I am so f#@king mad!
Like many Americans, I have been feeling this overwhelming anger, a kind of paralyzing, stop whatever I am doing or thinking and scream WTF as I stomp my feet and shake my arms with rage. And the worst part is, my anger is not at Trump supporters, but at my supposed comrades on the Left.
Quite honestly, I felt this election could easily go to Trump because we should never underestimate white supremacist heteropatriarchy. It’s been around for a long, long time and it’s not going away anytime soon. I knew that Rustbelt and Southern white voters who are Christian and straight are also mostly (even if often unconsciously) racist, homophobic and misogynist. As a dyke, Jew, single mother, radical, feminist- I long ago learned to avoid places like rural Ohio. When we have encountered each other - this other America and me-it has not always been civil or without violence. But we agreed, long ago, that I will circulate in the Left-o-sphere of the coasts and they will stew in the other-hating of elsewhere.
In other words, we divided into two Americas by mutual agreement and quite honestly, we have been pretty happy living on the same planet but in separate worlds.
But now that the toxic sludge of their hatred for Mexicans, Muslims, Blacks, queers and feminists has spilled all over my America, I am once again scrambling for allies. My supposed (white, straight) allies on the Left, many of whom refused to vote for Hillary Clinton and instead sat the election out or voted for Jill Stein, are not rushing to apologize to the most vulnerable nor are they saying “I’m so sorry that although Clinton won the popular vote, she lost the electoral college by a margin of third-party candidates.” Instead, they are telling us that it’s the fault of “identity politics” and the fault of “white feminism” for not understanding the “real” America. Apparently it’s not identity politics if it’s white and straight and Christian, only if it’s of color, Jewish, Muslim or queer. And America is only real in white, non-urban spaces. Oh, and to add insult to injury, it is apparently now the job of all people on the Left to feel sorry for the economic difficulties of these white people, even though it was not just poor whites who voted for Trump, but all whites- none of whom seem to care at all about the people really suffering economically.
This weekend I received several messages from (straight, white) Left friends saying “we need to understand the pain these people are in.” Then I had to see this piece of ridiculousness from professional Hillary-basher Liza Featherstone, who rather than apologizing for not voting for Clinton and encouraging others not to vote for her either, had the incredible chutzpah to blame those of us who did vote for her and “white feminism” for making this happen. Then this white-splaining from Naomi Klein (beautifully analyzed for its racism here) told us that if only Black and Latinx voters had voted for Bernie this wouldn’t have happened because after all, those poor white Trump voters are being hurt by neoliberalism. Klein does not address why some people hurting economically look for reasonable policy solutions and others shout “build a wall.” Nor did she explain why most white people voted for Trump- REGARDLESS of income level. Just now I heard Howard Dean say he needs to head the DNC so we can get these poor working class white “folks” back (notice the way populism verging on fascism becomes made into a sort of harmless crankiness, a white washing if ever there was one, with the use of this word).
It is enough to make me turn my LEFTIE card in! No my dear comrades of the Left, feminists and queers and people of color did not cause the “real” America to support Trump, nor did economic hardship. People do not scream “Trump that Bitch” or “Jew -S-A” or call the sitting President the N-word because of the economic precariousness produced by neoliberal economic policy. They do it because they’re white and heterosexual and Christian and their privilege is predicated on the dehumanization of others.
This is the first rule of analysis from the Left- structures determine consciousness. The second rule is that there are wages to whiteness, patriarchy and straightness that some people receive at the cost of others. Warfare is never just about economic class- it is also between who gets to be the sexual and racial ruling elite in a society.
How could the Left turn away from this sort of intersectional analysis just when we need it most? I am guessing it is because many of them also benefit from being part of the racial and sexual ruling elites and extending solidarity to angry white voters is easier than looking at scared communities of color and queerness.
So I am officially denouncing my alliance with the Left that refuses to see my America. In my America, Black and Latinx voters count as much as white ones. In my America, it is not feminists who are to blame, but a system where the electoral college not the popular vote determines the outcome and millions of votes are suppressed through mass incarceration and mass voter purges.
I am now convinced that whiteness, straightness and religious privilege will insulate many on the Left, including many in the mainstream media, from doing such an intersectional analysis. Instead, they will blame white feminists and communities of color rather than the people who actually brought us Trump- the ones who voted for him or voted third party or didn’t vote at all.
So let them take my Leftie card, burn it as they denounce the likes of me and look with empathy at those poor, long-suffering Trump voters.
The only thing I want from the Left is the analysis- structure determines consciousness. The battle lines are drawn. The only real alliances will be between those who own the means of class, race, and sexual production and those who have nothing to lose but our chains.