The Big Three Killed my Baby

Vander+Ritchie

Vander Ritchie

Vander Ritchie, Co-Editor

It was Aeschylus who said, “Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget, falls drop by drop upon the heart, until in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.” Robert Kennedy echoed these words announcing the death of Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Little did he know he’d be assassinated only months later. 

The election season is over. It’s hard to believe. I’ve been following this since February of last year. And it’s over, like a play I’ve starred in and been rehearsing. It was just opening night. I started the cycle hopeful, invigorated, and ready to finally have a president who represented me. Now my stick shift hands are swollen, the oil company’s faces are grinning, everything involved is shady, better ideas are stuck in the mud, and the big three killed my baby.

Never before had I realized just how powerful the political establishment was, just how despised people who hold my beliefs are and to what extent big business would go to save their financial interest. Up until this point, the very real struggle of actual change was nothing but a hypothetical. It had been condensed into these snapshots of progress. The Montgomery bus boycotts. The civil rights act. The emancipation proclamation. To me, these were the continuation of progress, traveling in a linear trajectory towards where we ought to end up. To me, the fight against progress came from Strom Thurmond, or David Duke, or Robert Lee. These supervillain-Esque evils. I have been violently awakened to the fact that the halting of progress isn’t that simple. That, in fact, the greatest thing holding back progress is a status quo invested in maintaining the exact status of now. It’s people who are legitimately misled and misinformed. It’s the thousand invisible men pulling strings, the capitalists invested in remaining financially in the same position they have been for years. Above the poor workers. And that progress doesn’t come from a series of big events strung together, but instead from constant activism, and occasional capitulation from the political establishment. And I found out my baby is dead.

Only now can I possibly understand the millions who have come before me, trying to achieve exactly what I’ve achieved. I’m only just now getting a taste of it. And I’m ready. Now my hands are turning red.

It’s undeniable that this election season has been painful. At least, for people like me. For those who don’t feel represented by either party and had the chance of being represented ripped away from them from the ruling class of America. The poor workers who can’t put food on the table. Black Americans still facing racism, segregation, and violence. Immigrants who are denied their humanity and put in concentration camps. Now we have to vote for Joe Biden, someone who represents a compromise with moderates. Those who cannot support revolutionary change because it threatens their way of life. What’s our response been? Nihilism, mostly. They’ve shrugged their shoulders and given up. I won’t lie. I felt it for about a month after Bernie dropped out. I stopped following politics entirely, I couldn’t stand seeing Joe Biden. But I’ve come around, after a lot of thinking. A lot of reading things by people a lot smarter and with a lot more lived experience than me. Hearing about the struggles of Dr. King, of Malcolm and other Black Americans. Of Chip Delaney and other homos. Of Frederick Douglass and other slaves. And now I see the struggle of so many others around the country. I see the riots and protests in response to George Floyd’s murder. I see the poor and the destitute, lying on the street. I see a Supreme Court poised to ban abortion, reverse the decisions regarding gay marriage, and give the election to the single most corrupt, fascistic President in American history. We can’t stop fighting. Our pain is not unique. It’s not super special. It’s part of a long, winding road towards progress. Look at Bernie Sanders, who’s been fighting for socialism, gay rights, environmental justice, and racial equality for 60 years. And you’re going to lie down and take it? After two years of failure? Well, I’m not. This is just the start of my fight for what I believe in. I know I’m on the right side of history. And I feel, on the back of my neck, wetting my hair, sliding down my back, the awful grace of God.