We had a pretty good election night yesterday, but I don’t want anyone to forget what should be driving you right now, and that is a righteous anger. Read Katha Pollitt about her reaction to the past year.
But the main difference is that I hate people now. Well, not all people, of course. Just people who voted for Trump. People who do their own “research” on the Internet and discover there that President Obama is a Muslim and Michelle Obama is a man. People who use the n-word and can’t even spell it right, because—have you noticed?—Trump supporters can’t spell. Well-off people who only care about lowering their taxes. People who said they couldn’t vote for Hillary because of her emails. Excuse me, sir or madam, can you explain to me what an email server even is? People who didn’t believe Trump would bring back coal or build the wall or Make America Great Again, but just wanted to blow things up. Congratulations! We are all living in the minefield you have made.
I know what you’re thinking: you are the problem, Katha, alienating Trump voters with your snobbish liberal elitism and addiction to “identity politics.” Yes, I wanted them to have health care and child care and good schools and affordable college and real sex education and access to abortion and a much higher minimum wage. And yes, I wanted the wealthy to pay more taxes to provide for it all. Obviously, this offended the pride of the stalwart, mostly white citizens of Trumplandia, possibly because a good proportion of white people would rather not have something if black people get to have it, too. As for pussy-grabbing, sheesh! Men will be men, get over yourselves, ladies. None of that is “identity politics,” though. It is just America.
You know exactly how the defenders of the status quo will respond: sit down, be nice and polite, you might annoy the regressives/alt-right, and their anger will be more defensible than yours. We’re already composing our excuses for them that will consist of blaming you.
Lindy West is also rather angry.
Just this week, Juli Briskman, a government contractor, lost her job after a photo of her flipping off the presidential motorcade went viral. Solange, Britney Spears, Sinead O’Connor, the Dixie Chicks, Rosie O’Donnell — I struggle to think of women who lost their tempers in public and didn’t face ridicule, temporary ruin, or both. And we don’t even have to be angry to be called angry. Accusations of being an “angry black woman” chased Michelle Obama throughout her tenure at the White House, despite eight years of unflappable poise (black women suffer disproportionately under this paradigm). The decades-long smearing of Hillary Clinton as an unhinged shrew culminated one year ago today when, despite maintaining a preternatural calm throughout the most brutal campaign in living memory, she lost the election to masculinity’s apoplectic id.
Like every other feminist with a public platform, I am perpetually cast as a disapproving scold. But what’s the alternative? To approve? I do not approve.
Not only are women expected to weather sexual violence, intimate partner violence, workplace discrimination, institutional subordination, the expectation of free domestic labor, the blame for our own victimization, and all the subtler, invisible cuts that undermine us daily, we are not even allowed to be angry about it.
Ah, yes. Have you ever noticed how Social Justice Warriors in general get chastised for being “disapproving scolds”? How dare we publicly criticize Nazis and misogynists, as if we think we’re better than them! Defending people who want to murder and deport people, or want the right to batter their wives, is better virtue signaling, because the anti-SJWs are so noble that they defend the free speech rights of woman-hating skinheads.
That rage will be used to excuse assault. Take the case of Aisha Walker, a woman who saw a drunk man accosting another young woman, and she chose to stand between them, a brave act. But then another man, a bystander, came to the aid…of the drunk.
A third passenger got involved, Walker wrote, telling her and the other man that they were both being stupid. When she asked him why it was stupid to stand up for a woman being harassed, he became angry.
The bystander began swearing and shouting that he would be happy to “step off the bus” to deal with her.
Walker said when she asked what that would prove, the man punched her “directly in the mouth at full force.”
He broke many of her teeth, requiring a lot of dental work. But he made his point: anger at oppression is a greater crime to these people than the oppression itself. Moral clarity is an affront to people who want the liberty to be selfish.