Friday, January 20, 2017

Singing Songs of Resistance: I Will Not Go Back As Trump Presidency Seeks to Pull My Nation Back While Right-Wing White Christians Applaud

Ruthless exploitative capitalism has decisively unmasked itself now as a deeply anti-human force, as it colludes with white ethnonationalism and right-wing Christianity to dismantle liberal democracy throughout the world. The election of Donald Trump is one result of this collusion.

Ruthless, anti-human, exploitative capitalism wants us to imagine that there are no songs to be sung and no stories to be told other than it song and its story. This is a wearisome, canned song and story designed to make us imagine we need more things in order to be happy, and that a few of us deserve to win the capitalist lottery while most of us deserve to lose.

There are more songs and stories in the world than that tired (and malicious, and false) song and story. There are far more songs and stories in the world than the song and story of Donald Trump. As he takes office, I am listening to some of the songs that feed my soul and help me resist, as Trump comes to office. Here are some of them. Perhaps you have others to recommend in comments here.

I will not go back. I will not go back to a world based on the presupposition that people's worth is to be estimated by the color of their skin or the fatness of their pocketbook rather than the content of their character.

I grew up in a world that took such assumptions for granted. As I reached early adolescence, eye-opening and gut-wrenching experiences allowed me — I have no idea why I was "given" such experiences, the ability to see as socially constructed what others around me took to be natural and divinely ordained — to recognize the deep, filthy injustice of the racially segregated system of ordering the world in which I was schooled as a boy.

These experiences culminated in an excruciating learning experience, a tutelage in how things really are in the "real" world, when three of my high school classmates, white boys, shot a black boy in cold blood during my last year of school — and were exonerated by the court in our white-controlled, racist community in south Arkansas. Though the whole town had reason to consider them guilty, and talked freely about this behind closed doors . . . .

I will not go back. I refuse to be pulled back — in any shape, form, or fashion — to that world. Because some of my own relatives, with white evangelical upbringings like mine, chose during the years of the Obama presidency to reveal that they are still captive to that racist worldview and voted for Donald Trump due to their rage at the Obama legacy and desire to see it dismantled, I fully understand that my refusal to let myself be pulled backwards is a declaration that I am alienated from many of my own family members and people living all around me.

If this is the price I have to pay for refusing to let my mind, heart, and soul be corrupted by hatred, prejudice, complacency in the face of injustice: so be it. I refuse to barter my soul for the mess of pottage now delighting these relatives of mine as they applaud and laugh with joy that Donald Trump will now be president of the U.S. Their president . . . .

We're told over and over by media scolds (who live in places in which they never rub shoulders with such people) that we must "understand" and have compassion for such fellow citizens. I agree that our compassion should not ever be constrained; compassion must be unlimited in its scope if it's to mean anything at all.

But compassion does not mean collusion. What I fully understand about these family members and fellow citizens is that they have they have allowed their minds and hearts to become stunted, their souls to become tiny and barren — because they have fed their minds, hearts, and souls with carrion racial prejudice and rotten racial hatred. They cannot and will not see beyond skin color as they size up the worth of other human beings including the Obama family with its stellar witness to the best in human nature in eight years of an Obama presidency.

Arkansas Times 12 January 2017

They may choose to remain in or revert to that world in which we came of age. I will not do so. I will not go back. I intend now to resist in every way possible — since the entire meaning of the new presidency is summed up in the wish of a belligerent minority of American citizens including 4 in 5 white evangelicals and 3 in 5 white Catholics and Mormons to pull our country back to that point.

For my part, I do not intend to let my country be pulled backwards. It's my country as well as theirs. I will resist and keep resisting with all the strength I can now muster.

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