November 27 2016 Dispatch #6 Day 19 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny (PAWSM)
I took a break from out-raging through dispatches and instead tried to manage my out-rage by cleaning. And dammit didn’t I find the November 5, 2008 New York Times and Washington Post saved in a drawer. And recalled with a jolt how amazed, and thrilled and joyous we all were then. Now we have learned the hard way that lots of white people didn’t feel that way then and were incited to feel change as deeply dangerous and the source of all discontent.
So yeah, like so many, I feel completely heartbroken. As much I am out-raged, I am equally heartbroken, stricken to my core. My goal every day is to wield out-rage in the service of Resistance to Normalizing. Charles Blow, New York Times columnist, insists on Resistance.
“It is hard to know specifically how to position yourself in a country that can elect a man with such staggering ineptitude and open animus. It makes you doubt whatever faith you had in the country itself……it is impossible for me to fall in line behind an unrepentant bigot. It will be impossible for me to view this man participating in the pageantry and protocols of the presidency and not be reminded of how he is a demonstrated demagogue who is also a sexist, a racist, a xenophobe and a bully….That is a person who must be placed under unrelenting pressure. Power must be challenged, constantly.” http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/10/opinion/america-elects-a-bigot/
“You don’t get a pat on the back for ratcheting down from rabid after exploiting that very radicalism to your advantage. Unrepentant opportunism belies a staggering lack of character and caring that can’t simply be vanquished from memory. You did real harm to this country and many of its citizens, and I will never — never — forget that….No, Mr. Trump, we will not all just get along. For as long as a threat to the state is the head of state, all citizens of good faith and national fidelity — and certainly this columnist — have an absolute obligation to meet you and your agenda with resistance at every turn.” http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/23/opinion/no-trump-we-cant-just-get-along/
America follows the election and reelection of our first black President with the election of a demagogue who brandished White Supremacy, Misogyny and bigotry for all?! How did this happen?! Actually the Republicans were very clear that their approach to President Obama would be the White Supremacy strategy (a proven winner since Nixon) – fanning the coals of bigotry, fear, and hatred at the image of a black family in the White House. Michael Harriot, editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead, nails this….his irony-laden tips are damming:
“As we prepare to enter the Trumpian era and return to the days when white supremacists openly rejoiced in victory and the White House kitchen had no seasoned salt, the question remains: What is the etiquette for living under a president whose mere presence makes your skin crawl? If President Barack Obama’s legacy leaves America nothing (except affordable health care, stability in the world economy, the lowest crime rate in decades and 16 million jobs), it has taught us how to antagonize the leader of the country with no regard or respect……When looking for ways to oppose a president who stands for the opposite of everything you believe in, look no further than the grand pooh-bahs of hate and hostility; the world champions of conflict; the people holding the patent for the haterade recipe: white people. For the last eight years, they have shown us the way, and now it is our turn to return the favor by using their tactics to thwart the efforts of our tangerine-tinted totalitarian.”
‘Identity politics’ is emerging as the latest excuse-oops-explanation for why we fumbled our election. To paraphrase: ‘The inordinate focus on the issues of particular groups, such as black people, women, Hispanics, LGBT people, has unfortunately caused white men to feel excluded. If we could just see all of ourselves as Americans who love our great country and celebrate American values!’SERIOUSLY?! Here is guidance for pushing back at this crap:
“Identity politics refers to the political interests of women, minorities, and other marginalized groups in American politics. These interests are far ranging and include everything from fighting for equal pay for women to fighting against police brutality in minority communities. Typically, identity politics has been used as a put-down by the alt left. By now, almost everyone has heard the insult: “She was engaging in identity politics, and not focusing on the real issues.” But what are the “real issues” which identity politics “distracts” us from? Generally, those who use identity politics as a deriding term want the left to focus on class instead of issues that pertain to the identities of marginalized people.” https://extranewsfeed.com/stop-calling-it-identity-politics-its-civil-rights/
“In his 1962 essay “Letter From a Region in My Mind,” James Baldwin identified the largest obstacle to progress in this country as the undying belief in American greatness. This is a myth that would have to be abandoned, he argued, if the country were to see itself as it truly is and redress its wrongs. Happily, there is at least one group in America who could see the matter with clear eyes, he wrote: “The American Negro has the great advantage of having never believed that collection of myths to which white Americans cling: that their ancestors were all freedom-loving heroes, that they were born in the greatest country the world has ever seen, or that Americans are invincible in battle and wise in peace. You would think that the election of Donald J. Trump on November 8 would, once and for all, dispel the myth of American greatness. But it continues to undergird our political conversations, including those that address how to move forward from this calamity” https://newrepublic.com/article/138943/enduring-importance-identity-liberalism/
The so-called founding fathers effectively endorsed slavery as engine for America’s economic growth – counting blacks as 3/5 of a person in the Constitution – and denied women the right to vote and citizenship rights. Resistance requires and depends upon rejecting reassuring mythologies, knowing the realities of American history, and calling out institutionalized White Supremacy, Misogyny, and xenophobia.
READ: A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn published in 1980.
What does resistance look like in action? In the District of Columbia, numerous grass-roots and community-based organization have been fighting for equity, justice and human rights for many years. Their work only becomes more critical with the ascendency of White Supremacy and Misogyny to the White House located here in DC. Here are two:
Organizing Neighborhood Equity (ONE) DC’s approach to community development since 1997 addressed structural causes of poverty and injustice based on deep analysis of race, power, and the economic, political, and social forces in DC neighborhoods. ONE DC’s organizing work centers on popular education, community organizing, and alternative economic development projects. http://www.onedconline.org/ Check out the victories!
Empower DC is a city-wide grassroots organization committed to building the power of low-income communities of color to create long lasting, positive change. For 14 years, community organizing campaigns have worked to save and improve public housing, to ensure all children have access to high-quality neighborhood public schools, and to support the residents of Ivy City as they improve their neighborhood. http://empowerdc.org/ Check out the victories!