Everything Pretty Much Does Suck, Actually


Black Americans did not abandon liberal democracy because of slavery, Jim Crow, and the systematic destruction of whatever wealth they managed to accumulate; instead they took up arms in two world wars to defend it. Japanese Americans did not reject liberal democracy because of internment or the racist humiliation of Asian exclusion; they risked life and limb to preserve it. Latinos did not abandon liberal democracy because of “Operation Wetback,” or Proposition 187, or because of a man who won a presidential election on the strength of his hostility toward Latino immigrants. Gay, lesbian, and trans Americans did not abandon liberal democracy over decades of discrimination and abandonment in the face of an epidemic. This is, in part, because doing so would be tantamount to giving the state permission to destroy them, a thought so foreign to these defenders of the supposedly endangered religious right that the possibility has not even occurred to them. But it is also because of a peculiar irony of American history: The American creed has no more devoted adherents than those who have been historically denied its promises, and no more fair-weather friends than those who have taken them for granted.

The camps, and that’s what they are, camps:

I don’t have any answers anymore. I don’t have any more words. Maybe telling you all that will help me come up with some.

Not that that’s like at the top of the list of anybody’s problems, but if you’re coming here for me to tell you what to do, I can’t do it. Maybe I never should have. Because we fought and fought and fought and I sympathize profoundly with those who are asking what the fucking bloody hell for, right now.

Jesus Christ, if I have to listen to one more internet bro yell at liberals for not fighting, yell at the American people for not fighting … 3 million more of us than there are of those assholes tried to fight, and between voter suppression and gerrymandering and plain old slavery-curious electoral abuses it wasn’t enough. How insane is that, it wasn’t enough. Don’t tell me people didn’t fight.

Women told you and people of color told you and you’re out here all WHY DON’T WE STAND UP motherfucker … we did stand up. And we’re still standing up, and we’re still fucking losing, and we’re not gonna stop losing until Mitch and all his fellow GOP senators are unemployed so unless we’re talking about that I’m about done hearing that we’re losing the wrong way.

I’m sick of hearing comparisons to Hong Kong and exhortations for mass protest. We did that, too. I spent last summer every night and weekend in the goddamn streets, don’t tell me people didn’t protest and fight. People are outside the White House every night if you’re looking for a protest or a focal point for your rage. Should there be a national march on Washington? Probably, but then cometh a thousand of the same fucking bros telling us that protests are silly and pussy hats are embarrassing and all that money should go to progressive candidates, there’s no way to win here, no way to satisfy our own poisonous version of the 101st Chairborne, the people who always have a plan. I don’t have a plan.

And no, I don’t know if Nancy Pelosi does or not, but nihilistic bullshit doesn’t help us there. Every hearing house Dems have held, every fiery speech given on the campaign trail, every MR. PRESIDENT HAVE YOU NO DIGNITY SIR moment that has happened and they happen DAILY are covered by jack and his brother network dick because Democrats doing something right isn’t a narrative anyone’s willing to work with. Not even our allies; Jesus, that Jon Stewart thing that went around, calling on “Congress” as though it’s Democrats who are holding up help for 9/11 first responders.

A pox on all our houses, is the best we can hope for, never mind one house is a little run down while the other one is infested with bedbugs and also on fire.

The only people I’ve seen doing anything right are working through the states, on a scale small enough to make a difference. Moms Demand is getting gun laws signed even by Republican governors. Local abortion funds, local incarceration reform efforts … I know it feels like nothing’s happening but nothing breaking through doesn’t mean nothing’s happening. The same people who always fought are fighting. I don’t know how we get them to critical mass. I don’t think anyone who wants that even knows what it looks like. The Parkland students came closest.

I’m rambling, I know, but a friend texted me yesterday morning asking what do we do, and … we raised money for food pantries and libraries and gutted a house and saved some pelicans and filled a classroom in Alaska with LEGOs and wrote to our reps and senators and protested and voted and … what would make the most difference right now? I don’t want to tell you to throw bricks through windows if I’m not willing to pick one up myself so I’m asking. I don’t know.


2 thoughts on “Everything Pretty Much Does Suck, Actually

  1. We are ferociously battling on the political battlefields. We need to open a second front in this war. We need to attack them in the pocketbook where they will hurt the most. Money really is speech. The boycotts of FOX are working. We need to be certain that every dollar we spend expresses our values. Who of us believes Bezos is an ally or a good man? Stop buying anything on Amazon. Put the prick out of business. Have a bank account at Chase? Let Jamie fucking Dimon know just what you think of him. Close your account and open one at your local credit union. Yes, that is inconvenient but should we let inconvenience stop us from making our voices heard?

  2. The sheer size and depth of the hole we are all in – it is like I can’t see the rim from where we are sitting – it just looks like the horizon. I imagine a massive impact crater on Mars – only dug slowly here at home – sometimes with teaspoons, sometimes with the earth-movers of lynch mobs and the atom bombs of (insert choice of worst possible adjective – I like ‘abhorrent’) wars.
    Refilling this hole, and climbing out of it is a generational task. Every anti-democratic act since the beginning has to be undone and made right – not in exactly the same, but opposite way, but in some way. We will never know how long until we are done, how much earth we have to move because we are never done – and others will continue blasting and hauling away.
    One challenge here is that our opponents only have one directive – whereas we have two. They only care about digging. We are trying to fill it in, and get them to stop.
    I think often of the movie Flatliners – the only way out of the nightmare is to own it, put on your big boy pants, and own what you have done and should-have-but-did-not-do. Even though the shame alone could kill you – or mean that you should want to kill yourself.
    Our work in words, with kids and our communities is part of this setting things right. Electing people in this deeply-flawed-but-the-best-we-have system IS the best way to fill that hole more quickly. Holding ourselves and our representatives to account is another.
    We do not believe in throwing our political opponents in prison because we disagree with them, we work against them at the polls to cast them out of power and prevent them from ever rising again.
    We work, we go to meetings, we walk the neighborhood and canvas – we do our parts and encourage others to change and to do just a bit more. We pick up trash and recycle and confront trash where we find it on-line and off.
    Yes, everything sucks and yes, not everything sucks.
    One of the reasons I lurk here, I read here and on occasion I post something here BECAUSE of your grounded, real optimism.
    The hour is running late, that is true, but it is also just as true that it is still early.
    It is true that this is a frustrating, infuriating fight – but it is the fight that we have always had. It was the fight for the recognition of every working man’s humanity, of every woman’s suffrage and every POC’s equality. And those we fight are never defeated, they simply retreat, regroup and try again – just like we do. Just like we have to. Just like we have always done.
    Will they first take, then corrupt our 4th Estate? Will they deny us the vote? Will they say our gigging economy is because of freedom and irresponsibly tasty avocado on toast brunches? Will they stack the Supreme Court, and start 4 month old children in kennels? Will they kill every single living thing on the planet – from microscopic plankton to Africa’s megafauna – for sport and a selfie?
    Of course they will, or they will try.
    And blast that crater we are all in – just a little bit bigger, deeper – even as we work to fill it in, and at the same time prevent them from making it worse.
    Please, keep at it.

    In solidarity,

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