Lies. Not Fake News, not Alternative Facts.

First of all, the president of the United States is trying to pull off a coup. He is trying to cheat his way to another term by throwing out the legal and legitimate votes against him. He said that was what he planned to do. He said he would try. He is now doing exactly what he said he would do. He has consistently shown all of us what kind of person he is, and I have believed him from the start. I also believed his victims when they told us what he was. It is obvious. It is clear. It is not ambiguous. It isn’t debatable. If you disagree, you’re either mistaken or lying. This is not a matter of opinion.

Your friends and family who support him are bad people. If you supported him, you’re a bad person. You don’t have to be. You could stop. You could stop right this minute, and I am begging you to do so.

But I won’t sit around waiting for that, because no decent person currently has time to wait for you to grow a conscience.

I am a gentle person. I am a kind person. I hate making people angry. I hate making anyone feel bad. I know the sting and suffering of living with shame, and I do not wish it on anyone lightly.

If you enabled this, then you should be ashamed. It should eat at you. If you make it easier for your friends and family to enable this, then you share their shame. It should not be comfortable to enable an abuser to hurt people. It should be humiliating and isolating. If your father or uncle or neighbor can look you in the eye and say he supports the man who is currently clinging tooth and nail to the power to further harm all of us, then something has gone badly wrong between you.

Do not entertain any discussion of alternative facts. They are lies. Fake news is propaganda. Refusing to count all the legitimate votes in an election is a coup. The republican party stands in support of fascism today. That is reality. That is true.

Your vote is an ethical matter. If you support people who do harm, then you do harm. If you vote against marriage equality, then you act to steal the security and dignity of your neighbors. If you vote to end safe and legal abortion, then you are responsible for the excruciating deaths of living people. If you vote against the total reform of our policing and justice systems, then you are there when a cop murders a black woman in her own home or a black teenager is funneled into prison to be used as slave labor.

It is not always completely clear which way our individual political choices may take us, but it is not so murky as to be impossible or pointless to navigate. Doing the right thing is harder than remaining deliberately ignorant, but it is our responsibility as human beings living in a society to try. Any human being. Any society. No, we didn’t sign up for this. It doesn’t matter.

Social Justice Warriors in Literature and History

Americans love a hero. Whether we’re talking about an underdog who refuses to back down in a fight against the establishment, or a powerful being who uses their strength to defend the helpless, we’re all about heroism. This seems to be a universal human thing, but I think Americans are especially fond of those tropes, and they’re very much a part of our cultural identity. Many Americans imagine our country as being (or at least having been at one point) a powerful force for good in the world that stands up against evil, especially nazis. We hate those damn nazis.

The funny thing is, though, that we as a culture absolutely loathe real people who embody the exact traits that we admire in literary and historical figures. We love that guy who stands up to a corrupt government, unless that guy is real and that government is our government. Then, we hate that guy. We especially hate that guy if he happens to be a woman on the internet. We even have a lovely term for that person: the social justice warrior. This label is often spat at people who try their hardest every day to push back against a culture that has completely normalized cruelty against those who historically had little or no power to protect themselves.

This rosy-but-limited view of heroism also applies to the past. Civil rights? Absolutely important. Everyone who marched was a hero. Suffragettes? Damn right women deserved the vote. Stonewall? Yeah, they probably had a point. World war 2? Let’s beat the shit out of those fucking nazis.* The people who fought against progress back then are increasingly viewed as backwards, ignorant, or outright evil. Especially the nazis. Screw nazis, right?


Well, I mean, nazis have a right to express their opinions, don’t they? It’s a free country, after-all. It’s just intolerant not to tolerate the view that some humans deserve to die or be raped or be socially ostracized for harmless inborn traits and personal choices, isn’t it? It’s literally just MEAN to call someone a bigot for saying and doing racist or homophobic things. It’s BULLYING to argue with people who make fun of those with disabilities that require accommodation. It’s a sign of the sad, close-minded, liberal mind-set that people aren’t willing to remain close with friends and family who “disagree” with their fundamental humanity being socially recognized, and who make dehumanizing jokes about them. While we’re on the subject of humor, rape jokes should totally be protected by freedom of speech, and people who object to them are literally destroying the soul of comedy. Trans women are one of the most at-risk demographics in the country, especially trans women of color, but it is an intolerable cruelty to cis women and children everywhere if they’re allowed to pee in safety. Oh, and of course, it’s just judgmental and rude to tell parents not to hit their property, I mean children.

But of course, that’s all just common sense stuff. Obviously the rights that people have already fought and died for, and the social awareness we have now which was raised inch by painful inch by activists who were shamed and ostracized for their efforts, that’s all a logical baseline for a just society. That was right, and justified. Anything more than that, though… Anything that challenges *current* norms, or demands the redress of *current* injustice, or challenges your personal *current* views of right and wrong, well. That’s just taking things way too far. The thing is, though, that’s exactly what people have always said. Word. for. word.

Every freedom we take for granted as just being common sense was someone’s totally absurd liberal agenda at one point. It was over the line. It was millennials with their made-up genders, and it was black lives matter with their violent demands to not be shot by police, and it was trans women wanting to pee where they’re less likely to get beaten to death by strange men. It was a threat to social stability. It was abusing the majority for the sake of a minority who were just getting above themselves.

Literature has always been used as a mirror held up to society so that we can see injustice that has become invisible due to desensitization. That’s a pretty well known fact, ask any english teacher. How is it, then, that people who would never miss an Avengers movie, and who eat up novels about gritty underdogs tackling evil corporations that profit from human suffering, and who truly believe that they personally stand for truth, justice, and the American way; will absolutely lose their goddamn shit when they hear: “Hey, man. That thing you just said without thinking is actually a slur against a group of people, thousands of whom were gassed to death in living memory, could you change a single word in your vocabulary so that you’re not perpetuating stigma against them?”


*Yes, there are still tons of people who are straight up against all of this, clearly, but it’s no longer considered generally acceptable. You can’t be FOR slavery, that’s just wrong. Prison labor, though, that’s just what they deserve for being black. I mean, criminals.*

* Because there are plenty of people who DO proudly express that view, I feel the need to clarify that that last part was sarcasm. Fuck the racist as hell prison industrial complex.