by Shelton Bumgarner
by Shelton Bumgarner
I have all but resigned myself to Brett Kavanaugh being approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee. In that, there’s not much w can do. Really, at this point, the only possibility of even delaying his vote and ultimate confirmation by the Senate is massive, spontaneous protests across the country this weekend.
And even that is kind of tricky. The Senate could very well vote on Saturday and that would make even protests problematic. Whatever was done would have to be done immediately and massively. How you would actually pull something like that off, I can only begin to imagine. I think Move On is planning on some sort of protest today, Friday, Sept. 28th, but I doubt it will be enough.
The fix is in and Senate Republicans simply don’t care. They’ve done a cost benefit analysis and they’re willing to take any short term pain as long as they get the long-term reward of a 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court for the next 30 years. That’s their political calculus and, really, it’s difficult to refute. The American Constitutional system is so broken at this point that we’re careening towards a scenario where the entire system freezes up and there is a real risk of very unfortunate violence.
How that would play out, exactly, I don’t dare begin to attempt to fathom.
But honestly, this has been building for several years now and the systemic, structural reasons why this was inevitable in some respects are too tragic to recount. Regardless, immediately, at least, while the Republicans are going to get what they want for their long term, strategic goals, things may get a little bumpy a little bit longer down the road.
There’s a decent chance that there might be a little bit of an uptick in support for The Resistance at part of the 2018 mid-terms because of all of this, and yet maybe not. It all boils down to women. If women are collectively repulsed at how all of this was handled, there might be some consequences for Republicans. And, yet, if there was any sort of Blue Wave, Trump will claim the election was hacked by the Chinese and actively work to discredit the results for the rest of his time in office. This is a perfect way for him to dispute his impeachment and even conviction should that occur.
So that’s where things stand. We’re heading towards a little bit of a bumpy ride in the next few days, but Republicans are so craven — and Democrats so reluctant to play by the “new rules” that Republicans have established — that barring something pretty astonishing (like massive nation-wide protests) I just don’t see Dr. Ford getting something as basic as an FBI investigation. This is yet another step towards the United States being a quasi-autocratic state.
The main problem is there are long term societal trends playing out right now and so while we can quibble about the details and timing of how all of this plays out, long term (or at least for the next 20 years until the youngest of the Baby Boomers finally begin to die off) the Republicans will continue to have the upper hand. They are well on their way to completely transforming the Judiciary and by the time the process is over, it will take decades for the pendulum to begin to swing by the other direction.
I say this with the following caveat — Trump is really bad at being president. So bad, in fact, that while he will probably be pretty successful discrediting any Blue Wave among his base, at least in the short term of the next two years, a Blue Wave would unleash a Pandora’s Box with no obvious end game. But it’s something that would have to be done if there is any hope of saving the Republic. We have to have a check, any check on Trump’s creeping tyranny. I’m prepared to let slip the dogs of chaos in the guise of a Democratic Congress if that’s the only way to reign in Trump’s — and the Republicans’ — bloodthirsty quest for power.
What I’m trying to say, I guess, is there are historic trends that aren’t going away. The Republicans are, in general, going to only grow more powerful over the course of the next 20 odd years before demographics slowly begin to chip away at their blood supply of old codgers. But they believe that if they make it as difficult as possible to vote while transforming the Judiciary into their partisan fiefdom that they potentially moot even that.
Really, though, if we could somehow organize protests, like, now, we might have a chance at something pretty historic. But I just don’t see that happening. I wish it would happen, but it won’t.
Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.
A sentiment I see an enormous amount of on Twitter is people tusk-tusking liberals who are these days in a near-constant state of panic mixed which what can only be described as rage. Conservatives — even many of them of who purport to be NeverTrumpers — tell me to focus on policy and to get over my Trump Derangement Syndrome.
Well, in all honesty, in the spirit of the 4th of July and the Founding Fathers — fuck those guys.
People who clutch their pearls over the liberal rage generated by Trump and his policies believe that only by meekly accepting Trump’s insane behavior and focusing on policy will we win elections. We’re supposed to let Trump lie. We’re supposed to let Trump run roughshod over Constitutional norms. We’re, in fact, supposed to let Trump do whatever the fuck he wants as long as it helps us with about 2% of the electorate who are swing voters and who are still somehow magically undecided about the dark turn the nation has abruptly taken.
Let me suggest, however, that things are so dire that we need to embrace the dark side, as it were, and let our liberal rage envelop us. The 2018 mid-terms will be about getting out the vote, about mobilizing the base. So while Conservatives are gleefully smacking their political lips at what they feel is our impeding doom caused by our outrage, I see this as an opportunity to finally fight back in a constructive manner.
I can not express properly in real terms how misguided, patronizing and condescending the Right’s constant critique of the Left’s outrage over Trump feels to me. The very thing that could really drive The Resistance into electorate success — the sheer power of the liberal base being apoplectic over Trump’s policies, the Right sees as a flaw that has to be fixed as quickly as possible.
But I feel that only by embracing our rage against Trump and using it as an engine to power activism on the part of the Left can anything change. I’m not saying there won’t be problems caused by this. Plenty of moderates might be turned off by some of the ideological froth this might cause, but at the same time plenty of people who might simply shrug at Trump’s policies might see the light if we can funnel our rage into something constructive.
The Left attacking Trump with clear eyed counter-policies, while making making members of the Right’s intelligentsia happy, would make the base of The Resistance feel disenfranchised. Trump is currently a weird mixture of an American Caligula mixed with a would-be tinpot Hitler and he thrives on the confusion his constant barrage of Twitter mindfucking generates. To say I should focus solely on dry policy matters in the midst of this enormous Constitutional crisis is rather intellectually dishonest in my opinion.
I propose we focus on curating the rage of the base. It’s not like it’s going anywhere, no matter how many NeverTrumpers tell me it should be forced to abate. If we tell people who are astonished at the sheer insanity and outrageous behavior on the part of the Trump Administration that it’s ok to be filled with political rage, then that’s the first step towards regaining power at the polls. It’s not like the Right’s base, which has been hysterical for decades now, is going to let up their rapacious attacks on the Left simply because we decide to play nice.
No, I say instead of rolling over and letting the Right continue to drive the United States into a ditch, that we wrestle the wheel away from them with all our might. I’m not in any way advocating violence. Far from it. But I am advocating the center-Left quit even trying to put up the facade that it would be in the best interests of the cause if everyone would just cool it and worry about dry policy matters.
All Trump does is stir up his base. Literally, that’s all he does. He braces the worst instincts of his base to a surreal extent, which, in turn, riles up the base of the center-Left because we look at each other in amazement that the MSM is so busy trying to be fair an objective that they are unable or unwilling to call out Trump’s lies.
So, let your freak flag fly. Embrace your inner Howard Beal. If you are mad as hell and you’re not going to take it anymore, then do something about it. Becomes engaged in the political process on a personal level. Stop trying to convince your MAGA Facebook friends of the error of their ways. Fuck those guys.
It’s not like the American Founding Fathers were cool with the abuses of King George III. If they finally had enough and decided to do something about it, maybe the center-Left should too. We need to scare the living bejeebus out of the Establishment in Washington and the only way we can do that is at the polls. If we’ve learned anything from the recent events involving immigrant children being torn from their families, the only guard rails the Trump Administration currently is willing to acknowledge is popular outrage.
That’s all we got. Thus, instead of calming down, let’s rock.
Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He can be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.
Don’t be fooled by the supposed good news that all the children with Border Patrol are now reunited with their parents. It will be way too easy for the Trump Administration to spin this as the resolution of the problem.
The facts are far more distressing than the above might suggest. There are, in fact, apparently about 2,800 children who have been turned over to the Department of Health & Human Services who are….missing. We don’t know where they are and it’s going to be excruciatingly difficult to bring them back together with their parents.
This is a national shame and it appears as though it’s going to drag on and on and on for sometime simply because the system isn’t prepared to solve this problem anytime soon. So this crisis is much more of a marathon than a sprint. It could take months for all of this to get straightened out and unfortunately it’s going to be difficult to maintain the public pressure on the Trump Administration needed to convey the urgency this problem requires.
So, honestly, I’m at a loss. I don’t know how this all gets wrapped up. It’s a pretty perplexing conundrum. Either this gains traction enough that Trump feels finally forced to be a lot more proactive about this, or the fate of about 2,800 children will simply fade into oblivion down the memory hole along with all the other scandals Trump has managed to stir up.
I wish I knew the answer to all of this. I really do.
It’s sad, but true: fascism has come to the United States. It’s a particularly insidious, creeping version of it, but it’s here nonetheless. And there is no respite to be seen in the foreseeable future. This is it, folks, and it’s only going to get worse — far worse.
There’s just no scenario I can think of where this doesn’t get a lot worse before it gets better. Trump is a master at media manipulation and because of Constitutional rot, its pretty clear that at best we can expect a draw in the 2018 Congressional mid-terms and there’s just not going to be what we hope anytime soon: some sort of end to all of this.
This is a marathon, not a sprint, in other words.
What I mean by that is we have to triage the different urgent problems the Trump Administration has concocted. Right now, I would suggest the fate of the roughly 2,000 immigrant children taken from their families is of utmost importance. But that’s simply because of the young lives at stake. There are so many other horrible things taking place, that we need to focus on. We need to accept that the American Republic is in grave danger that that Magaism is to blame.
It goes without saying that Magaism, which I’ve begun to equate with Nazism, is misogyny, racism and bigotry. But let’s address, for the moment, the parts that are directly connected to the “Prosecution Imitative” that lead to the forcible separation of undocumented children from their families.
I speak, of course, of the racism and bigotry. The reason why this is so significant is it’s the only way to explain why Magaists are so ardent in their determination to essentially discredit the very idea that removing children from their parents at the border is an issue at all.
The frightening thing about all of this is Magaist honestly are so wrapped up in “securing the border” or the fact that the imagine of the child on the cover of Time Magazine wasn’t exactly what it purported to be that they can’t take time to feel any basic human empathy or compassion for the children involved.
It’s a chilling thing all around. If that doesn’t evoke some mental connection to Nazi Germany, I don’t honestly know what will. I find it difficult to wrap my mind around the thought processes of someone who hears the cries for help of young children on the border and isn’t moved. That they rhetorically bob and weave, and would rather quibble about the broader border problem or this or that thing Obama may have done in the past.
How we got to this point is rather curious. That on an ideological level Magaists and their collaborators would simply see brown people coming across the border as an issue of “securing borders” as opposed to something you would try to find as compassionate a way as possible to solve is a real perplexing issue for me on the face of it.
Throw into the mix systemic Constitutional rot caused by perfect storm of economics, politics, demographics and general fucked-up-ed-ness and it’s clear all of this could have been predicted. And, as I understand it, it was by at least one sociologist. Trump and Maga was inevitable, it’s just we’re stuck with the specific quirks of Trump’s own-the-moment style. Trump doesn’t have any ideology to speak of, which leads me to worry that it won’t be Trump that’s our final jump into the boiling waters of American fascism, but his immediate successor.
Trump is just to unfocused and incompetent, I feel, to get the job done. But someone smarter and younger but equally charismatic, could definitely get the job done. Really, the only thing stopping this nightmare scenario from happening is whatever American spirit that might exist that makes my nation unique among those of the world. I used to believe in American exceptionalism, but that faith is being sorely tested.
I would like to believe that the darkest timeline won’t be fully realized and we’ll finally pull out of our decent into actual fascism, but I’m not so sure anymore. There’s a good chance this time the bad guys really will win and there’s not much we can do about it.
We might scream at the top of our lungs every chance we get, but because of reverse polarization, the case could be made that that only helps the opposition. All of this is difficult for me to process without getting really, really angry. But anyway, all I can say at this point is, like, keep the faith or something.
We’ll need it.