Civility and Solidarity

By Zach Oaster

Refusing to serve a highly visible political figure, who is responsible for great harm, is a form of solidarity and resistance.

It is not merely some pissing match between Democrats and Republicans.

This is not the same as denying service (e.g. wedding cakes, adoptions, or housing) to other regular folks due to hatred of their protected identities, like race, gender, sexuality, or ability.

Those doing the harm want you to believe the propaganda. They want to reduce this to partisan bickering so that you pay no mind to the people who are actually being harmed.

And for those moderates who like to misquote Michelle Obama... No, this is not an example of "going low." No, going low is targeting, blaming, and harming the most poor and vulnerable people. Going high is resisting. The strong are not on equal footing with the weak. Don't buy in to the propaganda!

These are not equal sides, and this persistent injustice cannot be solved if only the weak were "more civil" or "tried to be more kind and less angry." That is respectability politics, and it makes the problem worse. Google "respectability politics" and stop doing it.

Making a political operative uncomfortable is a symbolic, peaceful, and visible means of resistance. Solidarity with the oppressed is not bigotry, because resisting hate is not hate in the same way that resisting racism is not racism.

Solidarity is about doing your own work while standing alongside the work of others. Successful resistance requires solidarity, not nitpicking and armchair criticizing of those doing the work. Judging from the posts I have seen lately, we have a lot of room for improvement.

Zach Oaster is a public sociologist, shepherd, and artisan. He is a full-time graduate student of sociology at Western Michigan University as well as a longtime performer of music and organizer around social justice issues. Zach identifies as a radical queer godless apostate and heretical disaffiliated United Methodist. He prefers masculine pronouns, and has a fabulous talent for writing third person bios. Zach describes his academic research as, “exploring the conflicts within conservative political and social discourse, revealed at the intersection of neoconservative and neoliberal ideologies – especially as those discourses converge on issues important to the LGBTQIA communities.” Find out more about Zach at, or on 

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