Work And Not Work

« February 2017 »

Memo to the overzealous Resistance: KEEP YOUR HEADS.

OK, I know we all want to do stuff. And I know we all want to support people that are doing stuff. But it's super important to distinguish between The Work, things that aren't The Work but end up being helpful, and just random bullshit.

For example, the large-scale reaction to the Senate rebuke of Elizabeth Warren isn't The Work, but it's helpful. Because optics are part of it. Taking full advantage of a misstep by your opponent is part of it. But ultimately, Jeff Sessions is our Attorney General and Joe Manchin is an asshole and, unlike with Betsy DeVos, a clear public case wasn't that strongly made about how awful Sessions is. But a strong public case was made about how awful Mitch McConnell is, so we take what we can get.

You know what's not The Work? Nordstrom's ditching of Ivanka Trump's clothing line. I saw a few people on Twitter talking about going shopping at Nordstrom's or buying Nordstrom's stock, and seriously, if you're in a position to do that you're in a position to give that money to the ACLU instead, because Nordstrom's didn't do shit except annoy The Donald. Which is an admirable result, but not The Work.

Now, if they'd said, or admitted, that they did this on political, moral, or ethical grounds, that'd be a different story. But they said it wasn't political, it was because of sales. And then Trump's people have argued whether or not that's true. Doesn't matter. If it's true, then it wasn't political, and if it's not true, Nordstrom's isn't willing to come forward and say it was political, and either way, apart from poking the crazy man and making him Tweet, fuck them.

Other people got excited about Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch calling Trump's tweet-abuse of the entire judicial branch "disheartening" and "demoralizing", thinking maybe that means he'd be a voice of sanity in any Trump cases that go before the Supreme Court since he's willing to speak out against Trump now.

First, unless he's under oath, you can't believe anything he says before he's confirmed. He's auditioning for one of the most prestigious gigs in American society. There is, on his part, and on any nominee's part, a certain motivation to do what is necessary to get the job.

But more importantly, look at what he said. What he said was a personal reaction. It's how he, as a judge, felt about the very profession of judges being attacked. It was, at best, professional discomfort he expressed. He wasn't speaking to any of the larger separation of powers, potentially dictatorial, utterly crazypants aspects of what Trump did. He was just a bit disheartened and demoralized. He didn't say Trump was wrong. He didn't say Trump shouldn't have done that.

In that, he's got a lot in common with EVERY fucking Republican and a few Democrats you see on the news these days. Nobody gets credit for doing The Work unless they say it's wrong, say Trump shouldn't have done it, and at least pledge to do something to stop it. If Joe Manchin says it's wrong to limit voting rights and then votes to confirm Jeff Sessions, he's not doing The Work and should be replaced. Ideally by a Democrat, but if necessary by a Republican who's at least honest about his allegiances and motivations. We don't need any Liebermans in the era of Trump.