I'm still struggling with what the hell to do about the incoming avalanche of rich white fascism and militarism. I find it mind-boggling that the future of our country will very likely depend on a sea of faceless and often-denigrated bureaucrats in Washington, who will be in the best position to resist actively poisoning our air and water and stealing our childrens' futures; who might be able to stop active robbery of poor inner-city schools to feed rich white Christian schools in suburbs. And so on. Time's Person of the Year better fucking be a Washington bureaucrat next time around. More on this in a moment.
This appeared on "Dear Design Student" which is a blog produced under Adobe's banner. The blog is notable for blunt speech but it has never gone into politics before. I'm a designer and the question of what-the-everloving-fuck do I do now, professionally, is not far from my mind. The article author, Mike Monteiro, is somewhat known in the communities I frequent but I've never seen him speak on political topics before. He's another white dude, by the way, so read with that in mind.
His prescription is self-care, go local, and work ethically. It was designers who produced Nazi and Stalinist art and architecture after all, some of the most terrible and enduring symbols of those regimes.
I happened to flip on a radio talk show to hear some (I believe white dude) jeering at people who objected to Time's nomination of Trump as "Person of the Year". Apparently, objecting to the deification of autocratic racists is now "whining" (his word) and Time's choice is just because Trump had the biggest impact in the past year. Presumably if Ms Clinton had won she would similarly have been given this designation. Or maybe not; I'm still old enough to remember when Time called it "Man of the Year" and we bitched and hollered about that until it got changed. If that makes me a whiner, so be it.
The always-excellent sovay linked some other worth-reading pieces, of which I want to re-post a couple, maybe just because they agree with how my thoughts have been running. This one, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, is a strong indictment of the language of collaboration and appeasement. Fucking Nazis are fucking Nazis, not "the alt-right." Washington gridlock was caused by a multi-year deliberate strategy of Republicans being the party of "no" and especially "not anything that scary black man wants". History, Adichie reminds us, gives both context and warning.
We give ground too easily; it's in our nature to appease and to compromise and to be accommodating. The mainstream press are the most guilty in all of this but we, too, want to be known as people who work with "both" sides of the aisle and who listen to "both" sides of the story. Let me tell you, when the story is "someone walked into a church Bible study group and shot it up" there are no "both" sides. Why that murderer is called a "loner" and the people who shot up San Bernadino are "terrorists" is beyond me. No, wait, it's not. It's called "racism" and "Islamophobia." Call it what it is.
There are, similarly, no "both" sides to the story of climate change. There is data, consensus, and denial. Yes, there are also people who still think smoking cigarettes doesn't cause cancer, or who are paid to say they think that. But there are no two sides to that story. Parroting Trump's lies and not calling them lies is aiding and abetting and it's time to stop supporting media that do such things. If that makes me guilty of being in a "bubble" then so be it. I'd rather be in a reality-based bubble than some fictional construction in which this level of sexism, isolationist nationalism, and *phobia are OK to discuss.
Following that thread read this piece, but if you are me read with care because it is some raw stuff. Masha Gessen's urging that we take a lesson from Jews in the ghettos under Nazi occupation who did collaborate, and do not collaborate. No collaboration, no compromise. Because collaborating puts you on a slippery slope to being owned and once owned you will do things that will haunt not just you but your children and your children's children for decades to come. There are always good reasons for collaboration, at first. I'm sure Mr Gore made the pilgrimage to Mount Trump with the best of intentions (Romney's just a spineless carpetbagger and always has been) but if Gore gives Trump even a veneer of legitimacy then he is a collaborator and he will be owned and twisted and used. Gessen's message is that the context and warning of history is to resist compromise, to seek right action and do the right thing, always.
The future is unknowable and yes, Mr Gore might possibly bend the course of the engine of destruction away for a few degrees and if you live in a low-lying country (which we should remember are almost always black or brown or yellow and not wealthy) it may be damned important not to have the sea come and drown you in your sleep. But maybe all Mr Gore will do is make it seem like he has staved off disaster somewhat when in fact he has just provided cover under which that racist destruction happens all-the-more rapidly. The future is unknowable and Mr Gore's energies could also be used motivating people, not cozying up to an autocrat. He'll do what lets him sleep better at night, I'm sure, and need not take advice from random strangers like me. But I will not cozy. I will not compromise.
To do: seek the right action, here and now, and figure out how to implement it. Keep myself and those close to me healthy and safe to do the same. Extend safety and resources as best I am able to those most under threat.
And always, ALWAYS call a fucking Nazi a fucking Nazi that they may not walk unshamed among us.