My silence did accomplish something. It communicated my privilege. It communicated my complicitness in sexism, racism, classism, and so many other issues that I am opposed to. It communicated that I didn’t have enough confidence in my beliefs to share them.
I don’t agree that to do nothing is to be complicit in sexism, racism, classism etc. Not stopping a fire is not the same thing as fuelling it.
But if there is an issue with being complicit, it is perhaps deeper. It is in the paying of our taxes to governments who keep us in affluent lifestyles by raiding and pillaging resources around the globe — whether by military or economic coercion and bullying. Often the two are used in tandem.
Personally, I think most of the West’s obsession with race, sex and class divides acts primarily as a distraction — a more acceptable sugar-coated explanation in terms of what is wrong with the world. I am not denying that race, sex and class are issues, but the cultural focus on them as internal problems keeps people’s minds off the greater sins the empire commits externally.
The West’s wealth has arguably allowed too many to have it too easy for too long. As a result, there is a definite restlessness born out of boredom and satiation that leaves people wanting to identify what is wrong. But of course, the powers that be and the media are always inherently nationalist and so they never report on the bigger global issues that enrich the West.
Just think of all the wall-to-wall terrorist scares we are subjected to despite the fact that almost nobody even knows of anyone who has been victim of a terrorist attack. Barbaric though such acts obviously are, they are incredibly rare in the West. And yet they are always headline stories. All whilst the US is bombing no less than seven different nations and the media hardly says a word. The system acts to distort our perceptions — if we let it.
So I would not beat yourself up too much on those sexist, racist and classist issues. It is actually harder to face the real truth which is that our taxes are used to maim and kill innocents around the world — many of whom mean us no harm. I am not sure what we do about that, but you can at least clear your conscience a little by resolving to be brutally honest with yourself.
The turmoil within the US is not the problem itself. Rather I think the problem can be seen as a materialist lifestyle that is crumbling within a post-globalization world, and revealing little but the high level hypocrisy on which it was always founded. The opportunists and desperados are now showing up to spin their lies more forcefully than ever. Some people still don’t get it.
It is actually not because we are all sexist racist pigs — it is because they are the sort of con men who are happy to let us think that way while they line their own pockets.
If there is to be any serious challenge to Trump & Co., people need to get beyond the mental trap that has them calling out one another.