Not the same

Stop saying that the protests against DJT today and the previous protests against Obama are the same. They aren’t. I will give you two reasons. (There are more.)

I heard during Obama’s administration (First List):

-Obama is not American (he was born in Kenya)
-Obama is not Christian (he’s a Muslim) + Obama’s going to put us all under Sharia Law

Republican pundits kept on about this, and on, and on, and never stopped about this. There was/still is a lot of fear and anger on these points.

That is NOT THE SAME as (Second List):

-the (nominee for) health secretary and Republicans in Congress are trying to repeal my healthcare although they have no working plan to replace it
-the education secretary has no experience and is considering defunding public schools
-the labor secretary’s career is based on undermining worker’s rights
-the head of the EPA wants to abolish the EPA
-the attorney general has a history of opposing civil rights
-the vice president has a strong record against LGBTQIA rights
-the president is in violation of the constitution but he claims it doesn’t apply to him
-ETC

>>>Reason Number One that these are not the same:

The second list of complaints are all demonstrably true, and they all directly affect (sometimes a majority of) American citizens in some way.

None of the things about Obama (first list) are true. The punditry manufactured the “danger” out of thin air and and that “danger/potential harm” never materialized because these things were patently untrue to begin with. But we still hear about them to this day.

>>>But examine this more closely and you’ll see:

The very nature of the claims on that first list has had a remarkable effect on the American public.

-Obama is American and has an American birth certificate.

You don’t believe his birth certificate is real? Even when it is an official birth certificate issued by your own government? So how do you know any birth certificate is real? Who gets to decide that? Do *you* get to decide if someone is “really” an American citizen, if their birth certificate is real? Even if fraud experts and officials whose very job it is to check these things out say it is real? So, you can just delegitimize ANYBODY’s citizenship, no matter their papers or references or established evidence to the contrary?

So, you get to declare anybody a non-citizen based on your whim? Deport or disenfranchise anybody based on your whim, in the face of established evidence to the contrary?

We are beginning to see the broader implications of this thinking right now, in the immigration issues, the executive order travel ban, and on supposed voter fraud, for example. Who is a “real” American depends- not on the standards that have always been used to determine citizenship, not on documents, not on where you were born, not on your parentage, not on the naturalization process- on a whim?

-Obama is a Christian and goes to a Christian church.

You don’t believe his faith is real? You don’t believe his stated religion is true? Based on no evidence in your claim and in the face of contrary evidence? Nothing he can do or has done can convince you? You delegitimize his baptism/confirmation/etc? You invalidate the authority of his pastor, his congregation, his church? Why are you the judge over everyone else?

And what reason does he have to change the foundational laws of the country? He’s a professor of law, why would he change the very laws he studied and taught and made as a congressman and swore to uphold as the president of the United States? He obviously *didn’t* enact sharia law. But you think it was because he was prevented from doing so, not because he had no intention of doing so? Based on nothing but the punditry has told you- even though it has been proven to be untrue?? So, even his character cannot be proven through his actions; only the punditry knows for certain?

This, all of this, is an undoing of truth, and of ways of finding and confirming truth. If the pundits discredit and delegitimize traditional, established means of proving what is true and what is not, then the pundits seize the authority to become the sole arbiters of truth. Not the government, not science (or religion), not the press, not your own lived experience in the world- only they decide what is true, what is real, and nothing can be used to argue against them; and you must therefore accept their authority. Science is a conspiracy, the media is a conspiracy, political opponents are conspiratorial liars, people with different points of view are criminals, liars, crybaby snowflakes, and the enemies of America.

If they say Obama is an America-hating Kenyan Muslim, then it’s true. If they say that the Democrats are whining because they are spoiled brats, then that’s true. If they say Mexican immigrants are rapists, refugees are Islamic terrorists, and only white rural working class folk are “real” Americans, then that’s true. If they say Jeff Sessions isn’t racist, Steve Bannon isn’t a white supremacist, DJT has no history of sexual assault, then that is true. Despite all evidence to the contrary. Because Authority’s Whim says so.

We need to recognize and publicly acknowledge how this leads to authoritarianism, and how quickly we could lose our democracy in this way:

“What we are witnessing now is the birth of a new political order” /Bannon

which leads us to

>>>Reason Number Two that these are not the same:

The very nature of the claims on first list (and their resulting implications on truth, facts, and authority) is integral to the tactics being used to undermine Americans and American institutions.

The second list calls out what is being done against Americans in an effort to stop the direction this is taking us as a country.

I’d say that’s as different as hell.

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