Defend Modesto?

  • Category: Opinion
  • Published: Friday, 30 August 2019 10:43
  • Written by Jess Bear

defend modestoContent Warning: Talking About the Inherent Violence of White Supremacy and supporting them through the politics of politeness.

A good friend of mine posted the image below. It is a flyer for the counter protest of the White Supremacist- er, I mean "Straight Pride" event that occured this last Saturday in Modesto.

Featured on it is a silhouette of a gun, with flowers growing out of the barrel. Bold print says
DEFEND MODESTO,
#STOPHATEPRIDE
#DEFEND209,
Not in our Community, Not in our -lives-
Stop Anti-LGBTQ Bigotry
Smash White Supremacy
Make Proud Boys Piss Themselves.

I want it clearly stated for the record: I LOVE THIS POSTER. It is clear, concise in its position to have folks show up to stop the spread of White Supremacy, mocking them through solidarity.

The very first comments on my friend's page were to the tune of "A gun on a protest poster? Surely they invite violence on themselves with such imagery." Several people agreed that the gun was a bit much.

I countered that the gun with flowers growing out of it is a pretty iconic image from Vietnam-era protests in this country, where non violent anti-war activists put daisies into the barrel of the guns of soldier and police lines. I also offered that the gun with a flower growing out of it is a straight forward message of peace: If a gun has a flower growing out of it, it can no longer be used for it's designated purpose. It is now a flower pot instead. Modesto and the Central Valley coming together in solidarity against such an event could and would drown out that hate rhetoric. I supposed that the only people who would see violence in this image are people who seem to think that it would be the protesters fault if violence were to occur against them for holding this sign or sharing it on social media.

Now, I am sure that there have been replies to that message, but I decided that I do not wish to start a debate on someones page who probably wasn't asking for that to happen. So I am doing it here. Because I realized that my original response was not adequate to the situation at all. I was focusing on the wrong part of the responses.

When someone, anyone, in this year of our gods 2019, finds it acceptable to suggest that White Supremacists will only commit violence unless they have been unfairly provoked is.... so deeply ignorant of what is going on in our country at this moment that I cannot begin to find words for it. But I'm gonna try.

Men, women, and children are dying in concentration camps in the US.

ICE literally ran over people last week who were doing a peaceful protest in front of detention centers.

Our fascist president has recently called Democrat- voting Jews traitors.

Violence against all minority groups has risen to insane numbers, I believe the largest number I have seen is something like 30% since LAST YEAR.

White Supremacists do not need a reason to inflict violence upon others. Their whole ideology, their function in the past and the here and now, is to kill and "cleanse" the US of people like me, Jordan, and every single one of my queer, disabled, POC, poor, minority religious friends AND to enslave child baring people.

A flower pot shaped like a gun is not the problem. And choosing to accuse activists trying to protect our communities through PEACEFUL PROTESTS of bringing violence upon themselves smacks of victim blaming ("what did you expect for choosing to hold hands with your husband in public?") and just plain wrong.