How many lawyers does it take to change an Islamophobic lightbulb?
No. Today is too beautiful for what I wrote last night about the plotlines of a dystopian novel are running off the page and into the headlines. (When Homeland Security wants to require visitors to submit their social media passwords? Profoundly disturbing, even without Timothy Snyder’s warning that “Totalitarianism starts when the difference between your public life and your private life is effaced.” But as a human with both a heart and a brain, you already knew that. So enough.)
No, a beautiful day like today needs more positivity. I keep a “Good news” bookmark folder, with more than just that book about how now is actually the most peaceful time in human history rattling around in it.
International: in Iraq, 200,000 Iraqi farmers returned to their farms for the first time in two years, after Daesh rolled in with their war against truth, journalism, tolerance, and human decency…
Local: in my beloved hometown of Oakland, a project working to drastically increase the number of low income college graduates has shown impressive success in just its first year by actually investing in the disadvantaged. Whoddathunkit.
And let’s address the racist orange elephant in the room: Hawaii was quickly joined by Washington, Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, and Oregon in challenging Trump’s newest Muslim ban. And I expect they’ll win, not only because the ban puts us more at risk of terrorism by aligning us with ISIS’s crusades/jihadist rhetoric, nor that the ban is unconstitutional in its discrimination, but because it materially damages the entire country. The Trump Slump in international tourism is estimated to cost the US $10.8 to $31.8 billion in leisure travel alone, not to mention other sectors like business investment and education, or the thousands of jobs that go with it.
Back to Timothy Snyder (Yale historian and author of several books about 20th Century fascism), who warns us that Germans in 1930 were not that different from us today, but is encouraged by our awareness that Trump’s Islamophobic policies represent an attack on the way we conduct politics as a whole. And lawyers. Yep, lawyers are the good guys.
The ones who “got out in front already in November, December, and started to think about what the necessary lawsuits might be and then were ready to file in January and February…like Germany in the ‘20s and ‘30s, we pride ourselves as a rule-of-law state. You can’t undo a rule-of-law state without lawyers. In the Nazi example, most of the lawyers switched over.” Reading the list of states joining in challenging Trump’s latest offense against moral and intellectual decency, I have to agree.
So novelists are terrifying me, lawyers are saving us all, and I’m leaving for a weekend in Tahoe. The world is a bit upside down right now, but still plenty of hope and happiness to be found.