The Monday Morning Teaser

So Brett Kavanaugh is on the Supreme Court now. You probably heard. Some of the people I know are angry about that, some are depressed, and some are energized to work harder than ever on the midterm campaigns. If we could choose our emotional responses, probably most of us would choose to be energized. But sadly, that seems not to be how it works. You are where you are and you feel what you feel.

Can we at least agree, no matter how we feel most of the time, to muster the energy to vote? If they beat us down that far, to the point where we’re too depressed to vote against them, then they really have won.

George Orwell wrote: “Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible.” But the forces that put Trump in the White House and Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court are not invincible. They represent a minority of the country, and it took a series of flukish events to put them in this position: division and apathy on our side (does anyone still believe today that Hillary would have been “just as bad”?), Russian interference, bad campaign strategy, Comey’s last-minute announcements, and a small number of votes in key states breaking exactly the wrong way, nullifying a popular-vote victory.

Their power is based on a number of injustices that are widely unpopular, if they can be brought to voters’ attention: gerrymandering, dark money, and the disenfranchisement of a significant slice of the non-white citizenry. Victims of those injustices can no longer expect to get a fair hearing at the Supreme Court, but there is still hope from ballot initiatives like the ones in Michigan and Florida.

The Supreme Court will be a bastion of injustice for the next 10-15 years. But the country has weathered that before; for most of American history, I would say, the Court has been a defender of the privileged classes. The path back to sanity is still well marked: Retake the House this year, and get the Senate and the Presidency in 2020.

But that only happens if we vote and we get the majority that agrees with us to vote. Take care of yourself, but also look for ways you can contribute energy to that project.

So what’s in the Sift this week? The main article is about the reversal of victimhood that we’ve seen in the defense of Kavanaugh: Not just Kavanaugh himself, but all men are victims now, because we might be accused of something. The women who have actually been assaulted have been shoved out of the picture. I’m still working on a title for that article, but I hope to have it out by 10 EDT.

The weekly summary will include a broader array of observations about the Kavanaugh process, The New York Times’ exposure of the real source of Trump’s wealth, trade deals, the murder conviction of a Chicago cop, and a few other things. But I also want to call your attention to something really important that I, at least, hadn’t been aware of: A cyber attack might be the spark that sets off nuclear war. Nuclear retaliation for a cyber attack is a  rarely discussed piece of American defense policy. I’ll try to have the summary out by noon.

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  • Gina  On October 8, 2018 at 10:35 am

    My reaction was total despair and depression. All weekend I was determined to remove myself from all political news sources and blogs, completely ignore politics and go back to that blissful state of my 20’s when I was barely aware that we even had a government in Washington DC. After all, aside from voting, what else can I do? All the stuff that people respond with when you ask that question (like volunteering, protesting, calling and writing representatives, working on get-out-the-vote projects, donating money) I’ve been doing that stuff for years and the problems have only just gotten worse! It’s obvious I’m not making a difference, and this toxic mess is affecting me too much to bear.

    Today I feel a little bit better and I’m not ready to run away and hide yet. I don’t feel energized or hopeful at all. I still feel despair and depression, but I guess I can’t look away from the train wreck. I want to be informed enough to speak about things when the subject of politics comes up in casual conversation. I don’t want to be ignorant.

  • knb  On October 8, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    First, take care of yourself, however you do that.

    I don’t think that you should conclude that you aren’t making a difference. Sometimes our actions ripple out from us in ways that are hard to see in the moment.

    And then there’s this article comparing the fight for same-sex marriage with the current situation.

    Maybe it will be useful for people.

    Buck up, America: Kavanaugh’s confirmation marks a beginning, not an end

  • Wm. GIlboe  On October 8, 2018 at 10:00 pm

    We need to get more people out to vote against this republican madness.
    The numbers are daunting. Consider that between the people who couldn’t bother to vote, and therefore didn’t mind if trump became POTUS, and the roughly 50% who actually thought it was a good idea and voted for him……..that amounts to almost 75% of total eligible voters who either directly or indirectly endorsed this clown and his gong show. 3 out of 4 people. Let that sink in.
    The bang for the buck is in getting people off the sidelines and encouraging some civic responsibility by getting the people on the sidelines informed and voting.

    • knb  On October 11, 2018 at 2:46 am

      What is your recommendation about how to get “people on the sidelines informed and voting”?

      • Gina  On October 11, 2018 at 8:37 am

        People complain about it, and even I cringe at it sometimes, but I think when celebrities and television shows make commentary on political current events, it makes people more likely to be curious and get involved.

      • Wm. GIlboe  On October 11, 2018 at 8:27 pm

        In a word, engage. Short game, talk to friends, family, acquaintances, anybody and urge them to read, get informed and vote. Longer game, support ballot initiatives like here in Michigan that seek to make voter registration dramatically easier and more automatic. Send emails to your state and fed. Reps and ask what you can do.

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