“Whether the Republican establishment likes it or not – and more and more are actually perfectly happy with it – the Grand Old Party is now Trump’s Party. Their fate is intertwined with his. The old conservative Republican party is dead, for now. In the coming two years they will campaign as a radical right party, led by an omnipresent leader, who will define the Republican party for a whole generation of Americans.”
Trump is hitting the campaign trail, hitting it hard in the way that Trumpty Dumpty sort of way he has, and one of his repeated platitudes is some variation of “I’m not on the ballot, but I’m on the ballot,” also taking the form of “think of yourself as voting for me.” I haven’t been following this election as carefully as I should. I haven’t been well. I’ve been struggling with digestive/gut issues since last spring, and it’s taken its toll. My energy levels have been pretty low.
My time is winding down here in McCarthy, and so I’m trying to enjoy the last week of my time in Alaska, which isn’t hard to do with all the September sunshine, a welcome relief after an Angry August of rain and cold. It’s also easy to enjoy the time here because as more and more folks disperse in the annual Alaska diaspora, the bar empties out save for locals. Last night I was chatting with a local buddy at the bar. He lives in McCarthy now, but he’s originally from California. We started talking politics and culture, and eventually he began reminiscing about attending Iraq War protests, back during the Bush years. The protests seemed to have left a distinct impression on him, mostly negative. They felt a bit ineffective, quixotic even. He mentioned a certain festival type of atmosphere, with fire jugglers.
It was encouraging to read about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders visiting Wichita, Kansas, for a massive rally in support of congressional candidate James Thompson. Is the red state ready to turn blue? For those of you who live outside the Midwest, you should that there’s an anti-Trump sentiment that is strong — and growing, and slowly morphing into activism. It’s slow because, frankly, most of us born in the Midwestern aren’t activists, by nature. I won’t be surprised, though, to watch the Midwest develop their own version of a progressive movement and to watch this movement grow deep roots in the heartland.
There is a movement. The Democrats have been forced to shift to the left, on economic issues, which naturally feels like a threat to Dem insiders as well as centrists of all political persuasions. There will be a consistent parade of folks like Comey, warning of the dangers of economically progressive ideas and policies. These will generally be people with privilege but not imagination. A better idea? Join Democratic Socialists of America and work for solidarity and a fair shot for all Americans. =) https://act.dsausa.org/donate/membership/
On the surface, the novel Beloved seems like literature that makes us more aware of the brutality of slavery — the physical and emotional abuses, the violence, and the dehumanization. It is, all of these, of course, but I think that what sets Toni Morrison’s novel apart, and what has earned her the well-deserved international acclaim she has achieved, is that she goes deeper, to really get under our skin, as it were. For me, reading Beloved made me acutely aware of the color of my skin. This is perhaps as good as it gets, when it comes to fiction writing, because Beloved forces the reader to confront themselves in relation to skin color and in relation to the brutality of racism, both past and present. Morrison does all this simpy by being a great writer, by putting the reader there, right there in the middle of it all.
Like most little Alaskan bush communities, we celebrate the Fourth of July with great gusto. We’ve got creative floats in a community parade (and since our parade line is rather small, all the floats circle around and parade through downtown a second time); we get jiggy with tacky red-white-and-blue apparel/decor; and, of course, since this is Alaska, we drink a fifth to celebrate the Fourth. So, we’ve got plenty of the traditional flag waving enthusiasm, but McCarthy has a disproportionate amount of free-spirited, open-minded folk, and there’s enough of a hippie influence out here that being patriotic doesn’t mean being a hater — quite the opposite, in fact.
Amidst the terror of Trump and his Republican reign of cruelty, the resistance continues, and I’m celebrating a big win for grassroots activist and card-carrying Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She defeated the very well-funded New York Democrat incumbent:
One way that racism persists in America is that non-Whites are not permitted to interpret their own experiences. White America has always reserved for themselves the right to describe the nature of “America,” to define what America means and what it means to be an American — and if your interpretation doesn’t square with theirs, then it isn’t legit. If a non-White person says that their experience in America involves racism, White America cannot take that at face value, cannot engage in a simple act of listening. This brings us to the latest in the White America’s battle for the NFL’s National Anthem.
Wisdom on unity and diversity, in the struggle for civil rights, by Audre Lorde, Learning from the 60s February 1982: The 60s were characterized by a heady belief in instantaneous solutions. They were vital years of awakening, of pride, and of error. The civil rights and Black power movements rekindled possibilities for disenfranchised groups within this nation. Even though we fought common enemies, at times the lure of individual solutions made us careless of each other. Sometimes we could not bear the face of each other’s differences because of what we feared those differences might say about ourselves. As if everybody can’t eventually be too Black, too white, too man, too woman. But any future vision which can encompass all of us, by definition, must be complex and expanding, not easy to achieve. The answer to cold is heat, the answer to hunger is food. But there is no simple monolithic solution to racism, to sexism, to homophobia. There is only the conscious focusing within each of my days to move against them, wherever I …
So teachers are striking, apparently they want a living wage or something. In any event, it raises a few tricky questions. Why is it that some of the most valuable work has the least monetary value in a capitalist society? Why do so many teachers fail to make a living wage? Why does “the market” (so-called) reward so many who are doing things that do nothing to better society, while so many teachers get crap for wages? These are questions you cannot ask….in the Twilight (of Capitalism) Zone…. http://www.wkyt.com/content/news/Fayette-County-Schools-close-as-teachers-begin-mass-protests-478360303.html
Great little article in the Guardian: Donald Trump came to power on the heels of a rightwing movement rooted in the Tea Party protests. The Women’s March could pull off a similar feat. Here are three reasons why The Women’s Marches could mobilize voters and result in progressive political reform. From the article:
The thing about marches and rallies and activism are that they are good for the soul. It’s a form of fellowship, not unlike the feeling I had back in my church-going days. It’s nice to know you’re not alone, in the resistance, and for me nothing replaces the solidarity of in-person activism. And in Santa Cruz on Saturday, it was packed — nearly 20,000 marched, in the main drag, downtown.
“It’s turned us back into cowboys and Indians again,” he [Chapoose] said. “The tension is higher than it started but it hasn’t reached a plateau. That’s going to happen Monday. Then we’ll see the battle lines.” (Shaun Chapoose, councilman of the Ute Indian Tribe business committee) Two areas designated as national monuments have knocked down to size, reduced by nearly two million acres all told, so as to be opened for development. White men coming in to extract resources is, of course, simply a variation on one of America’s central themes. It’s also an illustration of the way capitalism works.