“If the protesters would only…”
You’ve heard it. Even if the people around you are relentlessly on the same side as yourself, you’ve heard it. Whether it’s framed as the protesters being cry babies, or shrill or unreasonable…
All of these are just variations of the tone argument.
If you have had the luxury of not being exposed to the tone argument in the past, welcome! It’s an argument that boils down to the idea that if someone simply says what they want or need differently than they are now, then it will somehow, miraculously, be granted.
This is simply not true.
The tone argument is one of those things where people will never be satisfied.
No matter how you say it, it will never be “right”. It is meant as a way to discredit and disqualify objections. It is a refusal to acknowledge the real problems and discontent of those for protesting, objecting, or speaking out about politics.
It is meant to silence.
The person who says they’re tired about hearing about politics on your social media feeds, or says that “it just needs to be expressed more politely” really wants you to be quiet and not disturb the power and privilege that they have now.
I cannot know their motivation.
Perhaps they like the power and privilege they have. Perhaps they are scared to speak out themselves. Perhaps they are worried that if they hear and acknowledge what you were saying that they will have to do something themselves.
It does not matter.
When we are silent about the abuses of power, we give silent consent to the abuses of power.
To paraphrase: All that is required for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing and say nothing.
And say it loud.
We are saying it with you.
This is not normal.
These are not American values.
This. Is. Not. Normal.