When love is not enough
Today was a bad news day. We are governed by a minority party that rules like the despots of old, issuing new edicts daily, showing contempt for the afflicted and disregard for democracy. They animate the shambling edifice of our republic with invigorating jingoism and nativism.
The private prison sees a revival in stocks and fortune, immigrant families live in fear, millions risk losing their healthcare and the list goes on and on. To those terrified in this moment, love does not feel like it’s trumping hate.
There are reasons to be hopeful, however.
Representatives and sentators are metaphorically getting torn to pieces at town halls, confronting their respective organized and energized constituencies. The ruling class expect that their show of force will energize the revanchists that swept them to power and intimidate the targets of their ire. But targeted and marginalized groups are fighting back. There’s no limit to the atavism of this administration, but our endurance has to see us through.
Steves Bannon and Miller and assorted fucking ghouls want to destroy our government. Fine. Let them try. Let the contradictions overwhelm what little we have. When you believe in taking and exploiting like they do, you eventually run out of things to take and exploit. We have a vision of another future, and their worldview ends at the tips of their noses. When the ruling class has turned everything to ash around us, who will the people turn to?
This is not to say we ought to stand by while our friends, neighbors and families suffer at the hands of the state. Rather, it is a call to action. We cannot be passive while those who wield power swing it like a cudgel. It’s more important than ever to give each other hope, and yes, love, by clearly articulating an different way, a vision that looks forward.
When we stand for trans rights, we say to those in power that we can see a world where every person has equal access to public accommodations. When we march for abortion rights, we say to legislators and judges and governors that we believe in a reproductive justice that is markedly different from theirs. When we protect immigrant families, we show that we believe in a world where people can live where they choose, where no one is illegal. This is the power of resistance: we can show there is another way.
The party in power is looting and repressing because they only way they can rule us is by force and coercion. When we’re able to come together out of a desire to build an alternative world, we have a bond that will weather anything. That’s the power of solidarity and governance by consent, not through the sights of an ICE rifle.
Love is good, but it’s not enough. There is too much at stake. Politics is not a pendulum that swings left to right. We, the people, guide its arc. The eventual victory of a democratic socialism, or even a democracy, full stop, is not predestined. But neither is the hate-filled worldview of Trump and his circle. Love is what moves us to march, to speak out, to shelter others, to provide material support to one another. Moreover, our love does not merely hope to tend to those who suffer, rather, our love will bring a final end to the suffering.
We want to survive, yes, but that’s not enough. We want to thrive. We don’t want cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, we want universal healthcare. We just don’t want Betsy DeVos out at the Department of Education, we want free college for all. Those in the White House and in Congress believe that they can move and shape the world the way they want it, and they act like it. But they’re wrong. That power lies with us: you and I alone.