On Madonna’s unfortunate comment and the debate over ‘Is it OK to punch a Nazi?’
“Let us not become the evil that we deplore.”
— Barbara Lee
By most accounts the women’s march was peaceful and a yuge success, with turnout in Washington three times higher than for the inauguration — unless you prefer the “alternative facts.” And I appreciate Madonna’s intent to respond with love (nor are my shorts in a bind over her use of the F-word), but I really do wish she had shared what she’s “thought an awful lot about” with a friend or mental health professional instead of the whole world. In the wake of some sporadic violence on Inauguration Day and an online debate about whether it’s OK to punch a Nazi, comments like these aren’t helpful to the resistance.
“By placing confidence in violent means, one has chosen the very type of struggle with which the oppressors nearly always have superiority.”
― Gene Sharp
What’s next? A debate about the appropriate use of ice picks? While MLK’s warning not to “perish together as fools” comes to mind, I want to end on a “positive note.” So I’ll leave you with Tom Lehrer’s more graphic rendition of where these types of arguments ultimately lead in our nuclear age where all of us are just one presidential order away from being taken out by a targeted drone — or one international crisis and errant tweet away from nuclear annihilation. Happy Monday!
We have no doubt about your bravery or devotion to your fatherland, nor do we believe that you are the monster described by your opponents. But your own writings and pronouncements and those of your friends and admirers leave no room for doubt that many of your acts are monstrous and unbecoming of human dignity, especially in the estimation of men like me who believe in universal friendliness. — M. K. Gandhi in a letter to Adolf Hitler (December 24, 1940)
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