Yesterday I was contacted by three women: a news director at Maine Public Radio, an attorney from the Maine ACLU, and a leader of Suit Up Maine (formed to "promote equity and equality in civil rights, social justice, health care, the environment, education, the economy, and other areas that affect the lives of all people"). All three expressed interest in the school board meeting coming up on December 6. The facebook event to organize support for Native people in Maine calling for change has 161 people interested and 31 saying they plan to attend as of this morning.
Mockery of indigenous culture and history is commonplace in the U.S. right down to the present moment. Dehumanizing people is foundational to genocide as students of the Holocaust or ethnic cleansing in Rwanda know. Jewish people were compared with rats and referred to as vermin; Tutsi people were referred to as cockroaches. Then, they were slaughtered.
All hate crimes are preceded by hate language is what I told the school board at their November meeting.
Which brings us to the gassing of asylum seekers -- many of whom are indigenous children -- at the U.S. border with Mexico.
A migrant family, part of a caravan of thousands traveling from Central America en route to the United States, runs away from tear gas in front of the U.S.-Mexico border wall in Tijuana, Mexico.— NBC News (@NBCNews) November 25, 2018
(📷: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters) pic.twitter.com/pz7hkxsN9g
The demagogue with bad hair in the White House tweeted yesterday that many of those being gassed are "stone cold criminals." To say that he offered no evidence to support his claim would just be describing government by tweet as we have come to know it.
When the point is to demonize the Other who allegedly threatens our collective safety, empty threats are far more effective than facts.
The white supremacist culture of the U.S. has built an entire industry characterizing itself as the anti-Nazis. Most of that culture is war porn where beaches are stormed, buddies are glorified, and concentration camps are liberated by the "good guys" (that would be us). A zillion books and movies enshrine the national myth of violent "Christian" saviors. My friend Bruce Gagnon examined this myth yesterday in a blog post: "Was there an ideological contamination from the Nazis?"
Who now has the courage to speak up and say:
The U.S. imprisons thousands of children in concentration camps in Texas right now.
The militarized U.S. Border Patrol is attacking children and their families fleeing violence in Central America that the U.S. creates and funds.
Brown citizens are being stripped of their passports even if they earned citizenship via enlistment in the U.S. military.
White militias are massing on the border with Mexico threatening refugees with further violence if they dare to apply for asylum in the U.S.
White supremacy is a disease. Mocking Native people and harming their children are symptoms of moral sickness. Claiming you do so in the name of Christ is ludicrous.
Silence is complicity in these crimes from here on out.
There's a lot of historical precedent for that, too.
(Special thanks to Hope Savage for all the good meme shares.)