The Great Reckoning
I recently read an article* written by a young woman who was raised as (her words) a Christofascist -- the far-right Christian fringe that also have a right-wing (some call it alt-right) political and social agenda. In her article, she talks of being prepared for the 'culture wars.' [Mao, anyone?]
The things that most impressed me about the information she provided about her upbringing (she has since left the movement), was the level of organization she talks about and how it is they have managed to take over american government right now.
The author mentions homeschooling groups as being key to how people behind this movement have organized and spread their ideology and message. I am not against homeschooling. I believe taking control of your children's education is actually a very positive thing. But, like any tool, it can be a weapon, if you hold it right.
But, liberals are having a hard time organizing in a way that sustains momentum long enough to gain and redistribute power to the people -- which is what they say they want... right? I wanted to talk about why I think that is...
...if I said it once, I said it a thousand times. We've grossly underestimated their sheer numbers...
& how organized they are...
and they believe, more than anything that they (alone) are right - even ordained by god in their rightness. This gives them the drive and the self-appointed authority to win at all costs & a willingness to sacrifice everything for their cause.
Their ideologies are not the problem, ultimately, though.
Any power they wield on behalf of their ideologies, now that is the problem.
Any power they wield beyond themselves must come from the rest of us... Refuse to give them your power by refusing to give them your support.
We must start simple conversations. Real conversations. Conversations that end in organization & action that end in Organizations that lead to Coalitions.
But there are some fundamental conversations that must happen first...about the history of this country, the divisions and why they are still here, the blindnesses (willful and otherwise).
A Great Reckoning is called for.
america has tried to avoid it.
It can no longer be avoided.
Because we'll need each other as our world changes.
Not as americans...because think about what that means... really think about it. what is an 'american,' what heritage is that?
We need each other as fully acknowledged human beings, living products of unique historical pasts and heritages, with roots that must be respected, with rights of self-definition and Self-Determination respected, with our differences respected and cultivated, equally possessing the power of self-sovereignty evidenced by consciousness itself. Power relations among us must finally be talked about unapologetically and renegotiated fearlessly.
Because... tell the truth… we lack fundamental trust in one another – in ways deep and old.
Yet, this is in keeping with the circumstances we've arranged, natural consequences of generational wealth built on blood and death and a perpetual inequalities.
However... we need trust to cooperate. So, where do you get it?
Does WalMart carry it? Amazon? Anybody got a coupon?
We’ll not come through what is coming for us as a consequence of all of our different but joined inheritances here in this country without some ground-level trust issues addressed. We won’t be able to work together for any sustained period and with enough force without it - no trust, no solidarity.
This, however, is what is implicit in these Christofacist groups, these white supremacist groups, these altRight groups that we deny exist in the numbers that they do because we still call them Mama, Daddy, Uncle Jimmy, Dr. SoAndSo, Pastor Whoever, Grandaddy. These far-right folks trust each other to be on the same page and in lock step with their agenda. That implicit trust is what builds the bridges needed to organize.
They also have something else that the rest of us don’t: homogeneity. That makes it easier, and deceptively so. Many of us more open-minded folks get confused by this and think that we must also exhibit some sort of homogeneity in order to come together and fight alongside one another. I’ve seen it from many different sides of this oddly shaped conference table called human relations. I’ve seen it from the ‘minority’ side where you suppress your ethnicness to fit in to the ‘mainstream’ so that you can stand up for causes you also believe in but that are beyond your pale. I’ve seen women suppress their feminine instincts and uniquely feminine ways of problem-solving and deliberating only to adopt masculinized thinking patterns so they could get a seat at the table, still begging for scraps of acceptance. I’ve seen the white folks who desperately want to be 'down' for the cause and join the revolution & switch up their whole way of speaking and acting and dressing and being in this world to prove they are, indeed, down with the brothas and sistas in the struggle.
We should resist encouraging folks to do this. Because, when I stand on the front lines to disobey tyranny, to withdraw my support from oppressive leaders and policies and systems, I need you there…not some reasonable facsimile. I need a whole human brotha/sista, grounded in who they uniquely are and where they uniquely came from so that when the fascists try to convince us to be suspicious of one another, we see the lies right behind their teeth and we laugh…’cuz the game is over, the jig is up, and we can see the lie clearly through clear heads & clear eyes. You can’t see the world clearly when you don’t see yourself clearly. You can’t know what is in your best interest or the best interest of your people when you don’t know who “you” are, when you’re too busy pretending to be someone else.
This pretending for acceptance is all inauthentic in my view, because it doesn’t get us closer to resolving any big issues in our society like patriarchy, european & white supremacy, class warfare, exploitation of & contempt for the poor, global imperio-capitalist exploitation, colonial attitudes, and policies, etc., etc. As an author and a lover of words, ‘authentic’ takes on a meaning for me of being an author of one's own life, a composer of truth in your own lived reality.
The need to be accepted by a group is so strong in humans that it’s easy to exploit. It runs on autopilot in a deep background in all our minds. These fascists know this and use it to their advantage. We could, too... but differently.
I need to trust that when you act for your interests and the interests of your tribe, you understand that our interests are there intertwined...because though we are diverse (and must be so for our survival as a species), we are equal in our importance to the human experience, equal in our value for what perspective we uniquely hold and bring to bear, equal in our power to create positively in the our own lives and the life of our world.
Too much noise &fury has been given to trying to make us all “equal.” We aren’t. We were never supposed to be. Only when we lose control of our ability to define our world in terms that matter to us, terms that empower us - when we are, in fact, disempowered - do we find fault with saying this or that person or group has greater ability in this way or that. Particularly when we speak of “intelligence.” This fear that somehow you can be lacking in intelligence is to radically misunderstand intelligence. You don’t possess it; it Is. You wouldn’t be alive without it, and it shows itself in many different, simple, and elegant ways. And… most of all, what most mean by ‘intelligence’ is simply mental calculations of a sort, cogitation, and conscious translations of the apparently real world. And mental gymnastics is, by no means, the pinnacle of the human abilities. Far greater are the skills of compassion, empathy, creating art, social negotiation, and I’d argue also the ability to move rhythmically against gravity in time and space creating ever more complex patterns of movement (read: dance).
We aren’t equal.
Shocked? Appalled? Aghast? It’s true. Look around you.
We were never meant to be equal, in the sense of sameness, which is what most people mean when they say that we are equal. When most people say “we’re all equal” they are most often speaking in superficial terms that are simply too shallow to encompass what human beings actually are to one another. We are like the cells and organs in our bodies – varied in form and function, but not in importance and ultimate necessity. Try doing without some of your organs; choose which has to go and which stays, which are expendable and which aren’t. Hard, huh? Nearly impossible? Yet… this is the exact attitude we have about each other, as if some of us are more important to the human body than others. In our hubristic idiocy, we marginalize parts of ourselves because we’ve made the lines we’ve drawn and the compartments we’ve fashioned a little (a lot) too real. You know... we still don’t quite know what the appendix is for, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t serve a function that we may very well be too ignorant to discover yet. We look on our human body the same way we’ve been programmed in western society to look on our individual bodies – in pieces, disjointed and misaligned with some bits disposable when we can find no use for them, no cure for the pain and discomfort they cause us. An ultimate irony -- feeling isolated and separate while feigning equality.
Why is it so hard to hack this programming for most of us? To see that every eyelash, every fingernail, every lung cell, and nerve ending has a different purpose and function that can be nurtured to a shining fulfillment ? And, if it’s hurt, injured, injuring others… heal it rather than simply cut it out, or poison it, like so much cancer. […I hear echoes of Chicago and Flint and Standing Rock and Ferguson]
Why can't we shake it, these thoughts that different is bad, but we must all be the same?
Because we aren't honest with ourselves...
about our differences being necessary
If we are equal, we are equally different, and in ways that cannot be bleached out, beaten out, lynched out, or starved out.
We are equally valuable and equally powerful and very different, even as we are nestled in the same human flesh of the same human family, and our institutions, societies, and relationships should embrace this apparent paradox and reflect it back to us. We are one flesh, with sacred differences that must be more than tolerated; they must be vaulted, celebrated, edified.
The Great Reckoning is here.
And, if we miss this opportunity to do it & do it as completely as we can...
If we choose not to really reconcile the great power that is Us, that is each one of us... if we won't acknowledge that power – to be effective – must be shared...
Well, our next chance may not occur on this planet or on this plane of life.
Organize. Strategize. Act. Reassess. Repeat.
Are you prepared to not only resist but disobey? Until we win? Until fascism under any guise has no power? Until the doctrine of supremacy that isolates and marginalizes, compartmentalizes and demonizes is finished? Until this philosophy that holds one ever-superior and the other ever-inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned as Haile Selassie I has admonished?
These calls for solidarity can't be met, until we reckon the whole past. Because unlike a fascistic movement that wants and cultivates blind followership and obedience, a movement of liberation, a movement to free everyone must cultivate deep, meaningful relationships bridged with substantive lifelines of trust.
And I can't [shouldn't] trust you with your foot on my neck...
If not now…
You betta get ready, 'cuz here it is.
*Here's a link to the article to which I was responding: