In defense of the sanctimonious women's studies set || First feminist blog on the internet

Kavanaugh for SCOTUS: So how fucked are we?

Justice Anthony Kennedy has announced his retirement, and Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to take his place on the Supreme Court. This isn’t a small deal — despite being personally right-leaning, Kennedy has tended to be the moderate swing vote for some of the more contentious cases that have come before the court. (Abortion rights, same-sex marriage, and affirmative action have all had his signature on them.) In replacing him with Kavanaugh, Trump nails down a solid conservative majority to enshrine his agenda into law and gives us our first-ever Supreme Court Justice Brett. So what does that mean for us?

An Invitation for Meaningful Dialogue

There’s been a lot of talk lately about dialogue and understanding. Liberals just need to try to understand conservatives, They say. People get defensive when you call them (or, more often, even just imply that they might be) bigots, They say. If we want to get anything accomplished, we need to meet conservatives halfway, (in which “halfway” is usually defined as “on their side”), They say. Generally, the response from the liberal camp is, “Fuck that shit.” You can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into. It’s hard and unsatisfying, and maybe the New York Times needs to do a Dialogue and Understanding piece about people who are being asked to take on that struggle. That said, dialogue can happen. Here’s how.

No Reconciliation. No Empathy. No Understanding.

I know it’s been over a year since I’ve been around. But, what the hell, I wrote this, I figured, I’d post it here. Just in case anybody wants to read it.

I’ve been seeing a lot of calls for people on the left (defined very broadly as “everyone who opposed Trump”) to have empathy for Trump voters. To listen and respond to their concerns. To reach out to the Trump voters they know and try to change their minds with gentle persuasion and calm talks. That, I’m being told everywhere, is the work in front of us, what we need to do.

And it’s been enraging me.

It’s taken me a while to figure out why it’s been enraging me. I’ve run through various reasons, but I think I’ve finally figured it out. Here are a few of the reasons, including the one that I think is the real issue for me. I know it’s real because thinking and writing about it is making me shake and feel sick.

1) It renders me unable to help. I don’t have family that voted Trump. I’ve had debates with many of my family members over various issues, including race and racism, but that “racist uncle” so many white people seem to have whose jokes they let slide for the sake of family peace? I don’t have one. I’m thrilled about that, by the way. Even the most conservative member of my family voted against Trump. I can think of one who may have voted third-party or write-in, but he did so in NYC, so it’s not like he threw the election. From what I’ve read, Jews in general went 70%-30% for Hillary, similar to Latino communities.

2) I didn’t think it worked, from the evidence of my own experience. Turns out I’m wrong about this. OK. That happens. I’ve been wrong before, sometimes quite publicly, and in the fullness of time, no doubt I’ll be wrong again.

3) It continues to put Trump voters in the spotlight, in the front and center of everybody’s mind. Remember before the election, how tired we all were of thinkpieces and essays detailing the fears, the worries, the values of Trump voters? How we all kept asking why nobody was writing articles about Hillary supporters like that? This is just more of the same. More centering of white people and their concerns. More taking black voters for granted.

4) Hillary didn’t lose because she didn’t appeal to Trump voters. Hillary lost because the VRA was gutted. And the VRA was gutted because we didn’t have the Supreme Court. There were over 800 fewer polling places this election. There were voter ID laws. There was voter intimidation and misinformation. There were people—usually black people—turned away at the polls for bullshit reasons. We on the left—particularly we white people on the left—have a duty not to abandon those whose votes were suppressed, part of a long US tradition of refusing suffrage to black people. Those are our people, our comrades-in-arms. Restoring their rights should be our priority, not yet more coddling of voters ready to line up behind a fascist.

All those are true (except #2, I’m wrong about that). But that’s not why I simply cannot bring myself to “reach out” to those motherfuckers who voted for Trump. Here’s why:

I’m a Jew.

I’m a Jew, and Trump ran an anti-Semitic campaign. He used anti-Semitic ads. He wouldn’t disavow David Duke. He’s been endorsed by the KKK and neo-Nazis across the country. Anti-Semites are his advisers and on his transition team. Since he’s been elected, swastika and “Sieg Heil” graffiti have appeared on storefronts in Philly, in middle and high schools. The KKK is holding a victory march in North Carolina. Neo-nazi threads on Reddit have been celebrating.

It’s no secret what the swastika stands for. It’s no secret how white supremacists feel about Jews.

If you voted for Trump, you gave aid, comfort, and support to those people. You threw in your lot with people who want me dead. Who want my 17-month-old son dead. Who want my best friend dead. Who want her small children dead. Who want my parents dead. Who want my grandfather, my cousins, my aunts, my uncles, my cousin’s two daughters dead dead dead dead DEAD.

Are you getting the picture yet? Are you getting the message that you sent to me if you voted for Trump?

So I don’t give a flying fuck whether you held your nose or felt reluctant when you voted for Trump or wept as you walked from the polling place after endorsing the candidate of people who want me and many of the people I love dead. I don’t give a fuck about your worries. I don’t give a fuck about your fears. I don’t give a fuck about your financial situation (bullshit argument anyway; people making under 50K a year broke for Hillary in the end). I don’t give a fuck about your soul or your psyche or your future.

You support people who want me and the people I love dead.

There is no compromise possible here. What is the compromise with people who are OK with killing me and my family? That you’ll only let half of us die?

No unifying. No empathy. No understanding. No calm and patient talks. No kindness. No compromise. No reconciliation. No common ground. No reaching out. No more chances. Not from me.

Trump voters supported and continue to lend cover to people who want the children I love dead. This is not an exaggeration. This is exactly what white supremacists did to Jews when they were in power in Germany. Every time I think about swastikas appearing on walls in this country and I think about the children I love my heart starts pounding. Fuck them for doing this to me.

If you can reach out and practice the art of gentle persuasion on Trump voters, good luck and Godspeed. I support you and what you are doing 100%. You are doing needed work.

I’ll focus my efforts elsewhere. On looking into doing volunteer work for the immigrants’ center down the block from me. On contributing to the Southern Poverty Law Center. On lobbying to restore VRA.

I have nothing for Trump voters but bile and vitriol. They scorched the earth with their vote. They can go to hell.

While We Were Out: North Carolina’s Bathroom Law

[Content note: mentions of transphobia and child sexual abuse]

While Feministe has been down, an issue erupted in North Carolina about where trans people are allowed to pee. In response to a local ordinance in Charlotte outlawing discrimination against trans people, the North Carolina legislature passed HB2, a law mandating discrimination, requiring trans people to use the bathroom corresponding to the sex listed on their birth certificate rather than the gender with which they identify.

Here are some highlights, if somehow you missed it while you were missing us.

Quick hit: Republicans work really, really fast to uphold LGBT discrimination

On Thursday, Democratic legislators got enough votes to nullify overt LGBT discrimination in a military spending bill. It wasn’t actually the bill in question at the time — the offending language was on the National Defense Authorization Act, passed last Wednesday, and allowed government contractors to fire and harass LGBT employees in the name of Jesus. It passed 277 to 147 then, but on Thursday, New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney introduced language into a different bill to prevent said discrimination. And it passed! To cheers! When the clock ran out, the new language passed 217-206! That’s cool, right?!

Calm down.

“Bernie or Bust”ers: Suck it up, women and minorities, because Hillary is the literal and absolute worst

Golf writer, Bernie Sanders supporter, and self-identified privileged white guy Shane Ryan would “like to address the idea that Bernie Sanders supporters who refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election are over-privileged assholes.”

I feel like “You said it, not me” would be a petty interjection at this early stage.

When a deadly act of fear and ignorance is deemed “objectively reasonable”

When a grand jury last week failed to pass down an indictment on Timothy Loehmann, the Cleveland police officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in public park last winter, they did so under the influence of three reports declaring the shooting “objectively reasonable.” In other words, in light of the circumstances the officers thought they were facing, it was reasonable for them to shoot Rice after rolling up and assessing the situation for less than a second.

Tamir Rice

No indictment (That’s a NYT article, by the way). And the took the opportunity to say that the child looked older than twelve (he didn’t; adults need to learn what twelve looks like, and regardless, it isn’t a capital crime to be older than twelve), We can’t second-guess the cops, he said.

Emmet Till was 14 and goofing around. Tamir Rice was 12 and playing, like kids do. The state-sanctioned murder of black children in the US continues.

Meanwhile, in NYC a nice white lady pointed a toy gun at cops and was apprehended unharmed, and in Cleveland, a white man armed with a rifle can walk around a black neighborhood unmolested by cops, because Ohio is an open carry state. Unless you’re a black child carrying a toy gun.

You know, I’m trying to track down a transcript of the press conference and can’t find one–I can find a transcript of McGinty’s remarks, but not anybody else.