Denial can be seductively comforting.
Last night a Native American friend told me that “our country was hijacked by corporations in 1871” and “our country is corrupt” and “we haven’t had a country since 1871”.
He believes in his interpretation of the Second Amendment, but doesn’t believe in the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation because the Justices are corrupt. He lives off the grid, doesn’t pay taxes and doesn’t have a driver’s license. He lives “as traditional as possible” but enjoys his time on Facebook (go figure!)
Regardless of the internal inconsistencies of these various statements, he appears to be living in denial.
I’ve met a few Palestinians in Gaza who express similar sentiments about the State of Israel. They don’t recognize the authority or legitimacy of Israel, a country that controls almost every aspect of their lives. They have the same type of contempt for Israel as my Native American friend has for the U.S. They reject the notion of living in the State of Israel but apparently have no qualms living in a state of denial.
While the indigenous peoples on both sides of the Atlantic have good reasons to resist the colonial enterprises that have murdered and subjugated them for generations, it’s delusional and dangerous to pretend these colonial powers don’t exist.
The United States and the State of Israel are not “alternative facts”. They wield serious power and enjoy international legitimacy in the community of nations.
My Native American friend, and my friends in Gaza who share his denial, are undermining their own strength and legitimacy when they assert that the U.S. and Israeli governments don’t exist. They remind me of Donald Trump who claims, with all seriousness, that his facts, while demonstrably false, are true. And the rest of the world will treat them the same as Trump — ignore them, discount them and deride them as nuts.
Fortunately, the vast majority of Palestinians and Native Americans don’t live in a state of denial.