When the smoke from the fires on the West Coast started showing up 2,900 miles away outside my window in New York City, that was the moment I realized we are living in an actual dystopia. I’m 42. I have lived through some shit, but nothing like this. Every single element of a dystopia is upon us.
There are the fires, the hurricanes, the uncontrolled pandemic, the financial apocalypse, the looming eviction crisis, the increase in stillbirths. the epidemic of police brutality, and the autocratic president who happens to be, for good measure, a moron.
And that was before RBG slipped this mortal coil, and thirsty Mitch McConnell started plotting before her body was even cold.
We’re in our ninth month of pandemic with 6.3 million cases. America is literally teeming with the insidious spread of the coronavirus. Instead of finally enacting a federal response (there still hasn’t been a single federal mandate), the president’s political appointees are fucking with the CDC testing guidelines in the middle of the night. Instead of being at war with the virus, the president and his allies are at war with the information that could help arrest the virus. As a result, American’s can’t trust the coronavirus death counts because at least in Florida we know that Gov. Ron DeSantis is undercounting the coronavirus deaths.
It’s likely this is happening in other red states, because the excess death counts tell a very different story than that of the federal government. Is it likely that red-state governors have been under counting their coronavirus deaths in the hopes of helping the president’s re-election? Yes. And the president himself has said numerous times that “testing creates more cases.” Which is absolutely not true. It’s also the worst attitude a leader could possibly have, as this virus is often spread by asymptomatic spreaders.
Over the last three years and 242 days, the president has weaponized the federal government, and it’s harder and harder to tell the Trump campaign from the Trump administration. Almost daily, Trump’s press secretary Kayleigh McEnany delivers press conferences that would make Kim Jong Un’s press aides blush. The kind of double speak and fake news Kayleigh dishes out on a daily basis sounds like George Orwell on crack. This week she told a journalist who confronted her with the actual facts that “the U.S. has 4 percent of the global population and 24 percent of the world’s COVID-19 death, how is that a success?” Kayleigh responded, “We use different numbers.” Yes, Americans are dying at about a thousand a day from the virus, and the president is calling it a success because he “uses different numbers.”
And then there’s the coming environmental catastrophe. We can feel the heat at our backs. Actually that’s not a metaphor. There’s actually heat on our backs from the fires in California and Oregon. And you know it’s bad when even Mitch McConnell, the man who’s done the most for oil and gas, says that climate change is man-made. That’s not where it ends. We’ve run out of names for hurricanes in the Atlantic. Yes, 2020 has shattered the records. Meteorologists have had to move on to the Greek alphabet.
And let’s talk about police brutality—cops killing or shooting African Americans, sometimes when they’re asleep in bed (Breonna Taylor), sometimes when they’re getting their three kids in the car (Jacob Blake), and sometimes when they’re begging for their mothers (George Floyd). Police brutality has exploded, and the president has delighted in stoking it. It’s a cancer that makes murder hornets and aggressive rats look quaint.
As if the world didn’t already look impossibly dark, then came Friday night, when Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at 87. While the loss of the feminist icon is incredibly sad, the mess she leaves is incalculably worse. McConnell refused to hold hearings for Merrick Garland’s nomination despite being nominated 237 days before the 2016 election, citing the supposed “Biden Rule.” Well, 2020 Mitch seems to have forgotten about 2016 Mitch. Mitch’s statement on RBG’s death included the promise that “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” despite the fact that some states are already voting, and the election is only 45 days away.
Numerous Republicans tweeted horrible shameful things Friday night, including Ted Cruz. But the worst had to be from Georgia Senate candidate Doug Collins, who tweeted, “RIP to the more than 30 million innocent babies that have been murdered during the decades that Ruth Bader Ginsburg defended pro-abortion laws. With @realDonaldTrump nominating a replacement that values human life, generations of unborn children have a chance to live.” As the pandemic continues killing Americans at a record clip it’s nice to see Republicans’ hypocrisy in such stark relief.
Growing up, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World was one of my favorite books. Huxley wrote the novel in 1931, inspired in part by the economic depression in the U.K. But now confronted by an actual dystopia, it’s significantly less fun and more terrifying than I had hoped. America stands on the brink of the unimaginable. We have a president who toys with fascism on the regular, his allies continue to shop a low-key civil war, our planet is literally burning, and now our highest court hang in the balance.
Replacing RBG would mean tipping the scales. It will absolutely mean the overturning of Roe v. Wade. American women could lose control over their uteruses for the next three or possibly four generations. We throw around the idea that this is the most important fight of our life, but this time it really is. Democrats only need four Republican senators to stop Mitch from filling RBG’s seat. But more than that, this is the most important election ever.
This could very well be the last free and fair election of our lifetime. Assuming it’s even free and fair.