I don’t expect this essay is going to be particularly readable, so I apologize in advance for that. I’m a mess right now, shaken and unstable and I haven’t gone a day since the election without breaking down crying out of fear for my life. But I feel like this needs to be said anyway, and said now, so I’m writing it anyway. I hope you’ll bear with me.
Nothing breeds division so much as victory.
A lot of people, myself included, saw Obama’s victory in 2008 as the victory of moderate Republican, as an unremarkable and depressing continuation of neoliberal drudgery. And it’s true that Obama’s aggressively pursued the same murderous foreign policy as did Dubya. It’s true he’s been an appeaser more than a fighter, ever eager to bow down to the whims of the increasingly hysterical Republican Party. It’s true that he didn’t enact full communism (although how anyone would expect a president could do that, I have no idea).
But under Obama, some domestic policy quietly improved. There were fleeting sparks of compassion among the Washington elite. Reliably left-leaning judges were appointed to the Supreme Court, who may be Obama’s most lasting legacy — if we still have a Supreme Court in four years. The left grumbled, but there were signs things were getting better.
And we got comfortable.
I’m as guilty as anyone else of the infighting that grew among leftists during the now-moribund Obama administration. I focused on our differences rather than our commonalities, and threw people to the curb whose politics struck me as too dangerous. And while I stand by what I’ve written in the past, about the toxic and abusive behavior of some American communists, I can’t pretend it matters anymore.
Many young people today — Gen Z’ers — grew up mostly during the Obama years. These kids are now some of the most aggressive leftists in the country, emboldened by a state that wasn’t quite so dedicating to killing them as it used to be.
I wasn’t so lucky. At the tailing end of the Millennial generation, I spent most of my childhood and adolescence with Bush in office. A time when there was not even a chance of the federal government standing with the common people, the poor and the non-white and the queer and the female and the Muslim. I remember all too vividly how vital the unity of the Left was, how relentlessly the Republicans pursued their malicious and hateful agenda.
And today, I would happily, with joy in my heart, take another four years, another eight years — hell, another SIXTEEN years — of George Bush as president, than watch Donald Trump spent a month with his malignant ass plopped down behind the president’s desk in the Oval Office. Than to permit Donald Trump five minutes in which to carress the proverbial Button. And I would rather see a constitutional crisis than let this vicious simpleton come within a mile of the Supreme Court’s power, unless in chains and as an object of its wrath.
This election has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the unity of the Left is no longer optional. Because if it weren’t for our factionalism, Hillary Clinton would have won. If it wasn’t for the egotists who voted for Jill Stein — a madwoman with as many positions on a given subject as there are hours in the day, a bloodthirsty accelerationist who cheered Clinton’s loss and who will watch, munching popcorn, while innocents die in the streets, who will cheer as the bombs fall because maybe, somewhere, a banker is dying of radiation poisoning — we would not now be facing the prospect of an outright Nazi oozing into the highest office in the nation and dragging us all to hell with him.
So it’s time to stop bickering with one another about whether council communism or anarcho-syndicalism or whatever is the One True Ideology. To put off for another four or, god forbid, eight years putting each other in gulags or flattening each other with tanks. To put our own agendas aside and work with anybody, no matter how distasteful, who could be a useful ally against the maniac America just voted to hand our country to on a silver platter. We can always kill each other later.
As Donald Trump plods, drooling, through the White House on the evening of 20 January 2017, pissing on every symbol of the President’s authority to mark it as his own, the Left — and hell, any of the precious few on the Right who remain opposed to outright Nazism — need to stand as one. We don’t have to love each other. We just need to keep Hitler 2.0 from murdering the world.