I had something I wanted to say, but this guy said it better.
Once again for emphasis: none of us are free unless all of us are free. You could call it the principle America was founded on. It took us a while to live up to the idea. It took a long while to be honest. But by the late Obama years we got pretty close. I think most 21st century Americans would be hard pressed to disagree with the point if you phrase it that way.
You know what this week looks like to me? All the specters that King banished from polite society have started coming out of the woodwork. White supremacy has always been part of the weft and weave of the American tapestry but it flew far out the Overton window even by the time Nixon met Atwater. Those spirits always hated the closet. Nobody likes hiding or feeling ashamed. Frankly we should meditate on the precipitous fall of the confederate flag after the Roof shootings in Charleston. The speed at which the flag became anathema even shocked me. Wal-Mart ejected it. South Carolina’s legislature (!) ran from it. The haters’ political support abandoned them practically overnight after Roof was arrested. The floor just fell out under them. Trump must feel like water in the desert.
If they want to attack King then maybe we should answer with King. Dust off the old SNCC playbook. Right now the protests I see look more like a haphazard cry of inchoate rage than activism. It seems counterproductive. Hillary had a point about those baskets. You want the decent half to feel embarrassed about the shitheads, not drive them together by tarring every Trump voter as a hater or a nazi. You probably recognize this as our current strategy for dealing with difficult Muslim populations. When possible you want to fight with the reasonable ones against the jihadis.
How to stand up effectively? I have two suggestions, and the first one is easy. As I said before just look out for each other. Don’t bury your grief or deny it, let it drive you to do something productive. If you have some cash Donate to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, SPLC, the ADL, whatever. Look for a chance to make someone’s life better. Wear a safety pin as a reminder to act if you see someone else in trouble. Volunteer for a group that needs it. Maybe just spend more time with your friends, family and neighbors. Ask for help if you need it. Listen to people. Hell, this is good life advice dressed up as a master plan. Growing an activist network that can be flexible, resilient and activate fast when needed is a happy externality.
The second thing I hope to see is smarter protesting. Folks, there is a difference between making change and cathartic release. Non-horrible Trump voters like modern civilization and the general idea of equal protection. Most of them are in denial about the rottens, but that does not mean they like white supremacy or bullying. Really, I am not crazy. The civil rights protests of the 60s would have been hopeless if most Americans were violent supremacists. It turns out that if you make the decision stark enough between equality and hateful, fearful violence, most people will choose equality. I get that leaderless, distributed, bottom-up activism is the thing now but I suggest we look back to some folks who left deep footprints in American history for tips. John Lewis is still around. We could do worse than check out how he did it, and maybe just ask him.