People are disengaging with the political process. It’s happening fast and it’s incredibly frustrating to me. Don’t get me wrong; I totally get it. The world is spiraling pretty quickly in multiple ways right in front of our eyes and the people in charge seem helpless to do anything about it. I can clearly see how easy it is to become cynical with any part of the process. What’s so frustrating to me about it is that I totally believe in engagement. I just think the systems are bunk and all of the wrong people are in charge—especially among the democrats.
Please understand, I’m no republican. It’s just that they’re easy to comprehend. They’re bigots and liars and that’s it. Everybody knows. In fact, it’s so commonly understood that the Republican Party doesn’t actually have a platform anymore. Like, you know the thing where members of the party get together and debate priorities and direction? Yeah, they literally just don’t do that now. They don’t have to. They all know what’s up.
The move used to be that Mitch McConnell would block any legislation benefitting the wrong people. In so doing McConnell would shield the rest of his party who would just shrug and claim that they would love to do something to help, but leadership, amirite? Politicians like Susan Collins made entire careers out of this move.
How did McConnell continuously get away with this? Well, some of it is because Kentucky is a republican-run state through gerrymandering and the usual right-wing bullshit. But some of it was actually the democrats’ doing. For example, during McConnell’s last campaign then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer worked behind the scenes to make sure McConnell would have next to no competition.
From the New York Times:
The Senate Democratic leader repeatedly pressed some prominent Kentucky Democrats to help him squelch a primary challenge to Ms. McGrath, admitting privately that she would not be a top-tier candidate, but that they could use her to raise money against Mr. McConnell and keep him pinned down in his own race, according to officials familiar with the conversations.
Predictably, McConnell won his seventh straight congressional race, crushing McGrath by nearly 20 points.
But, as we know, the democrats won on the whole—the house, senate and presidency all theirs. So why can’t they get anything done? It’s not McConnell anymore, so what’s the problem? Wait! Do you hear that? What’s that sound? Is it John Cena? Oh. Nope. It’s Joe Manchin.
The putrid rot of the republican party continues to halt national progress in the form of one man. Can we end the filibuster? No, because Joe Manchin. End gerrymandering? No, Joe Manchin. Protect voting rights, codify Roe v. Wade, Build Back Better? No, no, no. Joe Manchin, Joe Manchin, Joe Manchin.
There’s only one small problem. In true McConnell form, Joe Manchin is just the face. The reality is that there are actually plenty of democrats just as fascist as Manchin, we just don’t see them. The rot is perhaps deeper than we are ready to admit.
It may be difficult to admit, but we know things aren’t working. We know a U.S. Congress that is still somehow 77% white isn’t really all that interested in voting rights. We know that regardless of what happens to Roe v. Wade, there isn’t a politician in the country that will have a difficult time finding an abortion for a partner or family member. We know that we’re no better at fighting a global pandemic now then we were a year ago or a hundred years ago. We are a country owned and led by the wealthy and when it comes to the problems of others, the wealthy are incentivized to inaction far more than action.
The systems we have were designed and are maintained for and by the wealthy. Mixing and matching which wealthy person holds what position of power may complicate things, but it certainly doesn’t deliver meaningful change. We had a Civil War that ended slavery, but corporations use the incarcerated as slave labor, Black life is criminalized and we’ve known since at least 2014 there are more Black men in the prison system than were enslaved in 1850.
I don’t know all the answers, but I do know when people disengage from the political process they don’t just all throw up their hands and silently sit down. Many seek other means of change and those means can often be violent. I hope we figure it out before it’s too late. Joe Manchin just announced that he will vote against vaccine mandates and Florida governor Ron DeSantis just publicly proposed starting his own personal army, so I guess we’re going to find out.
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