Sometimes you see a political statement on Facebook that you sorta kinda want to agree with, but then you think about it (and that’s the key phrase here — think about it) and you realize you not only can’t agree with it, you actively oppose it.
This is what I mean:
On the surface, this sounds perfectly reasonable. If you freely associate with Nazis–if Nazis are part of your social circle–you’re a Nazi. Or, at the very least, you’re Nazi-tolerant.
I can agree with that. I’ve a cousin who is an ardent Trump supporter. We’ve always been friends, though we’ve always had radically different political views. But his embrace of Trump was too much for me to tolerate. I no longer associate with him. I still love him like a brother; if he needed a kidney, I’d pony up one of mine. But I won’t hang out with him. I can’t be friends with people who support authoritarian regimes.
But then there’s this part of that FB political statement:
When you break bread with a Nazi, you tell them that they’re a member of society. They’re not. They don’t deserve to be. And they should know their hatreds make them unfit to be around decent people
And that, in my opinion, is just flat out wrong. First off, ain’t nobody got the right to decide for me who is and who isn’t ‘decent’ people. That’s something I’ll decide for myself. As far as that goes, I don’t want to limit my friendships solely to ‘decent’ people. I like and enjoy people whose thoughts and actions aren’t always constrained by bland notions of ‘decency.’ Weirdos, fuck-ups, deviants, freaks, eccentrics, perverts–folks who diverge from the norm, that’s my tribe, and they’re decent enough for me.
Second, of course Nazis are members of society. Maybe not welcome members, but members all the same. As are Jews and New York Yankees fans and people who collect Barbie dolls and women who think it’s fucking stupid to shave their legs and Buddhists and folks who watch reality television and people who love stock car racing and fans of Ru Paul’s Drag Race and long distance runners and method actors and men who wear porkpie hats and assholes who shoot off fireworks and even Comrade Donald fucking Trump.
Obviously I’m NOT comparing those folks to Nazis. I’m just saying that a healthy society is large and elastic. I’m just saying they’re all members of society. Doesn’t mean you have to associate with them, or agree with them, or understand them. Doesn’t mean you have to collect Barbie dolls or wear a porkpie hat. It just means you need to acknowledge they exist in your society, whether you like it or not. The same is true of Nazis.
Third, you can exclude people from your personal circle of friends and acquaintances, but you don’t get to decide who does and who doesn’t deserve to be a member of society. And you certainly don’t get to decide that based on whether or not you agree with them or are uncomfortable around them. You know what sort of people DO think they have the right to choose who does and doesn’t deserve to be a member of decent society? Nazis, that’s who. Fucking Nazis.
Seriously, you can’t get rid of Nazis by becoming a Nazi yourself.
So let me just say this: fuck Nazis. Fuck them in the neck. But grow the fuck up and accept the fact even people you despise are still a part of society. And as such, they have rights. That includes the right to exist.
If there’s a Nazi at the table and ten people are sitting there talking to him, you’ve got a table of eleven Nazis. As a general approach, I’m okay with that. It may not always be true, but it’s probably a fairly reliable metric. Here’s another; if you’re sitting at a table with friends and you decide that a table with eleven Nazis doesn’t deserve to exist, then there are two tables of Nazis.
Don’t be a Nazi.