In a version of the Greek myth of Cassandra, Apollo gave her the gift of prophecy. Then, when she turned him down “romantically,” in a twist embodying the timelessness of the #MeToo movement, Apollo cursed Cassandra so no one would believe her when she foretold the future.
The core of Cassandra is that ironic, frustrating balance of knowing what is to come but no one heeding the warning. Starting to sound familiar?
Starting to sound scoldy? If it’s sounding scoldy, you’re not a Cassandra, you’re an unheeding villager.
In the endless-feeling months since the rise of this horrible regime, many of us have said many, many things, and those things were met with skepticism, with accusations of hysteria. Maybe it’s because often women were the alarm-raisers; maybe it’s because it’s more comfortable to pretend things aren’t morphing, altering at a snowballing rate.
Like Cassandra, we foretold the future. Like Cassandra, no one listened.
Nazism is rising in this country. Not hyperbolic Nazism. Not fling-a-harsh-word-to-insult-an-opponent Nazism.
Still wanting to look it at all through that soft-focus lens? Click every link above, simmer in those stories, and then get back to me.
This ominous cloud rolling in like a wicked storm was something anyone could see. The Trump people talked about internment camps and religious registries. No string-laden gift from Apollo required; Trump told us plainly where he planned to go.
Even the news that Trump, the notorious non-reader, kept Hitler’s speeches by his bedside was met with shrugs and jokes about his literacy. You know who isn’t laughing? The children held in cages and the parents who have no idea where they are.
Recently, Trump even parroted Hitler’s words about Jews in reference to immigrants. Hitler often referred to Jewish people as animals, also saying that Jews weren’t people. Trump: “These aren’t people, these are animals.” And then he doubled-down on the rhetoric, getting people to chant “animals” at a rally that should remind Cassandras and unheeding villagers alike of a certain fascist dictator.
Somehow we’ve entered a place where yesterday melts into the ooze of forgetting, as scores of people obstinately try to pretend it’s not happening. The families of the people lost in Puerto Rico can’t do that. The separated children and parents can’t do that. The targets of increasing bigotry can’t do that. The victims of escalating violence can’t do that.
Well I am Cassandra no more. We are Cassandra no more. We will be heard.