I was mid-conversation earlier today with a few friends — fellow moms I’ve known for well over a decade — online, when it struck me just how different our casual conversations are today than they were even a year ago (even more striking vs. five years ago!).
Gone are the lengthy chats on teen development and one child’s growth vs. other children in the same family. Gone are vacation plans and comparing school supply lists. We don’t laugh about silly things. Nothing feels lighthearted. The whole tenor of the conversation has shifted.
Now, we speak of survival.
In particular, we’ve been discussing whether we think 45 will accept the results of an even somewhat free and somewhat fair election, if it doesn’t go his way. (We don’t think he will, short of a landslide, and quite possibly not even then.) Even if he pretends to accept the results, I think between November and January this country would see human rights abuses on a scale few of us have ever witnessed firsthand.
And if he WINS…through manipulation or us just being THAT far gone — and I don’t believe that for a hot second! — gods save us, because that man will come for everyone he doesn’t like. With the pandemic raging here due to the rampant incompetence at the head of our government and the stupid MAGAts who can’t understand that they’re hurting their own chances of going back to normal life because they won’t wear a mask, options for political dissidents are very limited right now. What country would risk an outbreak due to some American family of plague rats?
That is essentially what we might be to them, if we didn’t quarantine upon arrival, etc. which we’ve seen that some Americans are not interested in doing. No wonder the borders of so many countries are closed to us right now! If they did accept us, would they put us in cages like this administration has done to countless asylum seekers, refugees, etc.?
What kind of life would our children have if we uprooted them from everything they knew? (What kind of life would they have here if we didn’t?)
So where do you run, if this administration declares you an enemy of the people? Never mind that we ARE the people (also, psst, Cheetolini: that’s the People’s House you’ve walled in…a bunker isn’t enough for you??).
In more worrisome tidings, his badge-less federal secret police are already trickling into strategic cities around the nation, particularly Democratic (blue) cities. I’m betting you don’t see them leave before the election. They may intimidate in-person voters to keep numbers down in historically blue areas. They also may be there to quash any dissent when impossible election tallies roll in (like, say, 90% of NYC going for 45 when we know damned well that wouldn’t happen — but if you speak up and find yourself staring down the barrel of a gun or being snatched off the street into an unmarked car, well, the number of people willing to say, “That’s not correct; something’s wrong with the count,” dwindles quickly).
Or, he loses in a landslide but those troops are oh-so-conveniently in place for a hard takeover, with Putin’s backing. An election only works when the parties involved agree to abide by the results and peacefully transfer power. I don’t see 45 doing that if he doesn’t get what he wants; do you?
If you can’t flee America’s new dictatorship (let’s call fleeing Plan A), and you can’t fight (we’ll name that Plan B but let’s face it: you cannot stand against his paramilitary of fascist goons. I don’t care how much of a personal armory you have…speaking of that, where are all the 2A people now, anyway? They’ve been strangely silent about a tyrannical government now that one is rising right here in our faces…how odd!), what are your options at that point? What’s Plan C?
Those Plan C options are what we’ve been discussing. (I’m a conditional pacifist; I would not take up arms in a futile conflict, and if no country would have me and my family right now, C it is!) How do you dismantle a fascist dictatorship from within? World history holds clues.
Would there be a new civil war, neighbor against neighbor? Would states cluster together and form their own coalitions against the new regime?
Do other nations step in, if T declares himself dictator-for-life? We’ve done that in other places. What would that mean for diplomacy down the road? What does it mean for ordinary citizens? Would those nations welcome us if we didn’t want to stay to repair our civil-war-torn & fascist-looted nation at that point?
“This is all so unpatriotic!” the right-wingers scream. No, this IS patriotism. I don’t want my country to fall into authoritarianism. I don’t want it to fall apart. I want to save it.
I love my country but it’s true that I’m not a nationalist; I’ve seen too much of this wide, beautiful world to put one nation over all others as some perfect paragon or whatever. America isn’t perfect; no place is. But holy shit, this? This that we’re seeing today? This is NOT who we are, not most of us. And I pray the rest of the world can see that.
These are the mom-conversations these days, at least in my group. They are terrifying, exhausting, and necessary…and I am angry that this is where we are. I’ll do my part on November 3rd, and in all the little ways I can rebel against this administration in the meantime.
Even mask-making is a revolutionary act. We know the burden of this pandemic does not fall equally on all of our shoulders. It falls most heavily on BIPOC, people of low income, essential workers, etc. and most of these groups, 45 absolutely does not give a shit about. So I will donate most of my masks to organizations supporting these groups, to try to keep them that little bit safer, because it’s something I can do right now.
There is always something you can do. Find it!
It’s rEVOLution time. Love thy neighbor, stay safe, and let’s kick this hateful rotten orange to the curb, y’all.