Illinois’ congressional candidate’s facism indicitive of voter complacincy

You know, I like to joke fairly often about this being the worst timeline, which relies, of course, on the notion that there are infinite alternative realities existing at the exact same moment as ours; but as much as I like to joke about that sort of thing, I can’t say that I fully believe that.

Yet, current events keep pushing it day in and day out. The latest offense? Arthur Jones.

In case this is the first you’re hearing of him, let me fill you in on Arthur Jones. According to his website, good ole Jones is an anti-choice, anti-LGBT, pro-gun, “America First” holocaust denier. Yes, you read that correctly, Jones is a Holocaust denier. There is an entire page on his website labeled “Holocaust?” in which Jones calls the genocide of several marginalized groups, especially the Jewish population of Europe, “the biggest, blackest lie in history.” He firmly believes that the Holocaust, quite simply, did not happen and that the entire thing is a conspiracy formed by the Jewish community in order to “bleed, blackmail, extort and terrorize, the enemies of organized world Jewery.”

These are the words of a man who is currently running unopposed in the Illinois Republican primary for U.S. Congress. So not only is he homophobic, racist, misogynistic and anti-semitic, he also is unaware of how to use an Oxford comma. Sad. All joking aside, that means that unless people step up and start opposing him, we are in for a whole heap of trouble.

This is where Democracy falls short of what it should be. In an ideal Democratic Republic, which America aims to be, there would be enough options in terms of representatives so that we would never end up in a situation where the only available option is, say, a literal Nazi. Yet, much of American politics is reduced to career politicians; people who go into politics not to represent the public, but rather for their own economic progression. This, combined with the fact that entering American politics requires a certain level of privilege, means that we find ourselves in situations where our choice of representatives are severely limited which is, incidentally, exactly what happened during the 2016 presidential elections.

Even beyond this as an example of failed democracy, it also serves as a great opportunity to talk about Karl Popper’s 1945 paradox of tolerance. The paradox states that if a society is indiscriminately tolerant, it will eventually be overtaken by the intolerant. The idea here is that if we allow people to limit the lives and freedoms of marginalized people in the name of tolerance, they will eventually remove all tolerance from society.

Because of this, it is our duty to call out these toxic mentalities. If we do not make it completely and utterly clear that this sort of ideology is abhorrent and unacceptable, we allow it to flourish.

So the next time someone wants to play devil’s advocate for the oppression of marginalized people, try to keep in mind the underlying implications, particularly in the risk of validating those who want to rob marginalized groups of their freedom. This may be the bad timeline, but we can still take action to make it better.