It’s not even July, but 2018 has already been the year that changed everything. I won’t go into all the policy fuck-ups Republicans are responsible for, you know them all too well.
The bigger change, though, the one currently rearing its ugly head, is tribal conflict unleashed on a massive scale. On one side are the greeders, grifters, and bigots who will do anything to hold onto privilege and power. On the other side is pretty much everyone else, mostly thoughtful people trying to find a way through the madness.
I consider myself part of the “everyone else” tribe, and until recently, I simply wanted my family and friends to be left alone. But that is apparently too much to ask. Religious zealots like Dan Forest want me to bow down to their twisted view of god. Autocrats like Phil Berger want to remove my voice from the democratic process. And Republicans like Donald Trump are making truth unrecognizable every time they speak.
As the conflict grows, greeders are cheering the rise of fascism and violence, daring everyone else to challenge them. We are slowly, cautiously taking that dare.
From what I can see, we are doing what we usually do, pushing back gently in the only ways we know. With pens instead of swords, with words instead of violence, and with polite requests that they find somewhere else to eat their chicken dinners.
But even this modest resistance seems unwelcome among many on the left. “Don’t stir them up,” they say. “Republicans will dig in their heels and fight back harder. We have to show that there’s a better way, we can’t just condemn their ugliness.”
I understand this instinct to “go high,” but I don’t see how it gets us where we want to go. Unicorns and rainbows are wonderful things, but they don’t stop bullets targeting black men or abortion doctors. Greeders are getting uglier and more violent. Today’s unicorns need flak jackets.
As is always the case, there are no magic formulas. No single tactic has ever carried the day. Winning requires a messy mix of gentility, aggression, outrage, and compassion, and even then there are no guarantees.
But one thing is almost always true: Attacking allies is NOT a good thing. Direct your public anger at Paul Ryan, not Maxine Waters. Focus your rage on Sarah Sanders, not the Red Hen.
I welcome anyone and everyone who will join the fight against Republican extremism. We’re all in this together.