Marble Falls Recently, I’ve gotten an uncomfortable feeling. Maybe I’m caught in my own bubble? Maybe I’m guilty of whatever this “doom scrolling” phenomenon is that I’ve read about? Maybe it’s something worse? Maybe I’m seeing through my own rosy colored glasses and coming out of the fog of denial? Whatever it is, I have this foreboding that all of the momentum now seems to be coming from the right. That’s scary!
Admittedly, part of this was the surprising optimism of a year ago. Biden beat Trump. We won the Senate in Georgia. Even better, Biden seemed better than any of us might have imagined. He seemed to be heralding a “new deal” for the 21st century on one issue after another from workers to climate to race to welfare and more. Now that agenda is stuck on too many fronts, and too many are feeling they are losing even when they’re winning.
Another part of it is that the right is going wild, and the left is being forced to move towards the middle. I don’t like arguing for the middle ground. It seems unnatural. Part of my unhappiness has to do with the Canadian blockades, and maybe even January 6th. I find myself publicly handwringing about the double standard in the way the police deal with the wilding of the right, but when I’m being honest with myself, I find myself admiring their tactical selection and their willingness to make real what we’ve argued rhetorically. I’m talking about the numbers now. They are getting away with this in Canada and along the border, just as they did at the Capitol a year ago, because they are overwhelming the police with their sheer numbers and their willingness to use them well. There’s no better example of the way the organizers have reacted to the impending warnings from the government. They are explicitly calling for more numbers to assemble so that the police forces will be outmanned. Admittedly, this is Canada, so they’re not worried, as we might be in the US, that the police will gun them down, but still, they have chutzpah and their backing up their words with turnout.
It’s not just the stuff on the streets and border though. It’s a sinking feeling that too much of their water is hitting – and eroding – what I might have mistakenly assumed was our rocks, sort of a foundation level that no one would pass. Now, emboldened by the courts and too many state legislatures, where the right has done the work and is now cracking the whip, there is a constant stream of bad water falling to new lows. The list is horrific: right to choose, gun laws, voting and redistricting attacks on democracy, legal attacks on diversity in schools, and admissions, climate denial, pandemic and public health resistance, and more. Their offense has broken past any notion of our defense and seems to know no limits or restraints.
Our offense seems nonexistent. I get too many emails and appeals and too little news about action and initiatives. Momentum can shift and hope springs eternal, but credit where credit is due, the right has done the real work at the grassroots and beyond and is reaping the benefits, and we seem to be living in denial. I’m not happy about any of this. We need to get our acts together!