Because my signature achievement so far has involved Mage: The Ascension – an urban fantasy book series dealing with the subjective nature of reality and “truth” – there are people who think I should “keep an open mind” and remain apolitically neutral when it comes to topics like ethnic, gender and spiritual oppression.
My answer to that sentiment is simple:
Fuck No. Never.
To be sure, there are many gray areas when it comes to truth and reality. Our perspectives shape the world we experience, and few people see themselves as villains in the story of their lives.
That does not mean that there are no villains.
All too often, oppressors view themselves as oppressed. Occasionally, they’re even correct to a point. (Read up on the French occupation of the pre-WWII Rhineland region for a perfect example of how even the greatest evils can grow from understandable grievances.) But even in such cases, there must be lines drawn between what is and is not acceptable in a viable society. Those lines tend to be drawn, at least initially, by the people in power, but that does not make them right in the greater scheme of things. At such times, it is essential to redraw the lines – sometimes at great risk and cost – so that those who are truly oppressed, the people whose lives and health and liberties face actual threats, not simple inconveniences, may enjoy the same rights to life and prosperity that other people have.
Yes, I understand that certain people fear a future in which they do not dominate others. I realize that some people fear their own freedoms being displaced, and I know for a fact – in part because it is my job to speak that language – that mass media profits from fear and instability, and so uses techniques that exploit the human fight/ flight response in order to catch and hold an audience’s attention. All of these conclusions are verifiable from multiple perspectives, they’re supported by evidence, and so they count as “truth” by every measure that matters.
The fear is understandable.
But those people need to grow up, get the fuck over themselves, and stop acting like cartoon characters in an action movie starring their idealized selves.
The resulting oppression, and attempts to oppress, are wrong.
Morally wrong, intellectually stupid, socially counterproductive, and historically doomed to failure.
When Nazis march down streets carrying torches and demanding “their” country “back” from the rest of us, then those people have chosen to become villains. Regardless of their perceived reality, they have consciously decided to embrace actions that endanger the fabric of their society and endanger the lives of the people they fear.
I will never “keep an open mind” about such behavior.
Fuck that form of “neutrality.”
I always have, and always will, stand on the side of respecting the lives and existence of other people.
And part of that stand involves opposing those who would kick someone into the dirt and stand on their face in order to call themselves “great.”
Greatness does not need oppression. Strength does not need to prove itself by showing off at other creatures’ expense.
A great nation is not one that needs to strut down Main Street shoving “those people” back into the shadows of its greatness, but one that accepts that progress, strength and liberty come from the freedom of all its people to benefit from, and contribute to, society as a whole.
That, to me, is the only reality that matters.