Friday, October 05, 2018

Weekend Reading: Just So Tired Edition

I want to post a few links, but am going to keep this short because... well, because today's news is unsurprising but exhausting nonetheless. But the sun is shining here, and I think a rollerblade will do me much good.

I have two contenders for my "if you read only one" slot this week, so I hope you'll humor me and read both:

First, Alexandra Petri's sadly prescient piece from last week about how hard it is to stop the train, inspired by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's statement that she had wondered if she would just be jumping in front of a train that was going to go where it was going, anyway. As it turned out, this is indeed what she did. And yet... although it looks like Kavanaugh will be confirmed, I think her testimony made a difference in the larger sense. I think she has helped move us forward to a better world in which we will not laugh off the assaults young men perpetrate on young women. So maybe this one train goes where it was always going to go, but we blow up the track after it passes.

Second, Adam Serwer on how the cruelty is the point for Trump and his core supporters, and how this is changing us as a country.

There were also two things about conservatives who have changed their view of the world somewhat.

First, Benjamin Wittes on Kavanaugh. I am not among those who think this sort of reckoning is too little, or too late. I think we have to allow for people to change their minds when new information comes in, even if we ourselves thought the information available earlier already supported a different opinion. I have one quibble with Wittes' piece, though. He writes that his cognitive dissonance at seeing a different Kavanaugh than the one he know is not the point. But I think it very much is the point. We need men like Wittes to realize how many other white men show a respectful and respectable personality to them while treating the rest of us as if we are not fully human. (And fellow white women: take some time to reflect on how that behavior generalizes. There are plenty of people who will seem nice and respectful to us, but behave completely differently to a woman of color. Know that and watch for it.)

Second, Max Boot on the Trump era in general.

That second one ties into my thoughts on the Kavanaugh debacle. I think Roe and other key decisions were lost when we lost the 2016 election, so my anger over the Kavanaugh situation is more around the fact that there were plenty of other conservative judges who could have been chosen. Was the confirmation of Kavanaugh in particular so important because of his views on presidential immunity (which are hard to reconcile with his earlier career on the Starr investigation, but whatever)? Or did they just dig in because they couldn't stand to back down to a bunch of women? I don't know.

But I do know that the current Republican party seems driven by a desire to stay in power at whatever cost. They are knocking down norms and pushing the limits of the Constitution wherever necessary. I do not have any sense of where the bottom might be in terms of how much they are willing to bend (or even break) the bonds of the rule of law and the principles of democracy. I am worried for our future path. I think we can still correct course, but the longer we wait, the harder it will be.

I guess what I'm saying is: Yeah, this all sucks. Take whatever time you need to get over this week's events. Then please consider doing something to help keep it from getting worse. The time to act is now. Pick some campaigns to support - at any level of government. Many of the protections that the Supreme Court is now likely to throw out will only matter if the states act to remove those rights. Work to register voters. Do whatever feels right to you, but don't assume it will all work out OK. Things only work out OK if people act to make them work out OK. 

And here's this week's rabbit:

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