This isn’t a partisan thing, this is a humanity thing. A democracy thing.
The media and indeed our own leaders like President Obama have called for us to come together under Donald Trump. The media wants us to “give him a chance.” His supporters are pretty rabid about it, which is sad and ironic given their eight year hunt for Obama’s birth certificate, the machine gun rallies they held over a partially Republican idea branded as Obamacare, and their relentless trolling of America – hoping it would fail- simply because a black man was in charge.
But these are the new narratives. Come together. Don’t be hateful by calling out hate. Be silent and hope for the best as Trump appoints a rogues’ gallery of vicious, sick haters.
I’m here to tell them the world doesn’t work like that. I wish it did. I wish being nice and wanting to get along would make this okay, but it won’t.
Just like with a bully in school, being “nice” means laying down and laying down is a signal of weakness to a bully. The bully doesn’t want to “get along”, the bully wants to torture and humiliate. The bully wants to inflict his personal pain onto everyone else.
The bully is sick, and being nice won’t appease it.
Being nice to the bully is the same as enabling the bully. So all of these people calling for unity and for silence (not President Obama, he never called for silence, I’m talking about the media), basically to put all of Donald Trump’s actions and words in the past and ignore them and hope for the best – these people’s advice is dangerous. It is the exact wrong thing to do.
Here’s the deal. It’s not hateful to say no to hate. It’s not hateful to stand up against division, witch hunts, theft of liberty, intimidation tactics, and abuse. Standing up against those things is the right thing to do.
If someone is doing those things and they don’t being told they’re wrong, too bad. The solution is to stop doing those things, not to silence those objecting.
The road to peace isn’t paved with passive “niceness”, even though way too many on the left approach it this way – as an idea that can be achieved through subservience tinged with blind hope.
There’s a theory about the tyranny of niceness — our culture, well liberal cultural and Democratic values of peace making and cooperation, can confuse people into promoting inauthentic niceness over reality. This is what is being asked of you now – that you do the “nice” thing, instead of the “right” thing.
The right thing is to call out hate and stand together, arm in arm, fiercely defending your neighbors’ and friends’ rights and safety. The right thing is to do this without violence. The right thing is do to this without hate, but not to confuse vigorously calling out hate with hate itself.
Calling hate out is not an act of hate. Only cowards, fools and abusers will try to tell you otherwise — People who don’t want to be held accountable.
This is not what the Right did when Obama was elected, after all Obama did nothing to them personally. Obama didn’t aim hatred over and over again at millions of people, wasn’t on tape bragging about sexually assaulting women, and didn’t suggest the assassination of his opponent like Donald Trump did.
No, we shouldn’t “reload” like Sarah Palin called for from on high of her persecution complex, from whence she whined that the media covering her words was akin to “blood libel”.
We don’t need violence. We don’t need to hide behind guns while we intimidate other Americans and our elected officials like the Right did. What we need to do is get busy. Run for local office. Be active. Teach our kids to vote in every election. Stop believing dark money lies about candidates. Do not be shamed. Get louder about your values and the morality behind them; e.g., taking care of our most vulnerable.
For God’s sake, people, do not be shamed. Do not fall for the shaming the media inflicted on the Dixie Chicks during the Bush administration. The media loves themselves some angry white men with machine guns, but they were appalled by a white woman saying she was ashamed of her country. Remember that, and remember where it led when people said nothing and looked the other way.
But ultimately, this isn’t about ideology, and so it’s unlike the Bush years. This is about a monster of hate infecting the White House with a team of professional frothers-at-the-mouth of hate.
Do not be shamed for objecting. You are right, the media is wrong. They are dead wrong. What they are doing by trying to normalize this is obscene and dangerous. Do not ignore your instincts. They are there for a reason.
It’s going to be a horrible ride, but for people of courage, this is the moment. This is the moment to stand up and be counted. To object loudly. To demand accountability. To reject the normalization of hate.
The media ought to remind itself where the normalization of hate takes us. It’s not a good place. The American people are right to be terrified. They are right to be upset. They are right to object.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.