As part of writing non-consent and gender degradation erotica in a responsible manner, each month I present a Reality Check article, touching base with safe, respectful, equitable behaviour in kink, in relationships, and in the world generally.
Don’t vote for Trump.
I went back and forth on writing this article, because I know it’s going to piss people off, and it’s going to (sigh) cost me sales, but at the end of the day I didn’t feel good about taking the money of the people that this is going to piss off, and I certainly didn’t feel good about appeasing them by staying silent. And more than that, given what I write, it’s my responsibility to write this.
I write stories about patriarchal, oppressive societies, where women are treated like shit. They’re hot, for me and for many readers, but part of why they’re hot is that they’re taboo. They’re forbidden. They represent our fears. They’re an exploration of things that shouldn’t happen, in fiction, for the purpose of erotica.
Let me tell you this. Real oppression isn’t sexy. Real trauma isn’t hot. Face to face with the reality is as far from erotic as you could possibly get.
And, at a more mercenary level, it doesn’t give us what we want. A world of gender inequity is not a world where men get more sex or more satisfying sex. It’s a world where everyone ends up repressed, frustrated, and unhappy. Sexual freedom requires, as the name implies, freedom, and true freedom requires safety, respect, and opportunity for everyone involved.
The world Trump and his allies want to make is not that world, and just purely at the sexual level – which is absolutely the lowest level we can discuss this on – it’s not in your interests.
But let’s go further
I’m writing this about the United States, and only about the United States. I certainly have feelings about the political situation in the UK, and in my own country, and elsewhere, but I’m not writing those articles because what’s going on in the United States is something quantitatively and qualitatively different.
I say this without hyperbole: you need to get your vote right at this election, because if you don’t, you may not get the chance to get it right in future.
It is NOT normal for a sitting leader to refuse to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if they lose an election, as Trump has done on several occasions. It is, in fact, extraordinary. They don’t say that. They don’t say that as a *joke*. In any functioning democracy, that would be the end of their campaign, as people from across society and within their own party line up to denounce it. Their political career would be over.
It is NOT normal for a politician to lie so blatantly and so frequently. Yes, politicians are known for lying, but when we say that what we mean is that they exaggerate, that they cherry-pick, that they backflip, that they use weasel-words. But first, even that definition of lying should be punished at the ballot box. If you think someone has lied to you, don’t vote for them. But what has happened in the last four years is something quite different – a different kind of lie, which is a lie in the sense of “unarguably and provably wrong, and they knew that when they said it”.
It is NOT normal to respond to a health emergency of unprecedented magnitude by lying, by defunding and sidelining the bodies specifically set up to combat it, by giving dangerously incorrect health advice, by deliberately holding events likely to spread the disease. When I said back in March that the US would likely top 160,000 deaths from COVID due to Trump’s response, I got messages telling me I was fearmongering and ridiculous. But no, that was the consensus of the disease experts outside the US, and in fact as we now see the death toll soar past 200,000, with 6.8 million active infections, it turns out to have been a remarkably conservative estimate.
Those deaths were preventable. Of every country in the world, the US should have been best prepared in science and in wealth to fight this. The death toll under any other president – Democrat or Republican – would likely have been well under 100,000 at this point. There are 100,000 dead Americans at Trump’s feet alone.
Whatever people in the US are seeing within their political bubble, the rest of the world doesn’t have any significant debate about this. We are horrified, and we are horrified that there should be any view within the United States that this was anything less than unforgivable.
Why am I picking this fight?
Democracy exists on the assumption that it’s a compromise, and that when we don’t get the option that we want, we’ll be able to survive it long enough to cast another vote a few years later.
(I have so many asterisks to add to that, most particularly that American democracy was founded by and for educated white male landowners, and that it’s those educated white male landowners that it’s assuming will survive, but the essay on political theory will have to be in another forum.)
An option that doesn’t allow the continuance of democracy is not a democratic option.
Even putting aside Trump’s refusal to commit to a transfer of power – and that should NOT be put aside, or taken lightly, when it’s well-reported that the US military are discussing internally what role they might play in such a scenario – the ways in which Trump and his allies have undermined US democracy at every level are devastating.
Your court appointments should not be political. In most other western democracies, the highest courts are staffed largely by the best people for the job, not the ones that will give the outcomes that the government of the day approves of.
Your rate of electoral fraud is tiny, despite what Trump says, and it’s essential to democracy that people have faith in the outcomes of elections, which is why it’s inexcusable for a leader to undermine it for no reason in the way Trump has.
A democracy thrives on its checks and balances, and yet at every turn Trump has interfered with, defunded, or restaffed the organisations meant to hold American democracy accountable and transparent.
And at every chance when given the option to genuinely heal the United States and address the divisions plaguing the country, Trump has deliberately exacerbated them, aiming to create the riots and unrest that will justify an increasing use of police and paramilitary force.
Each one of these, alone, should have decided the election, in any functioning democracy. Together, they leave no room for a vote for Trump.
Your democracy is not going to survive a Trump victory. It’s as simple as that. You won’t get another chance.
But I don’t like Biden!
No, I don’t much like him either. But I say three things to that.
1) Biden is uninspiring, and problematic, but if he’s evil – and I don’t think I’d come close to using that word for him – he’s not evil on the scale of Trump. It’s day and night, and if you can’t see that difference you’re engaging in some very immature false equivalence. The reality is that every major-party presidential candidate for the entire history of your nation has been wealthy, out-of-touch, sexist, and with some very problematic views about some aspect of international relations. But I can guarantee you that a Biden government is going to give you a chance to kick him out again once his term is up, which is not something I can say for Trump.
2) American democracy is one of the least democratic democracies in the world. By virtue of going first, you didn’t have the benefit of many other examples to learn from, and what you ended up with is basically Baby’s First Democracy. The fact that your presidential elections are first-past-the-post is ridiculous, and the effect of it is that you just can’t vote for third parties. Your darling libertarian or independent or whatever is NOT going to win the race, and your vote for them doesn’t transfer and is entirely wasted. If you want Trump out, you have to vote for Biden. That’s the rules of the game here, and hating them doesn’t change them.
3) Your electoral system does require fundamental change. It was designed for educated white male landowners, and it was *intended* that the system would keep those who weren’t educated white male landowners from getting into government. That’s not a bug – it’s a feature. It was the whole original purpose of the Senate, and subsequent constitutional amendments have only mitigated that problem, not fixed it. The system in its current form is systemically incapable of delivering a genuinely progressive major-party candidate, and it increasingly penalises centrist Republicans too. But that change is not going to come before this election, so if you don’t like being given a choice between Biden and Trump, then suck it up, vote for Biden, and then maintain the rage into a campaign for genuine political reform.
That’s all I have to say
But I did have to say it. I can’t write the stories I write, and then in good conscience stand silent on a question that may make them reality.
I doubt I’ve convinced anyone to change their vote. But history will condemn those who stayed silent at this time, and the fact that you can’t make a difference all by yourself doesn’t remove your moral obligation to try.
I hope you’ll continue reading and enjoying my stories. If you strongly feel that you don’t want to, after reading this, then they really weren’t for you anyway.
– All These Roadworks