The present U.S. administration wants you to be overwhelmed. They want you to burn out. They want to swamp you with bad news so that you don’t know where to turn or how to fight back, or whether you have the energy to be effective.
A suggestion: for every piece of bad news you reblog, reblog something about resistance. Reblog something about how people are building something, in direct contrast to those who are trying to tear us down. Reblog something that lifts your spirits and reminds you why we fight.
Do not do their work for them. Consciously choose to reblog light as well as the important news of what the administration is up to.
Ay look at me reading to far into a book again. Either @vaveyard is a genius putting little hopeful messages into her books first two words or she’s still a genius and I’m reading too far into this at 1am. Anyway the point of this post: these are the first pages of Red Queen, Glass Sword, and King’s Cage respectively. The first two words of RQ are “I hate”, and a powerful message through tall these books is the prejudice and privilege of the Silvers over Reds, who hate each other. Sound familiar?
The next is the first two words of GS “I flinch”, as in fear. There is fear on both sides of this book, Reds of how the Silvers may oppress or hurt them, the Silvers on how the Reds may fight back and change tradition that gives them severe advantages. Again, sound familiar? These are all too similar to modern times, and well…everything that is going on, from police brutality to “alternative facts” which all add to issues like racism, sexism, anti Semitism, homophobia, xenophobia, islamophobia, etc., and Ms. Aveyard has done a great job showing these same issues in a totally different world, and the fear and hate that create and add to them. Which is why I probably read too much into this and the beginning of KC.
Because the first two words of KC are “I rise”, which is what we all need to do now. Whether through speaking up and calling local politicians, or going to the woman’s March, pride marches, BLM marches, the science March, anything that shows we won’t give in and that we will continue to fight and have our voices heard. So if this was intentional, I applaud you Ms. Aveyard, and if it wasn’t I don’t care, because this was a message I needed for myself right now, and I’m sure many others do to. So listen to this, random tumblr, and instead of giving in to fear and hate, rise up. Rise up! You don’t need to be the Scarlet Guard or Mare Barrow, every rebellion and cause needs Kilorns and supporters who are not always spotlighted. You are important to these causes too. You are what drives them forward and makes them noticeable. Keep fighting!
We have let the most downtrodden among us struggle on alone in the cold and dark, drowning in gutters, homeless and addicted. We have collectively failed to reckon with the bloody underbelly of a civilization built by the hands of black slaves on the bones of conquered indigenous peoples worldwide. We’ve been perfectly comfortable with using disabled and queer and transgender people as inspiration porn, giving hollow congratulations for their “bravery” while they struggle to survive because we won’t reach down to pull them up.
We have given up our voice in government, in the workplace, and on the streets because we have been complacent. We have been lazy. We have let the smallest fraction of a percentile of social Darwinists divide and conquer us. We have stopped speaking out because we’ve let them convince us that we won’t be heard. We have been cowed and are being led to slaughter.
WE ARE OUT OF TIME.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve lost faith in government. Democracy is our JOB. We need to vote in every election we can. Our hands-off approach has led us here. It doesn’t matter if you find nonviolent protests inconvenient or uncomfortable. We need them. We need everyone to see the violence being done to people of color and the poor firsthand. We need the complacent to see the police beating and shooting and gassing those of us who have been pushed so far that there is nowhere left to go. It doesn’t matter if you’re a pacifist. When someone openly advocates for genocide, when white men strip us of healthcare (and make no mistake, more than 40,000 a year will die from that action alone), they forfeit their right to discourse. When a human being proudly proclaims their wish that other human beings JUST DIE to make their own life more comfortable, they are beyond reason. If we don’t have the stomach to clash with Nazis, we had damned sure be willing to quietly step out of the way without making false equivalencies.
There is no neutrality. The entire world is in peril. We must use EVERY resource we have to fight, and even then it may still be too late. Those of us with the most resources, the most privilege, MUST step up and shoulder the burden that the most downtrodden have borne for centuries.
We cannot stand by and let others do the work. Our survival depends on ALL of us pulling together.
Do these things in any way that you can. In every way that you can.
This is a battle to save the world, and YOU are Earth’s champion.
Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so. Here are twenty lessons from the twentieth century, adapted to the circumstances of today.
1. Do not obey in advance. Much of the power of authoritarianism is freely given. In times like these, individuals think ahead about what a more repressive government will want, and then start to do it without being asked. You’ve already done this, haven’t you? Stop. Anticipatory obedience teaches authorities what is possible and accelerates unfreedom.
2. Defend an institution. Follow the courts or the media, or a court or a newspaper. Do not speak of “our institutions” unless you are making them yours by acting on their behalf. Institutions don’t protect themselves. They go down like dominoes unless each is defended from the beginning.
3. Recall professional ethics. When the leaders of state set a negative example, professional commitments to just practice become much more important. It is hard to break a rule-of-law state without lawyers, and it is hard to have show trials without judges.
4. When listening to politicians, distinguish certain words. Look out for the expansive use of “terrorism” and “extremism.” Be alive to the fatal notions of “exception” and “emergency.” Be angry about the treacherous use of patriotic vocabulary.
5. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives. When the terrorist attack comes, remember that all authoritarians at all times either await or plan such events in order to consolidate power. Think of the Reichstag fire. The sudden disaster that requires the end of the balance of power, the end of opposition parties, and so on, is the oldest trick in the Hitlerian book. Don’t fall for it.
6. Be kind to our language. Avoid pronouncing the phrases everyone else does. Think up your own way of speaking, even if only to convey that thing you think everyone is saying. (Don’t use the internet before bed. Charge your gadgets away from your bedroom, and read.) What to read? Perhaps “The Power of the Powerless” by Václav Havel, 1984 by George Orwell, The Captive Mind by Czesław Milosz, The Rebel by Albert Camus, The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt, or Nothing is True and Everything is Possible by Peter Pomerantsev.
7. Stand out. Someone has to. It is easy, in words and deeds, to follow along. It can feel strange to do or say something different. But without that unease, there is no freedom. And the moment you set an example, the spell of the status quo is broken, and others will follow.
8. Believe in truth. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power, because there is no basis upon which to do so. If nothing is true, then all is spectacle. The biggest wallet pays for the most blinding lights.
9. Investigate. Figure things out for yourself. Spend more time with long articles. Subsidize investigative journalism by subscribing to print media. Realize that some of what is on your screen is there to harm you. Learn about sites that investigate foreign propaganda pushes.
10. Practice corporeal politics. Power wants your body softening in your chair and your emotions dissipating on the screen. Get outside. Put your body in unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people. Make new friends and march with them.
11. Make eye contact and small talk. This is not just polite. It is a way to stay in touch with your surroundings, break down unnecessary social barriers, and come to understand whom you should and should not trust. If we enter a culture of denunciation, you will want to know the psychological landscape of your daily life.
12. Take responsibility for the face of the world. Notice the swastikas and the other signs of hate. Do not look away and do not get used to them. Remove them yourself and set an example for others to do so.
13. Hinder the one-party state. The parties that took over states were once something else. They exploited a historical moment to make political life impossible for their rivals. Vote in local and state elections while you can.
14. Give regularly to good causes, if you can. Pick a charity and set up autopay. Then you will know that you have made a free choice that is supporting civil society helping others doing something good.
15. Establish a private life. Nastier rulers will use what they know about you to push you around. Scrub your computer of malware. Remember that email is skywriting. Consider using alternative forms of the internet, or simply using it less. Have personal exchanges in person. For the same reason, resolve any legal trouble. Authoritarianism works as a blackmail state, looking for the hook on which to hang you. Try not to have too many hooks.
16. Learn from others in other countries. Keep up your friendships abroad, or make new friends abroad. The present difficulties here are an element of a general trend. And no country is going to find a solution by itself. Make sure you and your family have passports.
17. Watch out for the paramilitaries. When the men with guns who have always claimed to be against the system start wearing uniforms and marching around with torches and pictures of a Leader, the end is nigh. When the pro-Leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the game is over.
18. Be reflective if you must be armed. If you carry a weapon in public service, God bless you and keep you. But know that evils of the past involved policemen and soldiers finding themselves, one day, doing irregular things. Be ready to say no. (If you do not know what this means, contact the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and ask about training in professional ethics.)
19. Be as courageous as you can. If none of us is prepared to die for freedom, then all of us will die in unfreedom.
20. Be a patriot. The incoming president is not. Set a good example of what America means for the generations to come. They will need it.
Timothy Snyder, Housum Professor of History, Yale University, 15 November 2016.
This blog is no longer attempting to be an apolitical entity. Silence is complicity. Knowledge is power. And now is the time for historians to take a stand and speak out against dangerous precedents, official erasure, presidential untruths (or “alternative facts”), and the histories of authoritarian movements and oppression as they relate to our national and global realities.
If you ever, EVER need the motivation to make it through the day today, our favorite dumplings of Hamilton are giving us kind words of strength to make it through.
This numb feeling isn’t going away anytime soon, but we can’t give up. For the next generation, our generation can’t give in to the hate that made him win the campaign. We all most start loving one another. We must make his supporters see that this will not bring us down but pull us together.
Obama has done so much to make everyone feel equal and like themselves in the past eight years as president and now we have someone who is having a fucking rape case studied next week.
For those who follow me, and for those who don’t, we must live. Throw your head high in the face of ignorance. Stare them down when they choose to resort to childish behaviour. Let’s not give them what they want.
We have to hold each other closer than before now.
I respected President Bush. I would have respected Senator McCain and Mitt Romney had they been my President. Though I disagreed with many of their policies, I respected them and could see their virtues and the common ground that we had. It’s not about losing. It’s not about Republicans versus Democrats or conservatives versus liberals. It’s about Trump.
I will never use the presidential honorific when referring to him. He is not and will never be my President. I am ashamed that I live in such an ignorant country. I am ashamed that so many of my fellow Americans cared so little for the lives and well being of their neighbors. I am ashamed of people that I know that either still support him or blithely advocate continued chances to prove himself.
Trump proved himself to be an utter failure of a candidate all through his campaign and continued that streak since securing the election. He is a fraud and a fascist. I only hope that this disastrous turn for our country will cause the silent majority to speak out. The inauguration does not mar today. It marks the first official day of the resistance. Rise up.