Season three of Man in High Castle was brutal and pointless, but there is a scene in it that has stuck with me for the last couple of weeks. Near the end of the season, Heinrich Himmler — who is running the Third Reich in the early 1960s — takes a couple of fighter jets and destroys the Statue of Liberty.
The destruction was not met with sadness. Or anger. Or even defeat. People in Manhattan celebrated. They reacted with glee. And these weren’t just Nazis. They were Americans. They were New Yorkers. They were celebrating the toppling of one of American’s greatest symbols. Twenty years after the Nazis conquered America, America had normalized hate. We had become Nazi America not just in title, but in spirit.
That’s what terrifies me most about the midterms. What if we lose? I’m not OK with that, but I’m even less OK with the idea that, if we lose, we give up. That one by one, we decide that resistance is futile. That we decide, “Eh. It’s not that bad. We’ll just ride this out.”
But while we’re riding it out, waiting for the next election, middle school teachers will be prohibited from using the word transgender. The Civil Rights era may be replaced in history textbooks with the Trump era. We’ll start ignoring the news, because it’s too horrible to read every day, while our leaders quietly chip away at civil rights. What if a place like Pajiba decides, “Screw it! We’re taking a break from politics, and we’re going to go back to exclusively writing about movies and television.” That a new generation of kids will want to associate themselves with “winners,” instead of resistors, and we all just get tired of fighting. So very tired. And besides, what’s the point?
And then two more years pass. And then another four years pass. And then in 2024, we have an entire generation that’s grown up on Trump, who know nothing else. That 14-year-olds who are now 20-year-olds only know America as the country that turns away people at our borders, that defines a person based on their genitalia, that probably reverts to defining marriage as between a man and a woman. That we become a country where racial profiling is encouraged. That we become a country where the Obama era is treated as the aberration, and not the Trump era.
The point being: No matter what happens on November 6th, we cannot stop being angry. This is true even if we take back the House. We cannot sit idly by and say, “They got this.” We cannot stop pointing out injustice. We cannot stop pointing out behavior that is not normal, or else it will become normal. Win or lose, we cannot give up, because that’s exactly what they want. They want to bully us into submission. They want to break our spirit. They want us to shut up and play along, and they want us to tell our kids not to put themselves in danger by rocking the boat. And if we go along for the sake of our kids, and if our kids go along for the sake of themselves, we end up twenty years from now celebrating the destruction of the Statue of Liberty.
Winning would be huge, but winning is not everything. It will always be just as important to resist, because if those voices are not heard, then they will fill the silence with their own voices. I don’t want to be the old man yelling at the clouds, saying to my grandkids, “Back in my day, the government didn’t define who a person is, human beings could define themselves!”
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