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Being Complicit in the Descent to Fascism
When I was undercover, I tried to find local journalists to out myself to when I would travel for events. It was pretty rare I was able to do that; I would thoroughly comb through social media profiles and prior articles, but oftentimes I just didn’t have enough information to be ok sharing my name, face, or any identifying information. However, I did find a trustworthy journalist when I went to Powderly, Kentucky: Joe Sonka, who works at the Louisville-based Courier Journal.
Earlier this week, Joe reported that Biden had struck a deal with Mitch McConnell, and would be nominating Chad Meredith as a federal judge in Kentucky. Meredith is anti-abortion and a member of the ultra conservative Federalist Society — basically, he sucks.
It’s important to note that the story was 100% paywalled; when it was posted on Twitter, many people’s reactions to it were based only on the headline. People started pointing out that there were currently no vacancies in Kentucky, and many declared the article fake news, a smear campaign against Biden. But the article had clarified that Kentucky congressman John Yarmuth was the source, and he had specifically addressed the lack of vacancies! "Given that a judicial position isn’t currently open on the Eastern District Court, it’s clear that this is part of some larger deal on judicial nominations between the president and Mitch McConnell," the article quoted Yarmuth as saying.
I read the article and, obviously, believed Joe, but out of curiosity, I looked up the ages of the judges in the Eastern District Court. I found that two of them were born in the 1930s. Immediately the argument that “there are no vacancies” lost any weight it could have possibly had.
Yesterday, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear joined Yarmuth in confirming the story. Today, an Eastern District judge announced she was retiring (important to note that she is not one of the judges who was born in the 1930s). One might think that this would lead people to eat crow, or at least shut up — but then one would be wrong. People chose to double down, using a twisted logic that because the public had not been told about the vacancy, the story was still fake and the new vacancy was perhaps some kind of coincidence.
Sure, the original article was paywalled, and I guess not everyone is going to know that the Courier Journal is the largest paper in Kentucky, but it was still a little weird to have Democrats a few steps away from yelling “Lügenpresse!” just because the topic made them feel bad. To see people continue doubling down is mind breaking.
I voted for Joe Biden because it is imperative we do not have a Republican POTUS, but it’s no secret that I do not think he is doing a good job right now. Many of our leaders are so tied to norms and institutions, things that Trump and the right just do not give a shit about. It’s not just our leaders — it’s a lot of voters, too. When Roe was overturned, I saw numerous tweets saying things like “thank God I live in a blue state” as though the right will not be coming for the blue states. To me, this is very similar to tirelessly defending Biden from all criticism. No matter what your intentions are, it stems from the same place: a refusal to accept and understand that the United States is falling into fascism — and fairly quickly.
Right now, the course is reversible; Democrats could take swift, sweeping action now, and win in 2024. But under a bunch of out of touch leaders who are still listening to Mitch McConnell’s pinky promises, the situation changes. If strong action isn’t taken, the best case scenario becomes a Democrat winning in 2024, and only acting as a temporary band aid.
“If demographics are indeed destiny, then that means the right wing is only 5-10 years away from being full on racist, nationalist organization. Because I mean, there’s no non-white people at right wing events. Let’s be real,” one organizer told me when I was undercover. He wasn’t sad about it; he was excited for what the future could hold — and his vision of the Republican Party is exactly what you should be thinking about when you ponder how to deal with the right.