Dispatch #35 November 8th 2017
Day 367 Post-Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny (PAWSM)
Day 292 Post-Installation of White-Supremacist-Misogynist-Pussy-Grabbing-Self-Aggrandizing-Demagogic-Bully-Illegitimate-PeeeOTUS & his White-Nationalist-Fascistic-Christian-Supremacist-Quislings
I have been in Bolivia since October 19th, participating in a Habitat for Humanity Build, and then traveling in this very beautiful and wildly geographically diverse country — from Andes range and volcanoes to Salt Flats and flamingos to Amazon jungles and rainforests.
Seemed like a good idea to be out of the country with limited access to the Internet as the one-year anniversary of the Ascendency of White Supremacy & Misogyny approached.
And yet, on Monday November 6th, I felt the disbelief, shock, horror, and anguish as keenly and piercingly as if it were Tuesday November 6th 2016.
During the past year, we have witnessed the Ascendency of Early 21st Century American Fascism, nourished by White Supremacy, Misogyny, and Global Capitalism. The Tangerine Tyrant (AKA PeeeOTUS) relishes his role as petty demagogue/village idiot. His quislings and collaborators — an exceedingly more dangerous crowd — relish their opportunities to rape and pillage without even a semblance of constraint.
We who Resist the Normalization of Fascism have all found our strategies to be Outraged and NOT Disheartened, Actively Committed to Justice and NOT Paralyzed.
For me, these Dispatches have come to provide many comforts: An Outraging Outlet; Exchanges with Social Justice Sisters and Colleagues; Challenging myself to more Radical Analyses; Sharpening my Language of Resistance; Reminding myself about the Wisdom of so many Fore-Sisters-Heroes-Warriors; Demanding that Misogyny be constantly Named, Shamed, and Dismantled; Insisting that White People have a collective responsibility to SEE and dismantle White Supremacy.
On this day after Election Day 2017, many results seem to suggest that determined resistance and activism can push back against Trumpism/Fascism. And yes, we are entitled to savor some good news for a moment.
But, we have a long road ahead. The Enemy is not the PeeeOTUS. We have a Republican Party that has embraced Fascism in exchange for the power to dismantle all constraints on the moneyed-elite (not to mention dismantling social programs, oppressing women and minorities, and promoting violence). We have at least 26 states with Republican controlled legislative and executive branches. We have a national/federal governance structure that favors low-population homogenous rural states over high population diverse largely-urban states. We have a country built on White Supremacy/Slavery and the Genocide of Indians that has never come to terms with and accounted for these original sins.
Incredibly, the leadership of the Democratic Party continues its refusal to address or even acknowledge White Supremacy and Misogyny. These leaders, mostly white men, must be replaced by women and people of color. A BIG shout-out to all the women who ran for elective office at the state and local levels. Especially in Virginia, where 10 diverse women contributed 10 of the 14 flipped seats, all held by white men, in the state legislature.
Yahoo, headlines trumpeted that college-educated white women turned out big in Virginia and contributed to the strong Democratic wins. Actually this statistic is infuriating. WHERE WERE YOU WOMEN A YEAR AGO WHEN A MAJORITY OF COLLEGE-EDUCATED WHITE WOMEN VOTED AGAINST HILLARY CLINTON!?!?!?! MISOGYNY IS TERMINALLY TOXIC TO THE SOUL.
And since we are on this topic, while public take down of sexual predators like Harvey Weinstein creates some grim satisfaction, this does not mean that Institutional Misogyny is being dismantled. Sexual Harassment and Sexual Abuse are Symptoms of Misogyny. Cracking down on the KKK and staunching the incidence of lynchings did not dismantle Institutional White Supremacy. These extreme symptoms of White Supremacy were toned down in favor of establishing/maintaining softer and more insidious toxic oppressions such as steering black home buyers to the worst properties, denying GI Bill benefits to black veterans, destroying black urban neighborhoods, criminalizing being young and black.
Cracking down on sexual harassment/predators will not change the softer and more insidious toxic oppressions of Institutional Misogyny such as omnipresent sexualization of women’s bodies, characterizing strong bold intelligent women as bitches and witches, establishing attractiveness to men as the most important female attribute, punishing women who do not follow the rules for deferential demeanor.
A BIG shout-out to Lindy West!! In her piece “Brave Enough to Be Angry” she outrages about how women are incentivized to never speak when they are angry.
“Last month, an Access Hollywood correspondent asked the actress Uma Thurman to comment on abuse of power in Hollywood, presumably in light of the sexual assault allegations against the producer Harvey Weinstein. Speaking slowly and deliberately, through gritted teeth, Thurman responded, “I don’t have a tidy soundbite for you, because I’ve learned — I am not a child — and I have learned that when I’ve spoken in anger I usually regret the way I express myself. So I’ve been waiting to feel less angry. And when I’m ready, I’ll say what I have to say.”
“Thurman is seething, like we have all been seething, in our various states of breaking open or, as Thurman chooses, waiting. We are seething at how long we have been ignored, seething for the ones who were long ago punished for telling the truth, seething for being told all of our lives that we have no right to seethe. Thurman’s rage is palpable yet contained, conveying not just the tempestuous depths of #MeToo but a profound understanding of the ways that female anger is received and weaponized against women.”
“In the past few months alone we’ve seen Carmen Yulín Cruz, mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, pilloried by the far right for criticizing Donald Trump’s anemic response to Hurricane Maria (“We are dying here,” Cruz told the news media, “I am mad as hell.”) and the Florida congresswoman Frederica Wilson deluged with abuse after she characterized Trump’s call to the military widow Myeshia Johnson as “insensitive” and “an insult.” Both Cruz and Wilson were directly targeted by the president on Twitter, then incessantly memed and regurgitated and redigested and rememed by his obedient online horde.”
“Just this week, Juli Briskman, a government contractor, lost her job after a photo of her flipping off the presidential motorcade went viral. Solange, Britney Spears, Sinead O’Connor, the Dixie Chicks, Rosie O’Donnell — I struggle to think of women who lost their tempers in public and didn’t face ridicule, temporary ruin, or both. And we don’t even have to be angry to be called angry. Accusations of being an “angry black woman” chased Michelle Obama throughout her tenure at the White House, despite eight years of unflappable poise (black women suffer disproportionately under this paradigm). The decades-long smearing of Hillary Clinton as an unhinged shrew culminated one year ago today when, despite maintaining a preternatural calm throughout the most brutal campaign in living memory, she lost the election to masculinity’s apoplectic id.”
“Like every other feminist with a public platform, I am perpetually cast as a disapproving scold. But what’s the alternative? To approve? I do not approve.”
“Not only are women expected to weather sexual violence, intimate partner violence, workplace discrimination, institutional subordination, the expectation of free domestic labor, the blame for our own victimization, and all the subtler, invisible cuts that undermine us daily, we are not even allowed to be angry about it. Close your eyes and think of America.”
“We are expected to keep quiet about the men who prey upon us, as though their predation was our choice, not theirs. We are expected to sit quietly as men debate whether or not the state should be allowed to forcibly use our bodies as incubators. We are expected to not complain as we are diminished, degraded and discredited.”
“We are expected to agree (and we comply!) with the paternal admonition that it is irresponsible and hyperemotional to request one female president after 241 years of male ones — because that would be tokenism, anti-democratic and dangerous — as though generations of white male politicians haven’t proven themselves utterly disinterested in caring for the needs of communities to which they do not belong. As though white men’s monopolistic death-grip on power in America doesn’t belie precisely the kind of “identity politics” they claim to abhor. As though competent, qualified women are so thin on the ground that even a concerted, sincere, large-scale search for one would be a long shot, and any resulting candidate a compromise.”
“Meanwhile, as a reminder of the bar for male competence, Donald Trump is the president.”
“Tuesday, voters — some angry, some hopeful despite themselves — went to the polls and told a different story: the first openly trans woman elected to the Virginia legislature, a surge of female Democratic candidates across the nation, many of them victorious.”
“I did not call myself a feminist until I was nearly 20 years old. My world had taught me that feminists were ugly and ridiculous, and I did not want to be ugly and ridiculous. I wanted to be cool and desired by men, because even as a teenager I knew implicitly that pandering for male approval was a woman’s most effective currency. It was my best shot at success, or at least safety, and I wasn’t sophisticated enough to see that success and safety, bestowed conditionally, aren’t success and safety at all. They are domestication and implied violence.”
“To put it another way, it took me two decades to become brave enough to be angry. Feminism is the collective manifestation of female anger.”
“They suppress our anger for a reason. Let’s prove them right.” www.nytimes.com/2017/11/08/opinion/anger-women-weinstein-assault.html
Hasta la próxima de Sajama Bolivia!!