The day after the 2016 general election I walked past a man wearing a veteran’s cap at Costco. When our eyes met I said smiling, “Thank you for your service sir.” It is a practice I have had for years and is typically met with, “Thank you”, “You’re welcome”, or “It was my honor”. This gentleman however stopped and with a look of sheer disgust that I dare to speak to him, he retorted, “It’s Trump’s world now!”
His stare lingered for 5 more seconds and then he walked off muttering to himself. My husband, a veteran who served 26 years, touched my arm and wondered aloud, “Is that guy mentally ill?”
That was the first of a handful personal experiences I have had since election night that prove to me that what was once hidden will now be on proud display. By my analysis it has never been more important for all defenders of civil rights to fight, but please start fighting a different fight!
What does equality look like?
The modern day fight for equality is just as intangible as a fight against terror. At this point both equality and terror have lost all true meaning, but wars fought in their name require forced consensus. Think about post 9-11 rhetoric, ‘If your not for the war- you are for the terrorists’. Think of the modern day use of the ‘oppressor-victim dyad’.
These are false dichotomies. Forced consensus is the real point of waging war on these types of ideas.
“For those who believe I am equal, no proof is necessary.
For those who don’t believe I am equal, no proof will suffice.”
Let me say first how essential I believe the work of Martin Luther King Jr. is. My life is undoubtedly better because of the vision MLK painted for this world and the unjust laws civil rights leaders of their day fought against.
That said, today are different times and different tactics must be used. I strongly believe the majority of efforts of well-intentioned civil rights leaders today would be better spent:
* Defending and cultivating an unquenched respect for individual liberty (this is how to dismantle systemic racism)
* Mentoring people on how to break the chains of current day slavery-
– living self sufficiently and investing the majority of your capital in real wealth: property; tools of production; gardens & trees; and precious metals
– getting and staying out of debt
– living below your means
* Practicing the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP)
* Sharing examples that spotlight the heart of the majority of American’s are kind, loving, and crave community just as we all do
Unfortunately, there is no law or regulation that could of forced a change of heart for the person who spray painted ‘Nigger’ on my town’s MLK community center, a few days after the election.
This election picked at the scab that covered the wound of racial tension not yet healed in our country. I will focus my energies on promoting what happened the next morning, when multiple groups and individuals from the community showed up to paint over the spray painted hate that was put there the night before.
I believe that is what we need to cling to as we fight a better fight!
(In light of the tragedies in Charlottesville, VA a week ago I am re-posting in the spirit of love for all humanity, especially those who dedicate their lives to the poor and vulnerable. This piece originally appeared on my former blog, Lion’s Thunder, 11/16.)