[Note: I started this draft several years ago. Similar to On Protest (1), which was published years after writing, the context has not changed. Some details have been filled in with current events or my own knowledge growing.]
The word is officially revealed that Dear Leader has never been a decent human being
. The events of the past week have not changed that idea. ‘Narcissist
‘ and ‘abuser
‘ are terms being used to describe the rising tyrant
residing in our nation’s capitol. Our right to protest is paramount. So much so that it is included in the very beginning of the Bill of Rights. Many in our citizenry disagree with our purpose and with our methods. They do not believe in systemic oppression. They would rather protest occur quietly, out of the way, unnoticed. They claim our tactics are violent and unjust.
Yes, there has been destruction, chaos, and violence. How else do we respond? We have run out of options. Procedure has failed us. And protesting out of the way achieves nothing.
We have been oppressed for far too long. We have never justly had power or equal rights regardless of what is enshrined in our laws. We have always existed in a social hierarchy of haves and have-nots. And not only haves and have-nots, but controllers and controlled.
Power and freedom has been fed to us like crumbs from a cornucopia. These crumbs are illusory. Just enough to sustain us into believing that we have enough power to exert freedom in our lives. As rights are written into laws, they appear ensure freedom and power for all. But that simply has not been the case as power hierarchies remain intact.
The comparison of the public and the administration to an abusive relationship has been made many times. The metaphor resembles the relationship that many of the American people have with the current administration reasonably well.
Imagine those who are oppressed as people who have been abused, over and over again. They have filed charges. They have spoken up. They have turned to their neighbours for help. They have asked for protection. But their neighbours vote for policies that do not help. Their teachers ignore them. The police help terrorise them. Their doctors claim they are hysterical.
Their “friends” can’t imagine that anyone could ever do something like that. No marks were left. No bones broken. Nothing like that ever happens to them. How could it be real? And even if there were injuries – or even death –
“What did you do to get hit?”
“Why didn’t you duck?”
“Why didn’t you fight back?”
Victim blaming is a powerful narrative. Since abusers mostly only harm their targets, others do not understand how they could act one way towards one person or some people but not towards others.
In much of the public discourse regarding protests against police brutality, one of the first points made is often – “the protesters struck first” – as if somehow this is cause for disproportionate assault. The problem is that protesters are not there to necessarily express discontent with whomever is present containing them. They are drawing attention to injustice by whatever means they have left as all other means have failed.
When protest turns to violence, it isn’t out of malice – but desperation. We have run out of options. We have been cornered and there is nothing left.
When someone who is so abused has nothing left and they are cornered, they will fight. When we see an entire populace that is contained in such a way that they have no more moves, they will fight.
The illusion that consumerist choice is freedom and power has fallen.
Otherwise, all that is asked is “why didn’t you do something more” – this is more. This is what more looks like. We have tried everything else. We have signed petitions. We have protested kindly and out of the way. We have run for office. We have voted. We have tried legislation. We have negotiated. We have sacrificed culture. We have assimilated. We have obeyed all the rules. We have trained ourselves to be better than those who oppress us.
And we are still under the thumbs, under the boots, with nothing but hope for a hint of luck to prevent the persistent tragedies that plague our communities.
The only way out of the situation is to burn the bridge. Cut all ties. With an abuser, it’s easier than it is with a political leader and a corrupted government. With great difficulty, a person in an abusive situation can leave and eventually begin to heal. People faced with a tyrant and an oppressive corrupted culture cannot leave. When the system is so thoroughly corrupted, it cannot be relied upon to be changed from within. They either suffer under the regime or they must overthrow the tyrant and purge the corruption.
In either case, the abused individual and the abused populace must be convinced in no small way that they are not crazy, that they are not paranoid. Many know that they have been tormented throughout their lifetimes. Some are just coming to understand to what depths. Realising this is a powerful feeling.
And what we are seeing now is the realisation of what the anger looks like when we have had enough. And that we will not take anymore