Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death also felt like the end of a series of myths about American politics.
Thank you so much for this post. I immediately recognized what I was feeling when RBG passed was exactly what I felt on the morning of the election. I did not know what emotion was -- likely, as you note, sheer anxiety and dread. I have not been so despondent since Nov 2016 with such an overwhelming inability to get out of bed in the morning, despite the outlandish parade of horrors we've been forced to witness. Thank you for saying that out loud because despite however much I believe I am healthy enough to validate my own emotions, new experiences like this make me question my own mental and emotional stability.
Your post is extremely incisive and I feel like reading it gave me the feeling of finding the word that has been at the tip of my tongue but could not verbalize. This is absolutely the end of a series of myths that I have unknowingly believed to be my reality, until 2016 poked the first hole in that dreamland. I have been living under the presumption that the GOP was answerable to democratic norms and that they would act in ways that hid their blatant disregard of the law so as not to be shunned by their base. I thought this country was different and that although Trump was dangerous, I naively kept assuming someone or something would stop him.
Which is why it is such a gut punch to see establishment Dems fail to fight on all of our behalves. They are still buying this myth and it is hard to feel that anyone actually has our backs.
Thank you again for putting this into words -- for whatever reason, it took a little bit of weight off my chest.
I could say something like "why isn't something like this in a widely-distributed media home such as a newspaper or CNN-ish website," because it deserves to be, but then I think for two seconds and realize there's no other place that would have it.
All of which leads me to say Thank You, Caitlin for such an awesome piece, and take my subscription money. And good luck on the new website.
"One group wants things as they were. The other is fighting for something better. But there’s a toxic and corrosive tendency to treat dissent (lol) as simply a negative attitude—one of petulance and bad faith, often ascribed to progressives. It’s odd to be at that vantage point—feeling a desire for something more, an investment in what happens in this country, a dissatisfaction knowing things could be better—and feeling that holding such a position alienates you"
This paragraph sums up the exact feeling I've had trouble articulating to my 'liberal' friend group in my liberal city. Being told a group's righteous anger is making them side against objectives they claim would be nice is infuriating.
Excellent piece Caitlin.
Thank you so much for writing this. I've felt extremely isolated since her passing. I feel profound dread for the future, but I can't take part in the collective mourning because I refuse to see RBG as a saint. This piece made me feel less alone.
First things most important: wonderful piece!
Second: give me the date and time y’all would like to start burning it down? I’ll bring the drinks and funny hats
this was fucking fantastic
I think something also people especially don't want to grapple with is RBG's personal extremely bad positions on race and black people especially, in policy, rulings, and her personal life. People joke about it but its literally true; she refused to hire black staff and clerks, having exactly one black law clerk out of hundreds in her multiple decades long tenure. Something I muse about is how much her repeated refusal to retire at obviously good moments (as those moments became worse and worse and the future looked grimmer) was driven by not wanting a black man to name her successor.
"People love to talk about how cynicism isn’t productive, but neither is false hope. And from what I can tell, discontent is a much better force for social change."
Absolutely. You might be the first person I've seen besides myself and the Neckbeard Deathcamp guys/gals straight up say that anger is good, valid and valuable. (I'm probably just not well read enough and there's like, a whole school of philosophy about getting shirty). But yea. Anger is how you deal with your fear to do what is right. Spite is sacrificing of yourself to ensure bad actors never victimize other people.
It's cognitively intolerable to live with the idea that you're a doormat, a coward. So the idea gets recast that they're actually morally superior. Too kind to yell, too blessed to be stressed. Anyone who does differently demonstrates the lie and they must be stopped.
I know it's conspiratorial thinking but seriously think of the people you know in your life too scared to confront their boss, their boyfriend, to just insist on their own dignity as a person because they think it would be awkward. People who get uncomfortable and try to intervene and stop you even, when they see YOU demonstrate non-passive aggression. Are they happy people, do they seem optimistic? Or do they seem afraid of confronting authority, and more than happy to dump their frustrations on any friend willing to put up with it. It's just too widespread and too convenient for the awful power structure we have for me to at least suspect at least some aspects aren't accidental.
I feel this so much and it really bums me out. Thanks.
Although I'm a firm believer in respecting our 'elders' and I do believe one could still perform professionally in their old age, but there is a pinch of insanity that comes with willfully sacrificing pretty much all personal leisure time with 'work' even up until your death. Weird.
Excellent work. Thank you.
I am a criminal defense attorney, in his late 30s, in Kentucky. Not only have I spent my entire life with Mitch swirling around, I've also read many Supreme Court decisions.
This is the latest story I'm telling myself: If Mitch secures the next Justice of his choice prior to the election, and the "pro-life" community gets what (they think) they want, how many of those folks will then feel no need to vote for Donald Trump?
I know this is a very sad sort of optimism, and again, I'm a Kentuckian, so I'm acutely aware that many folks claiming "pro-life" will find another reason to vote GOP.
Well put. RBG and Breyer should hae both retired the nano second Obama made it into office in 2009. The right plays hardball and dems are always hte patsy. Look at how the retirements of O'Connor and Kennedy were orchestrated to keep those seats in teh GOPs hands for two examples.
If breyer keels over in the next couple of months Mitch and Co. will ram through some other fucking wingnut as well. 2020 is just awful enough of a year for that last gut punch.