In 2006, there was a television documentary titled The Root of All Evil? It was presented by Richard Dawkins, and the title refers, of course, to religion. Dawkins didn’t like the title, and thought it was ridiculous to say that anything is the root of all evil. Nonetheless, when I used to be an atheist activist, I knew many atheists who thought that religion was the root of at least a significant fraction of evil. …This made slightly more sense during the Bush presidency.
The idea that there is one root of most evil is a common affliction in many social movements and political viewpoints. In the world of social justice, there’s always this fight over the primacy of the patriarchy, white supremacy, or capitalism as the root of evil. A few people will argue that one form of prejudice is really just some other kind of prejudice in disguise, like saying that homophobia or transphobia are really just forms of sexism. Beyond the world of social justice, I get the sense that both the left and right think of each other as the root of evil. And then there is the purest embodiment of this idea: horseshoe theory, which asserts that contrary to appearances, both the far left and far right spring from the same source.
This is all to say, ace activism does not have this affliction. Nobody here believes compulsory sexuality is the root of all evil. Asexuality is just this thing we care about, and we think other people should care about it. It’s worth caring about even if it’s obviously not the most important thing to care about.
In 2020, we’ve faced increasingly forceful reminders that asexuality is not the most important thing to care about. This is why, when I hosted the Carnival of Aces on “Quarantine”, I accepted articles that had little or nothing to do with asexuality. Like the early months of the pandemic, this October is another one of those months, as we wait on tenterhooks to see if President Trump will receive the landslide defeat that he deserves, or if he’ll scrape out a victory via the undemocratic electoral college, voter suppression, and/or a coup.
I find it difficult to write in this state. The other day, I was looking at this month’s Carnival of Aros prompt (“prioritization”), and it asked:
do you have a different orientation you prioritize over your aromanticism?
I bitterly remarked that I don’t prioritize either aromanticism or asexuality. I prioritize fighting fascism. I considered submitting this essay as a hostile response but then thought better of it.
So I probably won’t write anything for Ace Week. And you’ll have to wait longer to hear more about Twitter’s misconceptions about split attraction models. Because what I really want to tell you to do is vote. And I don’t mean vote for Biden, although obviously you should if you can vote in US elections. I mean vote in every election you are eligible to vote in. Our political woes did not emerge in a day, they emerged from numerous political decisions, including little ones that seemed unimportant at the time. The ideal time to stop Trump is not 2020, it’s the decades preceding his presidency, when hypothetically we could have voted out every Republican and prevented them from creating this monster in the first place.
So this month I spent a few hours to research my whole ballot, and I wrote my little “go vote” rant… and that’s pretty much it? Still plenty of time for ace activism I guess. But instead of blogging more, I went and played video games and read about music.
Theoretically there is space for multiple important subjects at the same time, but in practice there are some psychological barriers.
I tell myself that even in ordinary times, asexuality is not always the top priority for ace activists. This space we have created, the exclusive focus on asexuality, it’s actually very artificial. For those of us who enjoy blogging, usually we enjoy blogging about all sorts of topics. Most writers for The Asexual Agenda, myself included, have our own personal blogs for most things, and then we only put stuff here when we think it suits the audience. I assume that if you really want to hear me talk about math or philosophy or whatever, you just follow my personal blog.
When ace spaces have a narrow topical focus, it’s important to remember that this is not necessarily a reflection of our personal priorities. Each of us is a unique individual with our own interests and priorities. We contain multitudes. The reason we build spaces with a narrow topical focus is not to confine us, but to enable us to mix and match content to our individual liking. If you care about upper-level asexual discussion, we’re here for you. If you care about other issues and interests–and you should!–then there’s nothing to stop you from participating in multiple spaces.