This post could just as easily been called “What I Learned in Midlife.” Or maybe “Clichés are Real if You Live Long Enough.”
I’ve been searching for an explanation for why I gave up the Vag Voter Badge this year. I was a fan. For a long time. As I’ve written about many times, I had to take a college course to learn about the impact women had in forming and advancing this great nation. This was HUGE in forming my adult identity. Grown ass women should not have to learn from their grown ass women instructors that a woman wrote the first comprehensive history of the founding of this great nation. Nor should they be finding out for the first time at age 23 that women only got the vote in 1920. This is stuff that should be included in history classes starting in elementary school. It wasn’t–in either state I went to grade school in. Let’s just say I’m still mad about it. And it had an impact.
I probably should have seen this far forward in 2007 / 2008 when the Democrats put that POC shill up for election, and he won. I guess I wasn’t really ready to square the circle at that point. Watching what Obama did to Hillary Clinton pushed me further into the Vag Voter corner, and for several cycles I just skipped all the male names on the ballot and voted for women only. Even though this is a post about why I don’t do that anymore, I will confess that it felt fucking righteous to do it. It was a phase maybe I needed to go through.
But hey, I own my vote, right?
Yeah, I do own it, and so does everyone else. But I make different choices these days. Before 2008 I played the entire field of identity politics. I was absolutely thirsty for anybody but a white male for the presidency, or for any office for that matter. It had never happened, and it had to be a good thing, I reasoned. Diversity, diversity, diversity was drilled into me by years of adherence to the Democratic playbook. Now I know that there is no particular confluence when it comes to race or gender and power. There’s no magic combination when it comes to politics. Anybody who makes it that far is likely already corrupt.
After 2008 I learned what could happen when an empty suit of the correct heritage got elected. I learned that anybody with the right connections, regardless of race or gender, could be corrupted to the core by absolute power. I learned that the likes of tired old George Orwell and Aldous Huxley perhaps knew a thing or two when they committed their stories to print. Imagine that?!? White guys!
2008 ushered in a new age of gangster politics. In this Brave New World average working citizen could have something as foundational as health care sold off to the highest bidders, and those citizens would be beholden to pay–more– to a corporation for having something taken away, replaced with something inferior. The Supreme Court could affirm this as legal. People in other countries could have their families, including their children, droned into oblivion by our government, which happened more than one time–without a declaration of war from our Congress as required by our Constitution. Banks, which had gone head to head with Wall Street in virtual casinos–which they did with the money of everyday middle class people–would lose their bets and nobody would do anything about it. Banks were just “too big to fail.”
After 2008 I learned that any woman with the right connections and title could globe-trot around the world and play a dangerous game with national security. She could assist in the surveillance of her countrymen and women in order to assist her in that endeavor. A woman granted the correct title could topple the governments of other people with the swipe of a pen, or an email sent from a private, unsecured, illegal server. Competence does not matter with the right title and the right connections, so that monumental fuck ups could be perpetrated, resulting in the deaths of Americans. I learned that the press would yawn if they liked the party affiliation of someone with such demonstrable incompetence. Yawn and draw the covers.
All this happened. Astoundingly, it’s not fiction. And it’s just getting worse and worse.
That’s real equality, folks, at least in these United States of America.
And I thought George W. Bush was bad. Ha!
There’s an old cliché that goes something like this:
If you’re not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you’re not a conservative at forty you have no brain.
I don’t participate in identity politics anymore because I have a brain. My heart is worn the fuck out. You can have it.
This year all I care about is sending a big “fuck you” to the establishment. I don’t have any fancy rationale for my vote. It’s already been cast for Trump. MAGA means “fuck you” in American.