CONTENT NOTE: This goes into very heavy, sensitive themes regarding current events. Reader discretion is advised.
“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind…” – Mahatma Gandhi
Unless you’ve been living under a rock this last week, things have been absolutely insane in the world with the build-up and ultimately, outcome, of the US Election.
As we’ve seen, Joe Biden is set to be the 46th President of the United States of America, with Kamala Harris as his running mate, making her the first woman, the first Black woman and the first woman of South Asian descent, to be Vice President.
I live in the UK, and am British born and raised, but nevertheless, like many around the world, I have been glued to American politics recently, in particular the last four years, with Donald ‘Orange Fascist’ Trump at the helm.
Those of you who know me, know that I (and I don’t say this lightly) despise that man with every fibre of being. A divisive, racist, xenophobic, violence inciting, pussy-grabbing, narcissistic (I could go on forever) etc. despot who refuses to condemn white supremacy is not what America, or anyone for that matter, needs in a President. Yes, as you can tell, I really do not like the man.
While there’s quite a few policies of Joe Biden’s I disagree with (policy-wise, Bernie Sanders is more my wavelength) it’s good to see a President-elect that seems to actually care about Americans across the board. I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to hear someone, soon to be heading for the White House, saying they’ll listen to the science regarding the pandemic and climate change. Phew, it was like a breath of fresh air!
Of course, first impressions can be deceiving, especially in politics. But from what I saw of him as Obama’s VP, I’m keen to see how his presidency, in particular the first one hundred days, will go for him the and the soon-to-be Madam Vice President.
Now, with the result being called and a fascist hopefully stopped from causing four more years worth of damage, it’s very obvious there is still a lot of work to be done. America is a divided country, as is the UK. The entire world is divided right now, and it’s easy to quote that infamous Old Testament line, ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.’ in the fight against hatred and division.
I’ll admit, it’s incredibly easy to do just that. In light of everything, like after the end of the last war, the need for revenge was strong and understandable. However, revenge without reason can lead even the best of people to do truly reprehensible, unforgivable things. Then how are you any better from that person? You wouldn’t be. Am I saying leave fascism be? Absolutely fucking not. Over my rotting corpse will I ever think that.
I’m saying rise far and high above it. Like Michelle Obama says: When they go low, we go high. Fascism and its adjacent fundamentalist ideologies, will always need fighting, from at the dinner table to the most powerful positions in the world. From the street protests to the pulpit, our commitment to democracy and caring for others, fighting against marginalisation of already marginalised people will never, and should never stop.
Lifting each other up in the face of those who wish to tear us down and apart. Instead of plucking out our only seeing eye after the other has been injured and infected, use it to treat the other, drawing out the infection and applying the treatment.
I’ll admit, it has given me great joy seeing that awful man be brought down a number of pegs through the result of a, from multiple reports from experts and lawmakers, fair and smooth electoral process. It’s great seeing someone truly horrid get his authoritarian orange arse kicked by people who’ve just had enough. The schadenfreude is palpable. Given everything he has done, and how many have died in this pandemic due to his failures to act, I firmly believe he should be subject to the full force of the law that being in office has protected him from for all these years.
But as my Nan and her mother before used to say, when we’d be angry, or even incensed at someone or something truly horrific, she would say if she was around today: ‘Don’t you worry. God doesn’t pay his debts in money.’
This was meant to comfort us, to tell us to focus on what needs to be done in front of us, while whomever is dealing with their wrongdoings, be it lawmakers or a higher power, if you believe in such things, will take care of it. Doing better, being better, rising above their insult slinging by exacting positive change in droves, the kind of thing they despise, is the best revenge. Looking hatred in the face and saying, ‘I’m not scared of you.’ and seeing the whites of its eyes, because it feeds off fear.
Right now, it seems like we are the clean-up crew for the trail of destruction that has been left behind, and you’d be right. You might feel we shouldn’t have to be, and that’s understandable. But right now, we’ve got a job to do: clean up and rebuild.
As Stephen Colbert in one of his recent monologues, recited Edmund Burke’s well known quote: ‘All it takes for evil to succeed, is for a few good men to do nothing.’ This rings remarkably true, as that’s all it takes for history to start repeating itself.
So while democracy may have won a battle here, the war is far from over.
Black people and people of colour are still being targeted by racist individuals, both in and out of powerful positions and subject to police brutality.
Reproductive rights are being scaled back in multiple American states.
Indigenous communities are still being erased, and Indigenous women are going missing and/or being murdered at alarming rates.
LGBTQ people are still being prejudiced against, thrown out and disowned by their families, subjected to conversion therapy, ‘corrective’ rape, exorcisms and even being murdered.
The list is endless.
So in the face of fascism, as long as you draw breath, the fight against it never stops. Like I said, we’ve got a job to do.
See you at work.
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