My older sister, a frequent reader of this site (hi, Maureen), and I have been having an ongoing conversation since Trump’s election. Essentially it boils down to: how fucked is shit? While be both agree that things are pretty bad, we’ve disagreed about the exact level of bad, what it means (is this a stand-and-fight or bolt-in-the-night level of bad?), and how much will our governmental structures be able to protect us. I’ve been slightly more optimistic than my sister. At its worst, this has meant she thought I was being obtuse, and I thought she was being histrionic. But usually we’re able to see the other’s point of view, and recognize that that other is framing current events as needed in order to continue to resist. Because until Democrats get seriously involved in local politics, the situation isn’t going to get any better.
And the current situation is pretty fucked:
Listen, as much as I want it to happen, the Republican party isn’t tearing itself apart. Mostly because fuckwits like Johnnie Caldwell don’t actually care about their party any more than we do. He’s a Republican by tradition, and an asshole by belief. His “political view” is that straight, white men should be given more power than others, and that they should be able to wield that power in any way they see fit. So if a woman wants to put on some bigboy pants and do some lawyering, she, by right, will need to tolerate him demanding to see her vagina. Because that’s the natural order. This isn’t about fiscal policies or zoning laws or anything else that a mid- or low-level politician would deal with. It’s about maintaining a hierarchy.
Which means the only way to effect change is to get them out of office. Or that the very least, to challenge them to their office. And as much as the internet has solved a lot of problems for liberals, this isn’t one. There (to the best of my knowledge) isn’t a SwingLeft.com for the state or local levels. So we’re going to have to figure this out on our own. Both indivisableguide.com and moveon.org have some resources, but the brunt of the work will fall to us. Start utilizing local resources. Subscribe to your local paper. Look up your local elections. Attend a local city council meeting or, if you can, state assembly meeting. And as much as I’ve made this sound like a lot of work, I get to write my favorite sentence of all time: Go to your local library and talk to a librarian.
I’m not arguing that everyone needs to run for office. I understand not everyone has the time or temperament to be an elected official. But you do need to know the names of both your federal and state representatives, and have, at minimum, a Google alert for their names. You need to know when they’re running, and who to support in the race. And if they’re running unopposed, you need to know who to contact to make a big goddamn stink about it. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary. Because it’s the only way to get unfucked.