|tulip with insects (April 2017)|
The Portland metro area is still mourning last week's MAX attack, the murder of two white men defending two young women of color, one of whom was a Muslim wearing a hijab, against a racist neo-Nazi thug with a miles-long criminal record. Yesterday was another car-on-a-bridge terrorist attack in London, the city where I spent last summer during Brexit. Today in downtown Portland there will be an alt-right protest and an even larger counter-protest by the masked leftist antifa. I considered photographing the fascist and antifa protests today, and yet after spending the last couple of years fighting off cancer, why would I want to risk getting whacked like a piñata by fake-Nazis with sticks?
Lately I've been reading up more on these American white-supremacist groups, these squeaky racist wheels getting more and more grease from the media as far-right groups pop up like zits across the U.S. landscape (and yes, I'm purposefully mixing disgusting metaphors). I stand by what I said in January about this period being the start of white patriarchy's last gasp. And yet, I'm only now beginning to feel, like crunching on grit in a sandwich at the beach, just how nasty and brutish this era may become. Trump, xenophobic con-man-in-chief and tool of Russian operatives, has opened Pandora's box of Nazis and let all the crazed, leftover (overt) racists come tumbling out.
|broken tulip, Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm (April 2017)|
|tulip petals in mud, Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm (April 2017)|
|muddy tulip, Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm (April 2017)|
|girl with hat in mud, Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm (April 2017)|
At least some of the white supremacists are Holocaust deniers, unsurprising for the far-right, people who tend to be averse to science in particular and facts in general. I've actually toured Auschwitz in Poland and witnessed the large museum cases that, at least in 1994, were filled with piles of tangled eyeglasses, piles of human hair, and piles of jumbled suitcases labeled with names and addresses of people who thought they were coming back. I've seen the crematory ovens built for perfectly healthy people. Auschwitz, even half a century after WWII, seemed surrounded by a heavy cloud of dark energy, enough to chill the skin—and I'm not one who believes in the supernatural.
Because of Auschwitz and war and murder and misogyny and racism, humans deserve the prize for being the worst mammals, the worst of all apes. How much better life would be if we were like our cousins, the bonobos, who have copious sex with all types to diffuse tribal tension, rather than like chimps with alpha-males who beat each other up and shriek for battle. Bonobos embody the motto, Make love, not war.
|crowd scene, Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm (April 2017)|
Go suck eggs, fake-Nazis. I want a future where humans learn how to get along. I believe it's possible and the only viable future. So I'm headed to the farmers market today to support the people growing and picking our food. And on Monday I'll return to my job teaching poor children—Latino and African-American and white—to read.