A Dirge for Liberalism
Author: Dom Rottman
9 November 2020
For our newly elected or re-elected representatives, campaign donors, and lobbyists, the week of the 2020 election may have been the most important, anxious, and gut-wrenching week of their lives.
But really, for most of us, it was just another week.
Statistically speaking, the following probably happened at least once each day of the past week: someone, probably black, was shot by a policeman. A child was aborted. Someone, also probably black, was arrested for marijuana possession. WAP was streamed another few thousand times. Someone died due to COVID-19 related complications. The national debt increased. Jeff Bezos made at least another 300 million dollars. Someone lost their job and no longer has access to health care, therefore in danger of crippling debt. Someone died in a drone strike. All of these and many other horrible things will also occur tomorrow. They will occur on January 20th. They will occur the day after that. And the next day. And the next day.
Donald Trump was right to say that Joe Biden had 8 years as Vice President, and 47 years in government, to change these things. Biden was right to say that nothing will fundamentally change. These are both statements made about only Biden, yes, but as comments on the state of things, the partial symptoms of which examined above, they remain true regardless of Tuesday’s result. What a foolish belief we have, that change has an appointed date on a cold November Tuesday, and that the ballot is its vehicle! Change doesn’t occur overnight, you might say. Did it occur to you that this was by design? Even then, change at the painfully glacial pace liberalism makes it occur should be itself unacceptable.
We need to stop fascism! Vote blue no matter who, abandon critical thought and appraisal! We can push Biden left; he already has decent programs! Biden was not anyone’s first choice (except the millions who thought so), but we need a respectable leader again! I know about the ‘94 crime bill, but people change! Don’t you care about the lives of your marginalized friends (oh, the white savior and his black cop running mate will surely save them!)? Why be so selfish, vote down-ballot blue because anything else is a vote for Trump and therefore a vote for fascism, and I cannot be associated with someone who colors a piece of paper otherwise.
On behalf of every non-liberal person on the left, cut the shit. No more excuses. Armed state-sanctioned men kill people daily, CEO’s and corporate shareholders grow rich and fat from the working man’s labor–who, even if the crumbs dropped to him get bigger and his couch comfier, remains enslaved to the capitalist and alienated from his rights and labor–our free time continues to be monopolized by ideology and the reproduction necessary for us to work the maximum amount we can without killing ourselves, and the master plan is to attack and shame others who live under these very same conditions, as we all do, in the name of a mere “return to normal?”
Go plant a tree. Teach people how to defend themselves. Write a book. Write a pamphlet. Hell, make a meme. Occupy a public space. Unionize. Organize. Do those things you “aren’t supposed to do” for reasons that have never made real rational sense to you. Bring up politics at dinner, and instead of trying to convert your family and friends to democrats, raise their class consciousness. Not only do these things do more for change than a piece of paper designed to make us feel included while still barred from actual political action, they can be done at any time.
Tell me, Democrats, do you feel dirty? Do you feel even an ounce of shame for resorting to uncritical party loyalty, dogmatism, and bitter rage to campaign against Trump and his Republican lackeys–some of the same methods that got them elected in the first place? Or do you feel that the ends justify the means? I would not be surprised if you do. It is this Machiavellian principle that is and has historically been a cornerstone of liberalism. “But Trump started it!” I don’t care. This was the logical conclusion of the game. If you weep, you have lost. If you cheer, you have lost. When you close your eyes and exhale, if it was to either calm your nerves or breathe a sigh of relief, you’ll be choked before you can take your next one.
Our “democracy” (that literally never existed) was already nothing but a mythic zombie, weak and cheapened, conjured and spun by the sorcerers of the republic for the political imaginary to embrace like a trojan horse so that it might be debilitated. And it worked magnificently. Shut up and vote (for a Democrat [or a Republican]), your words are meaningless. And what excuses follow, even if not all at once? If you don’t vote, you can’t complain. If you vote and your candidate loses, do not complain because in voting you agreed to the rules. If you vote and your candidate wins, you can’t complain because you got what you wanted. The vote has become a tool of the state to divide and suppress, to prevent real politics from taking place amongst–God forbid–the people themselves. Talk is the essence of politics. This country, even, was born of talk. Without it, look what we have: brother against brother, father against son, friend against friend until they are friends no more. All over unengaging internet squabbles over a piece of paper on platforms deliberately designed to debilitate and denigrate conversation and therefore politics itself. If this delusional excuse for politics is all it took to break your bond with those you love then you never loved them at all. And people wonder why intolerance and hatred continue to increase. You reap what you sow. Can you not see that the system is not only imperfect but deliberately destructive? If you have even an ounce of faith it will be paid back in blood.
Who is your enemy? Who has the guns? Who has the money? They are not your neighbors, for the enemy does not live among you. They live secluded, in gated estates on high hills, and work in steel and ivory buildings replete with security and armed guards. Their fortress grows impregnable, but for what? No one wants to strike them, or dare to even step near them. No, people would rather spit at their neighbor and curse them under breath, hoarse from screeching. You have been told to love your enemies, yet instead people ignore their enemies and hate their neighbors.
Speak to me not of entitlement or privilege in self-righteous indignation–do I look like a white corporate master to you? (I’m neither, for those of you who don’t know.) I had to climb on this high horse just to be heard. Yet even as a proletarian I know there are many comrades with less, even much less than I, and I am grateful for everything that I have, and must count my blessings regularly even as I maintain resentment against the thieves who deserve it. You would talk down to anyone when we’re drowning together? You would not stretch out a hand, but quickly a spiteful finger. Do not claim that benevolent or rational efforts towards “the blind” and those you despise are futile. It does not reduce the worth or righteousness of such acts, and hardly justifies an act or attitude of hatred. I implore you again, do not turn your wrathful gaze to me or your neighbor, but to your masters, those actually responsible for their–own–actions.
To my fellow marginalized friends–your lives are in danger! As they always were, and will be for some time, perhaps until we die. I understand your rage, I understand your fear, truly, I do. I caution you to, again, not direct them at your neighbor, nor to attack right-tilting windmills. Channel your energy productively, and prepare for what’s ahead. Arm yourselves, defend yourselves. Again, sometime soon, you will be stricken, by a bullet, a hand, or unfriendly gaze. Respond appropriately. Again a raid may be conducted against you, and papers demanded of you. Again we will have to scream black lives matter as our masters attempt to placate us with empty gestures of rebranding, platitudes, and representation. Again we must refuse to stand for it, lest they abandon the whip and the stock, and the means of production to those who rightfully wield it. Again the law will bend against us by design. Again we will be randomly searched, and again we must demand a warrant if necessary. Again we will be treated and fetishized as tokens in the name of “diversity.” Again a shopworker will follow and look at me with suspicion. Again my mother will tell me to shave for my own well-being. Again I will be pulled over for a “missing front license plate,” and ask that my vehicle be searched; or, instead of ending there, I might have my head dashed against the hood of a police car, like my grandfather before me, for “acting out of line.”
Woe to you, representatives and statesmen, you hypocrites! You cannot fight for justice when your chief means are blind theft and bloodshed, you cannot serve both the people and money, or party, or ideology. Your hands reek of blood all the time.
My work will never end. I will die on the last hill I can take. And I am not alone, and our numbers will swell. Turn, one by one, away from your neighbors and against your masters. There will be no massacre, there will be no storming of a Bastille or Winter Palace. Revolution is now; do not wait, and do not assume it to be violent, do not assume it to be in the old ways. The new world is born in the shell of the old. As there is a time to destruct, there is a time to construct. Reject the means that were taught and handed to you, whatever placating papers, they are but traps. Abandon your faith in the system, the ballot, the party, the republic, the government, the law, and the civil god and its predators who deal in a perverse therapeutic moral deism. Those who give even an inch to any one of these will wreak miles stained crimson with blood. Every sacred cow must die and feed the hungry who were fooled into worshipping them. I will leave behind everything I need to and those who cling to them. I cannot offer sympathy anymore–and why should I? People no longer–if ever–offered it to their neighbors or loved ones if they wore a color they didn’t like. Yet I will make sure the door remains open. It has to, for it was made for all of us, and I will join hands with those who ignore any gatekeeper and walk through that door, as those who received me did.
For the rest of you, why do you still persist in false integrity?
Curse God and die.