♫ I’m out in Pittsylvania County
On Highway seven-one-eight
Middle of a cornfield
Know I’m not too late
There’s about 13
Thirteen ’67 Chevy Malibus in a circle
In the cornfield, with their headlights on
And I can feel it
I can feel it
And everybody’s dancin’ in the headlights
Dancing in the headlights
And off in the distance you can hear them sing … ♫
— “Wide Open,” Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper
Your greying and thickening-in-the-middle Weekend Politics Thread host has little time or appreciation for optimism. As an Irish Catholic, he indulges an abiding sense of tragedy as his birthright.1
Still, as a U.S. citizen born in 1969,2 he always accepted the proposition that society and its laws would evolve into forms fairer, more just, more equal, more tolerant, and more accepting. He could embrace this narrative for two principle reason.
First, the Civil Right Act of 1964 became law five years before he became human. The Voting Rights Act, Fair Housing Act, Title IX, and a host of environmental and wildlife protection laws followed in rapid succession and coalesced into the backstop of a progressive liberal democracy before he grew old enough to see any other type of safeguard to his lived reality.
On point B, reference Uvular’s ethnicity and gendered pronouns. As a white male, what he worry about systemic -isms and -ophobias? Those incursions into his cocoon of smug progressivism would stop apace and never affected him anyway.
He also truly pictured America and its united states as the woods party so poetically evoked in this WPT’s epigraph. Everyone could dance in the aura of classic cars and the cacophony of a swamp boogie composed from the syncretization of six or seven distinct musical genres.3 Aging white guys would make room for increasing numbers and types of people in the bacchanal while badly imitating the newcomers’ dance moves.
As halting as the steps toward that vision remained, general locomotion continued along that arc bending toward justice. Heck, we got same-sex marriage through the U.S. Supreme Court just three years ago. The tea partiers and birthers and activist right-wing judges could only do their damnedest. Then they won. Everything. And went so far as to install an actual fascist in the White House while rolling over to that man’s kleptocracy and Russophilia.4
The revanchists stole a Supreme Court seat and handed it to Neil Gorsuch, whose judicial philosophy depicts U.S. jurisprudence as never beginning since the words of the Constitution allow no interpretation. He may soon welcome a new colleague who stopped reading law after slogging through the Malleus Maleficarum and a compendium of Savonarola’s sermons.
Returning to Mojo and Skid’s rejected national anthem,5
We need freedom in the USA
Reinvent the USA, every which way
How? Messrs. Nixon and Roper suggest
You know what it is we got to do
Don’t give up before you try
Don’t be afraid, yeah afraid to die
We ain’t got nothing to lose
Fear is our enemy
Taking the life out of you and me
Michael Moore6 made the rounds of late-night shows this week. He wrapped with an appearance on Bill Maher’s Real Time7 during which he asked, in so many words, who would die fighting Trumpism in order to save American-style liberty. As hyperbolic as that question sounds, only a fool or collaborateur would refuse to contemplate it at this moment.
Armed ICE and Border Patrol agents blooded on border-crossers could easily adapt their tactics to hunting and caging [fill in the blank to include you]. A five-vote “conservative” majority on the Supreme Court won’t stop that in light of a Trump v Hawaii decision that boils down to “invoking ‘national security’ allows a president to do anything.”
Before you martyr yourself, leave a few comments below.