A few weeks ago during a discussion, one of the Overlords (who shall remain nameless in order to protect their self-respect) wrote the phrase “Moist taint swamp.” It was the most offended I’ve ever been. Until the moment I had to repeatedly hear the words “Brett Kavanaugh.” In addition to being a sucky ass name (and it is), Kavanaugh and his bread dough face have offensively laid bare exactly how offensive the Republicans’ belief system is and the offensive things it allows. (I need to stress that only something truly repugnant would be able to top “moist taint swamp.” Jodi.) But I don’t really want to talk about Kavanaugh himself, or what this abortion of the judicial process says about our country. I want to talk about something else entirely. So before that, let me outline a couple of items that I’m accepting as fact around here:
1) Christine Blasey Ford is telling the truth. We believe women, because people accusing the rich and powerful of sexual assault have nothing to gain, and most importantly because that’s not how people lie. If you go to Amazing Amy levels of deception in order to lay the groundwork of a lie six years before it comes to fruition, you don’t blow it by creating an eyewitness.
2) Also, Kavanaugh is a liar. Which you can tell not just because of all of those times he lied under oath, but also the immediately produced letter of character reference from sixty-five different sources. If he truly had no idea that this was coming, because it was an eleventh-hour smear created by the Democrats, he’d have absolutely no idea what party it was, who was there, and who would be best to testify to the fact that Kavanaugh never raped someone in front of them.
It’s like this, if the police came to me today and said I was being accused of committing murder September 14, 2002, at a gathering in Urbana, IL, I’d think, “Well, fuck, I know I didn’t kill anyone, but me being at a house party then sounds about right. Maybe ask my roommates? Maybe they’ve got pictures or something? I have no idea about that date at all because my life’s been unremarkable for almost twenty years.” But if the police said, “You’re being accused of killing someone at around midnight at Meghan and Joe’s Rumspringa party in 2010,” I’d be all, “Joke’s on you. That was the party where I passed out on the couch at 9 pm because I underestimated the booziness of the punch. Here is a list of people who saw me asleep at that point, and the highlighted name is the one who gave me a pillow. Who feels foolish now, Inspector Detective?” Basically, in an inverse of what the cop shows tell us, the innocent usually don’t have a handy alibi. It’s only when you’ve done something that you would have been better not doing that you remember exactly where you were and who saw it.
But, again, that’s not really what I want to talk about. I want to talk about Aretha Franklin. See Ms. Franklin was a badass bitch. She refused to suffer fools, and, even though being a badass black woman in America is an act of revolution all by itself, Franklin used her status to advance other women of color. She was not someone to trifle with, which is why it was all the more appalling that some asshole pastor waited until her actual funeral before talking shit about her by way of her single motherhood.
Fun fact? I didn’t know Franklin was a single mother until this bullshit. I didn’t know she was a mother. Because that whole “Being-the-Queen-of-Soul-and-a-Giant-of-the-Recording-Industry-and-Living-Legend” thing seemed to be enough of a résumé. But the whole “Being-the-Queen-of-Soul-and-a-Giant-of-the-Recording-Industry-and-Living-Legend” doesn’t fit very well with the established narrative that “being a single mother is terrible because it punishes both mother and child to a life of poverty and deprivation.” Girls aren’t supposed to get pregnant at twelve and fourteen, and then go on to make something of themselves. And if they do, they set a dangerous precedent about what women who don’t follow the rules can accomplish. Children raised by a single mother have harder lives (we’ve been told) so society has a responsibility to make sure we have as few single mothers as possible. And the best way to prevent children from having harder lives by being born to single mothers is by punishing single mothers with shame, ostracization, and economic deprivation. You know, for the kids.
So what the fuck all does this have to do with Kavanaugh? It’s that in both cases, after witnessing men of self-professed high morals and deep belief do stupid ass shit, I found myself thinking, “How the fuck did they think this would work?” How the fuck did Terrible Pastor (I refuse to look up his name) think it would work when he showed up at Aretha’s funeral and talked shit about her? How the fuck did Kavanaugh think he was going to go on TV to talk about how great he’d be at passing judgment on the ethical ramifications of a case that would affect everyone in the country knowing that there was a woman out there he tried to rape? How the fuck could they both tell people, “Oh, yeah, no. I’m still a totally good person, and deserve your respect” knowing that they’re them?
And it’s because: they don’t care. They just don’t give a shit. They don’t actually have beliefs or ethics or morals other than the fact that they think things are better when they’re in charge so they want to be. Better for who exactly? Who the fuck cares? Maybe everyone. Mostly them. They’ve got a fundamental instinct (notice, not a belief. Beliefs require a certain level of conscious thought. This is more like the knowledge that you need to keep breathing. It’s just always been there) that things should be “a way,” and that way is that they’re in charge of everything. Why should they be in charge of everything? Because. Should we examine this system? Probably not. Because then they might not be in charge of the investigation.
When you understand this particular mindset, everything else falls into place. The rich need to become richer because it’s a consolidation of power among the top, and the people in charge being more powerful can only be a good thing. We can’t allow people to just have safe, consensual sex because then we couldn’t make people suffer the ramifications of not having the very specific sex that they’ve deemed OK. We can let women have control over their own bodies because BRETT FUCKING KAVANAUGH TRIED TO RAPE A WOMAN SO LET’S NOT PRETEND HE GIVES A WATERY SHIT ABOUT BODILY AUTONOMY. (Seriously, I really need everyone to stop and think for a second about how a man who attempted to violate a woman’s body is maybe going to be in charge of all of our bodies. That’s where we’re at.) The point is, I’ve been working under the faulty impression that Republicans have been trying to gain power in order to implement their belief system. But having power over other people’s lives is their belief system. They serve no god except their own authority, and they absolutely will not care about being hypocritical pieces of shit.
All of which makes me sound a bit like Liberal Alex Jones. So before I accidentally accuse Republicans of worshiping at Satan’s feet or literally smelling like sulfur, I’d like to acknowledge that I actually understand a bit why Republicans think the way they do. It’s the same mindset that allowed me as a much, much younger person to only sort of realize there was something wrong with a middle school friend of mine saying she didn’t understand why Black people would want to wear FUBU when “we’ll let them wear our clothes.” (She and I didn’t stay friends too long.) The fact is, the U.S. is so inundated with white, straight male superiority that thinking it’s not the way things are supposed to be is radical thinking. So we’re not wrong when we point out that the treatment of Ford is despicable or that we forgive white men for “childish acts” well into their forties when the same acts (or less) get children of color put in jail (or worse). We’re not wrong when we say that people in power use their power to create systems that punish those not in charge and protect the powerful, thereby being both the reward for their shitty behavior and the mechanism by which they perpetuate it. We’re not even wrong when we angry/snarky tweet clever things on the internet (usually). We’re not wrong, we’re just never going to be able to convince them. Because they’re not having that argument. Their only argument is “We deserve to be in charge.” Our only response can be, “No, you don’t.”