Just Say No

There have been many reasons why I have stayed silent until now, most of them involving sheer exhaustion, and a considerable commute. But with every passing day, I find that my incredulity has grown at the sheer incompetence and buffoonery that is issuing outward from this nation’s capitol in what can only be equated to some sort of pus-filled discharge. As I lay down to bed, to put the day firmly behind me, I tell myself that tomorrow will bring reason and resistance, that this series of unspeakable events will not be allowed to continue any further.

And then I wake up and am shortly thereafter proven wrong.

During the primary season, I postulated that this country was sick, and that we faced three choices as to how we could address it. The first was to go and see a trained professional, take the damned medicine, and start to get better. Unfortunately, that option was removed during the Democratic Primaries (which caused me to think back on the anti-vaxxer movement).

Hillary, I said, was technically medicine, though more of the over-the-counter variety. A dose of DayQuil to keep us going another four years, and hoping we might rough it out before then. Here’s the thing: while not actually harmful, DayQuil can be dangerous, as it allows you to ignore your symptoms, which can potentially result in far greater harm. Alas, that option was also removed from us at the end of Election Day (much as Sudafed is kept under lock and key because people say you’ll use it to make meth).

Trump, I said, was the unabated fever. He would be the crucible in which we would find ourselves. Like a fever (which is the body’s defense mechanism), Donald Trump’s ascendance was a perfectly natural response toward an illness. But, also like a fever, if left unchecked, or if the illness is too strong, can be just as harmful. Trump would either kill us or cure us (and not in the way he might imagine).

We would either rally together and say, “No more!” (to continue the metaphor, rally the immune system and battle back against the pathogens), or we would cease to be (dead). We would face our finest moment of decency against unutterable vileness, or we would succumb to the lies and hatred, at which point, perhaps we didn’t deserve the right to be Americans anymore. Either way, we’d have earned our fate.

During the presidency of George W. Bush, I realized that I would not live in fear. Life was uncertain and terrifying enough as it was without stirring in an extra helping of existential dread. And when I moved down to California, and was exposed to a plethora of cultures and beliefs, I began to understand that, deep down, most people, at least on an individual basis are, more or less, okay.

But we all get caught up in our daily lives, our struggles with the little things (and larger), and it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that we are all more similar than not, want the same things more often than we do not. That we have more in common with one another than we might be willing to admit.

It’s far too easy to turn your frustration on someone you’ve been told is the root of all your problems, especially if it’s patently obvious, upon quiet circumspection, that there is no way that they could truly pose a threat to you. And yet we so rarely have even a precious moment to ourselves, that we allow the hatred to wash over us, and drag us out to sea. Even if we keep our heads, and can dismiss the lies out of hand, by the time we realize what’s going on, there’s nothing we can do.

Someone once said that it is possible to commit no errors and yet still lose. That someone was Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise, but that’s of no moment.

The fact is that we are facing a crisis of conscious on a national level, and the time to act has come. Do we allow ourselves to dream of a time which never was, back when America was Great (By this, of course, I am aiming a subtle nod to the reality that the Greatness of America was predicated upon the Misery of anyone who was White and Wealthy)? Or do we face ourselves at last, admit, once and for all that there’s a chance that the time for this nation’s greatness has not passed, but rather, has yet to come?

There is a darkness spreading through the Western World, in the form of imaginary shadows seen from out of the corner of the eyes of men who have proclaimed that theirs is the only “true” democracy. There has been a normalization of hate, a subversion of free speech, and false cry for equality demanded by those who have against those who haven’t.

This contest is not truly White versus Everybody Else, Straight versus The Entire Spectrum, Christian versus the Godless Heathens. It is, as it has always been, about those with Power and Money against those who would like to stop being Powerless and Poor.

It is not enough to recognize this threat, though it would be a hell of a start. No, it will take more than the shaking of heads and the despairing of fragile hearts. The time will come when there can be no other action to be taken but one bourn from the ragged wounds from which gush rivers of innocent blood.

Together, there is nothing which we cannot manage to accomplish, but as long as we accept the notion that there is nothing we can do, then we will fulfill that prophecy to its final letter, watching as we’re stripped of everything which we hold dear, and left with nothing but mumbled recriminations. And it wasn’t as if we didn’t know that it was coming. Or perhaps we just believed that it would never be our turn.

And when all we have left are words, let’s launch them, then, like a storm of flaming arrows toward the very heart of darkness, that their burning glories may light the way for Truth to follow.

Now is the time for action, before the price becomes too high. Let us remember words uttered from the past by people who sought to hold us down, and take them for our own. Let us look them in the eyes and Just Say No.

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