I’m still reeling from what happened in Charlottesville, especially since this president is still ‘both sides’ing the situation. He came out with a statement denouncing the KKK, but had to throw in ‘other hate groups’, and it was clear he was only saying it because he felt he had to. It shouldn’t take two days to say, “Fascism and white supremacy have no place in America. We will not tolerate Nazis in this country”, but that’s where we are right now. He got a lot of pushback for his lukewarm statement, tweeted his temper tantrum at being told it wasn’t good enough, and had a meltdown yesterday in which he said there are good guys in on the white supremacy side, honestly, and the ‘alt-left’ is just as bad as the ‘alt-right’.
I’m not surprised. I have to say that up front because this is who he is. Many of us minorities knew this from the very beginning, which is why we weren’t willing to ‘just give him a chance’. We didn’t need time to know he’s a racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic fuck, but if anyone had any doubt, his words yesterday should put that illusion to rest.
In addition, he’s a narcissistic, vindictive, petty man who can’t see anyone other than himself, and everything is about him. 24/7. Of course he had to make it about him because he’s incapable of doing otherwise. Of course he wasn’t going to denounce the white supremacist because he believes the same things they do. His grandfather was a slum landlord who did not want to rent to black people, and it’s clear the apple does not fall far from the tree. This president has said racist things time and time again about people of many different ethnicities, and he has white nationalists on his staff for fuck’s sake.
In other words, he’s no friend of minorities, and we’ve known that even before he ever ran for president. This is my way of saying while it’s disheartening that this president refused to full-throatedly denounce white supremacists, it’s not surprising in the least.
I was off Twitter for about twenty minutes when he made his announcement, and when I returned, I had a TL full of anger, disbelief, pain, and fear. This president had just signaled to his base–and, let’s be clear. His base are racist fuckers–that he is with them 100%. It was so appallingly bad, even Republicans were moved to denounce his message, albeit not directly to him. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan subtweeted the president saying that white supremacy is unacceptable. I said, “OK. What are you going to do about it?” Because words don’t mean shit if you don’t back it up with actions.
I think it’s really hard to explain to white non-Jewish people, even really supportive liberals, how exhausting it is to be a minority in this president’s America. Waking up every day, wondering how else he’s going to hate on me and my kin, it’s more than my brain–and heart–can take. I saw so many of my Twitter family in pain, and it broke my heart. I tweeted a message to them because I’m a caregiver even if I’m also cantankerous and a misanthrope, and I’ll post the beginning of the thread here.
Hey, Twitter fam. I know everything sucks. We’re in a crisis, daily bullshittery and all, but please take care of yourself.
— Minna Hong (@asiangrrlMN) August 15, 2017
I did it for myself, too, because I was becoming numb by constantly refreshing my TL. I knew the pain and anger was underneath the numbness, but my body was saying, “No. Too much.” I know it feels irresponsible to turn off the news, but I maintain that it’s more responsible in the long run to take breaks from the fuckery. As I said to someone on Twitter, I know what this president is, and I don’t have to read/hear every ignorant bit of gibberish that drops from his lips.
I had people thanking me for the reminder and letting me know how they were going to de-stress, and it made me feel better. I call myself Auntie Minna when I dispense this kind of advice because I really do feel like an elder, and I worry about my Twitter family. We are the freaks and the geeks, and many of us are much more sensitive to emotions than the general population, which means this is the kind of shit that will break us.
In the thread, I mentioned creative types and how it’s imperative that we continue creating. I know it may seem silly when we have actual Nazis marching on the street, but I firmly believe in the power of beauty and art, no matter the shape or form. Birth is important in the face of death, and we speak power to the truth with our paintings, writings, performances, and other creative outlets. In addition, we are the scribes of history, and we have to make sure that future generations (if we survive this regime) have an accurate picture of what has happened during this era.
I know that I’m reaching the point where my brain is shutting down for self-preservation. Today (Wednesday) is one of my offline days, and I need it desperately this week. Many years ago, I wrote a performance piece in which I said something like, “My bowl of compassion is almost empty”, and I know when I reach that point, I have to replenish it by withdrawing. Part of the problem is having someone around all the time (my mother) makes it more difficult for me to recharge my batteries. I can’t just not talk to her for twenty-four hours because that would be rude, but that’s the only way for me to recharge. Studiously avoiding the news and not talking to people is the only way I can do it. Petting Shadow and cuddling with him helps, and so does watching videos of my favorite music. Or clips of Lip Sync Battle. Or writing. Or reading. Basically, anything other than looking at the news.
One other thing: I have always railed against the term ‘alt-right’ because it’s what they called themselves in order to rebrand. They’re savvy enough to know that calling themselves white supremacists, fascists, Nazis, or even white nationalists is not a good look, so they came up with alt-right. The slavish media was more than eager to go along with it, with some of them even gushing about how cool the alt-right was.
They are white supremacists. Name them, shame them, and let them know they have no place in our society. Don’t give them even the thinnest veneer of respectability by using the milquetoast term, ‘alt-right’. They do not deserve that. Now, there are articles about how they’re scared to show their faces because of the backlash for marching in Charlottesville.
Good. They should be afraid. And don’t give me any false equivalence bullshit about, “Minna, would you want BLM believers to be afraid when they march?” There’s a thing called context, which we’ve decided in America doesn’t matter. Marching in protest of police violence is not the same as marching in support of the genocide of Jews and/or people of color. I cannot believe I have to say this or to reiterate that this isn’t a matter of free speech in two thousand and fucking seventeen, but here we are.
As a society, we have an unspoken agreement about the basic levels of decency that we as one will espouse. One is that we will not advocate for the eradication of our fellow citizens. Again, I don’t believe I have to fucking say this, but here we are. I feel like a fucking broken record at this point, and I’m done trying to explain why it’s not just words. If some white liberals can’t understand that, well, then I can’t help you.
I will say it must be nice to be so removed from the hatred to be able to tsk-tsk others who are on the direct receiving end of the vitriol for being too harsh or acting in ways they (safe white liberals) deem uncivilized. “What those people are saying/doing is bad, but why do you have to respond with violence?” “Yes, the statues are terrible, but tearing them down is vandalism!”
I’ve been saying if you’re on the side of Nazis, then you’re on the wrong fucking side. I don’t think there are any liberals who will disagree with that. However, some balk at the idea of outing them or getting them fired. Again, I can understand a modicum of discomfort because I’m against doxxing in general, but–and you knew there would be a but–this is not a case of someone just being a dick–this is about incitement to violence, and we cannot tolerate that in a civilized society.
You don’t get to be a white supremacist part-time. You can’t be Jason* the good guy at work during the week, helping your coworkers and putting in the extra hours, then go to a Nazi rally on the weekends Sieg Heiling talking about the Final Solution, then go back to work as if it were no big thing. You cannot be just a little bit fascist–you either are or you fucking aren’t. And, no, there were no ‘good guys’ on the side of the KKK, Mr. fucking President.
THERE ARE NO GOOD NAZIS. Jesus fucking Christ. Again, do I really have to say this? If you’re on the side of David Duke, you are on the wrong fucking side! It used to be that all Americans could agree with this, but this is actually a divisive issue now in America.
I can’t. Even. It’s what I can’t.
One last thing before I go. There is no alt-left that can come close to the equivalent of the so-called alt-right (white supremacists). This is what I tweeted on that subject:
We on the so-called alt-left want single-payer healthcare, repro rights, a living wage, and equality for all.
— Minna Hong (@asiangrrlMN) August 15, 2017
There is no comparison–there simply isn’t. We liberals like to reach out to everyone and to try to find common ground. I’m especially guilty of this because I’m a mediator at heart. However, in this case, I draw the fucking line. If you are on the side of the white supremacist, KKK, fascists, and Nazis, then you are the opposition. Period.
*Random name. Not mentioning anyone specific.