“He still knows how to rouse his rabble, how to reach out to poor people, and sic them on other poor people. How much of this nonsense does he believe, I wonder, and how much does he say just because he knows the value of dividing in order to conquer and to rule?”― Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Talents

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This might be the worst day of the year, and late science-fiction writer Octavia Butler predicted this day would come. In her 1998 novel Parable of the Talents, she wrote about a xenophobic and racist demagogue by the name of Andrew Jarrett who became president by galvanizing a fearful and “disenfranchised”  majority in post-apocalyptic America. Andrew Jarrett had no real platform, but he was charismatic and spoke to a frustrated American majority in an uncertain time with the slogan “Make America Great Again.” Sound familiar?

Jarrett’s administration targeted American outsiders, such as women, homosexuals, Blacks, Latinos and anyone who wasn’t considered a “good Christian American.” Renegades empowered by Jarrett’s racist agenda terrorized, enslaved, raped and sometimes murdered their victims into submission.

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But be not afraid; this is not where Butler’s tale ends. Yes, she wrote of frightening times of intense bigotry and terror, but those times led to peace, collaboration and overall human evolution. Terrorized Americans were forced to foster new ways of thinking and living within intentional communities. Their collaborations were strengthened by their ideas of a world that could be, uniting in resilience and supporting each other to grow revolutionary ideas in a frightening time of totalitarianism. Andrew Jarrett was eventually exposed as the tyrant he was, and the American citizens in Butler’s novel went on to thrive. Please remember this during the worst of times. This too shall pass, and a Trump presidency will not be our final legacy. Hillary Clinton was certainly right about one thing: We ARE stronger together. And in the prophetic words of Ms. Octavia Butler:

“In order to rise
From its own ashes
A phoenix
First
Must
Burn.”

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