june 26th 2022 — hold the line

Friends —

I’ve been silent on this latest development — the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe — because I feel what everyone I know is feeling: disgust, distress, fear, rage, disappointment, frustration with our entire governmental system, a feeling of being at the end of ideas and out of hope, and also a sense that this is not the worst. That there is more coming. More coming that’s bad. 

This afternoon I did what I always do in political crisis situations. I talked to my spouse Larry Behrendt, who I consider a brilliant person with deep insights into our country’s political history and organization.

We talked about what we want ultimately for our country. This is a list of what we could think of today in the car.

We want:

– a fully multicultural society that values all its citizens and residents

— abortion on demand

— marriage equality for all 

— voting protections for all

— a functional educational system

— a functional health care system, including mental health

— severe restrictions on gun ownership and purchasing

— functional transit systems 

— environmental protections 

This is what we want (partial list), and Larry and I both think it’s going to take years to get there. It’s a super tall order.  But that doesn’t change that this is what we want.

So how do we get there? We need to re-take the Supreme Court majority, keep the majority in the house and senate and build on them. Keep a democratic president in office. 

In the near future it means one thing: hold the line. Build on it if possible. 

This means that elder folx like me are going to have to do really boring work: we’re going to have to write the postcards again, text and phone people again, show up again, and if we can’t go to protests because of covid, we have to write more postcards and call more people. Give money if we have it. Again. 

Holding the line aka defending the current position is not a fun activity, at least in my view. But holding the line is crucial. I keep on thinking about those Capital police officers holding back those white supremacists trying to get into the capital to kill Mike Pence. Mike Pence is NOT my favorite person and the police aren’t my favorite people either. However, the fact remains that if the cops hadn’t done their job, Pence would be dead and so would his family and so would a bunch of other people. And Pence did certify the election. He — enabling, little yes-man that he is — held the line (at least, that one time). 

If it helps to think in terms of movies and books, it’s what they do at the Hogwarts School, and what they do at Helms Deep (correct me if I’m wrong, Tolkien experts). You hold the line and hope for reinforcements. Young voters are coming — and they make new ones every year. Most people now reject the hateful, misogynist, homophobic, transphobic, racist (particularly anti-black), antisemitic, islamophobic, ableist, children-hating, ageist white supremacist far right ideology that the Supreme Court majority and many GOP elected officials are espousing. So, vote and get others to vote, protest, strike, walk out, write letters and tweets and emails, and for God’s sake, run for office yourself, if you are young(er). Maybe you think you don’t know enough to be a politician, but I know for a certainty that you know more than your opponent does. And if you don’t know it all, you’ll learn on the job.  I have complete confidence in your ability to do a better job running things than Ted Cruz, who went to Harvard. Elite schools do not a good or smart person make. 

I usually have more inspiring words for folx. I try to write in uplifting ways. But this is not an uplifting moment.

But particularly for those of us who are older, we OWE it to the young not to give up. So. we’ll need to sit our asses down and write those postcards, make phone calls, give money, and — to the best of our ability — support those who will have to keep on fighting for what we want when we die, and who really deserve to live in a functional society, 

Let’s defend our weird-ass messed up democracy.

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