One of the things I have learned to grapple with as I have aged is the realization that I am, at heart, an institutionalist. Me, the girl who was granted the “Campus Radical” moniker in 6th grade because, among other views, stated that Nixon was, in fact, a crook and that the 6th grade classroom was not the place for racist jokes. Radical, right?
As my own radical daughters have grown into their own understandings of the world, I have grown into something else. I’ve held that our government is flawed but stood by the two-party system. I voted for the party that was in many ways like me: flawed in word and deed but with a basis of progress for the people, not the corporation-people, but the people who try to pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness even when to do so requires two or three jobs.
I voted for the party who has a platform of hope, of purpose, of vision. I voted for the party that has shown it is not afraid to evolve. Period.
I voted for the party who allows me my right to religious freedom and understands that that right means I get to choose for myself what that means and is not dictated by what the state.
I voted for the party that agonizes over the best ways to proceed for all Americans and does not mandate for everyone based on a narrow understanding of an ancient document.
And it didn’t change a damn thing.
So, I’m sorry, Joe. When you say you can’t do anything but encourage people to vote in the right people, I say: I’m tired of waiting.
I’m tired of voting and waiting and agonizing and watching children be slaughtered in schools by guns that shouldn’t be sold to anyone not being tightly monitored.
I’m tired of voting and waiting and Black Lives still don’t Matter.
I’m tired of voting and waiting for a system that is fundamentally broken to do any damn work at all.
I’m wrestling with how to find hope in all this, but damn it, I’m tired of waiting. And, I realize that that’s my white lady privilege rearing her pink-pussy-hat head and I have to stop whining about waiting and do the damn things. Yes, I will continue to vote. And I will continue to support the voices of marginalized folk of many races and genders and I will scream into the void that is the Republican well of integrity. But I am ready to burn it all down, folks. To dismantle a democracy that is not one.
I’ve had nothing but time to watch the January 6 hearings and to see how close we came to losing our Democracy and then see that 6 people in black robes can just junk up what was “saved” is what is galling me now.
I’m tired of voting and waiting and watching the Democrats allow a racist piece of nothing like McConnell to run rough over the system to deny one candidate and shove through three more who have not a shred of worthiness to sit on that bench.
The institution is doing exactly what it was designed to do: serve power to the wealthy white men. And if you aren’t a wealthy white man and you (yes, you, Justice Thomas) don’t see this as clearly as this particular table has been set, you are being used by a system that thinks of you as fodder for their power and not as the people who are trying to form this more perfect union.
The system is working as designed and the Democrats (and Susan Collins) can wring our hands ad infinitum and, still, change will happen in fits and starts, and, still, I will grind my thoughts and scream in the void, and still, I will go back to the well that keeps me sane — my religious people who always remind me to flip those tables set unfairly by the system.
And still, I will be an institutionalist because, goddamnit, at the base of all my damn anger, I have hope. I have vision for who we can be and I will refuse to let them take that from me. Because that is the right I have with or without a Constitution.
My God is a God of hope; my faith is a faith of agitation and change; the ground of my being is a fucking tenderness that sometimes leaves me weeping when I want to yell AND it is the soft voice that reminds me that the work will never be finished until all are set free.
So, Joe, I’ll fucking vote like I fucking always do. But I need you and your Senators to show some strong moral leadership to remind me why.
So here it is: my note to myself. Take a breath and scream it out. Then get to work. The world isn’t going to fix itself when wealthy white men have no incentive to make it so. Be the change, and all that.
Also, if no one has told you so today: Anger is a valid emotion.
Also: White Ladies–we got so much work to do. So. Much. Work. To. Do. (more on that soon)