The Weekend Politics Thread Frees Its Mind (Ass to Follow)

Freedom, freedom
Freedom, freedom
Freedom, freedom
Freedom, freedom
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
Sometimes I feel like a motherless child
A long way from my home

Years ago and on this very commenting community, Uvular responded to an invitation to draft a grabber of a novel’s first line with “Mrs. Schwartz had the kind of body men fight wars over. Which is to say, she was roughly the size and shape of Poland.”

Readers could substitute any past or present Eastern European country1 for The Land of Fields without fear of missing the landing on that groaner of a literary “Your mother …” joke. The point, to the extent any exists, tapers to lamenting the imminent and regularly realized genocidal threat of sharing a border with a nationalist and expansionist neighbor.

Russia’s current pogrom-adjacent incursion into Ukraine reaching its 12-month mark recalled your substitute Weekend Politics Threader header host’s sophomoric segue to mind.

How does Uve’s reverie relate to the Ritchie Havens paean to personal independence? Well, no one can live freely under tyranny. As a libertine, yes, but never at liberty to truly do and say and believe as one desires or must to enjoy physical and mental health.

Putin put paratrooper into Poltava precisely to persecute a populace that prevailed in punting propped-up plutocrats by electing Zelenskyy. Strong strains of murderous antisemitism also shoot through the shooting war started by the neo-Stalinist. But those terroristic tendrils merely feed the larger beast of a revenant Russian Bear restive to reclaim its regency over regions resting to the east of its present-day border.

Not for nothing, the battle cry Slava Ukrani fits the meter of “Freedom” with little effort.


♫ And he thinks C-U-S-T-O-D-Y spells fun or play
I spell out all the hurtin’ words
And turn my head when I speak
‘Cause I can’t spell away this hurt
That’s drippin’ down my cheek ♫

Guaranteeing freedom requires taking collective action while demonstrating personal indifference.

Illustrative of the first point, Ukrainians coalesced and countered the ongoing invasion. Governments of many nations committed money and materiel to the war. Solid majorities of the world’s people support toward self-determination for Ukraine.

But the fox2 refuses to vacate the henhouse of small-D democracy and continues to claim dominion over the domicile. Thoughtless and amoral leader of the U.S. Republican Party Marjorie Taylor Greene made this abundantly evident while advocating for secession. As a corollary to the proposition that states governed by GOP majorities physically separate from their neighbors, Greene called for a total suspension of voting rights for “liberals” who move from places where Democrats control statehouses.

Dictators fear free and fair elections. Place freedom itself on the ballot and you get a left-leaning Wisconsin Supreme Court justice candidate doubling up on two MAGA stooges. You also see the very humanistic miracle of a black woman going to DC to represent the U.S. House district encompassing the capital of the reemerging Confederacy.

Voting as if one’s life depended on it works. Where governments allow it to work, of course. Worry greatly about dire doings and electoral skullduggery in Mexico and Nicaragua and Hungary and a cavalcade of other countries. Decry Ron DeSantis’s attempts to make voting for Democrats or even casting a ballot while sharing stereotypical traits of a left-leaning illegal. Never, however, allow trepidation or despair deter you from voting for freedom when, where, and while given the chance. That individual act adds up to helping ensure collective action in furtherance of the common good.


♪ Now, something meets boy, and something meets girl
They both look the same
They’re overjoyed in this world
Same hair, revolution
Unisex, evolution
Tomorrow who’s gonna fuss ♪

A listener will absorb nearly all the lyrical output of Paul Westerberg without detecting the slightest note of hope or allyship. Almost in spite of himself, then, the besotted Minnesotan limned the correct attitude toward nonbinary identities and relationships—acceptance even if tinged with bemusement and wishes for the best outcomes. It does not matter to the narrator of “Androgynous” why a person who fathered a child chose to don a dress. The singer just wants that parent, mate, and offspring to live their lives as blissfully as they know how without suffering mistreatment from scolds.

Several someones should stand on the lawns of multiple U.S. governors blasting this song nonstop, Jon Cusack in Say Anything-style. Anti-trans legislation embodies hate and puts cruelty into praxis to no good end. Not a single soul benefits from oppressing individuals who ask nothing more than to exist.

One3 supposes bigots and theocrats simply cannot restrain themselves. Returning to the fox4 in the henhouse allegory, one kill can induce bloodlust. Forty-plus years5 of successfully dismantling the New Deal social safety net, rolling back voting right and antidiscrimination protections, and gutting regulatory oversight put rightwingers into a fulminate frenzy of fracturing every frayed fragment of the social contract.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin can no more allow a trans high schooler poop in peace or a menstruating college student ovulate in private than a hungry shark can resist nosing along a trail of blood in the water. And, in Youngkin’s literal view, heaven forfend anyone learn the actual history of Black people in North America.

Do not resign oneself to the worst, though. Stopping and reversing the trend toward unfreedom can happen. Commenting below might spark a revolution. Give it a go.