Sunday, September 03, 2017

Open letter to Antifa (antifascist) because I don’t know how else to speak to you ... .

Your hearts are in the right place, folks, but your use of violence is a misguided strategy that begs correction before you do any more harm to the cause of freedom.

Know, first of all, that there is nothing new in these times; those vile chants, hurtful words, shameful taunts being heard from the Far Right are painfully familiar and almost archaic to most of us.  The only thing new is that the whole world is hearing that hurtful and vitriolic rhetoric for the first time — those voices have been amplified by social media and have become embarrassing to most ordinary folks of whatever race or ethnicity, many of whom were born after the dreadful struggles of the last quarter of the 20th century.

We should be grateful that the masks and dreaded hoods are down and the white sheets have been set aside in a new Era, and that those misguided souls are now neatly packaged and properly labeled under Alt-Right, KKK, Neo-Nazis, Militiamen, White Supremicists, etc., and are no longer hidden in plain sight — hidden in the pin-striped 3-piece suit of the local banker, the starched white apron of the admitting nurse, the insurance salesman, my children’s teachers, the local librarian, the Beat Cop, the gas station attendant, that bartender, and the social worker, all silently barring the way into the normal pathways that defined our lives in hostile white communities throughout the country.  They've become brash, audible, and unapologetic.  They are by now often armed and dangerous.  But they've become visible!

Those dissonant voices must not be driven back underground.  We’re all safer for their being out where they can be heard and countered with voices of Truth.

Grant them their Freedom of Speech.  Attend their meetings in peace.  Listen to what may, hopefully, be the last gasps of the Confederacy.  This is our history, and it needs to be processed if we’re to grow past the centuries of shame of it.

Attend, listen until you can no longer do so with dignity — then, and only then, stand, turn your back, and leave quietly.

If you do this successfully, and if my suspicions are right, by the time their program ends the hall will be empty.

It would be so sad if we’ve only replaced those dreadful white hoods and sheets with black masks and hoodies.  What a step backward that would represent!

I’m so aware that I’m now living in the future that I, and countless and nameless others, paid for through unbelievable pain and suffering in the tumultuous Fifties, Sixties, and Seventies.  I’m living in that future right this moment, with the full realization that I helped to create it!  My basic human rights have been affirmed and I can now join others in the fight to protect and defend our Freedom of Speech.  That’s progress in the never-ending struggle to form that more perfect Union.

Democracy will always be a work in progress.

We so outnumber the Fascists at this point in history, that their effect upon public opinion has been hopelessly blunted.  We must seize every opportunity to continue the work toward full equality and justice for all.  We can do this, but not with you skulking in the shadows.

We have nothing to hide.