Right back where I was. I’m standing on the path, standing mostly still, standing firm. There is no path in front of me; it abruptly ends at what the Patriarchy calls a “big, beautiful wall.” Their hungry eyes gleam with malice and greed as they grin and slowly, intentionally mouth the words “big. beautiful. wall.” (I hear them chanting, an echo in my head, “build that wall, build that wall”) They want me to be as gleeful as they are that I have that solid barrier in my path.
I’m in my place. Don’t I understand? I’m where I belong.
They’re on the other side. Every once in awhile, usually when I take a moment to rest, to breathe, they begin edging the wall back, ever so slightly. They drag us all, they’re pushing us back, just an inch or two at a time, moving the wall back with us each time.
My heels are dug in. There was to be a path forward, and I was looking very much forward to being able to step onto that path, to catch up a bit. I could see it before me. It was bumpy, pocked. There were branches and other obstacles, but I was happy. Thrilled! Hopeful. Sure, I’m not in a good place now, but look at the possibility spread out in front of me, in front of all of us, if we only have the courage to grab ahold!
Alas, today that path is gone. I’m left with bad options, glimpses over my shoulders. Here I stand with my nose pressed against the wall. Giving it another push.
The people who helped close off that path forward, the ones beside me and those who look back at me and shrug, they make excuses for the old, lazy white men, tell me to suck it up. They tell me I should rejoice in that fleeting moment we got to see a path forward, maybe even past the wall.
What is to become of those of us who have been pushing and chipping away at the barrier? What will become of our children?
I’ve been working and waiting for 53 years, working through and against oppression and hate and abuse. I’m but one of the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of women and men who got us this far. I’m not alone on this side of the wall doing my part trying to hold onto the progress they made before we came along.
Who else is playing by the rules? Who else is tired of being told to suck it up, tired of being bullied into silence, when calling attention to another murder, another beating, another rape, another homeless parent, unable to receive equal pay for their hard work, unable to make or earn something they can hold onto long enough to bequeath it to their children? We obey the law. We pay our bills, our taxes. We keep our heads down. When do we get representation? When do we get protections? When will we have an opportunity? When do we get justice?
We’ve been playing by the rules all our lives, too. And the rules we obey are much stricter than the ones applied to those on the other side of the wall. You shrug, tell us to suck it up. When the only tools The People have access to are guns, don’t act surprised when someone who has always played by the rules snaps and uses those guns. Or when they call for a guillotine in the square. I’m not condoning or endorsing violence. I’m saying it is the logical outcome after centuries in a nation of laws that apply to everyone except white men. It’s the logical outcome when society makes a child put their hand over their heart and pledge allegiance to hate, to Patriarchy, to greed, to oppression. What do you expect when that child grows up under that rule, under that thumb, knowing only “freedom” propaganda, hate, shame, and hunger? What do you expect from that tormented child when the only tool you gave them was a tool of destruction?
Instead of guns, give that child access to opportunities.
Clear the way. Put us on the path forward. Give everyone equal opportunities. Give us protections. Lift the limitations society puts on us. Tear down the wall. Give us something to work toward, to rejoice about. We don’t want anything special. We want the opportunities and protections the guys on the other side of the wall have, nothing more. Generations of us “others” were made to “earn” our opportunities, even though none of the white guys on the other side had to; they got them simply by existing in their heterosexual, white skin with their dangly bits.
You can probably tell I’m not angry with the candidates. It’s not their fault they were born in this society, white-skinned and male, dripping with privilege, showered with opportunities at every stage of their lives. After all, they live as our society taught them to. They don’t have to do much, expend minimal effort and stand there – smiling or yelling, demanding, as the case may be – hands held out, and everyone gives them whatever they want or need. That’s how it is. They don’t know anything else. They think this is what “work” is. They believe they are owed because we raised them to believe exactly that. And it is us “others” who owe them, according to society’s lessons, according to the Patriarchy; we owe them wealth, gratitude, power. And our females.
No, I’m not angry at them. I’m angry at those of you who reinforce the lessons society taught them. I’m angry with you who plainly saw which candidate was better, saw that she’s done the work, saw that she didn’t have a penis, and handed your power, your meager wealth, your votes, to the useless white guys with the outstretched hands.
And I’m especially angry at those of you who saw she was better, chose to vote for the white guy anyway and took it further, choosing to abet the Patriarchy by suggesting the rest of us should do what you did and betray our fellow “others” in America.
Don’t tell a child she can be anything she wants, even president, but then pass up voting for intelligent, qualified, competent women. Even when it’s obvious the woman is far and away the best choice.
They yell over the wall to us to rejoice.
Will there finally be equal pay? Justice for rape victims? For assault victims? Will our children have health insurance? health care?
Can asylum-seekers expect to be heard? Will the atrocities and the genocide end? Will immigrants stay with their families from here on out?
Can we have privacy? Can we make our own choices without molestation? Can we get the abortion we need – safely, affordably – in or near our home town?
Will everyone have clean air and water again?
Can we walk out our door with the expectation we won’t be shot? Can we send our children to school with a reasonable expectation that they’ll come home after, safe and sound? Can we expect our children to be able to go to college if they do the work, get the grades?
Can former victims of redlining finally expect to be able to get a mortgage, own a home they can pass down? Can brown and black people feel confident that a traffic stop won’t end in their brutal murder? one that will be forgotten, that will go unpunished?
Is there a path toward representation for us? What is there to rejoice about?
Nothing comfortable ever evolved.— “Lucifer” (@LokiLoptr on Twitter)
Are you sick like I am of the Patriarchy, of their influence over every aspect of your life? Then, for fucks sake, stop voting the way they tell you to. They have an interest in moving the wall back. They bully you into giving up your power, your vote, for their candidate. They have an interest in going back to how things were, before they had to share power. You don’t. We won’t bring down the Patriarchy, we won’t bring down the Master’s house, using their tools. Vote accordingly.
Stop telling women, people of color, the poor, LGBTQIA, etc. that our needs aren’t important. Stop telling us we have to set aside our needs and hopes for your candidate because of “electability.” We have as much right to be here as you. That’s Patriarchal bullshit you’re pushing on the rest of us, and you’re piling it on top of other centuries of bullshit, and you expect us to smile and take those added shovels full of shit in our lives?
Here I stand, nose pressed up against their wall. Every so often I push a bit, see if I can get it to give at all. It’s rare that it does, but I still try. The alternative is unacceptable to me. You see, I hope to take a bit for my kids, for your kids. I hope to take a bit for their kids.
As I write, impeached Trump tells us again that he’ll be cutting “entitlements” including Social Security and Medicare. We put that money in there throughout our lives. It’s for us. It’s ours.
We have no reason to rejoice. We had the choice to evolve or repeat. My fellow citizens chose to repeat. I don’t see how I can take their path. The choice will probably come up again. I watch for that opportunity. And I hope they choose better if there is a next time. But it doesn’t help me now as I consider my options.
Here I stand. Do I turn a bit, sidestep to one of those paths that winds backward? We’ve been there. It’s comfortable for the Patriarchy, governing by grievance, taking what they want, doubling down on mistakes and oppression, but you and I know it’s not forward; it’s perilous for most of us. We know what we gave, who we lost, to gain this little bit of ground. Those paths we’ve already traveled converged here, where I stand, where we stand, with impeached Trump and his kakistocracy at the helm. Do I stay? do I got back with my peers?
Could one of those paths eventually lead to another? one that could lead me forward? How would I recognize it hidden in all these terrible, wrong options? Do I choose to go back? Or do I stand here, firmly holding what ground we’ve gotten, what ground we haven’t lost again yet and wait, giving the wall a push every so often?
I’ve no cause to rejoice. There is no celebration, no joy. There is grief for the opportunities lost.
Here I stand.
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I can’t thank you enough for your moral support, and perhaps we’ll have reason to hope again. I have no idea what I’ll do on election day, but I don’t have to decide this moment. Perhaps, we’ll dare to hope again. In the meantime, let’s vote the garbage out of our government, all up and down the ballot. Do what you can. I will, too.
Link: “America Punished Elizabeth Warren for Her Competence” – by Megan Garber at The Atlantic
Link: Out of Bubble Gum – by E. Brooks of Gray Matters (rights exist for all and aren’t “given” or “earned,” and we don’t owe men gratitude because they stop one form of oppression)
Link: Hysteria, My Ass – by E. Brooks of Gray Matters (don’t minimize or ignore the threat to human rights, to bodily autonomy and privacy, that the current wave of anti-abortion and anti-women laws pose, especially to non-males. Abortion laws are about controlling women. Period.)
Link: Representative Government – by E. Brooks of Gray Matters (while all the major political parties represent straight, white men, one party – the Democratic Party – gets a very large portion of their votes from black women and other groups but sas the Democratic Party considered representing them?)
Link: Uppity Woman – by E. Brooks of Gray Matters (on making excuses for sexists, especially men)
Link: Less Than – by E. Brooks of Gray Matters (there is no party that supports women or that supports and defends equal rights protections as even the Democrats will welcome anti-women’s rights, “pro-life” members and candidates)
Link: Through – by E. Brooks of Gray Matters (no point in wishing we could go back, and why would we? the past sucks for the majority of Americans. the only way out is through)
Link: Expect More, Part One – by E. Brooks of Gray Matters (examine our own biases, be aware of them in our language, thoughts)
Link: Expect More, Part Two – by E. Brooks of Gray Matters (on taking responsibility for our own behaviors and statements and expecting others to do the same, not defending rapists or the “boys will be boys” sort of mentality)
Link: Mother Taught Me – by E. Brooks of Gray Matters (on recognizing sexist remarks and not being a part of holding up the Patriarchy especially at the expense of women)
Link to original Tweet from Lucifer.
Link: Roe v. Wade (1973) – Cornell Law School
Link: Equal Rights Amendment
TL;DR: The good candidate has left the race. She would be the only one left in the race if she had a penis. She was that good. Us “others,” the majority of the country, are again without the hope of representation in the White House, without a path forward. And the misogynists tell us to suck it up, to rejoice. Fuck that. And fuck them.
Edited 30 March 2020 to fix a typo and include the link from The Atlantic.