Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Old, White Men

Go on. Shoo. We've had enough of you. It's not 1992. It's 2020. Wake up and smell the revolution. Hashtag Me Too. Hashtag you are no longer relevant. You're hanging on by your fingernails. Although you are in your seventies and eighties and your hands quiver and your voice shakes, you refuse to release your grasp. Your gnarled fingers clutch at power that is slipping away. 

If you can just hold on a little longer then you can get more conservative judges approved and your legacy will be solidified. You can make your mark on two more generations, as if you haven't already done enough. You’re trying to impose your will on a country that mostly doesn't agree with your ideas. We are a nation that has evolved past you. Mitch and Lindsey and Chuck. Your names sound fusty and outdated and from another time. They suit you perfectly. 

You're tone deaf and probably actually deaf, as well. You don't represent us. We're Americans, women, minorities. We're not like you and we don't want you deciding what we can do with our bodies. We have had enough. Enough with the shaming of sexual assault survivors. Enough with cronyism, enough with paternalism and, "Father Knows Best". 
We suspect you of being racist. We're certain you're misogynistic. We understand that you believe being homosexual is a choice. You're against same sex marriage and you are so adamantly opposed to abortion that you'd like to make it illegal. Like they say, if you don't believe in abortion, then don't have one. We've seen photos of conference rooms filled with white men, mostly older, making healthcare decisions for women. Memes of boardrooms filled with dogs making decisions for cats followed. It's taxation without representation. 

You may be in favor of tariffs and babies in cages, or you may just be going along with these schemes so you can get Putin's puppet to do your bidding. You've got your tax cut for the wealthy, which you spin like it’s good for the Average Joe. Everyone knows that's a scam and not any sort of equalizer.  What happened to conservative Republican values like not saddling future generations with massive deficits? What good are you doing here? Please explain. 

You have your pro-life, pro-second amendment, anti-environment, anti-regulation, pro dark money guy confirmed for the Supreme Court. Now what? As the song says, "It's too late to turn back now." You know that Judge Kavanaugh was chosen because of his extreme views on presidential powers. You know that Attorney General Barr was chosen because of his extreme views on presidential powers. You know our democracy is being battered daily by the attacks on the justice department and the press, yet somehow you can still get up and look at yourself in the mirror while you cinch that tie over the starched, white shirt. 

I've got nothing against men. I've lived with them and loved them. I've got nothing against old people. They are to be treasured. I've got nothing against white people. I am one, well aware of the inherent advantages my skin color has provided to me. I just recently realized that my hair itself is an aspect of my white privilege. My hair is smooth and straight and dirty blond with natural (and sometimes unnatural) highlights. I wash it, I brush it once and I’m good to go. Every once in a while, I get a twenty-dollar trim. For my age I have very little gray. That’s everything there is to know about my hair. I don’t have to tame it or straighten it or relax it or fight with it. I have never appreciated how easy it is to have my hair.

I've got nothing against rich people, per se, but the old, rich, white men have got to stop being our leaders. They don't represent us. My husband is an old, rich, white man, although I don't see sixty-eight as old and he doesn't see himself as rich. Fair point. We’re chump changers relative to many in our community, but compared to most people in the world, we're wealthy. He's not at all racist which is pretty unusual for someone his age, particularly someone who grew up in the South in the 50's. It's a perfect example of learning what you're taught. His parents weren't bigots. He believes in the right to choose and has evolved over time to embrace same sex marriage. I know a lot of other guys who share our demographic and they're not clueless or obtuse or racist.  

But these guys in power, they have got to go. The mid-term elections kicked their asses up one side and down the other. Don’t ever forget the power of your vote, except now we can’t even trust our democracy. We have made some gains against gerrymandered districts, but our election system is still so vulnerable. When we have a ‘leader’ who only cares about himself and money and himself and money, we’re in a heap of trouble.

There has been some speculation that the reason the current administration won’t address the election fraud problem is two-fold. If they concede there are problems, then it leads to questions about the legitimacy of the current commander in chief. Ya think?! Hello, Mueller report, that big ole witch-hunt. Secondly, if the problems aren’t addressed and Numero Uno ends up Numero Dos in 2020, he can claim election fraud. Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is now saying that if Democrats don’t win by a large enough margin in 2020, the orange one will not voluntarily step down. Then what?

In 1966 Robert Kennedy delivered a speech in which he said this: “There is a Chinese curse which says, ‘May he live in interesting times.’” The connection to the Chinese hasn’t been verified, but it’s become a popular expression. If the 60’s were interesting, these times are fascinating, and not a little frightening. For three years I have closely followed American politics. In 2016 I consoled my two daughters who were both pregnant with their first babies. I promised them Trump wouldn’t become the nominee and later, I promised them he wouldn’t win the election. I was wrong. What’s a mother to do?

I watched with emotion as Hilary became the Democratic nominee. I went with Lucy and three-month old Lila to the polls to vote for Hilary, all of us proudly wearing suffragette white. I sat, like so many others, on election night with the sickening realization of what was happening sinking into my soul. I cried that night and I cried when I woke up in the morning and by God, it has been ever so much worse than I thought it would be.

I have thought many times about what our country would be like if Hilary had won. I cringe to think about how the Trey Gowdy, Benghazi-investigating, email scandal machine would have cranked up again. The investigations that yielded no indictments. Not one, but that wouldn’t have stopped them.

Now that we are in the throes of the run-up to the preamble to the 2020 election, I realize how angry I am. We had our first woman president stolen from us. It took a lot of factors combined to make it happen and right now, I’d like to point some of those out, as I see them. Thank you, Russia for your troll farms and bots and fake social media presence.  Thank you, Paul Manafort, for sharing political polling data with Russia. Thank you, Julian Assange and Wikileaks for hacking into the DNC and your perfectly timed and coordinated document dumps. Thank you, Jim Comey, for your October surprise, the non-indictment news conference. Thank you third-party, voters! Thank you for voting for Jill Stein who had zero chance of becoming president. Thank you, Bernie Sanders, for not pulling out (when it was clear you wouldn’t win) and supporting the Democratic nominee! How perfectly selfish of you!

I have followed the politics since 2016 like you would watch a train wreck. You can’t stand to watch, but you really can’t look away. You know the train is careening off the tracks, and you know it’s going to crash, but you want to see it with your own eyes. You want to see how it crashed and why. This has stolen my time, my peace of mind and perhaps a bit of my mind. It has interfered with my concentration and my creativity, but these are the times in which we live. I cannot bear to look away.

I’m not at all excited about voting for a man for president, particularly an old, rich, white guy. Just sayin’. But I’m clear-eyed and coldly calculating. Climate change is a clear and present danger. We lose one hundred Americans a day to gun violence. Reproductive rights are threatened. The rule of law, and democracy itself are threatened. For once I’m going to think like a republican. What matters is winning. Everything else is relatively pointless now.