In the aftermath of the election, Democratic Party stalwarts began the Five Stages of Grief.
Fine, but anti-racism, anti-sexism, and anti-queerphobia are nonnegotiable.
Despite the tempting desire to explain the mechanics of negotiation, bear in mind this is just the vagary of a view that has nothing with which to negotiate. In an op-ed, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown tries to thread the needle.
Cleveland — Start with this: When you call us the Rust Belt, you demean our work and diminish who we are.
To create wealth in America, we make it, we grow it or we mine it. In the industrial Midwest, we do all three. Ohio has the largest manufacturing work force in the country aside from California (which has three times our population) and Texas (more than twice our size). And we make things with dignity.
Yes, he said “diminish.” It’s hard to let go of the jargon you spent the past few years mouthing. And he said “dignity” too, when what he meant to say is “we make things for money.” Nobody is satisfied with a heaping helping of dignity at the end of the week. It’s not that they want to be treated like dirt, but tummy rubs don’t pay the bills.
But over the past 40 years, as people have worked harder for less pay and fewer benefits, the value of their work has eroded. When we devalue work, we threaten the pride and dignity that come from it.
See what he did there? And don’t think it wasn’t noticed.
Their goal — to achieve the American dream and send their children up the economic ladder — was more difficult for them to reach than it was for my parents. More things could go wrong for them: a layoff, a strike, a work injury, an illness in the family, each coming with more devastating consequences than those life deals out to more affluent white families.
Brown is right about their goal. Brown is right about the fact that it’s a tenuous goal, though that was always the case. But then he tosses in the “privilege” piece, oblivious that its denigrating to workers whose issue is that they don’t have good paying jobs, not rich white sugar daddies.
Brown goes on to challenge the Republican solution:
American workers understood then and understand now that you build a society and an economy from the middle class out. Trickle-down economics was discredited decades ago.
If President Trump takes the likely path that almost all Washington Republicans hope — tax cuts for the rich, an easing up on Wall Street, more voter suppression — Ohio workers will feel betrayed.
Sit down, Senator. I have something to tell you and it’s going to make you sad. Trump said, over and over, that his plan was trickle-down economics. And he was elected. And Ohio voters went red. Whether it will work this time is a damn good question, but what alternative did they have?
Today’s Democrats come to power often committed to racial and gender inclusion, but not to economic transformation, at least not on progressive terms.
[T]he left needs to rethink the divide that started in the seventies between the causes of racial and gender justice and policies that advance greater economic equality. With the help of the press, Trump will end up owning every sixteen year old boy’s racist and misogynist utterances. Yet, an emphasis on economic justice for all communities must be seen as a necessary complement to racial justice. After all, the policies that hurt the white working class have been a disaster for African-Americans and Latinos.
This gibberish comes from lawprof June Carbone, where sticking in the word “justice” after another word is supposed to make the glaring hole in reasoning disappear. Protip: whenever someone tries to float a notion that relies on “justice,” their argument fails the rigors of logical thought. Carbone leaps over the reality that empty flowery rhetoric doesn’t make it so. Blacks and Latinos want good paychecks too. They’re no more inclined to take steaming pile of empathy home on Friday than anybody else.
The alternative to a decent life, a promise that your children will enjoy a better life than you, isn’t social justice. The people in Ohio realized this, and voted for a failed economic plan rather than a plan that demanded they sacrifice even more for the sake of ending microaggressions that made snowflakes alternately sad, angry and, potentially, violent.
There is no winning coalition comprised of academics and students, effete intellectuals and limousine progressives. There is no bullshitting your way past the numbers on a paycheck by emphatically stating that “but anti-racism, anti-sexism, and anti-queerphobia are nonnegotiable.” Nobody need negotiate a surrender when the war has already been lost.
Lest the intellectually challenged resort to the usual retort, that if you aren’t for ’em, you’re agin’ ’em, that the alternative isn’t necessarily to be pro-racism, -sexism or “-queerphobia,” whatever that means. There remains a huge gap between the extremes where most people live, where the detriments of racism, sexism and “queerphobia” will be organically alleviated, but will neither be the center of the universe nor come at the expense of the rights and interests of a nation.
The next stage of grief is depression. It won’t be pretty, but we can’t get to acceptance without going through it. And until we get to acceptance, there will no hope of fixing the disease that metastasized in this election.
*In a twit by Kevin Allred, the Beyoncé Lecturer of Women’s Studies at Rutgers, following his untrue threats, he expressed his belief that this was an exercise of free speech. Indeed it was, which should serve as a reminder that free speech benefits everyone. So too is his blog, which, if you’ve never experienced the joys of social justice thinking, provides an exceptional opportunity to explore the inside of the rabbit hole.