Orwell and an apology

15 Nov

I want to apologize for my part in the results of the election:

I’ve been watching Trump very closely since the Primary. I knew in my heart he was going to win. I tried to vocalize it to people in my life at times but gave into the idea that I was being too negative. I knew he was backed by Breitbart in finance, audience and strategy. I knew Bannon would end up in a Trump White House. I thought everyone was aware of this, but now I’m not so sure. I knew the power of his disinformation campaign … I’ve been reading nothing but Orwell for 2 years. I knew the power and size of his online mob of followers and the way they viscously attacked threatened and tried to silence anyone who disagreed with him. I knew the way Trump was intimidating comedians and media who talked out against him through lawsuits and activation of his mob and that it was working.  I knew historically, when the lives of white people don’t turn out the way they expect/had been promised/felt entitled to, it leads to scapegoating and the rest of the country will be made to suffer and I have friends who have already been attacked.

“The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.” – Orwell

Before this election I called myself a writer, a poet sometimes. But no, it doesn’t feel as though I have the right. I was working on a not- so-great piece privately about a dictator that I never shared with anyone, hoping the reality of Trump’s election was only inside my sometimes unruly imagination.  When I did try to speak up, language failed me. I failed it. As though all the language had already been used up and all the words had been said so many times in so many instances that the words didn’t mean anything. When I tried to open my mouth it was as if someone was deleting my words as I tried to say them or write them.  or as Orwell describes it:  “like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.”

“Don’t you see the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thought-crime literally impossible because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning forgotten.” Orwell, 1984

I apologize for not being more vocal. I wasn’t loud on facebook. because i’m not loud and I didn’t think anyone would listen. I didn’t know how to speak to or write to my 3rd party and non-voting friends (let alone someone who would vote for Trump)  in a way that is measured and convincing. I wanted to respect people’s rights to experience the vote in their own way, but I think that’s wrong now.

Many groups will need our help over the next few years. Too many. But here is just one action item for this week: To get Steve Bannon out of the White House. (Even if he’s not in the White House officially he will be in Trump’s ear always. Trump owes his victory to Bannon. But to get him officially out of the White House seems like a single actionable direction for protests, marches, calls, letters, etc of the week)

Here’s some actionable info being circulated today: (thanks to Facebook friends for circulating.)

LET’S STOP THE APPOINTMENT of white supremacist Steve Bannon as chief strategist of the White House. Presidents-elect have had to back down on appointments before, for comparatively minor reasons. Let’s not assume this is a done deal.

1) If you live in the US, CALL (don’t email) your Senators and Representatives and tell them this is unacceptable. Trump doesn’t need Senate confirmation, but it will make a difference if senators feel forced to speak out. http://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/ See script below.

2) Paul Ryan is feigning ignorance again. Call his office at (202) 225-3031 and let him know that this is not ok. Same with Majority Leader McConnell, (202) 224-2541

3) Call out the media when they report the Bannon appointment as a straight news story or refer to him as a “Breitbart executive” or a “provocateur.” Insist that they call him what he is: a white supremacist, anti-Semite, and misogynist. Don’t let them normalize.

4) Where there are already protests happening, make Bannon a focus, with signs, chants, etc. Speak out on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms.

5) Reach out to any groups you know that might join this effort, from religious groups to community organizations.

6) Contact other people of influence–College presidents, high-profile coaches and anyone else who has a public megaphone — and ask them to speak out against Bannon’s appointment.

7) Sign and share this petition from the Southern Poverty Law Center: https://www.splcenter.org/stephen-bannon-has-no-business-wh…

CALL SCRIPT:

If you want to get the point across, do what it takes to make yourself sound reasonable. Consider acting complimentary to the staffer and their boss.

YOU: “Hi! My name is _____ and I am a constituent of Senator ______. I’m calling to see if and WHEN he/she will be condemning the appointment of Steve Bannon to the White House. Bannon is an open white nationalist and an antisemite and this appointment has crossed the line.”

THEM: I don’t know the Senator’s thoughts on this, but I will certainly let him know you asked.

YOU: “I know the Senator doesn’t share this man’s extreme beliefs, so I expect him/her to speak out publicly.”

THEM: I will let the Senator know.

YOU: “I would like a call back. Please take down my information.”

THEM: Ok [takes your number.]

YOU: “I want to sincerely thank you for your hard work on this. I will be calling you back in ___ days to find out what the Senator has done about this.”

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