Kyle Borland

Storyteller and strategist at the intersections of cannabis, branding & communications, justice, and Urbanism.

It's Authoritarianism 101

It’s authoritarianism 101.

When you’re unpopular and the economy begins to slump, revert to expansionism to boost your numbers. Putin with Georgia and Crimea. Erdogan with Cyprus and Kurdistan. Modi and Kashmir. Even Trump thought he could do it with Greenland.

And, round and round we go. (Read the rest on my website!)

On the domestic front, we have Incels putting on fascist pageants in Portland and white people losing their minds over historical facts (the very ones I’ve shared below, as a matter fact)! NIMBYs in San Francisco are vilifying the homeless in press conferences as the only denizens of violence, meanwhile my partner and I witnessed – on the same day as the aforementioned presser – a driver TURNING AROUND to mow down a homeless woman. (The woman is thankfully alive and fine.)

Something seems to be off with Americans’ collective psyche. We’re quicker to violence than usual (that’s saying something for the United States), and there seems to be no solutions in sight. From our anxiety-inducing president to the instability of most Americans’ day-to-day lives, it’s not hard to understand where the tension is created.

Will we choose a shallow liberty for a select few or will we pursue true equality for all?

To achieve the latter, we’ve at least got to get on the same page about our history. Personally, I don’t believe the majority of Americans align with the triggered white men online, but it will take time for a new narrative to settle in the American mind.

The 1619 Project is an amazing start. It pivots our nation’s beginning to August 1619, rather than July 1776, when the first ship of African slaves arrived on the shores of Virginia. It was on that day a distinctly American culture was born. A people that would be like none before and who would do things – some extraordinary, some tragic – that would change the world forever.

For me, extending the timeline of our history is exciting. It’s thrilling to learn of our 400 years of history as a culture, a people. We can’t change our past but, by embracing all of it, we can hope to stop repeating it.

Four hundred years ago, on August 20, 1619, a ship carrying more than 20 enslaved Africans arrived in Virginia. Tonight, we remember this anniversary with an evening of conversation and performance featuring Nikole Hannah-Jones, Wesley Morris, Jamelle Bouie, Tyehimba Jess and more.

If you haven’t yet, check out the NYT’s #1619Project!

If you weren’t able to find a physical copy on Sunday like me, the NYT Store is making them available to order online! Ships on August 26.

Alabama Throws the Same Old Stones

This Week was Rough