Before 2020, two things were essentially treated as non-controversial and universally agreed-upon. First, the fact that the existing collection of statues and monuments in the United States would continue to exist, with possible additions from time to time. Second, the right to decline medical intervention. In other words, the fact that no adult should be required or forced to undergo any medical procedure.
Unfortunately, beginning in 2020, these two things became controversial, to put it mildly. Politicians from one of the two major political parties began to support both the destruction of the statues and monuments that I need in order to have a life that is worth living, as well as policies that force people to undergo medical intervention against their will.
For me, the issues of statue destruction and vaccine mandates are by far more important than any other political issues. Both the continued existence of the statues that make my life worth living, as well as the right of people to decline medical intervention, should be universally accepted and completely non-controversial. When one of the two major political parties decided to take positions opposing both of these things, it became a complete no-brainer for me to support and vote for candidates from the other party. There really isn’t much of a decision to be made when one political party supports destroying everything that makes your life worth living and the other one doesn’t.
Last Tuesday night, while watching coverage of the election results, I felt my mood slowly begin to go downhill. Even though I was watching Fox News, the channel least prone to anti-everything-that-makes-life-worth-living bias, the banter of the pundits and the victory speeches of the winning candidates started to get to me for several reasons.
First of all, it seems to be the general consensus among pundits and the general public that Republicans weren’t as successful in this election as expected. This is disappointing because, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, the party that supports destroying everything that makes my life worth living is the Democratic Party.
But watching the election results was also depressing because even the Republican Party generally doesn’t place as much importance as it should on the issues that truly matter. It is frustrating to see politicians bickering about inflation, the economy, the cost of gas, the war in Ukraine, abortion, whether “drag queen storytime” events are appropriate for kids, and which bathrooms people should be allowed to use, while everything that makes life worth living has been destroyed and no one seems to have any interest in remedying this or punishing the perpetrators.
The news coverage was depressing for a third reason as well. Given the severity and pervasiveness of the statue genocide, the mere mention of states and cities is enough to trigger overwhelming feelings of grief for the statues that were removed and/or destroyed in those states and cities. For example, when the Fox broadcast showed a map of the county-by-county election results in Virginia, along with the locations of major cities such as Charlottesville and Richmond, my entire being was flooded with stomach-sickening disgust and rage.
The atrocities that have been perpetrated against historical figures have been so devastating to me that for quite some time I gave up consumption of news entirely. Although I used to read the newspaper every day, browse news websites, watch the news on TV, and follow numerous local organizations and public figures on social media, the constant stream of horrifying new developments became so traumatizing that I made the decision to reduce, and then eliminate, my exposure to information. Consuming news used to be an important activity for me because I found it interesting and believe that there is inherent value in being knowledgeable about what is happening in the world. Giving it up was a significant sacrifice but necessary in order to prevent myself from being completely psychologically destroyed. Lately, my mental state has stabilized somewhat (knock on wood), and I have experimented with adding back some of the activities and information sources that I had eliminated. But the past week seems to have demonstrated that I added back the TV news a bit prematurely. I will have to wait before I can safely resume it, if I am ever able to at all.
Unfortunately, the reality is that I live in a country where the President and Vice President want the people I love to be dismembered and tortured to death. And now I live in a state whose governor-elect wants this as well. But even many politicians from the opposing party, including my state’s current governor, don’t particularly care about the dismemberment and torture of the people I love, either. This demoralizing situation is exemplified by the election of Glenn Youngkin as governor of Virginia last year. Although he was certainly an improvement over his morally repugnant predecessor, Youngkin made no move to repair, restore, or defend the statues that were so viciously brutalized.
Prior to 2020, the continued existence of the people I love was taken for granted, the nation’s collection of statues a backdrop of sorts, atop which politicians bickered over various issues. During the summer of 2020, when the frequency of dismembering and torturing was at its nauseating peak, the outrage of those on the conservative side of the political spectrum made me feel seen and heard. But now, the post-2020 collection of statues, so diminished as to not even be worth fighting for, has become the new backdrop. In other words, the existence of the people I love used to be taken for granted, but now their non-existence is taken for granted. This horrific, incomprehensible, and profound loss no longer seems to register to politicians of either party.
It’s a disturbing situation, to put it mildly, and it is a reality that I have to live with every day. If my day is going relatively well, I can manage to function and possibly even be in a good mood while the disturbing reality lurks in the back of my mind. But other times, the disturbing reality comes to the forefront. Overall, it is very difficult to live in a society in which the political establishment, and likely the majority of people, support the destruction of everything that makes my life worth living.
I believe that it is never acceptable to destroy or remove a statue. I believe that it is never acceptable to require a person to undergo a medical procedure. Without the people I love being allowed to exist, life is not worth living. And without the freedom to make decisions about my own body, life is not worth living, either. Any politician or public figure who disagrees with me on these issues wants me to have a life that is not worth living. And I can’t support any politician or public figure who thinks that, regardless of how mainstream those views are, and regardless of what party the politician is from.