A while back, when I wrote out in plain words that we have a politically dominant death cult ruling America right now, I worried about the risks of saying my opinion so straightforwardly. As you might expect, I did get a good number of people saying I was exaggerating, or being too extreme and polarizing. Tonight, as we pause and try to recover from the emotional impact of a violent coup attempt that culminated in seditionists storming the U.S. Capitol during the midst of the certification of the results of our Presidential election, it seems all of our voices weren't loud and extreme enough.
This is something of a refrain. Back in 2016, hours after Trump was elected, I wrote a piece imploring us all to get to work:
These are battles that have always taken decades to fight, and progress has never been smooth and steady — we’ve always faced devastating setbacks. If you need to take time to mourn, then do. But it’s imperative that we use our anger, our despair, our disbelief to fuel an intense, focused and effective campaign to protect and support the marginalized.
And it has to start now.
More than four years later, I still feel the same way.
Knowing This Pain
Much of the initial social and cultural response has focused on the obvious rank hypocrisy of the pathetically weak response to these insurrectionists attacking one of our most sacred political processes in one of our most hallowed national spaces. And sure, that's a valid critique; I hold little hope for any real accountability.
But what's even more distressing to me is seeing the grief and anxiety of people who have been watching all this progress with the inevitability of watching a car head off a cliff. Whether it's the marginalized in the U.S. who were loudly trying to warn us, because they know their history, or those traumatized by having endured similar chaos in their native countries, it's horrific to witness the pain of those who have been cursed with the burden of being right.
The only real solace is the knowledge I've kept returning to over the last several months: Know that coups have been stopped by regular folks.
Even in a moment of grief, of despair, of rage and disbelief, those of us who still believe in systems that could be just, who still hold out hope that someday we could live under systems that are fair and free, have to remind each other that we hold so much power. While we must say we're not surprised by how cynical and savage this death cult can be, we also have to instill in each other a sense of hope and purpose, and remember that this frantic and hateful effort is not stronger than the values and resolve of those who have compassion in their hearts.
I'm so sorry to everyone who was right.