I came home and had every intention of turning off for a couple hours. It was a jam packed weekend: Saturday I was at the Women’s March then sat on a panel and facilitated a circle at a community healing forum, and Sunday was my birthday. The plan was to sit on the couch, turn on the TV and chill. To Tiffany’s dismay Back to the Future was on, one of my favorite movies.
When I turned on the TV it was already the scene where George McFly opens the car door expecting to see Marty making a move on Lorraine but instead finds Biff attempting to rape her. Biff tells him to shut the door and mind his business. When George says “no” Biff gets out of the car and is going to beat George up. When Lorraine stands up for George Biff throws her to the ground, which is the last straw for George. He balls up a fist and one-hitter-quitter’s Biff. I couldn’t help but think of Trump, his supporters and the folks that refuse to speak out against his agenda.
Trump is a bigot and a bully. His supporters and those that hem and haw (whether they voted for him or not) in response to the very real fear his platform conjures and the very imminent threat his policies present are enabling a bully and supporting bigotry.
This needs to be stated categorically without regard for the sensibilities of the ostensibly good people it applies to. And this is why, as important as the massive marches were, the most important thing that happened this weekend was Richard Spencer getting punched in the face.
I realize the need to call people in, but bullies and their crew don’t get called in. Instead, they talk in circles relying on gaslighting and “alternative facts.” They need to be — in every sense of the word — knocked out.There is no other option –no uniting — for those of us that value decency and human dignity. This goes for Richard Spencer and his Neo-Nazi alt-right ilk or the person who “still loves you regardless of who you voted for.” As much as politics has become theater the current divide should not be viewed as a simple difference of opinion, like we are disagreeing about whether a movie is good or not, this is people’s lives. Now is not the time to equivocate.
Frantz Fanon said “each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.” Well, there is nothing obscure about this moment. Donald Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women. He is supported by David Duke and the Klan. It is expected he will grant the easement and give the green light to the Dakota Access Pipeline. He has handed over foreign policy to the CEO of Exxon Oil. His mouthpieces: KellyAnne Conway and Sean Spicer are blatantly lying to the public. There is nothing reasonable about these facts. To not stand up to this reality is to side with it. As historian Howard Zinn reminded us there is no such thing as neutral on a moving train.
When George McFly knocked Biff out he did the only thing that could reach Biff. And that one punch literally changes the whole world. The 1985 Marty leaves is one where George, his dad, is still doing Biff’s work for him (just like high school) and is constantly being punked by Biff. He is timid,scared, disrespected, and exploited. When Marty comes back to 1985, the post knock out 1985, the world is different. George is a successful author and Biff is waxing his car. Sometimes you got to demand respect; sometimes you got to fight for respect. Frederick Douglass understood this: “This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both.” And there is room for both!
No oppressor has ever changed because of morally compelling rhetoric. No oppressor has ever been swayed by eloquent oratory. Change has always come from a demand coupled with the ability to force that change. Martin Luther King Jr. got the traction he did with Washington because Malcolm X stood as the alternative. Malcolm himself understood this: “If the white people realize what the alternative is, perhaps they will be more willing to hear Dr. King.” Even Gandhi’s campaign of nonviolence was buoyed by the violent uprisings happening at the same time.
The reality is confronting, whether verbally or physically, the violence of Trump’s America is a moral obliigation, a humanizing act of self-defense. Bottom line is if you ain’t resisting you’re supporting. Don’t bring that unity nonsense my way. I will never unite with those who don’t see the humanity of people I love. I will battle them at every turn and in every way possible. Count me among the #ungovernable