We Cannot be Surprised

It feels like straight up fire and brimstone; especially in the Pacific Northwest where the region has literally been on fire for months. A post-apocalyptic haze hangs over the city as ash literally falls from the sky during a rally to #DefendDACA on Seattle’s Beacon Hill at El Centro de la Raza. Politicians and organizers give speeches; recounting the unending terror the current U.S. Head of State continues to pour upon on non-white, non-wealthy, non-male, non-able bodied, non-Christian, non-straight peoples of the planet Earth. And I am disturbed (because it is disturbing), but I am not surprised.

More than one person at the rally says, “I was surprised he did it!” And I can’t help but respond, “Now that is our problem. We are always surprised when evil does what evil do.” President Chump’s attack on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is pure evil — profoundly immoral and malevolent. But are we really surprised?

“President Chump’s attack on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is pure evil — profoundly immoral and malevolent. But are we really surprised?”

We are talking about the actions of a man who in his first 8 months has made no significant progress on any legislation, but nonetheless: attempted to repeal the Affordable Care Act with no qualms about leaving millions of people without health care; signed an executive order permitting the builders of the North Dakota Access Pipeline to move forward straight through treaty land; the Travel Ban (more accurately known as the Muslim Ban); ran off at the mouth about war with North Korea (and China); pardoned Joe Arpagio; and gave props to white supremacists while belittling anti-racist counter protestors (even after a young white woman is ran over by a car and murdered by a white supremacist).

Are we really surprised the Chump is following through on his campaign promise to go after DACA? Have we gotten so used to politicians not making good on just outcomes we assume they will not follow through on the unjust ones either? We live under an unjust system which values cash money more than people. It always has sided with moneyed interests over real life flesh and blood humans. It will only do something different when we make it. The real burden is on us to actually do something different.

It [the system] will only do something different when we make it. The real burden is on us to actually do something different.

We on the “left” are guilty of only successfully organizing with each other when there is a problem, something to defend, or something to tear down. We are not consistent at building alternative systems and institutions; which is why we are trapped in the hamster wheel of reaction. Reaction, rallies and protests are useful tools for social change, but we have got to do more.

We need to become better visionaries, creatives, builders, and workers. Injustice never sleeps. And while I get that we have to sleep — it is important to take care of ourselves and preserve our humanity — we must remember: Justice is just us being just us. We have to build more — more consistently and more together. We can no longer settle for reforms that do not truly benefit and serve the most frontline affected marginalized communities. We all need to have more discipline to hold out and push for transformation over reforms — especially those of us with privilege under this system.

We cannot and should not be surprised the world is on fire. President Chump is doing what he said he would do. Climate change is doing what Native storytellers, and now scientists, said it would do. Police keep killing black and brown people. They are doing what they were established to do; reclaim stolen property — dead or alive.

There is no negotiating with injustice. So long as we continue to be surprised when injustice does what injustice do, justice will continue to be a dream deferred for a nightmare of our own making. No matter how you see this — humans are doing this to each other and the earth. Therein, it is humans who must stop and do better; especially those who stand to benefit from continued injustices.

There is no negotiating with injustice. So long as we continue to be surprised when injustice does what injustice do, justice will continue to be a dream deferred for a nightmare of our own making.

In the end, all humanity will get what is coming to us. Even those who benefit from injustice will eventually reap what they sow one way or another. It may take longer, but it is coming for us all. We cannot eat money. We cannot drink oil. Mama Earth will not hesitate to let us go, but we may get rid of ourselves before she has to if we don’t stop being surprised and get to doing the work of justice.

Posted in Uncategorized.