CN: Ableist language and transphobic comments
We all remember Michelle Obama’s famous “When they go low, we go high” quote from earlier this year. It was a rallying cry to all of us disgusted by the Right’s racist, sexist, and queerphobic rhetoric. However, I can’t help but wonder: what does going high instead of low look like?
A few days ago, I think I went low.
On Wednesday I tweeted “.@MsBlaireWhite is the Ben Carson of trans people.” Blaire White then retweeted it, called me a moron, and . . . well you can look at all the responses yourself. (READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!) At first I was thrilled to piss off so many Twitter assholes, but then I talked to some Facebook friends and I realized I kinda went low. Don’t get me wrong; I still think Blaire White is fifty shades of wrong about . . . everything! Yet, as Michelle pointed out in the video, technically I used the same trolling technique the Twitter trolls use. I issued an apology on Twitter, but as a friend pointed out, we keep losing whenever we try to go high, so what can we do?
At first I thought, “Well, since I’m a skeptic, I’ll just continue to debunk bad ideas.” But then I came across this article from The Christian Century called “Fascism Can’t Be Stopped By Fact-Checking.” In it, Daniel Jose Camacho says debunking propaganda with facts and data sounds like a good idea, but . . .
The problem is a particular vision of the world supported by people with power to carry it out. This kind of political project can’t be fact-checked away. As the profoundly undemocratic conditions in the state politics of North Carolina have recently proven, conciliatory attempts to compromise with this project are absorbed and outmatched by those wielding power. In such cases, our American fallacy of bi-partisanship is exposed because there are certain things that cannot be met halfway and there are times when both parties fail us.
In other words, the Alt-Right doesn’t care what a nobody on the Internet like me thinks.
Camacho’s suggestion instead is:
The important thing to keep our eye on is the power we do possess and the various avenues by which we can resist. What can resistance look like? I think we will have to utilize all of the legal, political, economic, activist/organizing, artistic, and religious means available to us.
Naturally, being an atheist I don’t use religious means, especially since theology plays a huge role in oppression. However, I think what he’s trying to get at is it’s not enough to simply write blogs and do podcasts debunking Alt-Right propaganda. Don’t get me wrong; I think those are great forms of activism, which is why I do what I do. Also, as Cody Charles of Everyday Feminism recently pointed out, some people literally do not have the means to march in the streets. So I interpret Camacho’s suggestion as this: whatever means you have to resist the Trump regime, use them!
And maybe that’s what Michelle meant by going high.
What do you think?