Sunday, February 26, 2017

Troubling Times

City Hall, Worcester, January 31, 2017

Troubling times come to all nations eventually, even "exceptional" ones like the United States. 

Unfortunately, what is exceptional about the United States is not what politicians and the ruling class would have us believe, that we're a welcoming, tolerant country founded on principles of liberty and equality, that we alone among the world's nations have the moral authority to script the planetary moral code.

All it takes is intellectual courage and the willingness to examine History through a lens wiped clean of nationalism to discern that America as a moral beacon is an obvious falsehood. Though the national myth suggests a nation of toleration & freedom made steadfast by the rule of law, the truth is something else.

A careful and honest appraisal of the nation's past - from slavery to Manifest Destiny and the genocide of the Native Americans, from Jim Crow to Joseph McCarthy, from Selma to Saigon - reveals a history stained with violence, xenophobia, venality, and cruelty. This is simply true.

History continues. History , in fact, is not the past, it is the Present. We lurch forward now into the era of the Ignorant Beast. Ban the immigrants. Restrict the vote. Deport the Other. Make America White Again.

Yet there is another story within the story, an aspect of the National Narrative that cannot be denied or erased - Resistance. At every step of the bloody way, the Beast has been confronted by the people. The underground railroad. Geronimo. Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. The Suffragists. SDS. The Black Panthers. AIM. The levitation of the Pentagon. The Women's March on Washington. The list is long, prestigious, awash in sadness and punctuated with triumph.

Today our turn has come to continue writing the story line of Resistance. We must take strength from the examples of our predecessors, we must incorporate the lessons of their movements into our own, and we must decide, each one of us, what our role is to play in the gathering struggle.

Responding to the anti-immigrant actions of the Beast
Worcester City Hall, January 31, 2017

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