Fire is destructive. Fire is consuming. Fire is all encompassing. Fire utterly destroys and devastates. When you complain about people fighting fire with fire, you are complaining that people are fighting destructive forces. It implies that, like the fire we are fighting, it consumes and destroys. It implies that the fire we are using has the power to utterly destroy at a massive scale. It doesn’t. At most, you get a burnt fingertip, like when you snub out a candle with your fingers, or you touch a too hot tea cup. We are not fighting fire with fire, we are fighting a blazing inferno named society with lawn sprinklers, the kind kids play in.
We are using these sprinklers to clear out whatever small semblance of safety we can claw together for a brief time, because as fire does, it intrudes and forces its way back in, only to engulf that space once more. We are clawing through the ash in an attempt to make a small comfortable bed among the rubble. It’s us trying to make this burning building somewhat comfortable for a mere second. Even if we all grabbed buckets and pails, fighting this fire together, our numbers would not be enough. Our efforts are but small and useless in comparison to the raging inferno we are facing. You don’t try to put out high rise with buckets and pails. You need more force, you need more power.
Even if our fire truly matched the inferno that rages in our faces, there is a major difference. The fire society stokes is one that seeks to destroy people, individuals on which society has built itself upon. The fire that society careful nurtures to roar in our hearts and heads is one of individual destruction, one that seeks, like a missile, to destroy people. The fire we are stoking in our hearths and homes is much different. If fire is meant to consume and destroy, our fires will do the same, but at a much different level. The fire we are using to fight the fire of our oppressors is one that seeks to destroy these very oppressions, it is seeking to devastate the very notions our society is built upon. You may see fire all the same, but I see a phoenix in this blaze.
When you compare our fire, to the fire of our oppressors, you are saying that we can wrought the same total destruction that they can. This is simply not true. Our oppressors live in a society where not only do they greatly out number us, but their influence and power is much more than ours. We are struggling to live on scorched earth, scraping together ashes to recreate the phoenix that lives in our hearts and our minds. Our fire is one of kindling. Their fire is one light by coal, forests, and fuel. They are not the same, nor will they ever be comparable.
We are not fighting fire with fire. We are fighting to breathe in a world burning around us, that has locked the doors to our cell. We are fighting to make ourselves comfortable for a small fraction of a second in a world that wants to watch us burn, that is ready to light us up. We are trying to make safety and comfort in the heat and the ash. Stop acting like our charred and gasping breaths have any real negative impact on your lives while you dump gasoline on our heads and strike a match.
This does not mean it is all for null though. Even fire will burn itself out. As the phoenix rises from the ashes, so will we. As farmers burn their own crops to nourish the soil in time for the next generation, so will we. Our fire will over take. Our fire will ignite a new generation. Fire melds. Fire combines. While fire consumes, it also rebirths. From our ashes, new fires will rise, stronger than those of us came before us. We are blazing trails, breathing our last breaths into those who are coming from under us. Our work is not in vain. Our struggle, our cries. There is no vanity here, just the burning heat of passion for life and love. Our fire burns a bright, benevolent blue, a fire that burns hotter and brighter than the red of our oppressors’, fueled by hate and anger.
We are not fighting fire with fire. Nor are we kindling for our oppressors flames. We are the soul of that fire. The very heart it beats for. The very lungs it breathes for. Without that fire would not burn, but we burn brighter still. Our fire will over take. No, our fire will consume and destroy that very fire that burns us. We are not fighting fire with fire. We are fighting flames with passion. We are fighting hate with desire. We are fighting pain with love. But yes, we are fighting.