Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,

The Difference

I'm at Panera, and I don't really feel like writing anything in particular. But I do really feel like playing 4thewords, so Imma just ramble for a while. 

My Twitter feed is All Politics All the Time Now. A big popular thing is Punch Nazis in the Face. Some white nationalist dude got punched in the face and my Twitter feed is now all Pro-Violence All the Time. I am still not pro-violence against people who are not actually using force themselves. Like, sure, yes, if Nazis have declared war and are attacking people in the streets, you should definitely fight back. If Nazis have seized control of your government and are rounding people up to take them to concentration camps, that is a great time to start shooting Nazis. If Nazis have taken control of your government and are repealing the ACA, I am not sure violence is the optimal answer for that problem, though. Like I think you might still have other options you could explore. I mean, I don't remember the part where Obama started shooting GOP members so he could get the ACA passed so it's possible that's not necessary? Just a thought.

I recognize that the white nationalist creep who got punched has views far more contemptible than "repeal the ACA". But I am still a big fan of the first amendment and letting people voice their views no matter how gross and despicable. I advocate fighting speech with MORE SPEECH, not punching.

I didn't realize this was a controversial position. Apparently it is not only a controversial view, but possibly a minority one.

I don't talk about this on Twitter because Twitter remains literally the worst medium ever invented for talking about politics. I remember when I thought political ads on TV were the worst but wow, they are nuanced and rational compared to Twitter's PUNCH NAZIS IN THE FACE THAT WILL SOLVE EVERYTHING.

I don't really know where I draw the line and I am afraid at some point I will need to draw it.

A few people have linked to articles that talk about actual life under authoritarian regimes, and how in the real world most people live banal and ordinary lives under authoritarian governments. Like Americans have this picture of what countries under a dictatorship look like and it's all burning, hollowed-out cities and jackbooted thugs dragging people away in the middle of the night and broken families and ... that's not really what it looks like for most people living under oppression.

Some of my friends get deeply upset by these articles: "You're normalizing evil! You're saying authoritarianism is Not That Bad."

And I keep thinking, "No. They're saying that when authoritarianism happens here we are not going to notice. Because we expect it to look really obvious and horrible and it's not gong to be like that. If you keep exaggerating how bad it is to live under one then people are going to say 'This can't be what authoritarianism looks like! There's no fire anywhere!'"

I can't remember his exact words any more, but one of the things Koogrr used to say was "If this was an actual evil person doing [X], how would I know the difference?" Where [X] is any morally difficult choice.

How would I know the difference?

A lot of my Twitter friends are very angry at anyone who didn't vote for Hillary Clinton in the last election. In the "if you didn't vote for HRC you are irredeemably evil" kind of way.

I voted for HRC and I am ashamed to have Trump as my president and I hate that the GOP will soon control* all three branches of federal government. But I don't think the people who voted for Republicans or independents in the last election are evil, or stupid, or ignorant. I especially don't think they are irredeemable.

* I have to note that this is a value of "control" that doesn't actually have the kind of ideological solidarity that people generally think it does. It is, nonetheless, bad.

That last point is the most important to me. Because the truth is, history is full of people who supported and did horrible things, and I don't mean Nazis and Hitler. I mean George Washington, the father of my country, and Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence, both of whom owned and raped slaves. I mean Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the architect of the New Deal, who imprisoned tens of thousands of American citizens in internment camps for years solely because they were of Japanese descent. I mean that our heroes are problematic.

Like, a truckload more problematic than "opposes the ACA and doesn't trust Hillary Clinton."

The point where I knew I would never, under any circumstances, vote for Trump came for me in 2015, when he said that he supported banning Muslims from coming to America, including American citizens traveling abroad. The point where someone starts talking about internment camps based on race or religion like that is a reasonable step is the point where I am done. That is Not Acceptable.

But that he said it doesn't mean it's on his agenda of Things To Do, and I understand that, too. Lots of presidential candidates say things that please their base and no one expects them to do a thing on it. I can't say that I understand overlooking it. But I recognize that's what most of the people who voted for Trump did, for whatever reason, by whatever means.

There may come a point when it does come to this. When the government is rounding people up based on their religion and locking them up. And if that day comes, and people I know are defending that action -- if they say "Well, you know, Muslims, most of them are terrorists supporters" or otherwise try to justify that due process is unnecessary and irrelevant and this really isn't That Bad: that is the point where I will say "yup, you must be evil or stupid or ignorant."

That is the point where I will stop giving them the benefit of the doubt.

There are other lines to cross. Criminalizing homosexual behavior, say -- not just "outlaw gay marriage again" but "lock people up for having gay sex". I can live with the former but not the latter. Literally not the latter: I am one of the people who'd get locked up.

But we are not there yet. None of those things are on the table; they are not in bills before Congress or in acts that the president has authorized. The Supreme Court has not ruled that any of them are constitutional, and every recent judicial precedent goes NOPE NOPE NOPE on them. I know people are afraid that they will come to pass, but "afraid of what might happen" is not the same as "this is happening RIGHT NOW and ONLY VIOLENCE CAN STOP IT."

I don't believe in using violence to stop people from talking, even when what they talk about is, in fact, evil and stupid and ignorant.

That is principle; that is the first amendment. But it is also self-defense. Because whatever I support being done to people I disagree with may someday happen to me. Given the government we have right now, I expect it will happen to me first.

I thought a lot about whether or not I wanted to post this, because ugh, politics. Then I remembered that very few people read my journal these days, which is strangely empowering. *waves to the ten or so of you* *hugs you all* You will probably forgive me for being insufficiently in favor of violence. n_n
Tags: politics

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