Civil disobedience is a tool. In America, we have depended on our citizens to stand-up peacefully in the face of violence to defend their own rights since our founding-suffrage, equal employment, the ability to sit at a lunch counter, even the right to walk across a bridge or state (or anywhere you damn please) while black. In a democracy, protest is a patriotic act that seeks to realign the current legal structure of a place with the laws given to all of us by nature as birthright.
Last week's insurrection was not protest.
Storming the Capitol in order to disrupt the certification of a documented (by judiciary from both parties) free and fair election in the name of a chosen strongman is the work of a mob, and an act of sedition. Anybody that co-opts the word "protest" to describe what happened is lying to you and themselves. Every one of the people that entered the Capitol yesterday or incited the act should go to jail, including the President. Moreover, if the faces sitting in the seats or vandalizing the offices of lawmakers were black instead of white, our history and our President has made very clear that once the looting started, the shooting would have started. If you don't agree, shop someplace else. We don't want you carrying our product or our logo.
To those who are still reading, voting in America is not heroic. It's an expected first step in an informed and free-thinking electorate. Our shared anger doesn't mean a thing if it ends with a tweet or a blog post to folks who agree with us. It's just a bunch of self righteous privilege. Democracy is participatory, and the price of admission is vigilance, and action.So to all of you trying to figure out what to do today, don't just tweet to make yourselves feel better, and voting wasn't enough. Do something else. Look up the lawmakers who participated in leading us to this dark moment and start laying plans to run against them, or join the campaign of someone who has begun that process. Donate or volunteer at organizations who promote equity and justice. At the very least, speak up when you hear somebody downplay or characterize what happened yesterday as the protest of patriots, because it wasn't. It was the self-righteous and selfish violence of people terrified that the rest of us have finally recognized that they aren't in charge anymore.
We started our work almost 10 years ago after the earthquake in Haiti. Our Haitian friends have a violent, racist history of their own, and out of that violence has come one of the more beautiful senses of metaphor I've known. There is a Creole phrase-piti piti zwazo fe nich le. "Little by little the bird builds its nest". The good work of building the beloved community is going to take time. We best keep moving.
Happy New Year
Ian and the Day Owl Team