From the Desk of Slats MacCune: Professional Dreamweaver.
Done clutching the pearls yet? We live in times that are too brutal for more genteel phrases such as “de-select civility.”
Civility should not be an excuse for pusillanimity in the face of fascism, or authoritarianism of any stripe. Sometimes, direct action is the only way to roll.
Stripping ideology aside, bullies take comfort in the expectation of measured responses. When I was in the 7th grade, a cul-de-sac tormentor named Frank put me in a head-lock and would not let go. He thought that I would not react strongly to his aggression. When I wheeled around and punched him in the face, the dynamic shifted immediately. From that point on, I earned the wide berth I was given. It wasn’t a time for a polite debating society.
Shifting to far more serious and systemic matters, Brittany “Bree” Newsome was a hero for climbing that flagpole in South Carolina and removing that evil Confederate flag. The protestors were right to pull down the “Confederate Soldiers Monument” in Durham, NC recently. Those who call for moderation for the sake of moderation in word and deed are abdicating their moral responsibility to speak out against the hate mongers who have a) always plagued America and b) are re-asserting themselves quite vigorously in the Trump era.
I know you folks in Howard County put a premium on (some might say fetishize) the concept of civility as an end in-and-of itself. Civility should not be exercised automatically. Not everyone deserves it. Nazis certainly don’t. The “alt-Right” doesn’t. Frankly, these fascists and their fellow travelers rely on “reasonable” people who choose to act “civilly” as opposed to taking a stand and fighting back.
As Dante wrote about those who “in a time of moral crisis” opted to “preserve their neutrality,” there are people “who made, through cowardice, the great refusal.” Now is not the time for equivocation or vacillation in the face of those who embrace the dogmas of hatred. And if that means not turning the other cheek, then so be it.