I've been trying to process the last week, which has been a pretty bad week for American history. Despite the reemergence of racism and blatant fascism, I generally held on to the fact that the courts did in fact hold up the Constitution as intended. This week, while the lower courts continue to act as expected, the highest court took a turn for the worse, arbitrarily deciding that states get to make up their own rules when it's convenient.
But this brings up the larger specter of the reality that we are not self-governed by the majority. Our democratic system is deeply flawed. Most Americans believe the government does not belong in your body or your bedroom. Most believe that the ridiculously broad interpretation of the Second Amendment is incorrect. And we now have a court where a third of it was appointed by presidents who did not win a majority vote. Democracy feels like a myth. As it is, "We the people" has never, at any point in our history included "all the people," and now it excludes quite literally half of them.
What do you do with this? I used to write a lot about my struggle with the obvious flaws in our society, but largely stopped because I don't believe that energy results in any meaningful change. Of course, I vote and I donate frequently to the organizations that continue to promote human rights, but is it enough? I'm tired of a vocal minority setting policy. The oppression, discrimination and marginalization of people is not academic to me. These people are my friends, family, coworkers and community.
I think we're about to see a level of activism not seen since the 60's, but in order for it to make any difference, white, middle class, hetero Americans need to engage. Our basic civic engagement and understanding of how government works is not just inadequate, it's barely recognizable.
The shit's at a breaking point, and the moral imperatives are clearer than ever. The United States now ranks among the lowest of democracies in terms of civil rights, low in healthcare outcomes despite the highest per capita spending, poor education outcomes, high per capita gun violence... we're not really winning much of anything. American exceptionalism is a myth.