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Chester County Press

Editorial: The cake-eating resistance

08/22/2017 01:21PM ● By Richard Gaw

For an hour or so this past Saturday afternoon, a group of about 50 visitors to the Kennett Brewing Company devoured an entire sheetcake, slice by slice, that was baked and donated by Alondra's Bakery. The cake was decorated with tiny American flags.
They were there as guests of Indivisible KSQ, a grass roots organization that was formed earlier this year by co-founder Laura Florence in an effort to "revitalize American democracy, empower progressive leaders, and elevate the political consciousness of our community," Florence told this newspaper in April. The consumption of the sheetcake was inspired by the viral circulation of last week's "Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update: Summer Edition," which featured guest commentator Tina Fey power eating a sheetcake, in a fruitless effort to overcome the stress of witnessing what has become a blitzkrieg of bad moments in America.  Between mouthfuls, Fey took on everyone, from our 45th President to the Alt-Right, from the white supremacists at Charlottesville to Paul Ryan. It was not a subtle evisceration, but to those who have found the last seven months to be a near-daily assault on the consciousness of our nation's decency, Fey's performance was brilliant. While its message spun through the safe boundaries of comedy, it also brazenly peeled back a layer of our country and revealed a seething and sensitive wound: That the consciousness of America can no longer hold under the weight of its own indecency.
We are a nation whose events have become a continuous, rolling loop -- a motion picture complete with narrative, characters and warts-and-all plotlines that seem written by screenwriters with a penchant for spectacle. Charlottesville was no movie, however. It spilled out on the streets and into our homes, and its images are a reminder that we have not yet learned our lesson from bigotry, turning the grainy film of Selma and the University of Mississippi and attack dogs and fire hoses into proof that we have learned nothing from our past.
Now, the target of white supremacy casts a wider sweep of hatred, to not only include African-Americans but Jews, Muslims, homosexuals and immigrants. Their message capitalizes from the immediacy of the internet, and an overzealous media clamors to give them air time. On the heels of the President's equivocations that place equal blame on both Neo-Nazis and their opponents, the cause of white supremacy seems to have been emboldened. 
And yet, this time, their momentum is being met by a swarm of righteousness, a mainstream resistance movement the likes of which this country has never before seen. Holding small candles, thousands turned out for a candlelight vigil in Charlottesville soon after the riots. A 'Free Speech' rally scheduled by white supremacy groups this past weekend in Boston went bust, as 40,000 protestors took to the city's streets. Similar events have been, or will be, scheduled in cities from coast to coast.
No one at the Kennett Brewing Company jabbed their forks into the sheetcake on Saturday afternoon. Slices were cut, and eaten politely. Conversation was civil. What we as individuals -- and as a nation -- choose to do in response to this assault on our country will ultimately decide the course and future of hate groups. Our work should not be defined by its magnitude but by its efforts, and whether we march in unity -- as one voice -- or dig our forks into sheet cake -- we are forming the resistance, in numbers larger than ever.