Regime Change in the Age of Trump
The sign of the times reads “White Men are Evil” and we white men both hear it. We feel it.
From the hiring of a Tweet-o-phile who hates white men by the lauded halls of the New York Times to the Evergreen College anti-white day turned into three-day campus takeover, the callout of the amorphous Patriarchy is in full swing. The polemic War on White Supremacy is at maximum throttle.
It should be no surprise that the modern version of professional death handed out by the callout mob, absent of any aspect resembling anything but a blind faith in the hierarchy of intersectionality that positions the most victimized as the most pure and unimpeachable, is something of which I am deeply suspicious. When the victims of crimes get to determine the sentences for them, social justice simply becomes another phrase for vengeance.
The Kavanaugh confirmation circus was an obvious indicator. The repeated (and true) phrase that “women were/are not believed” is true in part because these sorts of crimes occur in private and rarely have any evidence attached. Sure, if someone has been raped, evidence can be collected and assessed. But attempted rape, sexual harassment, verbal abuse, emotional manipulation? It’s always going to boil down to two conflicting accounts.
So we prosecute the past. The accuser’s sexual past. The alcoholic past of the accused. Trying to find some sort of through line that starts at youth and connects dots to either the act of lying about the crime or obviously committing it. Despite any information gleaned from any sort of investigation regarding the past, it still boils down to who is believed and by whom.
It wasn’t that those old white men didn’t believe her. They did. They didn’t care.
It wasn’t that those protesting his confirmation failed to see the game as a political Hail Mary pass. They did. They didn’t care.
The stampede to judge Kavanaugh (and the defense of him) solely on the basis that he is a Trump appointee, a former member of the Ken Starr nonsense back in the day, and a white man from Yale obliterated any hope of an objective search for truth. I believe he did attempt to rape Ford in high school and I personally don’t want him on the Supreme Court for a host of completely different reasons. It is simple enough to say that I didn’t think much of these tactics when the Right and Ken Starr (and Kavanaugh, dontchaknow) did it to Bill Clinton and I really hate it when the Left sinks to their level.
If a white male can’t handle being pilloried online then he should toughen up.
White males do not need a safe space and shouldn’t cry about it when called names on Twitter or protested by a crowd. But neither should anyone else. Safe spaces are the refuge of those unable to process the opinions of those with whom they disagree. The insistence that words create the same sort of violence that, say, a punch to the face or a noose does, is patently ridiculous. If a white male can’t handle being pilloried online then he should toughen up or hide. He is the superfluous carbuncle on the ass-rim off modern society right now. Discriminated against due to similarity in skin tone and genitals as Trump? Get used to it as the game has changed.
I recognize that this perspective flies in the face of my butthurt response to Lydia, Ian and Molly ganging up on me online three years ago. It took me a while but, in the end, I had to embrace the concept that “Oh no. People called me names on the internet!” and get over myself.
There is, however, a difference between the focus on dismantling this V’ger-like cultural space cloud known as The Patriarchy and it’s cousin White Supremacy and merely using the concept of dismantling to keep the same power imbalances but flip them on their head.
Classic liberals will agree that taking the systems that discriminate and marginalize POC and women and breaking them apart to be rebuilt with human equality, absent any qualifications beyond merit, is a remarkable and laudable goal. It’s the goal that Reverend King had. He started by embracing us all as brethren and then pointed out how some of our brothers are being destroyed by the system. It was a call to improve our shared human plight as a collective rather than to fracture us into Us vs Them. Classic liberals, I among them, dig this idea of equality for all with little regard for external or cultural differences.
The cool kids today, however, are no longer patient with that approach. These well-intentioned zealots are not looking to dismantle the system. They’re fighting for a regime change. They want the white males to be on the bottom of the discrimination pile and those most victimized on the top. As a white male, this idea certainly and reasonably makes me uncomfortable.
That does not make it a bad idea.
Women and POC are just as likely to be greedy, selfish assholes as white men.
I remember my first Union Busting Meeting.
I was the Director of Events at WBEZ and there was squawk among the journalists about unionizing. Being a full on Pinko, of course, I loved the idea. So when I was called into a staff meeting to talk about the union push, I was ready. Until I noticed that everyone sitting in the conference room was upper management and I realized I was, by position, one of the Bad Guys. The guest was Dave. Dave was a union buster
As we introduced ourselves, the HR Director pointed out, “Oh, that’s Don. He is never short of opinions!” We all laughed. 90 minutes later, as we sat through this jackass demean the staff because they were all so stupid as to want to unionize and the disaster it would be if they did, I hadn’t said word one.
Dave looked over. “I thought you were the opinionated one?”
“Well, Dave,” I said measuredly. “Here’s my take. You want us to believe that if the journalists unionize, we all be selling taquiros from carts next week. I know that’s not going to happen. It’s hyperbolic nonsense. And the union wants the journalists to believe that as soon as they unionize, they’ll get a seat at the decision-making table and be living fat off the hog. I know that that is also bullshit. The truth is that they’ll unionize and we’ll all adjust accordingly. Less will happen than we think it will but it’ll be progress one way or the other.”
I wasn’t invited to any more meetings on the subject.
Maybe what we need is a regime change.
The hyperbolic fantasy spun is that it will suddenly be far better with woman and POC in charge and that’s a crock of J.R.R. Tolkien Hobbit fantasy. Women and POC are just as likely to be greedy, selfish assholes as white men. But maybe some things will be better. It isn’t like white men have fucked everything up — statistically, we are safer, smarter, live longer, all have a significantly better standard of living than any time in history. White men didn’t do all of that but if The Patriarchy exists, give credit where credit is due. Maybe women and POC can improve upon that but to assume that there won’t be a woman Trump or a black Hitler is to buy into the kind of faith that spawned the Mormons and Scientology.
Yup. I’m a white guy. I’m what the eighth graders (despite age or gender) call “whypipo” as if creating a derogatory slang term is suddenly cool. I do not, however, wear nor claim the cloak that would be put upon me. I’m a humanist. I’m a classic liberal. I’m completely in favor of putting people who don’t look like me in charge. I’m also not so dense as to assume those people won’t sometimes fuck it up.
So I will vote. I contribute meager amounts of cash to the causes that I believe will truly make a difference: the rollback of the Electoral College, the battle against gerrymandering and voter suppression, the reform of campaign finances. Not sexy stuff. Not the juicy, red meat of race and gender. I will use my one vote to support candidates who focus on the pragmatism of governance first and, if she is a woman or a POC, more the better.
The sign of the times reads “White Men are Evil” and it was always bound to get around to this. When those who look like me from a distance continue to find ways to represent the golems of injustice and greed, it was only a matter of time. The regime change, if it comes, will not be the end of injustice and bigotry and it will not be the end of this giant formless globule called The Patriarchy. Less will happen than we think it will but it’ll be progress one way or the other.