Here in Arizona
Yeah, so I dropped off the face of the planet for a while, whoops?
To those that have blogged before—you know that it’s something a bit like a double-edged sword. It’s nice to put your words out there, in the void, and just get them out of your head. But at the same time, you feel like you need to have an opinion about everything, and that that opinion needs to be cogent and well-ordered. Well, fuck that, say I! There’s a lot that goes on in this old head of mine that isn’t logical at all. So I dropped out of blogging for months and months because I really wasn’t feeling the blogging vibes. I didn’t want my thoughts up to scrutiny. Sure, I posted on other people’s blogs and generally said a lot of horribly liberal progressive shit to Americans completely untutored in the practice of progressivism and leftward thought (the horror! The socialism! Ieeeeeeee!).
Also, I was kind of feeling glum about the title of my blog. I made it up when I was new to this lady business of blogging, and I wasn’t really aware of the intersection of cis-priviledges and feminism. So I equated two X chromosomes with femininity, thought it made a catchy blog title, and thought nothing more of it. Ah, the blindness of priviledge! Now, I’m sorry to whomever doesn’t share my cis-priviledge who stumbles across this blog. I was very ignorant of my own ignorance, and I’m a bit ashamed of it now. And, of course, I’m a bit stumped. I’ve put a lot of work into XXBlaze, and I’m loathe to give up the url and the title that has been associated with me for so long. But I also don’t want to be associated with that ignorant stain of cis-priviledge any more. Yes, I will always have cis-priviledge. But maybe it’s not a great idea to advertise it or smush it in the face of the unprivileged, no?
But the rest of my motives are not so selfless—not that the above two were to begin with. I basically finished my undergraduate degree and received quite a few promotions at my current place of labor. Now, I find that I’m paid to write, and to code websites. So the last thing I want to do, understandably, is write and code when I get home… especially since at least work pays me to do it, whilst blogging is sadly, totally unpaid.
The last motive, and perhaps the most shameful (although don’t get me wrong, I’m deeply ashamed of my cis-ignorance), is that I’m fucking sick and tired of politics. I like dipping my toes into outrage and contempt through other people’s blogs and then going about my day as if I don’t give a fuck. When I actually have to write about it myself, I find that I do give too much of a fuck, and it’s quite the mood-killer. That, and the people around me seem to prefer that I have less of a cogent and less of an outraged argument before I talk to them about politics. When I don’t blog, my opinions are less well-formed, and I’m more apt to give them up so we can talk about meaningless bullshit instead of things like social justice. I put it in italics because I’ve come to realize that it’s a very dirty word, and good girls really ought to have nothing to do with such thoughts.
Well, I had such thoughts this week, when politics basically came to my back door, took a nice stinky shit, and then went on its merry way like nothing at all had happened. See, I live in Arizona. I’m Jewish, and a woman. And once, when I was unaware that you had to be a soulless corporatist piece of warmongering shit in order to get elected (also, a hell of a lot more conservative, and a just a wee —okay, a lot—more demure, and straight), I wanted to be a public official. Now, I’m all like, fuck that, but I was a child of the ’90s, once—a million years ago—and we were quite fond of telling little girls back then that you too could grow up to be president! (Not that we’ve ever had a female president, but it was the ’90s, that glorious age of unbridled optimism and really horrible pants).
So, it was quite alarming, but not surprising, to see someone attempt to assassinate Gabrielle Giffords; a woman that—when I was fresh and funky free—I could have seen myself wanting to grow up to be like. After it all sunk in (sometime around Monday?), I said to myself, “that could have been you.” And make no doubt, I highly anticipate that if I decided to run for public office one day and actually won, I would have been at the other end of the barrel of a gun too.
Because while Giffords was Jewish, and a woman, I am the same—but also left of the Democratic party (while she’s a Blue Dog Democrat), and also a lesbian. The target Palin would have put on the map of my state would have encompassed the entire country.
I don’t know particularly why Loughner decided that Gifford deserved to die. But I’m not exactly going to be surprised if it turns out that her sex, religion, and political affiliation had something to do with it.
In this country, there is a large and violent swath of people that would like to see me and people that are like me, or people that think like me, dead. They want us dead for wanting to cure the sick and help the poor. They want us dead for loving someone of the same gender. They want us dead for wanting to provide a comfortable retirement for the elderly. They want us dead for a thousand reasons, and all their rhetoric belies their terrible sense of entitlement to our demise.
The right in this country is premised on ignorant grassroots that thrive on a culture of eliminationism. Whatever they don’t like, whatever they don’t understand, whatever doesn’t exactly conform to their ideals, deserves to die. Maybe they aren’t willing to pull the trigger. Maybe they won’t even be particularly pleased if someone else does it for them. But they are happy to sit and listen to those that call for our silencing, our deaths, and cheer when we are thrown under the bus, time and time again. And I know that they would not shed a tear if we and our “special interests”—if you can call asking to be treated like a fucking human being a “special interest”—up and disappeared from the face of the planet.
When O’Reilly and Palin and their ilk pretends they don’t condone the actions of the terrorist who attempted to assassinate Congresswoman Giffords, I know the truth. When they use loaded terms like “blood libel” (the Anti-Semitic fucks) and slather their websites in gun imagery, it is any wonder that I assume that they’re utterly and completely insincere?
Here in Arizona, I bathe in a culture of hate. Hatred of liberals, hatred of gays. Hatred of Mexicans, hatred of the poor. Hatred of gun control, and hatred of the sick. Hatred of anything that asks for understanding and empathy instead of exchanging lies for fevered calls for what amounts to fascism.
My country is poised on the brink of fascism, led symbolically by the state in which I preside. From SB1070 to the Tuscon shooting, there really isn’t anything good to say about my home right now. I live in a state of muted horror, nose stuck permanently in the air to avoid smelling the stink of ignorant lies that litter the Sonoran desert like bloated corpses, putrefying in the Arizonan sun. My political opinions are stuck permanently on “contempt.” What do I feel for Republicans? Contempt. Democrats? Contempt. President Obama? Contempt.
It’s exhausting and disheartening. You’d think that when the blinders come off, and now that I see that we live in a country for the rich, by the rich, and fueled by violent hatred, I’d have a lot to say.
Instead, I have nothing much to say at all. The only sound I can stand to make is a long silent scream which echoes through my head —the overlapping sounds of all the impassioned things I would say, if only there was someone in power who cared.