During World War II, Frank Capra was asked to put together some American propaganda about fighting the fascist powers of the time — the Axis Powers. The Germans, especially, were merciless. The Japanese were terrifying. The Italians were less known, but still fascists. In short, Capra had his work cut out for him.
The other problem was that he had no money. Challenged by the government to complete the project, they explained that had no budget for his work. It was his job to do something with nothing — a task many in America today are well acquanted with. like them, Capra considered long and hard about how to make ends meet and do the job he was asked to do. After thinking about it, he created a masterpiece of filmmaking — a series of films called “Why We Fight”. These films are considered classic documentaries and stand the test of time.
How did he do it? And how did he do it with very little money? Capra used Nazi propaganda. He let the propaganda produced by the enemy explain why we, as Americans, had to fight. He let their own words, and their own plans, speak for themselves. We fought back against fascism and won then, because couldnt bear the world the Nazis promised. We will fight fascism again and win again for the same reason.
From day to day, our President elect makes promises about what he’ll do (which often sounds like fascism — seriously enough that White Supremecists believe it). The next day he says he won’t, and we take a collective sigh of relief. The outrageousness consumes us, and commands our attention. It’s a ploy. We respond to his words, as though we could change anything he does with our words. We can’t. If there’s anything he has proven, its that we don’t know what he’ll do until he actually does it.
It’s on those grounds that we can reasonably respond (our way)to unreason itself (their acts). Acts make words reality, and we live in reality. For years, I have worked with liars — addicted people who often lie to themselves as well as those around them, until they “hit bottom”. In that case, I tell their families to only pay attention to their actions.
So far, Mr. Trump has chosen a man who is proud of “giving a platform to the ‘alt-right’ (neo-Nazis)” as his chief of staff. That’s an action. We can respond to that. He has named a Secretary of education a woman who doesnt believe in public education. That’s an action. We can respond to that. He’s considering hiring a general who has betrayed secrets with his mistress. If that happens, we’ll respond to that.
How we’ll respond is up to us, and frankly, many of us have limited our options,but our response will be based in our creativity and the reality of the situation. We already know why we’ll fight.
Resisting with peace,