Queer & Present: Lesson 2, Defend An Institution

January 23, 2017 in inQueery

Timothy Snyder wrote “Institutions don’t protect themselves. They go down like dominoes unless each is defended from the beginning.” He’s right.

So we each need to pick one or more to watch over and care for.

My current favorite, because I think it’s the most important as well as the most endangered, is the free press. Here’s my take on the situation:

  • In 1933, the Völkischer Beobachter became the mouthpiece of the Nazi government. It was famous for its mixture of lies and exaggerations.

In 2017, I think Fox News will be the mouthpiece of the new administration. It is already justly famous for its mixture of lies and exaggerations.

  • In 1933, other German news organizations quickly lined up behind the Völkischer Beobachter because they wanted to be able to publish news from the government, too. The few that didn’t were either beaten into submission or closed.

In 2017, I expect most American news organizations to begin sidling over toward the Fox News line in order to get access to the government, as in 1933. But here’s where we come in. Whenever we catch an organization to doing this, we can complain, and share it on Facebook, and generally make noise about it. If enough individuals do this, we can prevent a repetition of 1933. We can also defend it with our wallets. I have never subscribed to the Internet versions of newspapers and magazines. But I am going to do so now. I am subscribing to the New York Times and the Washington Post. Other highly endangered newspapers are the big papers of the South that endorsed Hillary: the Dallas Morning News, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Miami Herald, and such.

Also, if the free press doesn’t ring your chimes, there are lots of other institutions you can watch over: the environment, national parks, the banking system, ObamaCare, women’s reproductive rights, the courts, on and on.

The important point is to pick something you love and defend it against right wing extremism.



Stan Stansbury is a Contributor at InQueery.