When fascism comes to America, it will be draped in a flag and carrying a cross. – misattributed to Sinclair Lewis
Yesterday morning, I woke to hear that Donald Trump had called for Muslims to be banned from entering the country. Later in the day, I read that he wants to “shut down the Internet”. That was when I realized just how tired I have become.
I am tired because Mr. Trump legitimizes the base of the Far Right and validates their anger at a pluralistic worldview. I am tired because Mr. Trump is a fascist in a ten thousand dollar suit and his election to the White House would destroy what is left of the ideals this country was founded upon – and what it bloodily and painfully fought to become.
Mr. Trump’s America is not my America. My America does not glamourize the politics of division and oppression. My America rioted at Stonewall, marched in Selma, went on strike after Kent State, protested Three Mile Island’s close call, rallied against the HIV/AIDS crisis, brought marriage equality and near-universal healthcare to this country. My America is the legacy of social action that shatters an unjust status quo.
I want to channel the anger of those previous fights into action against Mr. Trump. I want to be as strident and outspoken against Mr. Trump’s politics as he is in stating them, and yet I find that I simply cannot do it. If I were to be as loud and outraged as Mr. Trump, then I would be yelling at an idiot who will drag me down to his level and beat me with experience.
So instead, I choose to live my life and my faith. I will act with love to support and protect those targeted by the Far Right’s xenophobia and hatred. I will uplift the stories of those he targets, and I will protect and celebrate their existence. I will resist the tides of hatred with the fire of love. This is what it truly means to be an American: to ensure that paths of hatred and intolerance are opposed and dismantled through the deliberate application of justice and equality.
As a liberally-minded people, we counter the fires of division with radical acts of love, acceptance, inclusion and equality. In this time when anger and hatred are the languages of politics, only love and compassion will keep us whole. If we, as a united people of inclusion, can protect and uplift those who would come after us, then there is no force in this Universe that can stop this country from being everything its ideals proclaim it to be.
We can silence the Far Right once and for all, if we but try. Instead of countering the idiocy of the Far Right with outrage and empty words, let us counter it with radical acts of compassion and empathy. Let our radical actions set the bar for those that follow, and let us not turn our back on another simply because of their faith or the colour of their skin. Let us do what needs to be done, and let our actions tell the world exactly whose side we are on.