When I first started The Angry Noodle (then Satyr Central), my only interest in politics was removing Trump from office and “restoring normalcy” to the democratic process. I still had faith in my country and believed that this was a disturbing blip in the system that could be rectified by voting our conscience and proving that we’re better than this.
As a result, I kept my Twitter and my website apolitical. There might have been an occasional hint at my political leanings, but generally I kept my tweets focused on writing or random thoughts that had nothing to do with politics, and my posts earlier on–aside from one or two pieces of political satire–were all about writing, science fiction, and fantasy.
It wasn’t until early on in the pandemic, after George Floyd’s murder, that I did a complete 180. I blocked people on Twitter I considered good friends, went full ACAB, and abandoned liberalism in favor of leftist beliefs that many Americans would probably consider radical. I did it because I realized I was being a coward. I didn’t want to alienate my new Twitter friends or my audience. I wanted a career and feared professional backlash if I was too radical.
But everything is political. Your job, your home life, your pastimes, everything. How you spend your time is political. The fact that a literal coup took place yesterday (1/6/2021) and today many of us still had to go to work as usual, is political. The disparity between how Black Lives Matter protestors were treated and how Trump supporters were treated is very much political.
It’s not comfortable to talk about politics, especially when the people in your life disagree with you. I get that. And maybe that’s why I’m seeing some (fortunately not many, but some) people still marketing their books, writing #relatable posts on social media, or even outright saying that they don’t want to talk about what happened yesterday.
But saying you “don’t do politics” is a sign of privilege and complicity, especially right now. Maybe it sounds unfair for me to accuse you of being part of the problem when all you did was literally nothing, but fascism doesn’t just spread because of the people willfully spreading it. It spreads when all the rest of us downplay its severity and pretend we don’t see it. I’ve seen many white liberals evoke MLK’s “I Have a Dream” to lecture Black people on how we should protest, but conveniently many of those same moderate liberals ignore that he also criticized the white moderate for doing what many of you are doing right at this moment.
I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.
When I am asked why I am angrier at liberals, people who are more closely aligned with my beliefs than conservatives, this is why. In ignoring right wing extremism and evoking MLK to silence Black voices, you are being the very white moderate he criticizes in his letter. History repeats itself when we don’t learn from it. We read history books and ask ourselves how these atrocities in the past could’ve ever been allowed to come to pass, but the moderate who doesn’t want to rock the boat or alienate their audience or upset their friends and family, is just as much the reason these events took place as those actively working towards it. We outnumber the people who stormed the Capitol yesterday. By a lot. But because so many of us are moderates who would rather not think about it or talk about it, we have allowed these people to spread their hate unchecked until it reached the inevitable boiling point that many of us knew it would four years ago.
I’m not asking for much. Just that you acknowledge that what’s going on isn’t okay. That you stop making BIPOC and queer folk feel like we’re too radical or “the other side of the same coin” of the right wingers who took selfies with the cops while breaking into the Capitol and taking souvenirs from it yesterday. That you stop with the casual “life goes on as usual” posts the day after a coup took place, making the rest of us feel like we’re losing our minds because you’re ignoring blatant fascism even as it’s happening right in front of you.
A lot of us, the most marginalized among us especially, called this four years ago. Only to be called snowflakes, radicals, crybabies, sore losers. And I’m just tired. I only ask that the moderate stop being the moderate, at least just this once, and stand up for what you claim to believe in. If you’re going to stand for something, stand for it. That’s all we ask.
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Bryanna Gary is the founder of The Angry Noodle and a current editorial assistant at Del Rey Books–science fiction, fantasy, and horror imprint of Penguin Random House.