One of my dad's constant complaints to me as a kid was that Americans, myself included, were too obsessed with fairness. He was born Jewish in Odessa in the 1930s. To him, fairness was a joke at best, repressive at worst.

"WTF is this fairness? Nothing's fair."
His attitude is partly explained by malignant narcissism, but it's also wisdom from having survived Hitler and the USSR.

To him, it was important that I paid attention to who had the power to do what, how pressure gets applied, and what the consequences are.
His lessons weren't just theoretical. He was a bully, and his aggressions played out in custody battles with my mom, and fights with my teachers, relatives, people that mattered to me. To harden me.

It wasn't fair. And yet, my mom and other's advocacy for me made a difference.
Why am I bringing this up? Something clicked for me today, I guess, when I was thinking about what's holding America back from seeing our country as it really is. And I think part of it is this idea of fairness.
Unlike my dad, I don't think the issue is with the values themselves. My life growing up with him is why I'm so vocal about the dangers of nihilism.

The problem is that American exceptionalism taught us that we've mostly achieved our ideals. That our institutions are safe.
My dad has his limitations, but he can read America for filth. When he'd go on about fairness being bs, what he was really talking about was corruption.
In pursuit of the optics of objectivity, American's lost the ability to talk about corruption.
The trick to fighting authoritarianism is fighting nihilism. Confront the darkness, and come back wanting better. Like James Baldwin said “I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
Why is this so urgent? Because if there's one group that knows about exploiting power to the max, it's Republicans. Their nihilism will take us all down with them if we don't do something about it. Democrats seem set on wasting this moment, but we can't afford to give up.
Disillusionment can lead to despair, but it can also lead to renewed determination, clarity of purpose, new community. If we're going to survive this chaos we have to find and choose meaning, dignity, and connection.

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More from @alindguzik

14 Sep
AOC has everyone repeating “tax the rich” today and people are confused why she went?
Shoutout to the people who hold it against her that inequality wasn’t solved last night, or who suggest that this one appearance is the sum of her work. Meanwhile, everyone’s going to have an opinion on this dress. Think of all the conversations.
“Messaging alone won’t create systemic change.” True. Good messaging is necessary but not sufficient. Propaganda is complementary to organizing, legislating, litigating, investigating, voting. There are lots of ways to put pressure on power, and it’s not zero sum.
Read 7 tweets
3 Sep
We've been sleepwalking into Christian autocracy for years. The GOP has entrenched themselves at every level of the system for purposes of minority rule. They don't care about bad optics. They're not accountable to them. They propagandize their base while othering the rest of us.
Those of us who saw this clearly and said so have been marginalized and trashed as unpatriotic hysterics for years, as if discussing authoritarianism somehow makes it worse. That has to stop. No more eggshells, no more sugar coating.
The abusive relationship between Democrats and Republicans has to end. Democrats need to set boundaries, and be ready to walk when they're violated. Because we know they'll be violated. Bc abusers are predictable AF.
Read 5 tweets
2 Sep
Hello new followers. I'm sorry to be meeting you under such sad circumstances, but I'm glad you're here. I joined Twitter in the wake of Trump's election with the express goal of helping Americans come to terms with rising authoritarianism.
I changed careers in 2015. Until then, I was going to be an academic, trained in intl human rights law (genocide, refugees, trafficking, gender violence) followed by training to be a Soviet legal historian, studying authoritarian abuses via defamation, copyright, censorship.
I'm also the survivor of a lifetime of narcissistic abuse, which sadly cost me my academic career. After disclosing CPTSD, my advisor tossed me out like a dented trophy. All of which left me free in 2016 to respond to Trumpism.
Read 13 tweets
27 May
A hardwired belief that fascism can’t happen here has made it that much harder to confront the radicalization of the GOP. My latest for @Convo_ist, a primal scream for American democracy:
conversationalist.org/2021/05/27/the…
If the GOP’s strategy is to pack the courts, overturn elections, incite mobs, gerrymander, suppress votes, and otherwise harass the vulnerable, then the size of its base is not as relevant a concern. conversationalist.org/2021/05/27/the…
Republicans have been on the path toward authoritarianism for more than two decades. (Reasonable people/historians will disagree on how far back to go.)Trump just speeded up the journey and helped them blossom into their worst selves. 

conversationalist.org/2021/05/27/the…
Read 6 tweets
26 May
peaceful human rights protestors seen through the right’s latest filter ->
criminals and psychopaths mobilized into blue militias
They say this inflammatory shit to scare people and justify the actually-existing, heavily armed right wing militias.
The language of the right keeps getting more extreme to match every authoritarian escalation by the GOP.
Read 5 tweets
9 Jan
This was the RNC doubling down on Trump, today. Insurrection? NBD.

The whole party has to go.
What’s so sad is that people are only now giving this attack on democracy the urgency it deserves, late in the game with extremists deeply entrenched in our system.
January 20th won’t solve the fascist problem in America. Instead of chaos coming from the executive, it’ll be state GOP parties and local police harassing Democrats and marginalized people, suppressing votes, passing racist laws and ordinances, inciting violence.
Read 4 tweets

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