Apocalypse Election Vibes
2020 is the year that the Left seriously starts talking about getting guns, and the Right is wielding their own weapons openly in the streets in self declared “militias”. 2020 is the year 45 starts declaring liberal hubs like Portland and NYC “anarchist autonomous zones” and the year that the phrase “defund the police” is seriously discussed on NPR. It’s the year the sky is orange with fire on the west coast, and drowning in hurricanes on the east coast while everyone is forced to stay inside due to the global pandemic of COVID-19. 2020 is the year of the election for 45’s second term, and the year 45 gets his 3rd pick for a supreme court justice which will have lasting impacts on generations to come.
We are about a month out from the election right now, and my partner Carp and I recently started planning apocalypse scenarios. It’s a step we have not taken before, and I think that means something. Carp and I have very different views of what we think we would do during an apocalypse scenario; while our politics align, the way we want to go about strategically differs.
I’ve always said I wanted to go down quick when the apocalypse comes- I’m not interested in stocking up on weapons to kill zombies, etc. if it comes to that. I’m interested in being in the center where shit is happening and being a part of whatever is happening. Which Carp and I agree is probably going to make for a shorter life.
Carp’s plan is to run to the hills, stock up on food and weapons and hunker down for years, until things settle down.
We met the other night to suss out what we’re going to do/ how many people we can accommodate in our apartment/ where we’re going to meet up if we get separated/ what we’re going to bring if shit goes down after the election. We have really different visceral reaction to the thought of the “apocalypse”, but both feel its presence looming. We see it playing out in one of two ways- a continuation of what’s already happening now under 45 with progressive escalation, or a critical mass moment that changes everything and from which there is no going back from.
1. PROGRESSIVE ESCALATION
We both agree that it’s probably not (?) going to be fire and brimstone immediately next month on November 4th, it’s probably going to just be a slow progression of the same shit that has been happening for the past four years (also for the past 200 years of American history). While the country under 45 is technically changing, it’s also in line with the founding of this country. The people leading the country have always leaned on being a police state and had to goal of separating marginalized people so that they can’t hold power together.
However, the way it’s been going has also been particularly rapid fire this past 4 years.
2. CRITICAL MASS MOMENT
We can also see it the other way: tension really ramping up after the election, with the election tipping off some kind of critical mass point that has been building since Ferguson in 2014, since 45 was election in 2016, since the pandemic started in 2020, and realistically since the first colonizers from Europe set foot on what is now deemed to be “America”.
But then again the election is going to be at the start of COVID winter, so who the fuck knows what that will look like: an unpredictable pandemic winter coupled with an unpredictable election/ inauguration.
The start of June came with the beginning of the George Floyd protests. People came out to protest in the streets in a way I have never seen before. The police also responded in a way I had never seen before. Also, check out what happened in Kansas City this summer regarding the start of the national Operation Legend. I went to a protest at the police department on the night the Breonna Taylor decision was announced, and it was sad as fuck.
I identify as a prison abolitionist and align with transformative justice, as does the Movement for Black Lives. While we don’t believe in the legal system and don’t believe anyone should go to prison, and don’t think anyone is to be thrown away, people definitely wanted something to be held accountable even in an unjust system, but nothing was held accountable.
It happens every time this way. Our criminal justice system so nonchallantly throws people away in prison for life when you’re BIPOC and poor, and can’t even lay a finger on you if you’re a white police officer.
How do we come together on something that’s so much bigger than all of us? As local activist and lawyer Stacy Shaw reiterates at protests, the police are trying to sow two things to break the movement momentum: “fear and confusion”. We are practicing fighting back against this together.
Voting is not a strategy for decolonialisation, being in the streets is. Because I’m in the streets doesn’t mean I’m not going to vote, but it does 1000% mean that I know change takes more than a ballot box. And that much of the time the ballot box is there to assuage the majority of the population into falsely thinking we can make change. We have a ridiculous electoral college system that makes most our votes “not count”, and we have democrats and republicans as our only choice, who are basically in bed with one another for racial capitalism.
Every time the fucking democrats come on and they are like, 45 will be forced to give up power because “we are not in Russia”, “we are not in Saudi Arabia,” it’s so fucking holier than thou. Can you find another way to express the fact that 45 is fascist without shitting on other countries? We are all human beings, fuck you. Stop acting like the US is better than other countries or is the exception to human greed because the US government is a fucking joke.
To kick off the beginning of 2020, Carp and I both get influenza for the first time ever (was it COVID?), and a month later fly to Florida for what will be the last time pre-COVID we will get on a plane. A month later the pandemic has been announced worldwide, and we experience lockdown and quarantine for the first time in our lives. By May we are wearing masks everywhere we go for the first time in our lives, and anarchist theories are being put into practice with community mutual aid networks set up to account for what the government is unable to provide citizens.
I’ve been to a few protests with KC Tenants to raise awareness of the ridiculousness of evicting people from their homes. This is an especially disgusting practice when we have a pandemic that is spread from human to human contact. When you take away someone’s home, you take away their only protection from the pandemic. The walls of our apartments and houses are our only armour against the virus. That’s why protesters say “End Evictions or People Die”. If the solution to the pandemic is to “stay at home,” then no one should be forced out of their home.
2020 is the first year I hold the title of practicing librarian, and teach classes online for academic libraries and try to help people get some of what they need in public libraries. I’m paying for my health insurance through ObamaCare, which 45 is currently trying to undo. If the Affordable Care Act goes away, I will not have health insurance. I have been applying to jobs with benefits, and no one is hiring right now. That being said, I like having two jobs during the pandemic, even if I don’t have healthcare through my employer, because it makes me feel more secure to have two irons in the fire.
I graduated with my Masters degree at the beginning of 2020, and committed myself to focusing on professional development this year. I am chairing two committees for a professional group, and I am also part of a work group facilitating community conversations having to do with unpacking and removing white supremacy culture within all of us. I am also becoming a legal observer for protests, and taking a community engagement university class through the city.
2020 is also the year that our beloved cat Francis gets ©asthma, and our feral cat Gretel comes to live with us and be Francis’ buddy. This is the year that the cats start demanding/ getting wet food two times a day, instead of a special treat every few months. If the world is indulging in simple pleasures at the end of the world, why shouldn’t that apply to cats?
2020 ends this winter with inauguration of a new president (maybe?) and also the winter that my partner and I turn thirty amid a global pandemic.
At a certain point throughout each week I find myself thinking, is it worth continuing in the way I am? Out of routine? I have been waiting my whole life for a cultural revolution such as this one, and when it comes it finds me fully employed and finally succumbing to mainstream “adulting”. Should I be pouring my energy in new and creative places, as these institutions I am finally developing professionally in might not be around in a few years, depending on how things develop? Should I stop paying my student loans? Should I stop posting to the internet, if it’s going to disappear soon, too? Thoughts at the end of summer, 2020. Be well, everyone. x