Aug. 17th, 2017

rockinlibrarian: (voldemart)
Why do I keep talking about this? Why now? 

Because lately people have been giving Centrist types who like to See All Sides of the Story a bad name, and I have to speak up. Because I'M a centrist by nature. I'M all about seeing all sides of the story. I'M the one who doesn't like political arguments because I genuinely think all sides have good intentions and just have different ideas of what's the best way to go about things. You know me. You know this about me, if you've been following what I write for years. Giving all sides a voice is important to me.

Here's what's different now. Seeing all sides of the story means understanding that the majority of people who supported and continue to support the current government were not Evil People. Seeing all sides means understanding that their concerns really are about the fact that jobs are harder to come by, that these people are scared about how to support their families. I've done that "seeing all sides" part. I've been defending them for months from people who just wanted to write them off as at worst Evil and at best Stupid.

But that doesn't mean I won't judge what they DO with those intentions. It's like when my kid has a meltdown. I do my best to understand his feelings, that he's scared, unable to handle his emotions, feeling sensory overload. I get that. But that doesn't mean he's allowed to kick people and throw furniture. I don't say, "let him, he's just expressing his overwhelmed feelings."

Yeah, you say, but what about the people who don't resort to physical violence? Don't they have the right to say hateful things, too? Yeah, but that doesn't mean I won't call them out on it, either. Like I said, these people are scared about their livelihood, I get it, but they're wrong about the reasons, very very wrong, and it's important for me to speak up and correct them because history has shown time and again what happens when these "reasons" are allowed to fester, and it's NOT PRETTY.

Fascism is about finding scapegoats, turning people against each other so they don't turn on the people in charge instead. You can't find a job? Oh, maybe it's because all these immigrants are taking your jobs instead-- never mind that the jobs the immigrants took were not the jobs you wanted in the first place. Maybe it's because of Affirmative Action—never mind that the people who benefit from Affirmative Action were in even a worse spot than you before it was offered. There are all these people around with lifestyles you don't understand—maybe that's why my own life sucks, somehow. Really, it's the money-grubbers at the top of the food chain who are making your life miserable, but god forbid you turn on THEM... so they make sure you see your fellow unfortunates as the bad guys instead.

And it works. People love to have somebody to blame, and it's easier to blame someone they don't understand, someone they haven't gotten to know, someone they've only heard about through the actions of the very worst people in their group and the whisperings of people who want them to distrust each other. 

"But you're judging the alt-right by the actions of the very worst--" okay stop. This is what I'm trying to explain. Even if you're not getting violent, you're still WRONG, and I'm trying to correct you before it's too late. Dig? 

When I was a kid I was really into mid-twentieth-century world history. It was my absolute favorite historical fiction setting, and still is, when I get around to historical fiction (CODE NAME VERITY OMG). There was Big Time Blatant Evil at work, and I was fascinated and thrilled by the actions of ordinary people in the face of it. But, again, I KNOW this history. I know it's not just Indiana Jones punching Nazi soldiers. Much more often, it all hinges on quiet everyday actions— do you comply, because you're trying to be lawful, even if the law is wrong? Or do you defy the law and do what's morally RIGHT instead? 

I always wanted to be, as we say in D&D, Neutral-to-Chaotic Good instead of Lawful Neutral which-in-certain-circumstances-ie-a-Fascist-Government-leads-to-Lawful-Evil. But I worried about myself, because I don't like to rock the boat, you know. I don't like to make waves. Face it, in my practical, everyday life, I have been far more Lawful-Neutral than Neutral-Good, and I knew it. 

But now I can't stand by and let Lawful Neutral voices brush the serious dangers of fascist attitudes away with "let's just let them say what they have to say" and "oh, anti-fascists have been doing bad things, too, they've broken laws and expressed hatred toward the fascists." I can't be Lawful Neutral when this is going on. I'VE READ WAY TOO MUCH. 

I still believe—and dangit, this is something Anne Frank said after Fascists ruined her life and just before they killed her!—but yes, I still believe and I guess I always will (if Anne Frank could hold onto that attitude, then so can safe-and-privileged-I)—that the majority of people have good intentions. Yes, deep down, even the fascists. But that doesn't mean they're not WRONG. And in these cases, even the people who aren't really fascists, who don't consider themselves racist BUT, can unwittingly do great evil simply by remaining Lawful Neutral. By letting the attitudes of the fascists slip unchecked into mainstream society. The Nazi party was FULL of people "just doing their jobs." All I'm saying is DON'T. Stop. Don't let yourself be swayed by the convincing rhetoric of people who want you to hate your neighbor in the name of Patriotism. America was founded on Liberty and Justice for All-- if you want to be patriotic, THAT is the patriotism you must fight for. Not the idea of an America where Everyone Is Just Like You that the fascists are peddling. Because THAT'S NOT AMERICA.

After I wrote the other day, I kept thinking of other moments in my life when I've directly encountered the pervasiveness of hidden racism in our society. Even I, who LOVES EVERYBODY AND RESPECTS EVERYBODY and, well, you know me, it's kind of my thing and all—even I have had moments where I nearly fell prey to the undercurrent of racism, because it permeates our society. You need to be aware of it so you don't LET IT HAPPEN. And when it's NOT subtle? When it's blatant white supremacy chanting at you? You DEFINITELY don't let it happen. Good trumps Lawful. Human beings trump flags and statues. Sorry I keep using that verb, but, hey, Good trumps Being-afraid-to-say-Voldemort.

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