of any and all cultures, the world over. Which makes it the perfect leader of nations. This is not necessarily the exact intent of our country, but it has become the defining feature. We ought to aspire to this ideal, in order to craft a better future. To do anything otherwise is self-defeating, and will result in tremendous destruction. We must accept our greatest gifts, the confluence of the myriad cultures and languages and people from the world over. Inclusion in the collective conversation will lead us to great futures.

It may feel as though the door is slamming shut, but it is not closing, for we stand in the doorway. It merely strikes our heel. STAND STRONG.

1See: The dismantling of the Voting Rights Act, upholding “civil forfeiture”, spying by intelligence agencies, and related rulings; Recent legislation (which has not reached the Supreme Court in challenges, including the Patriot Act, Military Commissions Act of 2006, and related law) have broken aspects of the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th amendments.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>