Regarding Senator Sinema’s words, yesterday: I would muse on the…universality, if you will, of the toxic approach people like Senator Sinema take in all this. For it reminds me, again, of Dr. King’s words on this kind of person:
I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is:
- more devoted to “order” than to justice,
- who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice,
- who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”,
- who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom,
- who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.”
Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.
—-King, Martin Luther. “Letter from a Birmingham Jail [King, Jr.].” Upenn.edu, 16 Apr. 1963, www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html.[Edits mine – MisterDancer]
Why does the above matter? Because: There’s a saying in some social justice circles, that what’s needed aren’t Allies. They need Accomplices.
What does that mean? It means people who are willing to not just let go of prejudice, not just willing to address other’s prejudices when it’s convenient for them, but actively engaged in using their privilege to raise people up, and in – at the end of the day – engaged in the life—long work to dismantling their privilege.
They require people who will avoid taking up all the space so that all voices can be heard far more equally, than happens today. They underline that you cannot support a movement, while sucking at the teat of the forces that seek to break that movement.
And so, yesterday, Senator Sinema chose to take up all the space, to take up all the air. She chose to offer a negative peace, over justice.
She, and the other Senators, outspoken and silent, she stands with will say to their last breath, they are Allies. They will insist their stance is about doing the right thing, the right way. That they just can’t agree with the methods for direct action, to protect the stealing of votes. They insist there is time to find another convenient season, to address these issues.
In this, they are not far in words traded in our media from the deeper threat – the GOP who applaud these moves. The ones who see on the horizon a time when their cult of power cannot be broken, and their desire for power will go unchallenged. These are people who have not forgotten the truth of the Dixiecrats: for all their spoken hate of Black and Brown folx (among many others), they needed my ancestors. Jim Crow’s broken-assed economy meant they couldn’t just throw their bodies, or even minds, away. They couldn’t escape the reality, save by lying to everyone about it by claiming Jim Crow as the “moderate” stance, the stance of “good” people.
Indeed, “scientific racism” was invented so that Victorian-era people could feel good about treating groups of people like machines. And to do so while claiming they were Allies to the people they abused, just as slave owners came to say that Black folx were children who required a firm hand…indefinitely.
And that “good feelings first” mentality allowed 1700 of those slave owners to stand in Congress over the centuries. The very same American Congress, the seat of freedom, where Senator Sinema chose to defend their horrors in standing against voting rights.
After all, they were all good moderate people, to be certain. /s
People have always sought a way to be a moderate, a centrist, even in light of much of the worst humanity has done. To retain every bit of their privilege, a thing they “deserve” and have “worked hard for, unlike others”. To hold their space and never yield it, ensuring they and the people they “care” about are always seen as important, now and forever trapped in an amber poured of blood and pain.
There are trials and tribulations to come. And they come, in no small part, from what I’ve written above.
So, to you, the reader who made it through all this ramble: I’m going to try to use my energy here to be a better Accomplice. And I’m working through what that means, considering the current situation. What I can bring to light here to accomplish that mission, and to build connections and community — even if I have to be mean about it, sometimes. :)
Y’all hold me to task, on that, OK?