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[36.0] the crisis crisis
what happens when politicians refuse to believe an apocalypse is possible
When you leap over the deer carcasses
that line every garden, you will marvel
at their tidiness, at how bloodless a death
by drought can be. When I crawl through
the highway pieces shattered by heat,
I will admire the clean slits as I kick
aside crumbles of broken stone with little
blistering. When you thread between
the overtaken shores and bodies of elders,
frozen, when I follow the fallen saplings’
directions toward the horizon where
colorless sky and earth meet, we will
remember rippling at the birthday parties
for corporations and framing the ash
of beloved photos burnt in wildfire. When
we think of crossing the river to each
other, you from the gorge of the landslide
to me at the crest of the typhoon, it is then
we will find ourselves in a dead imaginary,
in some fictive past where the you exists,
where I is not a myth we use to keep
surviving at the cost of bird and glacier,
home and tenderness. Having ruined
the future of becoming fossils, finally
we will know that it is for nothing we
die, never in place of drowned sea
turtles or swarming locusts, or to foil
cancerous sand and mold, not even for
the dance of subway floods or the graceless
eclipse of all our promises and planets.
What’s become ever-unavoidable in the past few weeks to those hoping to compartmentalize civilizational collapse is precisely that: the pseudo-abolition of the Fourth Amendment; the overturning of the federal right to an abortion; the throwing away of the Establishment Clause; and the hollowing out of the federal government’s ability to cap air pollution through the EPA.
Not to mention the eventual destruction of other rights, including those of access to contraception and same-sex marriage.
A suite of variables explains how this happened. For one, an unelected chamber of power whose majority is hellbent on enacting a white Christian nationalist agenda. A political system designed for white minority rule since its inception. And—we’d be remiss to leave out—a liberal faction uninterested in countering these machinations.
In the immediate aftermath of the SCOTUS ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, June 24—for which the White House and Democrats had a full month to prepare—Joe Biden’s response was to ask citizens to “vote” for politicians who will support abortion rights, as though the Democrats don’t hold the White House and both chambers of Congress.
Same energy in the face of rising gas prices. An urge to abandon the federal gas tax as a way to reduce the pressures of inflation, as if fossil fuel companies’ profiteering aren’t responsible for higher costs, or skyrocketing rent doesn’t account for 40% of inflation (which especially affects, ding dong, the Democrats’ strongest voter bases!!).
I think what we’re seeing, and why I included Cindy Juyoung Ok’s “The End of Crisis” at the tippy top, is a liberal inability to see hell or evil, including the hell or evil permitted by the politics one espouses. Continuing to believe in anything called “good faith” with people who want to destroy you. Tapping into technologized optimism to think the future inevitably promises progress. But as “The End of Crisis” suggests, we can’t eat our cake and have it too—any kowtowing to profit or short-termism means we’re already toast.
While we continue to lose with every passing minute, the Supreme Court majority’s beliefs are literally injected into earth, air, and water—united over time by uninhabitability. This is, to borrow from anthropologist Dr. Cymene Howe, globalization in another form. While globalization is a neoliberal raison d’être partially responsible for anthropocentric collapse, it’s also a scheme SCOTUS’ nativists ostensibly despise. We’re here with ice melts in Iceland affecting sea level rises in Cape Town, and sure-to-soon-be-spiking US emissions sparking fires worldwide. But SCOTUS’ ideological hypocrisy feels trivial to point out when, no joke, the conservative majority may intentionally usher in the end of the world.
Happy 4th tho! xo
Divine Innovation is a somewhat cheeky newsletter on spirituality and technology. Published once every three weeks, it’s written by Adam Willems and edited by Vanessa Rae Haughton. Find the full archive here.