They Look Like Me

Maureen MurdockUncategorized15 Comments

Speaking about the incredible failure by law enforcement in D. C. to prepare for and contain the mob rampage through the Capitol on January 6th, R. P. Eddy, a former American counterterrorism official and diplomat said, “There was a failure among law enforcement to imagine that people who ‘look like me’ would do this.”

Not only was there a failure of imagination by law enforcement that hordes of white men would smash, break and splinter windows and doors to get into the Capitol because they too were white, but there was a failure of will among citizens of this nation to hold Donald Trump accountable for all of his past cheating, falsehoods, grift, misogyny and racism. We have watched him for 5 years get away with crime after crime, destroying our democracy and we’ve thought well, it can’t get that bad.

Well, it has gotten that bad.

Hundreds of young and middle-aged white men came with guns, smoke bombs, zip ties and Confederate banners after having been whipped up into a frenzy by a President and his associates who said “it will be wild.” Yes, it was wild and 5 people are now dead. And there would have been many more dead if the marauders had been black or brown. For what? The plan they had was to overthrow a lawfully won Presidential election but they defamed the sacred chamber of our democracy. And we looked on in shock and awe.

Why do these white men feel they can do this with impunity, without accountability? There has been a culture of Anglo-Saxon machismo fostered by the NRA, product advertising (pick-up trucks, beer, sports) that has supported adolescent fantasies of power and white male supremacy so they take no responsibility for the consequences of their violence. They thought the invasion of the Capitol, defiling the building, taking vanity selfies, desecrating Nancy Pelosi’s office, and chanting “Hang Mike Pence” was a lark.

The chant, “Hang Mike Pence,” is a direct descendant of “Lock Her Up” started by Trump before he took office. Anyone with a different point of view becomes the enemy. This unrestrained toxic masculinity is incapable of rationality, decency and democracy.

We must put an end to it now.

15 Comments on “They Look Like Me”

  1. Hi Maureen –
    My 33 year old daughter recently told me ( I am 60 ) about your book “The Heroine’s Journey”. I am feeling as though I am finally seeing my own thoughts in print, which is both a relief, and a bit odd, since you published this 30 years ago! I don’t know how your book slipped by me when it first came out … I was living in Italy at the time, so probably it was translated a bit later and I just, well, missed it.

    Maybe I wasn’t ready for it then … the absolute dearth of female role models for the kind of life I was striving for back then was so devastating, your book might have rubbed that void in a bit too hard for me !
    The timing is certainly spot on right now, and I thank you for having the courage to really speak the truth about the why’s and how’s we are all – women included – so stuck in these destructive patterns that are ruining our planet and our lives as well. Reading you gives me courage to not only continue in my own work, trying to help wake people up a bit, and especially the women around me, but to speak a bit louder, myself.

    Thank you!

    I also wanted to just say that there were also lots and lots of white WOMEN at the Capitol on January 6. One of the deaths was indeed a woman with a military background, who climbed through a window when the mob was first breaching the building.

    I have been pondering all this – as well as the support of Trump by many, many women when he was still in the White House and even today – and I must say, while I knew it had to do with the identification with what feels like the “winners” in the patriarchal game of survival-of-the-biggest-bully-with-the-biggest-golden-toilet, before reading your book it felt so incomprehensible, so irremediable, that I was almost desperate with grief for what felt like a lack of real “progress” in terms of a broader awakening. There is no question that women are freer today than they were when I was born, that our society is a bit more open and supportive for many who before were completely sidelined, when not outright abused.

    But there is also no question that many continue to suffer terribly, women now “have to” work two full time jobs to feel at all worthy (and help pay the bills), that the earth is suffering terribly, and unless deeper things change, more women jumping into this rat race is not going to solve the problems we are facing.

    Nonetheless, I have been relieved to read you, I am thrilled my daughter found you – that, in my view, is perhaps proof I have been a good-enough mother to a wonderful, creative daughter, also desirous of more balance and more Life! – and to know that others like myself are watching as women take over positions of high power, hoping, hoping beyond hope they won’t just keep on perpetrating the whole thing. From what I can see, not many seem at all aware that there actually may be alternatives to this way of thinking, being, and acting, either on an individual or a societal level.

    But as I said, reading your work I at least now feel more hope myself knowing I am not alone in thinking the call for women to “lean in” is one that can end up a deadly trap, rather than a gift of the current times.

    Your voice is strong and true and I will be recommending your books to all who will listen 🙂

    Best – Martha

    1. Dear Martha,
      Thank you so much for your response to my book and for taking the time to write. You obviously have a wonderful creative daughter just like her mother!! Keep writing, we need your voice!!

  2. Amen,Maureen .Everything you said was spot on the truth.It is all so awful,none of us know what we can do.We will keep reading your excellent blog and pray for better times.I really miss seeing you.

  3. Thank you for this thoughtful and incisive analysis on white privilege that has accompanied the insurrection at the Capitol. Today’s vote to impeach Trump again provides some hope that this perpetrator of abuses of power of all kinds (including racial and sexual) will not be able to run for president again. However, the fact that so many Republicans STILL supported Trump reinforces the deep divides in our country. I don’t need to repeat here the outrages. What disturbs me is that these Republican leaders are so greedy for power that they will negate reality–as in the fact that Trump lost, lost!–in order to maintain their grip on the truth-forsaken Trump voters whose support they still want. It sickens me.

  4. BTW: From the New Yorker:
    The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention, which was restructured and renamed in 2019, is dedicated to investigating extremism and domestic terrorism. Between 2017 and 2019, its operating budget was cut from twenty-one million dollars to less than three million, and the number of its full-time employees dwindled from forty to fewer than ten.

  5. Yes, Maureen, to all you have said.
    I have to admit I was one of those thinking “they”, the Q-anon followers, the white nationalists, the haters and domestic terrorists were in “fringe” category. I was and am so wrong. Doctors, military and police officers, members of Congress, teachers, professors, the educated and the uneducated, the monied, the unmonied, florists, nurses, fathers, mothers, grandparents…
    We have to out number them. Them.

  6. Very well said. It has to be stopped, and it will probably be women who will stop it. Not a suprise that the Republican politicians who have stood up and spoken out against Trump (Liz Cheney, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins) are women, while the men (Cruz, Hawley, Jordan) persist in the disinformation fantasies spun by Trump.

  7. Amen. Well said, Maureen. I agree, we have to stand up to this psychosis of untruths, distorted realities and one-sided black/white, either/or, only my way attitudes and complexes on a rampage in the American psyche.

  8. Yes, I agree with your point of view Maureen. These guys were full of testosterone and macho man mentality. It reminded me of Castro’s revolts with no respect for anything or anybody. It brought all back to me, waking up one morning at my grandparents’s house, invaded by armed milicianos, who proceeded to take over the house and forced my grandmother to cook and clean for them at gun point. This is the same mentality of brutality and violence we saw last week. This first time, in the fifty years I’d have lived in this country that I am truly scared to be a brown skin woman with an accent. I feel deeply sadden to see the america I love and that opened her arms to me and my family as refuges, crumble. I am experiencing the same terror I once felt as a child as I witnessed the killing of innocent people. Can I survive one more time? where can I escape this time? There many white Americans, who are in denial of the danger we are all in at the hands of these soulless creatures. I hope they wake up before is too late!

    1. Oh Flor, I am so sorry you are re-living the trauma you experienced in Cuba. What an image–to see your grandmother forced at gun point to cook and clean for the milicianos. I hope you can convince the exiles who live in Cuba that Trump is no better than Castro.

  9. Absolutely! From Canada we watched with horror at what transpired in the Capitol altho it wasn’t altogether a surprise. We had watched Trump being tolerated and maintained as President for years despite the display of his ignorance, racism, sexism and complete lack of empathy for anyone. I hope he can be completely deleted from office and, one hopes, ultimately from history!!

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