I HAVE LONG ARMS: ON POWER IN AMERICA
Manifest destiny. Capitalism. Authority. Property. Power. These words are wedged into the spinal column of the United States and right now they're facing disruption. We've all heard about the #metoo campaign and the subsequent reporting. Since Weinstein, over 30 men have been ousted for sexual assault or misconduct. As more and more people are led to the firing squad, it's become harder to see their outlines. They all look the same to us, leering, lecherous & and they should all bite the bullet.
A dialogue about this idea is emerging though. People want to scale things, say what Franken did is not "that bad," compared to Louis CK did, and what Roy Moore's done. After all, these men are so public, so many people's heroes. Although I've known about Louis CK's masturbatory bs for at least a year, I still watched his shit. Remember the Pamela scene, when Louie forcibly kisses his friend Pamela and tries to drag her into his bedroom, at which point she says, "You could rape if you weren't so stupid. You can't even rape well." Louis CK wrote this scene. If you watch it, feel it, imagine yourself in Pamela's shoes. It's brutally uncomfortable. Louis CK wrote this scene around the same time he was going around exposing himself to women in hotel rooms. It's hard not to see the darkness there.
But I'm not writing to say that they should all die--though I have already done so. I'm writing because I think whether we should give these people a chance or they should go down in flames is the absolute wrong question to be asking right now.
We need to talk about power in this country. Power in America has always been rooted in ownership. The definition of manifest destiny is if you can get there first, you can have it. That's pretty much capitalism in a nutshell, you guys. And, because our understanding of power is so firmly rooted to property, it's also rooted to rape. Marital rape was still legal in some US states until 1991 !!!! The first big case to bust this open didn't happen until 1979. Until the early eighties, this joke proliferated, "If you can't rape your wife, who can you rape?"
If you own it, you can do whatever you want to it. I can paint my entire house fuchsia. I can give my dog a perm. But, the fact is: people are people. So many people have been property in America. SLAVERY. Hello. And women. And black women. And black trans women. But this is today, the day where all the men must die, right? Unfortunately, that's not going to happen. Things will not change. Roy Moore will probably not be ousted, Louis CK will get his career back, and Donald Trump will stay president. Unless, we start talking about power. Extremes are too easy to dismiss. It's not that they are all wrong or not wrong. It's that they are all functioning within a system so inherently American and so inherently problematic. But, checks and balances are also inherently American.
We can check these predatory people in power but suggesting that power is not what they've always believed. I propose flipping the definition of power. Instead of there being a limited amount of power in the universe, let's say there's infinite power. And we have the option to keep growing this by handing our power to those who need it while also continuing to grab more. Those with the longest arms should do the most work right? I'm a white, middle class woman and I have pretty long arms. Instead of joining the firing squad, I'm going to do something for a comrade in need.
How are you redefining power?
*picture credit to this weird ass gallery: http://www.freakingnews.com/Christina-Applegate-With-Long-Arms-Pictures-78874.asp