Not that I was getting all that much good sleep before, but I've written off getting much more in the next four years. I've always been a pretty dour person, at least as my external facade, so in some way I'm well equipped for the joy shortage hitting America. It's everyone else I'm worried about, even the Trump voters who aren't open racists. Quite frankly I can't see how anyone smiles or falls in love or achieves transcendence. That part of the Obama administration I took for granted. As much as I have maintained the argument that a capital-dominated elections in a political system designed to suppress real democracy is functionally not that different from a dictatorship, I underestimated the psychological benefit of everyone at least respecting the decorum. The morning of November 9, I was struck with the feeling that this must be how the people in any dictatorship feel. I softened a bit in my defense of one-party socialist states, or at least become more interested in the proposed two-party socialist system that was floating around Yugoslavia back in the day. And though it was nothing but pure American democracy that got us here, I understand the need so many have to attribute this development to nefarious Eastern influence.
That said, the level of Russophobia I've been seeing from so many of you is straight up disgusting. Thank God the US doesn't have a sizeable Russian population, because I would be legitimately fearing for their safety. This has confirmed every bad thought I've ever had about Western liberals. People want to say old habits die hard, but that just confirms that most anti-Communist fearmongering was rooted in Orientalism. I think it's more people who spend their whole lives trying to be good and tolerant get a little too into it when they discover a bigotry that is institutionally sanctioned. And for liberals, Russia is the absolute perfect choice, white enough that they don't have to worry about being racist, but Eastern enough to be a threat to glorious Western civilization.
I can already hear the response. “So you love Putin then?” Like, do you realize how much like Republicans y'all sound? Any dissenting voice and somehow Putin is my boyfriend (y'all are even bringing back latent homophobia). First of all, Putin has a fair amount of popular support, so you would be indicting the Russian people, which y'all are so happy to do. Second, don't be dense, as though you don't know what racialized tropes about criminality look like, which is why it especially breaks my heart when I see black people engage in this type of rhetoric.
“So we're just supposed to take it then? Lie down and be Putin's bitch?” There you go again. Get out of the fight-or-flight reflex for one second. Whatever interference Russia may have committed it still small potatoes to what the US did to Russia 24 years ago in bringing Yeltsin to power, who presided over a complete decimation of Russia's economy, while the US broke its promise and expanded NATO right to its borders (You don't even understand why this is a problem I bet. Imagine if you squashed a beef with your neighbor who then starts stocking up on weapons and points them at your house, but then wants to tell you you're paranoid). You can't fight against Putin if you don't understand the conditions that gave rise to him. And at any rate, you really think Mr. Make America Great Again isn't going to recklessly respond after Putin embarrasses him in their first meeting? Don't worry. You'll get your nukes in Romania and civil war in Ukraine. This is how world wars start.
It's sad. I feel like I don't know so many of you. You're all trained in social justice anti-racist practices. It's not as though you don't know what you should do, it's just that you don't want to do it. The hate feels too good. And yet you want to moralize about Trump supporters. Anti-racism isn't just an intellectual exercise, it also has geopolitical consequences. For starters, you can stop treating Russia as some giant monolith. There are a lot of very dedicated very intelligent leftists in Russia and they need our support. Also, stop using the word “Kremlin” as though it's some sort of Legion of Doom. It's literally the same as using the phrase “White House.” In the longer term, all that loving your enemy stuff you preach about Nazis, apply it to Russia. Have some compassion for the hundreds of millions of people who aren't any more happy about this than you are. Humanize, humanize, humanize. However, there aren't going to be any easy answers. Russia is a complicated place, with a harsh reality that can be hard to comprehend. Maybe I'm naïve in thinking that cross-border solidarity can actually counteract warmongering among ruling classes. But I'm also not going to shut up about this, so y'all better start doing your homework.
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