Like many things in life, my perspective on letter writing as a form of activism has been deeply informed by Calvin & Hobbes, the seminal comic strip of my childhood, by Bill Watterson — namely, the particular strip from which the title of this entry is pulled. However, I have decided to employ this tactic regularly, given the cesspool of which the incoming President seems determined to make of the national government. This week’s Bat Fax, addressed to Representative Pat Leahy [D-VT], Senator Bernie Sanders [I-VT], and Representative Peter Welch [R-VT], concerns the future President’s appointment of Steve Bannon to position of White House Racist in Chief. Text below.
When I was growing up in Essex Center in the 1980s and 1990s, Vermont had the dubious distinction of being the whitest state in the Union. Being white and inured from much exposure to racism, I grew up largely ignorant about racism’s function in my life and the very fabric of society.
The population of the Green Mountain State is changing. I now live in a state along with citizens of a greater array of colors, ethnicities, and backgrounds, and I’m more cognizant of the privileges racism accords me and the need to actively work against them. Now we better represent the heterogeneous international community to which we and the rest of the country belong. Now we struggle to employ the mutual respect and anti-racism that we must use if we are to have any success saving ourselves and this endangered planet.
As the complexion of the state has changed, so too has the complexion of this country. These demographic shifts don’t obviate racism, of course, but do make it harder for people like me to ignore. And I really can’t ignore the fact that the President-elect has chosen xenophobic, Islamophobic, and anti-Semitic Steve Bannon as a senior advisor. With Bannon’s appointment, white supremacy and hatred are now legitimized at our highest levels of government.
Please do everything you can to oppose Bannon’s appointment. Do it to prove that racism doesn’t belong in the White House. Mostly, though, do it to prove to me, your constituents, and everyone else watching that this country really is committed to liberty and justice for all, no matter what color.