Does everyone remember Return of the Jedi? There’s a scene where the Emperor, then at the height of galactic domination, is spewing blue lightning from his fingertips and and his new and improved Death Star is about to destroy the Rebellion, then Vader threw him into the reactor. I feel like that’s the imminent fate of Old White Men these days. They are in charge, but using their power indiscriminately. Someone’s going to have to bring them down before they destroy the world.
Such is the state of US politics lately. I’ve been too distraught by the slow erosion of British Democracy to pay much attention, but the US has become the car crash on the highway that you can’t look away from. And since political trends in the US will come to the UK, I need to know what to prepare for.
Gun control is still a contradiction on terms for Republican lawmakers; no surprise there. I wish I was shocked at the response to the recent shootings, the Nashville school shooting in particular, but the only thing that’s even mildly surprising is the extent to which the masks are off. No more ‘Thoughts and Prayers’, no more ‘It’s a mental health problem.’ One republican state representative said “We’re not going to fix this.” Another, when asked about banning the AR15, said there was not point and said
“If there is a firearm out there that you’re comfortable being shot with, please show me which one it is.”
The whole gun control debate isn’t what disturbs me. I’ve given up on the US Government actually taking action on guns; there have been 377 school shootings since Columbine, no atrocity can penetrate their “Ideology”. They are so hung up on gun rights they don’t recognise that with rights come responsibilities.
What does worry me is how they are abandoning their feeble pro-gun arguments and just shutting down debates. When 3 Tennessee state representatives stood with and spoke on behalf of the young people protesting outside the Statehouse, calling for something, anything to be done to stop Gun Violence, the Governor responded by expelling two of them and warning the third. The two expelled members were Black. The third was a White woman. (But the decision had nothing to do with race.) They were expelled for their “Lack of Decorum.” Apparently it’s rude to plead for the lives of children. Now the Republican majority is threatening to cut off all funding to the expelled men’s districts if those voters re-elect the representatives.
This level of Tyranny is truly frightening and should send chills through EVERY voter’s soul. It doesn’t matter who you are, what race, what gender, what religion, what sexuality; you can conform to all their edicts but if your removal suits their agenda or protects their power, they will crush you without a thought.
And it gets worse. One Trump appointed Judge in Texas has suspended the use of Mifepristone, a drug often used as the morning after Pill, for non-surgical abortions. Because he is a Federal judge, his ruling can apply nationwide. It’s another nail on the coffin of women’s rights. Given this judge’s ruling have already stripped protections from asylum seekers and trans people, his Right-Wing Bingo card is nearly full.
But it’s not all bad. Donald Trump has been indicted. Granted, it’s only for falsifying business records and not for the Treason, Conspiracy, Incitement to violence, threat to National Security crimes he committed while in office, but lets take what we can get. It’s annoying not to get him on the big stuff, but that’s how it goes. They got Capone on his taxes, remember?
Even better is the battle going on in Florida, where a bombastic, oafish, caricature of a politician got into a fight with Mickey Mouse…. and lost. Florida Governor and answer to the question “can we get any worse than Trump?” Ron De Santis tried to take control of the lands administered by Disney Theme Parks by replacing the Board with his own hand-picked lackeys. However, the last act of the outgoing members was to cede all their administrative power to Disney. All the new board could lay claim to was a set of chairs.
De Santis is trying to run Florida like his own personal kingdom, with his so-called Anti-Woke agenda. Of course, being ‘Anti-woke’ just means being rude and having no respect for anyone. He ships immigrants to Massachusetts, implemented a 6 week abortion ban, the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law for schools, banned so many books from schools that school library shelves are empty, and is allowing open carry of firearms, and eliminating training and background check requirements for concealed carry. However, the Republicans are beholden to big business, and there is no bigger business in Florida than Disney. De Santis tried to bite the hand that feeds him, and he got slapped for it.
These Right-wing authoritarian Old White Men are desperately trying remake to US to some sort of 50’s tv show ideal. Ideal for them, at least. A world where the women cooked and cleaned and stayed at home, the lower classes “Knew their place” and no one challenged their authority or view of the world. Unfortunately for them, this world only ever existed on TV. In the real world, Woman have always had to work, and have always had to make hard choices about their bodies. They can only ban Safe, Legal abortions; alternatives will still exist. They can expel Black Representatives from the State house, but not from social media, where their voices will ring even louder. Every issue, every group they try to repress will only fight back harder. The more they try to tighten their grip, the more supporters slip through their fingers.
They are only affirming their own irrelevance, and the world will move on without them. If they don’t destroy it all first.
I hope we can outlast them. Most of them can only be one or two cheeseburgers short of a stroke by now.
If you enjoyed this rant, please check out my book So, That Happened, by Sheila Power. Available on Amazon in Paperback or Digital Format.