I look back at things I have written previously, things I thought might be too harsh at the time, and now see them as too gentle and too indirect.
Many scholars say you will never convince someone by attacking their beliefs. You need to show sympathy and empathy even if they spout the most vile or false things. Then you have to take time, have lengthy discourse, and wait for the person to begin to curiously peek out of their own safe bubble before change can even begin to happen.
I have tried variations on that for over four years. It has been like sitting in a house on fire, trying to talk in a soft, patient, understanding voice to another person to convince them we should douse the flames or leave. Well now, the flames engulf the house entirely. No time for patience. Either I grab the person, or we die.
We have run out of time. So here I am.
“What upon earth is the matter with the American … people? … The national edifice is on fire. Every man who can carry a bucket of water, or remove a brick, is wanted.”
– Frederick Douglass, “Fighting Rebels with Only One Hand”, 1861.
This country is diverse in thought and culture.
That means I have to accept that someone can love this country but not be able to stand democracy or equality if that means everyone gets the same justice and opportunity.
I have to accept that someone can love this country and not love the republic.
I have to accept that someone can love this country and not care about fascism, or an executive administration that has been lining its own pockets at the expense of the safety, welfare, and lives of its citizens to a degree not even previous highly corrupt administrations managed.
I have to accept that someone who vehemently demands an uncompromising interpretation of the Second Amendment so that citizens can be armed against government overreach and to defend the Constitution does not care when that they hypocritically chose to defend only one part of the Constitution with those guns — the Second Amendment itself — and will ignore the government violating the rest of the Constitution. That person will still claim to love this country, because they love the part of it that lets them run around playing toy soldier and screaming in anger and hate and fear an anyone who disagrees with their intolerant screed.
I have to accept that those people all see themselves as sterling patriots because they love that this country lets them place their priorities exactly in opposition to some of the most cherished and hallowed principles of this nation.
I have to accept that when some people say they love this country, what they mean is they love that it lets them belong to a tribe and equate belonging to the tribe for love for the entire country.
I have to accept that those who see this current president as a savior or a vastly superior choice to the Democratic presumptive nominee honestly do not care if the Constitution or the republic continue. Neither are really the part of this country they love, even if they cannot admit that to themselves yet.
I am tired of being nice about what this means. I am tired of being patient. I am tired of trying to soft-peddle this. We have run out of time. At this point, if someone cannot see the danger of continuing with Trump as president or along the path his Republican enablers have laid out for this country, I am forced to accept that while they say they love this country, they do not care what happens to the vast majority of people in it or if this democracy continues.
You want to stay conservative or right-leaning? Fine. Do that. But if you want to save this democracy or the people in it, you have to suck it up, like I did in 1998, and vote for someone with whom you don’t agree for the sake of the greater good for this country, your fellow Americans, and yourself. And you must vote out the Republican enablers too.
You can reform your party afterwards. Heck, rebuild a new one from the ground up. Leave the far-Right terrorists and fear mongers to be on the fringe again where they belong, instead of running your party and dictating to you. You can still have your tribe. You can take a cautious approach to change. You can cling to old traditions. You can shake your head or your finger at the crazy liberals.
But right now, there is a clear and present danger to this entire country if we continue as we are. I am not just talking about COVID-19, but also about all the crumbling systems COVID-19 has revealed. I am talking about an America that has lost crucial ground in global markets, business opportunity, global bargaining and negotiation, and global good will. I am talking about an America that must take mitigating steps toward addressing ongoing incredible ecological disaster now before the shrinking window closes. I am talking about an America that is watching the rights of every American erode before their eyes. I am talking about an America that cannot even govern itself because one party has become so obstructionist it can accomplish next to nothing even when it dominates all three branches of government.
Continuing to reward those that put us on this path ratifies their plan to continue it, and we are already reaching a point of no return.
As the federal special militarized police sent into Portland began violating citizens Constitutional rights, including the rights to free speech, protest, and due process, I asked people what they were going to do.
Well, what are you going to do? Are so you committed to sticking it to the libs that you refuse to ally with them to save this republic and its citizens? Are you so attached to this path that you fully support continuing down it? Because I promise you there are no half-measures on this path. It has been made clear previously – no quarter, no compromise, and no limitations. This is not a fixer upper where you hope to address the niggling problems you have after the election is done. You will never ever be allowed that chance.
What do you love about this country? How much do you love it? Do you love it enough to yield a little now to save what you love, knowing you have not ceded the field? Do you love it enough to accept that the Republican party has been completely taken over by far-Right ideologies combined with the interests of the incredibly rich, and that neither care about you except to use you? Do you love it enough to take a loss now in order to fight to rebuild your party into something you recognize again?
Or is your terror or anger of the snowflake libs so great that you would cut out your own heart before letting them win a darn thing? Are you really so afraid of what they will bring that you would rather this democratic form of government die instead? Are they so terrible, these moderate Democrats in whom Reagan or even George H.W. Bush would have seen a lot of themselves? Or are you just so angry that they fail to agree with your one true way that you would rather have scorched and salted earth than growing fields they had any say in?
What are you going to do? This is the rise of the totalitarian Third Reich dressing itself up in the democracy of the Wehrmacht. This is watching in slow motion the carefully set up dominoes of alliances, allegiances, and promises beginning to fall after nudges from old grievances and ulterior motives, leading inexorably to a devastated landscape of trenches, mines, and poisoned fields.
This is do or die for so much in this country. The vote is coming. What are you going to do?