America is descending into madness right before our very eyes. Right now, thousands of migrant children sit in detention facilities and foster homes separated from their asylum-seeking parents because the country is being run by white supremacists. The Supreme Court has decided that Donald Trump’s racist travel ban is perfectly okay in the context of national security. Meanwhile, Trump has been openly stating that we should do away with judges and due process when it comes to immigrants. This should absolutely scare everyone—regardless of political party. After all, he’s declared war on anyone who isn’t a white, straight male and has the means to carry it out. Yet, the majority of Republicans agree with his leadership and continue to support him. They are oh-so-pleased with the direction of the country. They think he and his lying, bigoted, hostile, demonic cronies are doing a good job.
To shut the rest of us up, they are calling for us to be more “civil” in our discourse. That’s because people have had enough of this madness. We are no longer willing to allow members of his administration to show their faces in public without shaming them for turning this country into a place that resembles Mussolini’s Italy instead of America in 2018. The rationale is that they shouldn’t get to dine out in nice restaurants and be treated like normal human beings when they are anything but. Let them feel the impact of their actions. Millions of people are traumatized and scared to death in this country because of what they are doing. How dare they think they can actually be welcomed anywhere when the majority of us do not support their policies and when so many of us feel so unsafe in our own skin.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) is unapologetic about this. At a rally this past weekend, she made it clear that we should be disrupting the comfort of Trump’s goons—just like they are doing to the American people. She said, “We want history to record that we stood up, that we pushed back, that we fought. If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere!”
Her speaking this absolute truth to power earned her a threat directly from Trump. He tweeted that she should be careful for what she wished for. In turn, his spineless party rallied around the idea that they are the true victims and said that it is Waters and the resistance that are “uncivilized.” That’s laughable. But you know what really isn’t funny? Democrats joining in to suggest that shame is a waste of time and an inappropriate tactic. But that’s exactly what they did, when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator Chuck Schumer, former Obama advisor David Axelrod and other high-profile Democrats weighed in calling this a step too far.
“Trump’s daily lack of civility has provoked responses that are predictable but unacceptable. As we go forward, we must conduct elections in a way that achieves unity from sea to shining sea," [Pelosi] said.
Schumer actually called shaming these horrible people “un-American.”
"No one should call for the harassment of political opponents. That's not right. That's not American," he said. “The president's tactics and behavior should never be emulated. It should be repudiated by organized, well informed and passionate advocacy."
When will these very privileged white Democrats give up on this absurd notion of unity? When will they stop telling people of color how to channel their outrage? There is absolutely nothing unified about where we are as a country or where we are going. Not only do the majority of Republicans support Donald Trump, his current approval rating is 42 percent. That’s way too high considering that he’s allowing thousands of brown children to be forcibly orphaned under his watch.
Sorry to break it to the party elite, but the white working class folks they continue to hold out such hope for are #withhim. They remain with him—no matter what. They are completely oblivious to how he’s harming them and the country. They like it as long as it advances their sense of superiority over people of color. So how about actually turning our attention to the people who are really and seriously being harmed by this administration. In other words, white Democrats, stop doing that silencing thing you continually do where you ignore the pain and deep cries of injustice coming from communities of color and tell us to behave more appropriately.
Who knows if shaming is an effective strategy? In fact, these people have shown that they lack any kind of ability to feel shame—yet more concrete evidence that they are sociopaths. But what’s not helping is Democrats arguing with one another about it, especially when the very people who are saying that public shaming goes too far are also the ones who have nothing to worry about. Of course, these prominent Democrats can choose to tone police the sentiments of people of color. They are not walking targets for Trump and company’s maniacal whims.
These actions are also not being received well by young people of color—the very voters we so desperately need to turn out and vote for the Democratic Party in midterms and in 2020. Young progressives of color are calling bullshit and see this as just another way that the Democratic Party leadership both shows and enables racism and white supremacy. White liberals have a way to go to build trust with these young people. This is most certainly not the way to do it.
“It’s completely tone deaf to discourage this type of activity,” said Quentin James, 30, a founder of the Collective PAC, an organization dedicated to electing more African-Americans. “They’re acting as accomplices.”
We all have different ideas on the best ways to challenge the shitshow that is this administration and the deep, long-lasting harm they are doing to the most vulnerable people in this country. But silencing one of the few ways that marginalized people can express their grief is not helpful. Maxine Waters, as black women tend to do, is saying what needs to be said out loud. And it’s telling that prominent white Democrats, who claim to love black women so much, won’t stand behind her. This is not politics as usual. We are not just fighting for the soul of America—some of us are literally fighting for our very lives. For our families to be together. For our future. To be able to exist in peace. Preventing the despicable human beings who have infested this country’s government from eating a meal in peace is not “uncivilized.” For some of us, it’s actually a little bit of justice.