one nation, under gun
less calls to vote, more striking
Photo Credit: ABC News
Another day, another injustice. In these un-United States, the only uniformity that we know is true is the congress of people in D.C. governed by their own greed. This week, Tennessee GOP voted to expel Democratic Representatives Justin Jones and Justin Pearson after the two participated in a peaceful protest against gun violence, days after another mass shooting. Notably, out of the three representatives (Rep. Gloria Johnson was the third) who faced expulsion, only the two Black legislators got the boot.
An alternative headline for the newspapers: “Lives lost, but white supremacy lives on!”
The theater of our government is as tired as it is old and predictable. When our leaders continue to show who they are and what they value (guns over people, ideology over humanity, money over lives), I don’t think it’s a matter of regression. I think the United States of America has always been a slaughterhouse, built on the labor of the marginalized and poor, a blood-letting machine masquerading as a free nation. And we, the people, lay under the axe with our bellies exposed, because there is no intervening hand coming short of our own.
Democracy as we know it will not save us.
If I sound cynical, it is because I have hope. Not in the institution, but in the faith that collectively, we are moving closer to seeing the truth of what liberation seeks from us. Some centrists will still bend their backs to breaking point over half-measures to protect trans youth, unregulate reproductive health, and pass gun laws. But the overarching truth is that we cannot reform America. There is nothing to salvage of a system that’s working exactly as it’s designed to do.
In the greatest nation on Earth, the principal of alleged democracy, it is nearly impossible to vote if you are a person of color, not English speaking, have committed even minor crimes, cannot drive, are disabled in any shape or way, or do not have a valid driver’s license. And that’s just a start. Voting is (at best) a form of harm reduction and we should still participate on a local level, but it still equates to a band-aid over a gun wound.
Also this week, the people of France took to the streets for their favorite past time: striking. You’ve likely seen the viral video of the woman dancing in protest, but the sentiment is that the French do not play around. I am a francophobe first, human second, but I will applaud them on this and this alone. Comparatively, Americans are still hindered by ideas of respectability because God Forbid pundits on Fox News call us uncivilized while school children are gunned down en masse.
I’d give my left tit to grab liberals by the shoulder, shake ‘em, and scream, “Wake up, sheeple!” This is not a conspiracy theory. This is the bloody, bleak landscape of these cursed 50 States.
If we are forced to participate in this sham of a democracy, then we also need to think (and act) outside of this box they put us in. Voting is not enough. It has been not enough. On the other hand, a country built on labor cannot continue without it. Economic disobedience has proven to be one of the most successful forms of protest in the United States. European nations are frequently on strike and it is embarrassing we are behind the same group of people who once thought bathing to be unnecessary.
In Justin Pearson’s speech prior to his expulsion, he said, “[The GOP] are seeking to expel District 86th's representation from this House in a country that was built on a protest. In a country that was built on a protest. You, who celebrate July 4, 1776, pop fireworks and eat hot dogs, you say to protest is wrong.” Pearson and Long may have lost their jobs (for now), but they made this point clear: when lives at stake (and they are), it’s necessary to make a whole lot of noise.
If voting moves us an inch, then striking could take us a mile. But it requires us to abandon our previous connotations of civic engagement and how we participate in it. For America in its pro-gun, pro-white nationalism, pro-patriarchy form to crumble, we have to get out of the ballot boxes and start striking instead.
Next Week on Gut Feelings:
A Mega-Influencer Hired a Black Trans Activist to Consult Her on Diversity. Then She Discarded her. (A paid subscribers only special with an audio interview.)
Why “Self-Care” Is Actually Making Us Feel Worse
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