29 June 2018

Never give up

I have to admit it -- when I saw the news about Anthony Kennedy's retirement, my first thought was, "Oh crap, all the political blogs are going to be unreadable for a week because of all the we're DOOMED! DOOMED! DOOMED! stuff."  The left's tendency to treat every setback as the end of the world has long infuriated me (do read that, it's not half bad, if I do say so myself), even if I too once yielded to it (the only recent post I actually regret writing).  The world has ended at least a dozen times since I started this blog.

This time, though, I've been pleasantly surprised.  Yes, there has been some of the usual doom-and-gloom and a few profanity-laced rants demanding that Democratic leaders do things they do not, in fact, have the power to do.  But there have been some sober responses as well.

Electoral-Vote, a prolific political-analysis blog which deserves to be better known than it is, posts a lengthy discussion of why (a) replacing Kennedy with a wingnut won't make as much difference as people think, and (b) the Supreme Court may not, in fact, be "lost for a generation".  Mock Paper Scissors points out that if we fight hard and win big in the 2018 and 2020 elections, a lot can be done to correct the damage (so don't panic).  Crooks and Liars gives options for channeling energy into resistance right now.  Henry Rollins* admonishes us -- with regard to Trumpism generally, not just the Supreme Court -- not to do the enemy's work for them.  LGBTQ Nation reminds us that just a few decades ago people had to fight under far more dangerous and discouraging conditions, and still won -- and that we will inevitably win because we are the majority now.

That last point is important to remember.  The fundies, prudes, bigots, crackpots, xenophobes, and assorted knuckle-dragging Deliverance mutants who make up the enemy are a minority of the US population, and their percentage of it shrinks year by year.  Even if they "win" -- by gerrymandering the shit out of everything, passing ever-more-blatant vote-suppression laws, weaponizing the Supreme Court to gut the Bill of Rights, suspending elections, whatever your nightmare is -- all they'll have done is entrench an explicit system of minority rule over an infuriated and self-aware majority which will outnumber them more and more as time passes.  That didn't work out so well in South Africa.  Even a lot of them won't want that scenario, if they're made to realize that's where they're heading.  And our side has the brains.  Our side produces the technology and mass culture that are the sources of America's power, hard and soft.  They need us.  We don't need them.

Even in the short term, their victories are likely to be Pyrrhic.  Take the threat to Roe v. Wade, for example.  There are a lot of voters, especially younger ones, who support abortion rights but don't feel much pressure to vote on that basis or take an interest in state-level races, because deep down they don't really believe those rights could be taken away.  If Roe v. Wade is reversed, or even looks likely to be reversed, the threat will become very real, in the form of the decision-making power on the issue being returned to state governments.  And then the Republicans will face the mother of all electoral backlashes as voters mobilize to protect rights they suddenly realize can be taken away.

I'm not saying this is a good thing.  I abhor the Susan Sarandon "let everything become horrible so the backlash will make it better" stance.  This really would be horrible.  People would suffer terribly; people would die.  I'd rather see Roe preserved.  But if the Republicans finally get their wish on the issue, they'll be opening a Pandora's box which will blow up in their faces.

Don't despair.  Be energized to fight back.  And remember that the Sun will rise tomorrow.

[*Actually Will Stenberg, according to comments at the linked post.]


Blogger Debra She Who Seeks said...

I agree. People give up much too easily. Political struggle and victories occurs over the long term, not over night. Activists have got to take the long view.

29 June, 2018 20:31  
Blogger Jack said...

When I see the excessive hand-wringing on social media, I sometimes find myself feeling encouraged because it at least looks like more people are taking an interest in politics and becoming more interested in change. And then I see the low voter turnout and wonder about the disconnect. People love to complain but too many can't be bothered to take even simple action by voting.

30 June, 2018 04:06  
Blogger Donna said...

Thank you – it's far too easy to succumb to fear and hopelessness.

30 June, 2018 06:29  
Anonymous Marc McKenzie said...

Infidel, after reading this all I can say is this (and please forgive this liberal Catholic for saying so) but...thank heavens for writing this.

Make no mistake--this has been a terrible week, and also the great Harlan Ellison passed away this week too. But soldier on we must. These two points stood out for me:

LGBTQ Nation reminds us that just a few decades ago people had to fight under far more dangerous and discouraging conditions...

YES, YES, YES. A point that Oliver Willis also made by referring to MLK and the Civil Rights movement.

...because we are the majority now.

YES. There ARE more of us than they are of them. Part of me views what the GOP is doing as essentially looting the house before they get the hell out of Dodge, because it is dawning that they are most certainly going to lose the House and the Senate is in danger. How? Check out how many in the GOP have decided to call it quits and not run again--including Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House, for God's sake. If he was so certain that the House will be in GOP hands next year, then wouldn't he stay?

Forget the MSM and their "Dems in disarray!" cries. What the GOP and Trump are doing has instead pushed people to organize and run for office and to vote in far larger numbers. Make no mistake--no one except the most nihilistic fucks are falling for Sarandon's BS anymore--she's been proven wrong, along with the others who parroted her nonsense in 2016. You know who's been proven right? Hillary Clinton.

Thank you again for this, and for reminding us that while we are on a dark road, there is still time to grab the wheel and change direction.

30 June, 2018 07:36  
Blogger Martha said...

I totally agree. No need to give up that easily. Sometimes you have to dig your heels in a little deeper when the going gets tough!

30 June, 2018 07:38  
Blogger Harry Hamid said...

Although I don't begrudge an old man the right to retire, I was really not happy when I heard about Kennedy. Then I turned on the tv and Jeffrey Toobin (whose a lawyer, evidently) was on there saying that abortion was going to illegal in most places in 18 months.

Maybe. That's not really how the Court usually works, of course. They generally take baby steps, sort of like the frog in gradually boiling water (which i hear isn't actually a thing).

It's bad, but hyperbole makes the speaker look silly after the sky doesn't fall on the predicted timetable.

Anyway, that Ocasio-Cortez woman won and it made me realize that (thank goodness) not everyone is overly cynical and about to give up.

30 June, 2018 08:00  
Blogger Les Carpenter said...

At 66 years young frankly many of the "hot button" issues of now will have very little effect on me personally. But they will have a profoundly negative effect on the generation of my children and grandchildren if the outcomes are determined by the wingnut rightwing nationalists and evangelicals. It is for this reason all those that believe in rational (reasoned) progress MUST stay in the fight to defeat the loonies on the right and the Orange Haired fascistic idiot now occupying the White House.

Voting in the 2018 midterms and 2020 IS critical. Cons, neo cons, and wingnut republicans need to go! But I will be voting for Republican Charlie Baker again for MA governor if he runs.

30 June, 2018 08:06  
Blogger Mary Kirkland said...

I had to turn the news off all day yesterday because every other minute was about Kennedy retiring. There is a lot of other news out there to talk about but dang, they just want to talk about that and nothing else. I don't visit many political blogs so I didn't see much of it there.

30 June, 2018 11:24  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone! Glad to see that others understand the situation.

Marc: I think most of them do realize they're going to lose big, but Trump was actually predicting a "red wave" a couple of days ago. let's see to it that he gets a nasty surprise.

30 June, 2018 16:23  
Anonymous Scottie said...

Thanks for the post. I was feeling really down. As a gay man it seems I have had to fight to my rights and societal acceptance all my life. I had finally thought we had turned the corner only to feel like the fight was on again. I am tired. But fight I will. Too much is at stake to just give up or give in. Hugs

02 July, 2018 12:29  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Scottie: I understand the feeling. It shouldn't be necessary to fight for those things -- it should never have been necessary. But since the enemy has gone on the attack again, never forget that this time you're part of a majority made up of many groups fighting back.

02 July, 2018 13:11  

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