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Basslines and Protest Signs

Basslines and Protest Signs Part 64: Shark Bites and Senate Fights

Death Valley Girls (photo: Abby Banks)

Do you remember the story of the USS Indianapolis? That’s the World War II ship that went down after being near-blown in half by Japanese torpedoes. 890 people survived the attack and went into the water, but had to wait four days to be rescued. Only 316 survived the wait. Most died of exposure, dehydration, and saltwater poisoning. Approximately 150 people were killed by sharks.

The story is retold in Jaws — we learn that shark hunter Quint is a survivor. In the movie he says that the scariest part was when the rescue started and he was waiting for his turn. Because then, he had hope.

That’s what this period post-election feels like. I’m more anxious than I have been for the entire four years combined. We have hope. We know Joe Biden won a free and fair election in November. And, at the time of writing, nearly every one of the ludicrous lawsuits that Trump and his cronies have attempted have been all-but laughed out of court but, as I sit here writing, I’m watching the electoral vote count after waiting to see how the Supreme Court would respond to this insane suit from Texas, with the support of the president and 22 states, asking them to invalidate the votes from Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. We now know that the Supreme Court threw that suit out but it was way too close.

Ani DiFranco (photo: Schorle)

A couple of days earlier, SCOTUS declined to hear Mike Kelly’s suit asking them to overturn Pennsylvania’s votes, replying with one derisory line. So this next one should be a no-brainer. It’s the same shit. But this is 2020, the worst year in living memory. I’m fearing a vicious twist.

It all raises so many further questions. For example, how can it possibly be that in a free and fair democracy, there are so many pieces to this puzzle which are essentially exercises in good faith? 

How many times over the past month have you been reading about a part of this procedure — whether it’s county certification, state certification, the safe harbor deadline, whatever — and been told that it’s generally considered a ceremonial event? Normally, we’re told, these legislators and various officials do as directed by the popular vote as a matter of course. 

So what it feels like is that the entire US electoral process is a giant good faith exercise which has never been fully tested until now, because we’ve never had such a disingenuous and ill-motivated individual in the White House before. This means that every little nuance of the Constitution and various state laws are being tested in a way we’ve never seen. Yes, Bush vs Gore in 2000 was a shit show but this is a whole other thing.

We don’t know how far he can take this. We already have states attempting to sue other states. What sort of a precedent is that setting? Even if, as we expect, it goes nowhere, what damage has such a crass move done.


The translation of the French term coup d’état is “blow against the state.” Let’s be very clear: What Trump and his allies are attempting is exactly that. Hypothetically, if he were to be successful, he would be president having thrown out the votes of four states. After, we might add, the votes in those states have been certified and safe harbor met. 

We have to keep the faith, for now at least. It’s exhausting though. Isn’t it? Even in the new year, around the same time that the electoral votes for president will be counted in DC, Georgia will be having its runoffs for the final, and key, senate seats. All eyes are on Georgia, because control of the senate is up for grabs. And that means getting past the wall of shit that is Mitch McConnell as he seeks to block everything that he can, as he did during the Obama administration. 

With that in mind, a large number of musicians are getting together for a one day festival called Save the Senate, with proceeds going to the campaigns of John Ossoff and Raphael Warnock. The full lineup is:

Amanda Palmer, Ani DiFranco, A.O. Gerber, Annie Hart (Au Revoir Simone), Bedouine, Ben Lee, Buzzy Tunes, Chris Cohen, Courtney Marie Andrews, Death Valley Girls, Erin Rae, Faye Webster, Johanna Samuels, Jensen McRae, Jim James, Julianna Barwick & Mary Lattimore, Jolie Holland, Hiss Golden Messenger, KERA, Kimya Dawson, Liz Vice, Lonnie Holley, Madison Cunningham, Money Mark, Monica Martin, Mountain Man, Muzz, Ohmme, Okkervil River, Olivia Kaplan, Pete & the Quitters, Resistance Revival Chorus, Rufus Wainwright, Sadie Dupuis, Starcrawler, Tom Morello, Tyler Lyle (The Midnight), The Watkins Family Hour, and William Tyler.

“We live in North Carolina, where a racist Republican legislature has worked for a generation to undermine democracy through unprecedented voter suppression,” Merge Records and Superchunk co-founder Mac McCaughan said in a news release. “Our neighbors in Georgia have successfully fought back, through the efforts of Fair Fight and other organizations. The voters who turned Georgia blue in November can now elect Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, take back power in the Senate, and make true progress possible in this country.”

Hopefully it’ll help. In the meantime, we have 30-something days left of Trump’s insane tweets, nonsensical ramblings, and dangerous rants. We’re all bobbing in the ocean, waiting for Biden’s chopper to dangle that ladder and rescue us. Each lawsuit, each stage that requires a legislator and/or elector to do the right thing, is a shark having a nibble. We need to get out of the water fast, and it’s fucking terrifying. 

One last thing, these are the names of the more-than 120 house republicans who joined Trump in his failed coup. Write to them, civilly, and let them know what you think.

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