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Without Hyperbole

Afterwar

I’m tired.

I can’t imagine how much more exhausted protestors are. In two weeks, between COVID-19 and the police brutality deployed every evening, there might not be anyone left to challenge the ongoing fascist coup.

Let me be absolutely clear. I do not use the term “fascist coup” lightly, or with any hyperbole. I am a mistress of well-deployed hyperbole when it comes to squirrel stories and urban fantasy; I am in this case laying it aside and speaking simple, honest truth.

A wannabe dictator stood in the Rose Garden of the White House while the screams of the protestors he had ordered tear-gassed and shot still lingered in the air, and he threatened martial law. This is an indisputable fact.

Then he, flanked by oodles of security, walked across the street and stood before a church his thugs had just violently cleared clergy and medical staff from, stepping over scattered, ravaged supplies. The wannabe dictator held a Bible upside-down and stared into the cameras. Later that night, high-ranking military were seen in fatigues touring various parts of the nation’s capital, “just looking at things.”

Martial law. Peaceful protestors tear-gassed and skull-cracked. Clergy, medics, and journalists targeted. A US Senator allowed to put fascist “we must call in the military to restore order” propaganda in what we’ve often referred to as “the paper of record.”

Pravda was a “paper of record”, too.

And all of this because Black Americans do not want to be killed at random by uniformed white supremacist thugs, and are tired of being held in bondage. Slavery was never really abolished; its methods simply hid behind euphemisms. The Southern Strategy was outright profitable for regressives, too, who have been working towards this moment–theocratic, oligarchic, racist, fascist rule–for decades.

Rich regressives have their propaganda outlet (Faux News) prepared. They have a grip on the levers of power–while American cities already in the grip of a pandemic convulsed with protest against murder and inequality, Mitch McConnell was busy in an air-conditioned chamber, ramming through lifetime appointments of loyal apparatchiks to federal judgehood.

Clearly he thinks the coup is accomplished. And the Joint Chiefs chose to send out a wishy-washy “statement” that functions only as a piece of paper to cover their asses if the coup by some miracle does not succeed.

How hard is it to say, “You will not fire on American civilians, and you are under no obligation to obey anyone who tells you to do so”? But after a Sunkist Stalin browbeating, a man in uniform countermanded orders to let the troops–the troops, let’s not forget, mobilized to be deployed against American citizens–go home.

Don’t believe me. If you’re reading this, you have the internet. Go look it up.

When I say, “A coup has happened, it is ongoing, and I don’t know whether it can be halted,” I am uttering strict, bare, honest truth. I saw a wannabe dictator attempt to declare martial law on June 1 after tear-gassing peaceful protestors in front of the White House, and that same wannabe dictator is still in power. His criminal cabal has closed ranks around him. He is still eating food paid for by our tax dollars, he is still being “guarded” by security forces paid for by our tax dollars, he is still handing out keys to the public treasury–our treasury, our tax dollars–to his friends, his family, and his fellow criminals.

The police are still on our streets, still beating and killing indiscriminately. Still kettling, shooting, and gassing protestors, bystanders, and anyone else they decide to, during a pandemic. Closing centers for COVID-19 testing in order to use them to hold prisoners, and using tanks by any other name against their own neighbors. An alphabet soup of federal forces, many of them not in standard uniform, has flooded our nation’s capital in order to confuse and use maximum violence against protestors. While we were struggling with a pandemic last month and the month before, the wannabe dictator was using federal medical aid and relief as patronage to extort promises of personal fealty from red-state governors, and now it’s paying off. Not only that, but this wannabe dictator is putting up his campaign-promised wall–around the White House, since I guess you can’t be a petty Hitler without a Berghof.

I cannot even imagine how tired the protestors are right now. I can’t even imagine the burden Black people and other PoC or marginalized groups are carrying. All I can do is use my privilege and platform to say what needs saying, and what needs saying is this:

A fascist coup has been attempted, and the wannabe dictator is still in power. The military is watching to see which way this is going to fall, and any “opposition” leaders in Congress are still vainly trying “bipartisanship” with the Republicans who plotted and are facilitating the downfall of any democracy in our republic. Thinking we can “vote them out in November” is a total abdication of responsibility–certainly, if we’re still allowed to vote in November, of course we should vote them out.

But in two weeks the pandemic spike from the opening of the beaches two weeks ago will be ongoing, and the spike from forcing people to choose between accepting a violent, random suffocation-death at the hands of police or choking to death as the coronavirus fills their lungs with liquid will be cresting. In two weeks many of the most active resistors will be dead of police brutality or sick with the plague.

What are we going to do then?

I did a lot of research on fascists, authoritarians, and coups for That Particular Book I Wrote Back In 2015. Every single bit of that research is screaming at me now. My commitment to my art and my profession requires me to tell the truth about this and not look away, that I use whatever privilege and platform I have to speak and to boost the voices crying out for justice, crying out a warning.

I do not say this lightly: A fascist coup has been attempted, and the wannabe dictator is still in power.

This is where we are now.

What are we going to do? I’m speaking directly to my white friends and readers, those who share my privileged skin color. What are you prepared to do? Don’t attempt to answer me in the comments. Just go do it, whatever it is. Make a decision. If you ever told yourself, “I wouldn’t have collaborated with Nazis, no sir,” now is your golden chance to prove it. The moment is nigh. Find a resistance lane and get going. Get your go-bag and make your decision not just about what you’ll do in the short term, but also what you’ll do if this ongoing coup succeeds and the security forces being tested and battle-hardened right now in our streets come knocking in the dead of night to disappear your neighbors–or even your own sweet self.

What are you prepared to do?

Don’t try to tell me. Just do it.