Rawwas: Stop making heroes out of political leaders

MOHAMMED RAWWAS, Opinion Columnist

This is not a personal attack, at least not in the traditional sense. It is not an attack of a specific person, but rather an attack on the very concept of a “person.” We can relitigate the fact that Ginsburg referred to Kaepernick’s protest of kneeling during the national anthem as “really dumb,” or point to decisions on any number of cases that may undermine her ostensible progressive sensibilities, but that is not the main focus of this article. Rather, what this article takes issue with is the act of such.

Heroes don’t exist. Not only that, but the act of hero worship is the perfect example of interpassivity, here taken as a negative. If heroes exist, then that means we can safely withdraw from the political process, knowing that our saviors are out there, saving the world, and our only role is to vote in elections every four years in order to grant our heroes the power and authority to continue their heroics. Nothing breeds political apathy, complacence or inactivity more than this childish belief in heroes.

The mainstream liberal response to the recent news of RBG’s passing was pathetic. This would not be noted if it did not quite possibly point to dangerous psychological tendencies to be found within mainstream liberalism. Every issue that mainstream liberals supposedly care about, in terms of issues that could be directly affected by Supreme Court decisions, were directly put into danger by RBG refusing to retire. To miss this obvious, point is to withdraw into a sad fatalism, in which tragedy just happens to continuously befall our beloved democrats, but of which nothing at all can be done. And is this not reminiscent of how Obama handled his own nomination of Merrick Garland, surrendering as soon as any opposition was detected? There is a reason that we are about to have a 6-3 U.S. Supreme Court, a reason why Trump was allowed to nominate three judges to the U.S. Supreme Court within the timespan of less than four years, and to pretend otherwise, to refuse to assign any responsibility, is to resign into a fatalist determinism that necessarily eschews any need for political action of any sort.

It should also be noted that the cult that has formed around RBG in the past few years has been stultifying, to say the least. What is perhaps most perplexing is the insistence on connecting symbols that are quite simply unconnectable: for example, the use of “Notorious RBG” as a flip on The Notorious B.I.G., who has absolutely no (relevant) connection to RBG whatsoever. One may yet ask what goes on in the liberal imaginary that would deem such a forced connection appropriate at all, much less something to proudly bandy about. Or the most recent attempts to connect RBG’s passing to the recent passing of Chadwick Boseman, who has already become synonymous with Black Panther and Wakanda in the liberal imaginary, and who, I might add, has no relevant connection to RBG, whatsoever. The idea of forcefully appropriating a dead rapper’s personage to something completely irrelevant already seems off-putting, much less a rapper who suffered such an untimely death, but in light of Ginsburg’s comments on Kaepernick, for example, it cannot but come off as incredibly disrespectful (some may even say uncouth, which no doubt this article will be accused of being). Yet the attempt to forcefully connect RBG to Chadwick Boseman reveals something perhaps even more sinister, which is that there is clearly an act of cultural appropriation occurring here. Liberals, always the moralists, always quick to condemn anyone for any supposed moral slight, are very clearly engaging in what cannot be but deemed an incredibly odd act of cultural appropriation, attempting to grant RBG greater political credibility in liberal circles by attempting to connect her to some ephemeral Black struggle, by forcefully appropriating signifers from Black culture that, I cannot reiterate enough, have no plausible connection to RBG. Yes, she has resided over cases that pertain to civil rights. Yet, as the Kaepernick statement suggests, things may not be as clear-cut as they first appear. The liberal’s deep psychological need to imagine the universe as a Marvel movie in which all of their “Avengers Assemble” is an explicit rejection of any sort of clear-eyed diagnosis of our present situation, which, I may add, is in fact harrowing and does require immediate attention.

The reality of the matter is that many of the cases that the U.S. Supreme Court presides over are carbon copies of cases they have already seen. Interest groups exist to push for bills to be passed at the state level, in order for court cases to be developed around them in which the explicit goal is to attempt to get them to the U.S. Supreme Court. All of this is to maintain issues such as abortion at the forefront of political discourse, constantly being presented as on the brink of repeal, so that other issues are crowded out of the discussion. The U.S. Supreme Court, as it exists today, will constantly be on the brink of changing hands every few years. Perhaps it is time to question the very structures of our institutions, and ask if we can perhaps move beyond perpetual danger towards a more stable future.