Saturday, October 6, 2018

October 6: Midnight Aloft--Thunder and Lightning, Susan Collins

The Main-top-sail yard - Tashtego passing new lashings around it.

"Um, um, um. Stop that thunder! Plenty too much thunder up here. What's the use of thunder? Um, um, um. We don't want thunder; we want rum; give us a glass of rum. Um, um, um!"

Okay, let's get this out of the way:  this chapter is incredibly racist.  No gettin' around it.  Racist in the way that the depiction of Native Americans in Disney's Peter Pan is racist.  Of course, you must put this in context.  Melville is writing at a very unenlightened time.  The plights of African Americans and Native Americans were not in people's consciousness at the time Moby-Dick was written.  That is not an excuse.  It is an explanation.

Now, had Moby-Dick been published in 2018, I would venture to say that it would not be received with rapturous reviews.  In fact, it would probably not even see the light of day.  Perhaps Melville would have self-published it as an e-book.  It's difficult to get around its inherent racism.

Today, in Washington, D. C., it seems that the Republican members of the Senate are not going to have a problem embracing unenlightenment.  I spent a good 40 minutes yesterday afternoon watching Republican Susan Collins (a senior-ranking senator) justify her decision to vote for the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh as a Justice of the Supreme Court.  Collins was considered a swing vote.  She swung alright, or should I say all right.  Her speech, in turns, made me angry, sad, indignant, and angry again.  It was an example of the worst kind of partisan politics that I've witnessed in the last couple years.

The part of Collins' speech that struck me hardest was when, almost in the same breath, she spoke of her compassion for Christine Blasey Ford, saying that she believed Dr. Ford was the victim of sexual assault.  Then Collins quickly pivoted, questioning the details and substance of Ford's story.  It was almost as if I was listening to Lindsey Graham or Mitch McConnell in drag.

In a time when there is such a spotlight on sexual assault and discrimination in this country (and across the globe), the vote today, which I'm positive will result in Brett Kavanaugh getting a life-time appointment to the Supreme Court, is evidence of how much things really HAVEN'T changed.  Rich, white men are still calling the shots, putting a privileged white frat boy on the bench in the highest court of the land.

Now, if you're reading this post and thinking, "Kavanaugh was cleared by the FBI investigation," let me point out that the investigation lasted a total of four or five days, and dozens of potential witnesses were not interviewed.  Dr. Ford passed a polygraph test.  Brett Kavanaugh NEVER took a polygraph test.  And, if that isn't enough to convince you that Kavanaugh doesn't belong on the Supreme Court, let me remind you of his deportment when he was being questioned last week.  He cried, yelled, spoke of having a vendetta against Democrats and the Clintons.  His testimony itself proves his inability to remain calm, level-headed, and impartial.  That alone should disqualify him for the job he wants so badly.

Yes, I'm angry.  We are not in the 1860s or '70s.  Moby-Dick contains elements of horrible racism.  And Susan Collins and Brett Kavanaugh are proof that rich, white men are STILL in power, as they have been practically since the founding of the United States.

I am not proud of my country at this moment.  When "The Star Spangled Banner" is played, I don't feel like rising and removing my hat.  Go ahead and post angry comments to/about me, if you want.  I honor the American men and women who have fought and died for the preservation of democracy and freedom in the world.  Unfortunately, the people in power in Washington, D. C., right now are conflating patriotism with these higher ideals.  They aren't honoring our veterans.

I feel like I need to apologize for my country all the time now, because of the decisions being made by its President, senators, and representatives.  Now, it seems, I may have to apologize for the Supreme Court, as well.

Saint Marty is thankful this morning for Senator Susan Collins because she cast a huge, glaring light on all that's wrong with the United States at this moment.

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