I have written letters to Congress and state legislators and other government officials for years — I started in the 8o’s so I truly mean years. Back before computers and long before email, I would wake up an hour earlier than I needed to and I would spend that hour pecking at a manual typewriter writing letters to Congress, state representatives, governors, and the President and his cabinet. Hundreds of letters and envelopes manually typed before dawn, before breakfast. Letters that I folded neatly and placed in the envelopes. Envelopes on which I put postage stamps that I paid for. One by one by one for YEARS. Because I BELIEVED. I believed in goodness, fairness, equality, compassion, empathy, peace, and activism. Before then, I protested; I defied laws and regulations that were unfair and prejudiced. I stood up to authorities. I took a stand. I did all that and never thought it would need to be done again.
What little that changed back then will be reversed in the near future. What small difference was made back then will be unmade in the near future. I never thought Americans would have to protest en masse again. I never thought we would regress, never thought the youth of today would be protesting the same damn issues my generation protested decades ago. The big difference now is that most of the people in power DON’T CARE. They are self-serving morons who crave power and control. No one can reason with them. No one can have intelligent discussions with them because they DON’T CARE. And, worse than that are the everyday Americans, the Toms and Susans and Joes and Barbaras, who are also self-serving, who want to manipulate others through religion and faith-based control, who are fear-mongering bigots, who are uneducated and unread and proud of their ignorance. Impossible to write letters or emails to all of them and even if you could, they couldn’t or wouldn’t read them. They are the knives in the heart of America.
Go to the streets. Organize. Protest. Write those emails. Join those movements. But, heed my warning, the reaction from law enforcement, the National Guard, and any other goons Trump calls out will make Kent State look like a picnic. There will be blood in the streets. There will be secret police, torture and missing people. And, worse of all, those who die or are wounded or arrested or tortured or are missing will have done it all for nothing. Nothing will change.
Unlike the aftermath of the 60’s protests and Kent State, today’s protests won’t matter. Our nation has turned a corner. We are no longer the Land of the Free and the Brave. We are the Land of the Rich and the Privileged. And the Rich and Privileged will do whatever is necessary to protect their interests. There is a deadly disease in this nation and Trump is only one of the symptoms, although one of the more painful symptoms. He is the true face of America. As horrific as that is, it is true. He is today’s America.
I wish I saw hope, but I don’t. This is not the same country that I fought to change and improve in my youth. This is a hateful land filled with disgusting bigots.
I wish all of you optimistic activists luck. Please — oh, please — prove me wrong.