Sunday, September 24, 2017
How Do You Explain the Silence?
Have you noticed the silence? Many among us don't talk about the not normal America. Polite people convey the impression that life goes on as usual, though these are far from usual times. They avoid the unpleasantness of discussing the mood in America set by our political leadership, if you're willing to call Trumpism leadership.
Every day from President Trump we observe and hear insults; blatant lies, exaggerations, support for violent, racist, misogyny, threatening language, personal and group insults. We see shock and disdain from other world leaders. Trumpism is dismantling hard earned government protections for rights, safety and life giving support and security that prior generations in some cases even gave their lives to secure for us.
Yet most around us are silent. They do not speak of this dismantling of democracy and just plain social decency. They appear not to either see nor hear the abuse, neglect and horrific treatment of so many around them. They act as if life goes on; as if this is just a temporary aberration to be endured before normalcy is restored somehow, by somebody.
History had taught us that this has happened before. Chroniclers have documented in detail how fascist regimes have slipped into power in such countries as Spain, Germany and Italy. We have highly researched documentaries as to how the quiet people, the majority, stood idly by as rights were stripped of their neighbors and then, ultimately, them. We know that the nice people just went about their lives without acknowledging what was happening to their societies, let alone objecting or in rare cases, resisting the authoritarian take over. They remained silent because they were nice people. Their silence destroyed their communities, lives and families. Their silence was complicit with evil doing, death, destruction and immense suffering.
I have family members who just won't speak or write about the transformation taking place right in front of them. You do too. We have neighbors who continue to engage us with small talk as if nothing out of the ordinary is happening to their society. Is it too painful for them to disclose their horror at what is happening to them, their families and neighbors? Or is it just easier to remain oblivious, to avoid speaking of the unspeakable?
Most people I regularly engage with, both personally, in meetings and on the internet are eager to share their alarm, disdain and eagerness to confront, resist, speak against and voice their outrage at this amazing fascist transformation. These are the people I choose to be with, to support and be supported by in this most trying of times. But most around us behave like ignoring the evolving fascist state will somehow stem its relentless tide.
Look at what has happened in less than a year. Trumpism promised a wall that would be paid for by our neighbor we're trying to keep out. Trumpism promised to stop immigration from people displaced, their homes and lives ruined by others committing violence against them and their communities.
American citizens were urged by Trumpites to publicly display hatred for fellow citizens and to threaten them with violence if they got out of line. They were lied to about the source of their economic pain and anxiety, those who looked different from them and lived in cities. They were promised non-existent jobs and told this land was their land to prosper from, because they were of the right descent. They were told the Washington swamp was going to be drained and run like a business. Instead, it was drained of expertise and commitment to do good and sent off to lay fallow. Trumpites are systematically sabotaging anything public......healthcare, education, environmental protection, public spaces, consumer protections, civil rights, criminal justice. They were told great deals were going to be made with other governments to make things better for them, the Trumpites. Instead, those government leaders were systematically insulted, dismissed as irrelevant and turned into opponents, if not enemies. Now we face potential war, maybe nuclear war with a hostile North Korea we fought to a stalemate 65 years ago, led by a mad man no less deranged than our own mad man.
Those of us choosing to resist in our own way know who our opponents are; the fellow fascists Trump has allied with and who are systematically dismantling not only our government but republican democracy itself. They are operating openly and unashamedly. They are aided by a thoroughly corrupted Republican Party controlling Congress and most of our courts, who have chosen to retain power rather than retain democracy. We can hopefully deal with them in the election booth in 2018, or at least blunt some of their abuse of power and neglect of democracy.
Those we have to worry about are the quiet ones. We must call them out. We must challenge their courage to speak and act. Embarrass them if necessary. Withdraw our friendship if necessary if they remain oblivious and gutless. Confront them as necessary. These are the people who speak, see and hear no evil. They will bring down the American Experiment, not the Fascists they enable.