History has a way of distilling truths down to their bare essence over time- no matter how complex the issues may have seemed as they unfolded. In any case you can imagine there is a fair and objective judgment of those participating in historically significant events and living during trying times. The judgment is simply whether you were on the right side of history or wrong side of history at the critical time. Never doubt how powerful this core truth is in defining a person’s public persona. This is the reason why so many people claim after the fact to have held an affinity for Muhammad Ali. Opposing his principled stance against fighting in the Vietnam war was so manifestly hypocritical and un-American that nobody wants to confess in this day and time that they were amongst the crowd maintaining the narrow-minded and taunting position that “his momma named him ‘Clay’ I’ma call him ‘Clay.‘
I’ve always considered it an oddity how many people you hear recounting their stand with Dr. King’s courageous activism back in the day but it is exceedingly rare that someone voluntarily confesses being an opponent. But SOMEBODY was throwing those bricks and bottles at the marching protesters from the crowd. SOMEBODY was making those death threats and screaming “nigger go home!” at college students who marched for civil rights. But good luck finding any of those people to go on record for their actions today- despite how loud and proud they were in the moment. They were on the wrong side of history and even they know that now- so they have shrunken into the shadows of the record and either abstain from commenting or offer up some twisted version of revisionist history. It isn’t nearly as hard to sniff out as they tend to think it is, but if it makes them get past the moment, f*ck it. Let them go. Why bother judging their lies in this moment when history is going to judge them for eternity?
But that was then and this is now- and the cycle of history has turned a full revolution again on the issues of civil rights, human rights and citizens accountability to one another. Those of us who are in our prime years in 2018 and are able to take the field of battle are going to have to go on the record and choose a side. It’s time to ante up and kick in and the stakes are high. They may not be Birmingham-bombing-high or Detroit-riots-high but they are higher than they have been since those brutal days when citizenship was a life or death proposition.
We have a president at the helm who is a hostile spirit – a man who frames debates in the starkest terms and speaks in the harshest tones. So whether we like it or not, this is NOT the time for the “When they go low, we go high” philosophy. This is a time to define our terms clearly and determine who is on the right side and who is on the wrong side. And if you are wrong I’m putting my foot up your ass if I that’s what I have to do. We ran out of cheeks to turn 50 years ago so the days of free shots are gone.
With that said here are the 6 points that will determine who will be lying through their false teeth when they are in the old folks’ home and who will have the luxury of standing on their true record:
1- If you are not on the record right now, every day and in every way, publicly favoring the full implementation of the sanctions against Russia for molesting our electoral system you are on the wrong side of history. You are also a traitor to America and you need a thorough ass-whipping. The one thing that we are all supposed to agree on is that evil murderous despots are NOT our friends. If you have lost track of that then you will be lying your ass off somewhere down the road.
2- If you think that “voter fraud” played any role in the election of Barack Obama or the popular vote loss of Donald Trump you are on the wrong side of history. Any action that you support by elected officials or that you take yourself that could interfere with even one American exercising his or her right to vote is a crime against American ideals and an absolute disgrace. Blocking the vote is not a strategy or tactic that honorable people are willing to take to win an election. Only assholes do that. And if you are down with that your affinity for Putin makes a lot more sense.
3- If you are voting for ANY candidate that refuses to take ACTION on gun control, my God are you on the wrong side of history. Telling some random pollster over the phone that you favor background checks for all gun purchases doesn’t mean a damned thing when you give your vote to an NRA boot-licker and GOP ass-kisser who won’t lift a finger to stop assault rifle sales and mass shootings. Your are as big a coward as the representative you send to D.C. and history is NEVER kind to cowards. Keep your worthless thoughts and prayers for the victims. History will reveal that you really didn’t give a damn about them or the country.
4- If you spend any time at all pondering the mysteries of another person’s gender identification or sexual orientation and how to attach public policy to it you are on the wrong side of history. I’ll make it simple for you: they are what THEY say they are, not what YOU say they are. Mind your own goddamned business and just take a whiz when you go to the bathroom rather than checking out the genitalia of whoever else might be in there. That means bathrooms, marriage licenses and all commercial services will be accessed by individual Americans on THEIR terms, not on YOURS. You are welcome to be an ignorant, small-minded bigot, just keep your bigotry off of other people’s bodies and out of their business. The one you need to be watching out for in the bathroom stall is your local GOP representative- they have a much worse record of committing sex crimes in that setting.
5- If you actually believe that for-profit corporations are best equipped to look out for the healthcare needs of the American population, you are on the wrong side of history AND current facts. America’s healthcare system isn’t anywhere near the best in the world despite the political rhetoric and it is almost entirely a function of profit motive. Our health outcomes are middle of the pack at best and we spend the most money by far. So if you hated Barack Obama so badly that you’d be willing to die before you took his help then you will surely get your chance. And history will reveal what a dumb-ass you were.
6- And last but certainly not least, if you actually believe that it was a winning trade off to blow up your retirement and safety net programs in exchange for a tax cut that might buy you a two-topping pizza and a six-pack every pay-period for the next few years you are not just on the wrong side of history, you are on the wrong side of reason. You just blew a significant part of your own future financial stability to hell and hundreds of millions of Americans’ along with it just so you could feel like you were a part of the “in-crowd” who benefited to the tune of millions of dollars. You are a goddamned fool and history will judge you accordingly.
So there you have it. Where a person stands on these six issues will determine if they are on the right side or the wrong side of history as we all make our mark at the polls and everywhere else we express ourselves. To set the tone on how we proceed it would be helpful to look at the title clip-art. The way that Michelle Obama is embracing George W. Bush with authentic good will and personal connection is a reflection of who we are at our very best. It wasn’t that long ago and we are probably not as far gone as we seem to be. We still have a chance to get it right- but we need to remember that history is watching and waiting to judge.