Oh my dears –
Reflections is not usually ferocious, or even fierce. While I have written about “dismantling myths of supremacy,” as adrienne maree brown has said, I have never written before about political figures in the United States. Today is different. Today, I am driven by current events—the impeachment and “trial” of Donald Trump, the mess of the Iowa caucuses, the award given to Rush Limbaugh <<shudder>>, and the State of the Union address—to write honestly about some very painful political topics.
There is fierceness here, because I believe fierce compassion, not neutrality, not ignoring one’s gut feelings, not putting aside one’s better angels, is what is called for. Fierce compassion.
And maybe there is some ferocity here too. I love the land where I grew up. I love the land where I live now, and I love people across the United States and the world. I love them ferociously.
I believe that we must be ferocious in our fight for justice—and not just inclusion, not just “diversity policies” that make white people feel better about themselves—and that ferocity means that we must find ways to force tyranny to concede its power. More on that to come.
The following is an expanded response to a good friend—a comrade—writing a post about having concerns about Rep. Pelosi’s tearing her copy of Trump’s speech in half.
I do not believe that Rep. Pelosi tore her pages in half out of frustration or a fleeting moment of pique. I believe that she knew exactly what she was doing and why she was doing it. I believe she was visually, metaphorically, and materially expressing the kind of action that is necessary at this moment in United States politics. Letting go of preconceived notions of what is possible, and beginning anew. We must rid ourselves of the toxic tyrant currently in the office of the President.
This is about my growing literal horror at what is happening in the US. It was the middle of the night when I wrote this post originally, and my thoughts may not have been well-organized, but they are the kind of thoughts that are important to keep expressing, keep saying, keep insisting on, keep using to remind ourselves to resist.
The level of civility that legislators like Pelosi are being forced into right now is part of the undermining of democracy. The fact that loyal, patriotic civil servants are forbidden to speak about what is happening in places like the detention centers all over the country is, in fact, a tool of white supremacy, of heteropatriarchy, of the kyriarchy that keeps the violently, sickeningly wealthy wealthier while the poor starve and suffer and die for lack of access to healthcare.
We learned when the time for the Inauguration came and the change of power took place how much of our practices in the US were done by custom, not by statute. President Trump rolled over decades, even generations of practice. And if you watch videos from that time, until now, you can see a steady mental decline, even in his gross motor skills. Not only is he a criminal—more on that to come—but he is a man in decline, a man who is significantly unwell.
Furthermore, people should be rioting in the streets over what’s going on with the impeachment trial and Iowa. The idea that Pelosi’s tearing two sets of paper in half is disrespectful or problematic…we are way past that. We are so far past that I can’t even see it from here.
The French have been striking for two months over proposed pension changes by Macron. Our senior leader is a racist, xenophobic, transphobic rapist. There are several credible allegations of rape against him—one of which was reported in Vogue—that show that his sense of entitlement to anything he wants doesn’t stop at gold plated toilets.
No. Listen. Stop. I believe that he is a rapist. I believe that he has paid women to have abortions and then to sign ironclad non-disclosure pacts. We’ve known he was a rapist for years, and he is the President. He is the fucking, goddam President, and he has been for years now.
Does anyone see that even before Ukraine and Russia and all the rest of it, that even Mitt Romney acknowledges he is guilty of, he was, in point of fact, a criminal and a well-armed, decorated, high-ranking soldier in the fight against women?
I come back to it again and again. How are (especially) women and femmes in general not being transformed into the bacchantes and raging in the streets? Throwing our bodies against the White House gates? I know why I haven’t been, but I’m wondering more and more whether just doing what seems like “my part” is enough. I’m wondering whether I’m underestimating my own strength. Whether we all are.
What is enough?
I was hospitalized some months after the inauguration in part because of the sheer overwhelming pain of cognitive dissonance. Donald Trump is the President. My president?!?! Donald Trump?!? Are you SURE?!? Are you fucking KIDDING ME right now?!?
And he and his rapist compadre Kavanagh and the rest of the misogynists he’s put in power will never ever be held to account for their crimes, not really.
American white people do not have the political will to challenge the horrors he is wreaking. Are you reading me, friends? I am saying that American white people voted 57% to put this horrorshow into the highest office available. This multiply bankrupt, reality tv show host who has defrauded hundreds, if not thousands of people out of their wages, is now the President of the United States?!
Yes, thank you, white friends. It is precisely this kind of behavior, this kind of electoral choices that make me weep, even now.
I know I’m super-duper-extra-double-plus late to the party.
I know that I may be screaming into the void that is created when people are lulled into apathy. But people criticizing Nancy Pelosi for tearing some paper has somehow pushed me over the edge.
Let it sink in. Just take a breath, put your feet on the floor, ground yourself in your own body and your own safety, and take it in. This man is not only the President, but he is likely to stay the President past November 2020. How d’ye like them apples?
No politician is perfect. Senator Elizabeth Warren, whom I admire tremendously, has voted for military spending that I find ludicrous and immoral. Bernie Sanders, whose proposed policies, granted, do not differ wildly from Warren’s, has ill-conceived ideas about intersectional politics. He seems to believe that the solution for all things are reducible to class and that even issues like environmental injustice (climate change affects communities of color dramatically more often than it does white communities) or reproductive justice are reducible to a class analysis. None of the Democratic candidates are perfect.
But do we have any evidence that they are criminals on the order of the man who is currently occupying the seat of the President of the United States? People KNEW, friends, so many people – especially cis women and trans people of color – KNEW.
Here’s a thing to make one cower in shame at being a supporter of the US systems in play (I learned this from our comrade, Rev. Theresa Soto): Do you know that young Latinx femmes in detention centers are tearing up their clothes to make flowers to put in their hair? So they can have one thing of beauty, one shred of something that reminds them of love?
How does that not bring a tear to your eye? There are still children in cages in this country. And immigration issues don’t end at the southern border. A man was pulled out of the shattered window of his truck in Washington state not two weeks ago by Border Patrol Agents, and then “lost” in the system.
Donald Trump and his supporters, it pains me to say, are doubling down on the worst of what I shall call, for lack of a better word, the American Way.
Please, friends, please, if you love someone queer – and I guarantee you do… Especially fi you love someone trans…If you care about children having safe drinking water… If you believe that rural and inner-city communities alike deserve better than being ignored and having public education systems that are hanging by a thread… If you know that the climate crisis is upon us…
Do SOMETHING. Write. Call. Think, but don’t spend so much time thinking that you never speak up. Take the risk of being wrong or going too far. Take a risk.
Friends, HOW can we give – how can we HAVE GIVEN — over our country (those of us from the US) to these criminals? Can we please, please, please not do it again? Can we work together to dismantle the myths of supremacy? Can we at least try to make some progress? Will you join me in trying to find a way through? As it is, power-mongering is the order of the day.
As Galadriel says in the opening to The Fellowship of the Ring, the film, “Nine rings were given to the race of men, who above all, desire power.” (emphasis mine)
These are the kind of men who are running the country. Ones who above all desire power. And Frederick Douglass reminds us of something essential in this fight:
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
Bring your words, friends. Bring your bodies. Bring your voices. Bring your hearts.
There may or may not be hope, but there is plenty to fight for, and we are obliged, not to finish the work of justice, but to continue its tasks, nonetheless.
With all my love and care –