Arguably, the outbreak of violence on Capitol Hill was due, among other factors, to a combination of “testosterone intoxication” and the legitimization of a masculinized, populist, and skewed patriotic white supremacist ideology, with a rise of conspiratorial movements fed back by the coronavirus pandemic to spice things up. All this in an uncontrolled and very free communication environment in which there is no brake on lies and false or misrepresented news.
“Violence is as American as cherry pie.” These words from H. Rap Brown, who was chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and is currently serving a life sentence for murder, could well describe the sentiments of those who tried to close down the Capitol in Washington. Many of them suffer from “testosterone poisoning,” a term coined by actor Alan Alda in his 1975 magazine article. Ms. (founded by Gloria Steinem and other 70s feminists) on “What Every Woman Should Know About Men.” Testosterone poisoning exaggerates the need to commit violent acts because violence makes the intoxicated feel very good. And there are many people who feel very bad and are encouraged by violence. They feel bad, for example, entire layers of the predominantly male and white American population (farmers, workers in outdated industries, construction workers, veterans of the many wars that the US has entered, etc.) who have lost their job, their north, their role as supplier men, etc.
Why on January 6? Why on the Capitol? This is where the legitimation of the elites who promote the aforementioned supremacist ideology comes into play. It is those elites or influence groups that set the tone and incite supremacist violence. The elites can’t steer the masses in directions they don’t want to go, but they can slow down or hit the gas. Donald J. Trump is the head of a section of the masses irresponsibly fed towards division, distrust and hatred towards the different. Those masses who have been encouraged to return to the “Wild West” where order was not imposed by Law, but by force (of arms).
When Trump prodded his voters to march to the Capitol and go wild trying to pressure Congress to reject Joe Biden’s election, he told them what they wanted to hear. And for which he had been encouraging them for almost two years when in the first appearances or tweets of Trump about the elections, he said that if he did not win it was because they would be rigged.
The slogans on the banners they carried showed their commitment to comply with Trump’s directions; to prevent what Trump calls “theft of the elections.” Trump continued to allude to false vote theft even in his short speech amid the violence unleashed on Capitol Hill and only after being publicly required by Biden to appear and ask for the violence to stop.
The coronavirus pandemic and the measures taken to alleviate it, add spices. People are tired of staying home. Everyone wants a good pretext to go out and do something. Going out to defend a supposed just cause is a good excuse.
All these ingredients together give rise to the domination imposed by force (temporary or long-term, if it takes place in a coup) of a bellicose gang (the one that assaulted the Capitol, but that relies on more than 70 million voters) on the democratic decisions of the majority of the citizenry, “the others”. And that is what we have seen on our televisions and it has disturbed us.
It has disturbed and scared us because we do not know if what happened in the Capitol will or will not serve to remove the veil from the eyes of people dragged by populism in other countries as well. We are watching with concern how demagoguery, lies and even incitement to violence (against immigrants, against acquired rights, etc.) are growing in various European countries. Signs of testosterone intoxication are already beginning to be seen on the streets of several European cities, if only for reckless parties.
More and more previously “serious” parties are telling potential voters what they want to hear. They can flatter our ears by telling us that they are going to put a Ave station in front of our door, a wall to separate us from Mexico, that the solution to our ills is to get out of Europe or Spain or that we are going to make America great again. . So simple, so easy to understand, and so sweet. With a single sentence you can identify the culprit of your ills and you can spur your spirits, or testosterone, against that culprit.
Are we really getting intoxicated by testosterone? Be that as it may, no intoxication is desirable. As women, with considerably less testosterone (on average) than men, with many hours of care behind our backs and knowing that there are no simple solutions to complex problems, we make a call to think about what is behind the flattering promises and / or what they stimulate our most basic instincts (the hormonal one of them). A simple way to do this could be to think that anything has a cost, consequences, and potential benefit. Along these lines, we begin with a very modest first proposal: Every time we are promised something large and appetizing, let’s translate its price into care. How many nursery places, how many research grants are equivalent to those mammoth facilities for sports competitions (car races, etc.) that later have no use, because they are not necessary? The business is to build and employment is generated while the construction lasts. Meanwhile, there is no budget to repair the roofs of public schools that fall, there are schoolchildren who have to receive classes in prefabricated barracks and laboratories are closed in cutting-edge research centers, or these are maintained on the basis of volunteerism and precarious employment. Asking ourselves these questions is a simple exercise, but one that would avoid uncritical exposure to proposals that are not focused on the essential, on a dignified life. We prefer proposals with reason, science and heart to proposals guided by testosterone.