Make America Great Again!!
Every time someone new (especially from a place of privilege) posts about what is happening in America, another voice is added to the chorus. A chorus that sings in harmony about unity. A chorus that celebrates diversity and denounces dischord. A chorus that echoes across this country, sung to everyone who is here. “This land is your land” but don’t get too excited, this land is my land, too. And his and hers and theirs and everybody’s. And we are all going to raise our voices to make sure we all know.
We can drown out the voices that declare that they should be heard above everyone else. We have heard them for far too long. They have held the microphone. And you know what? You go ahead and keep the microphone. We’re just gonna pull the plug on you and we are going to join together with voice that are louder, stronger, and kinder than yours.
I have seen people posting on Facebook things like, “If you agree with what Trump said yesterday about ‘both sides’ please unfriend me now.” At first, I thought (Like Jim Gaffigan reflecting on the dogs in those Sarah McLachlan commercials) “That’s a little heavy-handed…” but I’m coming around and seeing their perspective.
Just a quick side note, I was wondering if Jim Gaffigan had already spoken out about the whole Charlottesville situation and found this.
Although, before having the sense to look up his twitter account I googled “Jim Gaffigan Nazi” to see if that would yield more expedient results. Then I thought, “I wonder if anyone else is googling Jim Gaffigan to see if he is a Nazi?” I imagine some white supremacist eating bacon and thinking, “This Gaffigan guy has got to be on our side, right? Lord knows he’s white enough.” Well, first of all probably not. But he did come out as a progressive Christian, which is a Christian “characterized by a willingness to question tradition, acceptance of human diversity, a strong emphasis on social justice and care for the poor and the oppressed, and environmental stewardship of the earth.” That definition is from Wikipedia, by the way, so you know it’s true.
But Jim Gaffigan also recently said that he "wouldn't hike to escape the Nazis." Don’t worry Jim. You’re a national treasure and we won’t let them make you hike, but we all have to do our part. Now, I’m not writing this for the Jim Gaffigans of the world. I’m doing this for everyone who doesn’t know what to do when faced with such a horrible situation. Gaffigan was able to say something even if it was to say how horrible and sad he is feeling because of what is happening in this country. We don’t want the news to make people feel horrible and sad. We want everyone to be able to their best self and we can’t do that if we are feeling horrible and sad.
So what could make us feel better? If only there was a way to do something so the news doesn’t just keep getting worse? Yes, there is, but we all have to get involved.
You know what makes me feel better? Getting a deal. I love going to my favorite coffee shop and showing my loyalty card or checking in and getting the message, “We know who you are and we are glad you are here. Thank you for showing up.” People need to get that message more often. They need to feel welcome. They need to be thanked when they finally show up. We, as a society, need to do more to thank people for the small contributions that they make.
We should create a country-wide loyalty card. Something tangible that people can hold in their hands to show that they get why we are all here. They want to be loyal to the tenets that have made this country great. They can show this card at establishments and be welcomed with open arms. Maybe they could even get a 5% discount.
Everyone should have a card like this. Everyone who shows up and stands up and speaks up should get one. People need to know when they look at you they do “Not See a Nazi” just like Hasan Minhaj at the White House Correspondents Dinner. You post on Facebook that you denounce what the pro-white alt-right stands for. Boom. Loyalty card. Easy! We could make it a Facebook app. Well, not me personally, but if you make apps, now is your time to get involved. By the way, here is Hasan Minhaj.
What about the people who don’t want a loyalty card. What about those people who might be on the fence about whether or not they support the pro-white agenda? By the way, this is the first thing that came up when I googled “pro white agenda.”
If you support one of these pro white agendas (or if they provide you support) that’s no problem. When I say pro white I actually mean white supremacist. If you don’t think those two are the same, just think of it this way. You can’t be pro-white and pro-everyone else. If you’re not pro-everyone else it's probably because you think you’re better than them. You’re not, and P.S. that is kinda the same thing as white supremacy. Which is not going to get you a loyalty card.
So what happens to people who don’t have a loyalty card? I don’t know. I’m not a lawyer. I don’t know what we can do. Can we charge a little more and use that money to fund things that need to happen? If they are so intent on making America great again maybe they would be willing to spend a little of extra money to fund important things like food banks, the ACLU, or the American Cancer Society. Maybe we can get rid of all the cancers in this country at once by just letting them destroy one another. Just kidding. We will of course allow white supremacists to receive cancer treatment. Health care is a human right, after all.
Or maybe we could each decide on an individual level that we won’t serve white supremacists in any capacity. They have already been identified (thanks, @YesYoureRacist). We can just see their lack of a loyalty card (or if that becomes to cumbersome, just check the name on their credit card against a hopefully already present Nazi database) and say that maybe they should go somewhere else. Then, we’ll tell them, “This is just a glimpse into what it was like to be black in the Jim Crow South." Or, "Now you can have some tiny idea of what it feels like to ACTUALLY be discriminated against." "Now, maybe you have a small sense of what it feels like to be all those things that you thought had it so much better than you.”
Or maybe we could just give them the worst service ever. If some neo-Nazi had a Yelp review slamming a restaurant for not serving him or getting his order wrong or whatever, I know exactly where I would be going to dinner. We could make it a fun event where people come there and celebrate the world we want to create. We could make it a fundraiser to help get the “Not See A Nazi” app off the ground.
I heard someone (can’t remember who) say that to a Nazi there is nothing worse than a race traitor. Well, to most of the rest us, there is nothing worse than a Nazi, so, you know what, as a white person trying their best to be an ally, I’ll just go ahead and be a race traitor. We can all be race traitors. If that is the most horrible thing they can think of us being we’ll be that. If they don’t want anything to do with us because of it even better. We can just pretend that we broke up and decided to say “it’s mutual”.
We have already had powerful people showing us the way. We have all of the peaceful counter-protesters in Charlottesville, especially Heather Heyer. We have everyone else who went to a rally or a vigil in the days since. We have business leaders like Scott Paul, Richard Trumka, and Thea Lee in addition to Merck's Kenneth Frazier, Under Armour's Kevin Plank, Tesla’s Elon Musk, and Intel's Brian Krzanich. Which, makes me think that if I need pharmaceuticals, sportswear, an electric car, or a computer, you know who I’m supporting. These are the people who we need to be emulating.
There was talk about an “Alt-right” rally coming to my town. I don’t want that. Maybe it doesn’t have to happen... or maybe we just don’t have to hear about it.
Maybe instead of counter protesting we could have a party. A little shindig that welcomes everybody who welcome everybody else. Businesses, shops, restaurants, associations, and interest groups could all come together and say “Let’s celebrate what we’re making together. We are setting a table and making a world where everybody knows they have a place and if you don’t want to be a part of it we won’t make you.” All the news outlets will want to cover it. To borrow an oft-quoted phrase, “It will be tremendous.”
While we are actually having a good time, the white supremacists can rally around whatever stupid statue or public space they want. We won’t be around to watch. Well, maybe some police could be around to make sure that the gathering will stay peaceful. You know, the way Nazis always want things to be peaceful.
Don’t worry. We will have been there the night before setting up art installations. Huge canvases that celebrate diversity and let them know we have better things to do. Maybe as all the “pro-white” or “Alt-right” or whatever they want to call themselves look around and realize we aren’t paying attention, they will see a sign that says, “I guess you probably just could have stayed online in your basement and saved yourself the trouble.”
I also, at one point in time, made a joke about glitter bombs to a friend, but if there was ever a time and place, maybe now could be it. It would also make identifying Nazis and Nazi sympathizers so much easier. Just imagine, “Are you a Nazi? You’re lookin’ kinda glittery right now…”
I’m not saying that all this is going to work, but, how will we know if we don’t try. Maybe we will realize that we all have more power than we ever thought when we tackle one disaster at a time. Seriously, let’s get this done by next week, before the kids head back to school. First we’ll deal with this, and then it will be the opioid crisis. Then, the healthcare debate, campaign finance reform, domestic abuse, climate change, terrorism in all its forms, hunger, street harassment, food waste, and every other issue that has ever seemed too big to solve. We’ll make sure our history books tell how we actually made America great again. Or as Glennon Doyle put it "...-forget about being great and focus on being good. I just want America to be good again."
Either way, we are going to make this country a better place, because of, or in some cases, in spite of the efforts of so many. It will be a better place for everyone who has been doing the wrong thing and everyone who called them out on it. You all helped us see everything that was wrong and backwards about this country and you helped us figure out what we are going to do about it. Now it is just a matter of time before we all step up, stand up, and speak up for the world that you seem so intent on destroying. A world and country that can be more wonderful and tremendous than it ever was before. So the next time you see someone wearing a Make America Great Again hat, feel free to let them know…
we’re working on it.