This is the Intersection

We had already cast ourselves in the play.

The script was Progress. And we were the Conquerors. We were going to, our generation, mow down all the barriers — the first black President, legalizing gay marriage and, finally, a woman in the White House. These totemic victories, achieved with some struggle — but always achieved — would signify a fundamental American shift. Toward decency. Toward equality. Toward progress.

There would be setbacks, sure. But no defeats. Those weren’t in the play. We were going undefeated. It was going to be us. The script was Progress. We were the Conquerors.

But Tuesday, we learned the roles had been recast. For now, at least, we’re playing The Resistance. We aren’t the lead, not this time. But we can still play the hero. In fact, we must.

We told ourselves a story. And others said it, too. That ‘history has a long arc, but it bends toward justice.’ Bullshit. History has no arc. It’s just long, and it bends both ways: toward justice, then away. Toward, then away. We learned that on Tuesday, too.

And right now? There are an awful lot of hands trying to bend it away. Away from civility. Away from equality. Away from fairness. Away from humanity. Away, maybe even, from existence on this planet. More hands than we realized. But we can’t let go. We have to resist. If we don’t, the branch won’t just bend, I’m afraid. It’ll snap. And if it does, the whole tree might come down with it.

This is the intersection. The fork in the road we didn’t see coming. The first scene in this new, terribly strange play. It’s not what we wanted. But it’s what we’ve got.

This is the intersection.

Are we going to turn progressive activism in to a competition for who can be the wokest, chopping down potential allies who use the wrong word, or see things a little differently that we do? Or are we going to build a bigger tent, to encourage people who may not be totally aligned with us to come on board, so they see a place for themselves in our vision of a better world?

This is the intersection.

Are we going to use whatever privilege we have to close ranks and protect our own hide? Or are we going to use it to shelter and comfort our most vulnerable friends, who the new administration and the worst of its supporters are already openly trying to afflict?

This is the intersection.

Are we going to keep rocking the — women only vote with their vaginas, Trump voters are all idiots, the blacks are just angry, any man that disagrees with me is mansplaining, that judge should be disqualified because he’s Mexican, #fuckingwhitepeople — type of identity politics, or are we going to build a national dialogue around respect for both identities and individuality?

This is the intersection.

Are we going to click on Facebook links while we blame the media? Or are we going to pay a few bucks to subscribe to a newspaper that produces good investigative reporting?

This is the intersection.

When someone finally gets it, will we say “piss off, you’re late”, or “thank you, welcome to the party?”

When someone with power and privilege tries to lead, are we going to hold them back by making perfection the barrier of our approval? Or push them to be better?

When someone disagrees with us, are we going to immediately start talking, or are we going to listen?

Do we want zero perfect allies, or a million imperfect ones?

Are we going to ‘unfriend’ people that disagree with us while complaining that the country’s so divided? Are we going to ‘like’ and ‘share’ when John Oliver ANNIHILATES Donald Trump and call it activism?

Are we going to curse the inevitability in Washington while missing the chance for change on our block?

Are we going to have real conversations with real people with whom who have real disagreements?

Or is that someone else’s job?

Are we going to protest with our fingertips or on our feet?

A happy ending doesn’t fix a bad play. When 2020 comes, these next four years still will have happened. And, in all likelihood, they will have happened harder to others than they happened to us. But there’s no time to waste. The machine is grinding. The new actors are already in costume.

Will we wait for deliverance? Or will we be the change we hope to see in the world?

These are the choices. We are the resistance. This is the intersection.

On Electability

Vote for whoever the hell you want to, but first, can I ask you a few questions about ‘electability’?

1. You do realize that ‘electability’ is the biggest self-fulfilling prophecy in the history of the world, don’t you? (HRC is more ‘electable’, therefore more of you should vote for her, look at how many people are voting for her — see, she’s more electable!)

2. You do realize that no one really knows who’s ‘electable’, since here is a partial list of candidates who have been crushing national polls ten months before recent elections: Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean? I could go on.

3. You do realize that when someone insists you vote for someone ‘more electable’ what they are really saying is — voters other than you can never be convinced to change their mind, so you should change yours to align with them?

4. You do realize that voting for someone in a primary because they’re ‘electable’ is like starting a salary negotiation by naming a number you think will please your boss, instead of by telling him what you think you’re worth?

The whole stupid, regurgitated narrative about ‘electability’ is driven by the chattering class status quo and perpetuated by armchair political scientists to sound smart. Vote for whoever you want, but don’t you think someday, before you die, you’re gonna look back and wish you voted your damn conscience?