The Resistance, Part One

Work and home life have me running, not sure I can moderate this conversation once I start it. But I think it’s time. Rpjohnston in the comments at Pharyngula mentioned the “Seven Mountains” of Dominionism that helped bring our country to its current horrid state, suggested we could use something like that of our own – an agenda for world domination, basically. So. Here goes:

Ask yourself why the right wing so consistently wields power beyond what they should in a truly democratic society? Why are they able to put forth a unified front the likes of which the left seems unable to muster? There are a lot of reasons that we can’t do shit about. They have the money, they have us so overworked and ragged that we don’t have the energy to fight at the end of the day.

The money especially is at issue. The right exists to serve the wealthy and has since the term was coined. Since politicians are usually wealthy, even the most progressive of them have a vested interest in supporting that agenda. Democrats might want to help the poor in some vague abstract way, but since it serves their families to let Republicans have their way, they just can’t get up the will to fight that hard.

If we want to win, we’re fighting against odds that are completely unfair. We have more bodies to sacrifice if it comes to attrition, but who the hell wants it to come to that? And money has ensured that people power will never be enough to tilt that scale.

There has been some progress made in the social sphere, against sexism and homophobia and racism. The shrieks and bellows and ostentatious evil of those in power are evidence of that progress. We need every approach, all hands on deck. It won’t be enough in itself, but we can look at where progressives have succeeded and try to amplify what has already worked.

This is where I may run afoul of some good people. I think we wouldn’t have the few advances of today without call-out culture, without naming and shaming the perpetrators of evil. What is #MeToo, if not the ultimate ongoing call-out? Call-outs can be too extreme, can cause bad problems when they get out of hand. But let’s not toss this baby out with the bathwater. This is an important baby.

I’m running out of juice for tonight, but let me put it to the crowd – What has worked? Where has human progress been achieved, even in this terrible moment in history?

Trump to put the Swastika on his Forehead?

Word from Reuters is that Trump is planning to remove white race terrorists from the sights of the “Countering Violent Extremism” program. Racists are not being shy about taking this as a nod of approval from the muffuckin’ POTUS. As I was saying elsewhere, the one thing Trump could do to defy expectations the hardest, to make the world a better place in an executive capacity without selling out his Robber Baron cred, would be to make hate groups a law enforcement priority. This is the opposite of that. If this comes to pass, it is the equivalent of branding the swastika into his forehead.

Of course, having Bannon in charge of national security – a man who thinks “american jews” are trying to sell us out to the mooslims what’re gonna somehow magically conquer the USA? Intentionally omitting jewish people from the offical observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day? That biz from back in 1990 where Trump had someone saluting him with “heil Hitler” and he was keeping a book by Hitler in his nightstand?  I dunno.

Tired of living in a world where any of this can happen.  Not to sound legit suicidal, I hope everyone who has those feelings finds a way past them.  Much love.

How White Supremacy Became Acceptable Discourse

Lindy West’s article on why she quit Twitter is worth a full read. I’ve seen some response to it about how we don’t all have the luxury of quitting various social media and there’s validity to that – certainly she is at a stage in her career where it’s no longer necessary, but it helped her get there. Nonetheless, a righteous takedown on the obscene indifference of these social media CEOs.

During the article, she mentions this:

Twitter abuse was a grand-scale normalisation project, disseminating libel and disinformation, muddying long-held cultural givens such as “racism is bad” and “sexual assault is bad” and “lying is bad” and “authoritarianism is bad”, and ultimately greasing the wheels for Donald Trump’s ascendance to the US presidency.

That’s certainly true. The conversation has changed, the trolls won this much ground – It is fully acceptable to participate in our culture now, as a writer, a pundit, a person with a television platform, and be an open white supremacist. Only the cartoon version remains taboo. You have to leave your supposedly ironic swastika armbands at home, only wear them at baby showers and whatnot. Other than that, you can openly say the motherfucking 14 words.

So in your view, how did this come to pass? My guess is that this flowed from the overwhelming cowardice of the media to ever call anything racist what it is, in the name of being objective, neutral, whatever. Might have even had more to do with this shift on a cultural level than the ku klux uncles of facebook and the anime nazis elsewhere.

Whatever the cause, I don’t feel optimistic about a solution. This stage of history feels like part of a cycle winding down to an utterly cartoonish cyber-dystopia. It’s a reiteration of the 80s, only hella worse. I remember what followed that. I first came to broader awareness of culture in the 90s. That was my high school days. On one hand, society was jingoistic and militarized as all hell. The movie PCU sounded the trumpet of making human decency uncool. Meanwhile, the other side of pop culture figures tried to push a relatively liberal agenda. TLC’s promotion of safe sex in Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg, Kurt Cobain pushing the limits against our collective homophobia, things like that.

Whatever liberals wanted to do, the whole time they had this weird postmodern attitude of civility about it. No sense of the danger. Being conservative was just a different way of knowing, southern pride was totes not about racism. As En Vogue said, “Free your mind and the rest will follow. Be color-blind, don’t be so shallow.”

So if that’s what we have coming next, what will it look like? The Fourth Reich and its pets in the Fifth Estate will clink glasses at the galas. Liberal pop culture figures will tut tut knowingly at different galas. The rest of us will learn what it’s like for your whole country to be a futuristic slum. Everyone slaving to scrape by and failing to do so, selling your organs for cash, daydreaming through the media we drink in between 12 hour shifts at the flesh farm, forgetting how things used to be slightly better and therefore never registering just how much we’ve been ripped off, how far we’ve fallen, how fucked everyone except billionaires truly are.

So, like, more of the same, but worse. Always worse, until climate change and disease finish the job.

You’ll forgive my gloom, I work at a mega-retailer.