The Kavanaugh confirmation was a traumatizing debacle. What’s scarier is what will come. There’s a lot of pain that I can’t fully understand, but I want to share my perspective with those who might take this as fuel for resistance.
In high school I was told, again and again, how great a country I lived in. In college, I studied greedy military interventions, watched us go into Iraq and Afghanistan, saw the Patriot Act and the increase of government monitoring in our lives, saw the increased militarization of the police which was used to target black uprisings, and learned about the class nature of politics (both parties represent the rich).
I have felt ongoing disappointment and disillusionment as my country appears to be very different from what I was told. Trump and Kavanaugh only make sense as a continuation of the ongoing descent into fascism that I have been watching for the last twenty years. Like many, resistance has felt like my moral obligation.
Some acts of resistance are considered respectable and others unacceptable. The respectable takes the assumption that we live in a country where our voices matter, and if we raise those voices we will be heard.
From what I have seen, in national politics, this is not the case.
In small pockets we might have something which could be called democracy; but when we talk about the overall direction of our country, when the people challenge the powerful the powerful usually shut them up or ignore them. Appealing to the powerful, at this moment in this country, does not work. We have to act outside the box of what is acceptable. We cannot afford to continue with tactics that reaffirms the legitimacy of wrongful authority.
The advantaged simply want to keep what they have, which includes the ability to ignore suffering (especially suffering they cause). Our authorities want to maintain their ability to mismanage us. They are mismanaging us. They won’t admit it, but they know it.
Kavanaugh cries because he fears retribution. Trump blusters because he knows he’s a liar. They act entitled, and too often we, because we have been taught to be respectable, feed into their unearned privilege. The Democrats put up a front but it is only a front. At the end of the day they have more in common with rich Republicans than they have with their voters. Do not look to them as resistance leaders. The fact that Democrats thought an FBI investigation (under the fascist president’s authority) was a good idea actually shows how out of touch, and not up to the task, they are.
There is a backlash against progress, against the potential of the marginalized, and against the writing on the wall—capitalism is destroying the Earth and destroying itself. Trump represents the reactionary who would rather oppress the truth-teller than face the facts. To those who support him, it doesn’t matter how much he lies as long as he champions ignorance. The New York Times publishing facts about Trump (which, come on, we all knew all along) won’t do anything because facts are not the point. We are not collectively sitting down and going through facts to make the best decisions (I hope the Kavanaugh confirmation can prove this beyond any doubt).
We are in a power struggle to determine the future of the world. The nature of this power struggle is not democratic. It is a struggle simply over who has the power to enforce their will (and right now, the power is held by terrible people, and if we want democracy they must be disempowered).
We do not live in a democracy. At the founding of the United States, when “freedom loving liberals” (in the classic sense) were participating in slavery and genocide, only the propertied class was allowed to vote. Though people have more voting access now, somehow Trump “won” the presidency while getting 2 million less votes? Many voting districts are gerrymandered to favor Republicans. We know that Republicans overall get fewer votes and yet they have more seats in congress. In addition to this there are numerous efforts of voter suppression that disenfranchise especially marginalized people.
The Supreme Court rulings about money equaling speech, which amount to legal bribery, are only the tip of the iceberg; but this shows us the truth. Every congressperson has a choice in who they listen to and they cannot listen to everyone. Do they hear the poor? Do they hear the struggling? Oh they can make references ad nauseum in campaign speeches about the farmer they met last Wednesday. But their doorway, their career, and their campaign chest is filled with representatives of a few rich families. The media is largely uncritical of this because the media depends on those same families as well.
We do not live in a democracy. We bomb the hell out of countries around the world, with the absolutely bonkers idea that democracy can flower from raining death. Meanwhile the green zone ushers in contractors to “rebuild.” In comes McDonalds and Starbucks.
Democratic process sometimes elects socialists. We murder socialists in other countries. In this one usually we laugh them off as clowns. But a fascist who would sadistically target women, people of color, the indigenous, and the poor (aka, the majority of people)? Him we could see as the ultimate symbol of patriotism (and this violent “patriotic” mindset is the same mindset which saw freedom in slavery and progress in genocide).
We do not live in a democracy. And I ask us to please stop talking and thinking like we do.
If we want to truly resist and win this struggle for the future, I believe we have to move beyond what is seen as “respectable” and “acceptable.”
What does that mean? It means we can dream. We can push. We can carve our own freedom. We don’t have to appeal to someone else to see us as human. I think the specifics are different for different people, but every time my friends and I are called terrorists for some act of resistance which is actually pretty nonviolent (like shutting down the road), I feel we’ve done something right. Ultimately I am asking for a shift in perspective that views elected officials and the cops who beat us not as representatives but as parasites and occupiers who stand in the way of our potential. I mean this for both parties. I don’t mean to say don’t vote. Vote if you want. I believe we should use whatever power we possess (meager though it be). But voting is definitely not the solution, and I support the overhaul of our entire political system (politicians do not represent us or our interests, which is supposedly the very basics of their jobs).
I mourn what Kavanaugh and Trump mean for women and for everyone. I also have no doubts, we can take power if we have the consciousness to do it. We actually are the overwhelming majority. Once we understand that this democracy is false, and no longer chase false promises, we can learn to do the real work of taking collective accountability for change; and use our numbers and our truth to oust all oppressors.