Terror in the United States: An Open Letter to American Moderates

   The history of the United States of America is a history of terror. From the day European colonists landed on this continent, all variety of political violence has been wrought on the natives, the enslaved, and the working class, upon whose bones this country was built. From the sprawling skyline of New York City to the sleepy meadows of rural Oregon, the land is stained by the blood of innocents. When the colonized fought back, they were called savage barbarians, and they were slaughtered. When they fled, they were called weak and cowardly, but still they were slaughtered. When the enslaved acted passive, it was seen as evidence of their inferiority, of their inability to comprehend freedom and autonomy. When they fought back, they were chased down by men with guns, guided by hunting dogs, as if they were common game. They were captured, publicly beaten, whipped, mutilated and hanged. When, alongside their brothers and sisters, they rose up and fought the confederates alongside the Union and finally broke the bonds of slavery, they, despite their best efforts, were still were forced to live beneath the boot of tyranny and injustice. And so the fight didn’t stop.

When once again they rose up, and this time peacefully (which is something you liberals seem to care so much about) and demanded to be recognized as a free people, they were met with batons and police dogs and tear gas. They were met with scorn from conservatives, and condescending faux-support from the moderate liberals, who originally “supported” the movement, but who, the moment it became too “violent,” distanced themselves from it, for they, respectable people that they were, did not want to be associated with unlawful social movements. 

They supported the idea of equality, but, sadly, they did not support what needed to be done to achieve it, which of course renders their support useless. As said by Martin Luther King Junior in his Letter From the Birmingham Jail, over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season.’ Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

I am writing this to you, moderates, because this attitude is once again being seen in relation to not only the Black Lives Matter movement and the actions of anti-fascist activist cells, but is being seen in relation to the upcoming general election as well. You must understand that this movement is not just about George Floyd, or Elijiah McClain, or Breonna Taylor. It is about them, but it is also about the entirety of American politics. It is about the Covid-19 Pandemic, it is about economic inequality, it is about Queer rights, it is about the climate, and it is about class. A protest for black lives is also a protest about class inequality. A protest for Queer rights is also about black lives, and both are protests against fascism, and authoritarianism in general. 

You must also understand that this movement doesn’t end with getting Donald Trump out of office. I would go even further and say that it has very little to do with Donald Trump. Why? Because Donald Trump didn’t create this country’s problems. They have always been there. They were there under Obama, they were there under Bush, they were there under Clinton. They always were there. Biden will not fix them. How could he? Not only that, but how do you expect us to trust his administration? How do you expect us to trust and support Biden, who fought to keep schools segregated, saying that “unless we do something about this [referring to school integration], my children are going to grow up in a jungle, that jungle being a racial jungle with tensions having built so high that it is going to explode at some point. We have got to make a move on this.”

How are we supposed to support Biden when it was he and Obama who built the detainment facilities which are now being used by Trump to imprison refugees?

How can I and other Queer people trust Kamala Harris, who was responsible for not only sending countless trans women to men’s prisons, but also for denying them healthcare while in those prisons? How can we trust her, when she has a history of ruthlessly persecuting sex workers and non-violent drug offenders? When she was notoriously harsh on poor people of color who committed crimes, while at the same time giving countless police officers nothing more than a slap on the wrist for violating the rights of others? When she was one of the politicians who spearheaded the war on drugs?

I could go on, but for the sake of brevity I will stop there. Besides, if you haven’t understood by now, you never will. The point is this. You view Trump as being the cause of all these issues because you have never actually experienced them first hand. If you had experienced racism, homophobia, transphobia, or unjust legal persecution, then you would know that Trump is not the cause. He is just a symptom. A very bad symptom, but a symptom nonetheless. Biden and Harris would not stop these problems, because they, and people like them, are exactly the people who made them as bad as they are today. And I for one refuse to lend my support to a campaign whose figureheads are a racist career politician who aided Obama in reinforcing the police state that is now being used to suppress dissent and a cruel, heartless and elitist prosecutor who is responsible for denying the existence and rights of my queer and trans sisters by sending them to slave away in private, for-profit-prisons, surrounded by people who are capable of doing them extreme harm simply because they refuse to suppress who they are. Joe Biden is not our savior, he is a racist, out of touch imperialist who will do nothing but serve the interests of his billionaire donors. Kamala Harris is not a feminist icon, nor is she empowering. She is a transphobic, legalist authoritarian with no regard for the lives of those who are worse off than her. And no, the fact that she is a woman of color does not redeem her in any way, shape or form, and if you think it does, you are completely disconnected from the struggles of the working class. 

The truth of the matter is this; this movement does not to you. It does not belong to white, upper middle class moderates. You are not the ones who have lived beneath the shadow of the American Reign of Terror. You likely weren’t even aware of it until Trump got into office, and if you were, you likely did not take much notice of what. And when you do take notice, you either default to passive faux-support for those who are fighting against it, or you condemn those fighting against it for being too violent. This was seen with the recent uprisings against unjust police authority. You condemned the burning of the Minneapolis Police Precinct and you cried and wailed over “the destruction of small businesses.” You wail that they did nothing to deserve it. That the small business owners were just “trying to survive,” and that the protestors “had no right to destroy them.” But I would like to ask you this; did George Floyd do anything wrong when he was murdered? What about Elijiaj McClain? Breona Taylor? Do non-violent offenders deserve to rot in jail, slaving away without pay? I would hope you would agree that no, they did not and do not deserve these things. But the government did it anyway, and you, moderate liberals, said nothing. So I feel no pity for your small businesses. I feel no pity for the police who were injured or killed. Why? Because this is nothing more than retribution. You are merely reaping what you have sown. 

I will not attempt to justify the actions of protestors and rioters, because nothing needs to be justified. I will not mourn fallen police officers, nor will I mourn burned buildings. The fury of the downtrodden has become uncontainable. It has burst forth like the waters of heaven, and it has come to lay waste to this unjust world, and wash away the blood that has stained it. It may be swift like a tornado and uproot society in a single great catastrophe, or it may spread slowly, eating away at the foundations of injustice like termites at the foundation of a house, until finally collapses, and nothing remains.

It may come this year, or it may come ten years from now. But it will come. And you should fear its coming, for when it arrives, those responsible for defending the institutions of injustice will not be spared, and will greet death at the end of a rifle. The Terror of Injustice that is imposed on the people will come to an end, and the Terror of Justice will reign down on the oppressors, and the corpse of capitalism will once and for all be laid in its grave.


Citations:

King, Martin Luther. “Letter From the Birmingham Jail.” Letter from a Birmingham Jail [King, Jr.], www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html. 

Ross, Janell. “Joe Biden Didn't Just Compromise with Segregationists. He Fought for Their Cause in Schools, Experts Say.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 26 June 2019, www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/joe-biden-didn-t-just-compromise-segregationists-he-fought-their-n1021626. 

Sanders, Wren. “Unpacking Kamala Harris's Record on Trans and Sex Work Issues.” Them., 14 Aug. 2020, www.them.us/story/kamala-harriss-record-on-trans-and-sex-work-issues. 


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