The List

Jan. 31st, 2017 07:12 pm
[personal profile] wingedbeast
Here's a term I thought up a few months ago and, mainly, kept in my head. It was useful for me to organize my thoughts but I didn't think it'd need to be put into common use. Things being where they are, politically, I think this needs to enter common use, if only because it's something that needs to be discussed.

The List. You've heard the phrase, put in the mouths of youths looking to be intimidating, "you're on my list." You've heard of Nixon's enemies list. That's a good start. That list is a metaphor. The physical lists are controlled by one person. This List isn't controlled by any one person, but everybody in a culture gets a hand in crafting The List.

The List is all the people that will get agreement someone says "this country could do without..." or "things would get a lot better if we could get rid of all the..." or "we should do something about the...".

The List shifts with the times and with which specific culture you're talking about, who's in power, etc.

A few things are important about The List.

1. The List has both a long and a short memory. Once a group finds itself on The List, it's fairly difficult to get off The List. You can shift position, rather easily, on The List. Anything from world-shaking events to a shift in topic of conversation can shift where you place on The List.

2. What The List forgets, it forgets entirely. Irish people were once on the List. This is remembered in history texts. But, as far as The List knows, they never Listed. More importantly, why they were erased from The List is completely forgotten, not even a mystery. The lies told about them, in service of their place on The List, the fact that they were lies, are all gone from history.

3. The List wants you to agree with The List, even if you're on it. Hatred of one group will readily be used as a claim of love of another, even as that other is firmly established on The List. That means that you have to remember that List, keep it in mind. Writing someone else on doesn't mean you're not on, yourself. Everybody gets to write on The List. No exclusions.

4. I am on The List.

My grandfather was Jewish. I'm an atheist. Both of these, in terms of today's most common Lists, are low down. In terms of conservative voices, those supporting the recent ban (as close to a ban on Muslims as Trump could get and still illegal), I'm quite low on The List. Before me, there's Muslims and LGBTQ (not all of the expanding lettergroup are on the same place on The List, but they're all there and they're all ahead of me).

This blog is, in large part, for my own benefit. And, this may, someday, be an essential reminder for me. For those most interested in achieving the promise of The List, a world perfected through exclusion of The Listed, I am on The List. It'll be an interesting thing to see whether the fact that I'm the grandson of a Jewish WWII vet or the fact that I'm an atheist becomes an issue becomes the issue, first.

Sure, there's more fervent antisemitism than there is anti-atheist bigotry. But, anti-atheist bigotry is more freely stated without consequence. Heck, in confirmation hearings, Jeff Sessions expressed skepticism on whether or not I could understand truth.

But, as privileged as I am to have such low status on The List, I am on The List. First they'll come for the Muslims, but, eventually, if they keep working their way down, they'll come for me. I won't be off The List in my lifetime.
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