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Politics

Deplorable

“We should not be surprised by any of this.” – Stephen Colbert

Seriously, not only could this be predicted, but it was predicted… by lots of people when Trump was a candidate in 2016. It was made worse by all the politicians who coddled his worse instincts for the past four years: supporting his despicable nonsense, explaining away all his abhorrent behavior, normalizing actions that should be considered disgustingly abnormal by any decent person. Throughout his presidency, Trump continued to demonstrate, time and time again, that he was not only unfit to be president in a myriad of ways, but that he was also a foul, childish, and pathetic excuse for a human being. Still, Republican politicians and other high-level government officials didn’t just look the other way. They actively supported him. They encouraged him. They bear responsibility for Wednesday’s riot just as Trump does.

Some of them hypocritically went from vehemently denouncing him in the early 2016 primaries to endorsing him with full-throated enthusiasm once he became president. This wasn’t a case of “I campaigned against you but now we have to be united” which is fairly normal in politics. These were people (like Lindsey Graham, for example) who despised Trump and knew that he would be a dumpster fire of a president. But then they decided that morals, ethics, and honor weren’t things they cared about, so they did an about face and defended him with red-faced righteousness and holy anger against anyone who would dare call attention to Trump’s self-serving and dangerous actions or to his repeated (and repeated and repeated and repeated) lies. Hypocrites.

His supporters have wholeheartedly joined what can easily and accurately be termed a cult. It’s the Cult of Trump. They believe his lies. They cheer his xenophobia. They laugh at his sexism. They dismiss and mock his critics. Trump, aided and abetted by Republican politicians who have shamelessly fawned over him during his term, has created a cult of personality that he keeps alive by peppering it with lies, absurd promises, and conspiracy theories.

This man is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a “law and order” president. Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves… and was from the beginning.

If you’ve supported this man in 2016, supported him throughout his clusterfuck of a presidency, or continue to support him now, your moral compass isn’t just broken, it’s gone.

Black Lives Matter

I’m not even sure where to begin or what to say or how to feel right now. I’m at a loss about the brutality happening in this country. It’s at once heartbreaking and horrifying. I’m angered and outraged and disgusted, but I’m also feeling sadness, sympathy, and helplessness… wondering what I can do and feeling like I can’t do anything… thinking that I don’t have the words to express my own feelings or to adequately represent those who are being oppressed, beaten, and brutalized… fearing that whatever I say will be too understated, too privileged, or just trite.

That said, I just want to add that I acknowledge my own privilege in this situation. Not only from a “I’m a white, upper middle class male living in the suburbs” standpoint, but also from a pandemic standpoint (financially). While I’m not in a position/class that allows me to fully understand and empathize with people of color or people in less fortunate financial situations, I want to understand and I certainly feel a wide range of sympathetic emotions about it.

Now that the caveats are out of the way…

Black lives matter. White privilege exists in abundance. White supremacists are not “good people.” Nazis are not “good people.” Black people have always been oppressed in this country and continue to be oppressed. These are just facts.

When I see police in full riot gear… helmets, shields, batons, pepper spray… literally marching against protesters, beating them, chasing them down, spraying them wantonly with pepper spray, shoving them to the ground, running over them with vehicles, enveloping them in tear gas, and shooting them with rubber bullets (why is that even a thing?!), I’m horrified. I’m disgusted. I was brought to tears watching some of the videos. I’m also filled with rage at these police who perpetrate these things. Are they the new “just following orders” Nazis? Are they drunk with power? Are they just excited to play with their new riot gear? Are they all racists?

How has it come to this? It’s because of so many factors, it would be impossible for me to list them all, not to mention I don’t know them all. I know it has to stop. It’s outrageous. It’s horrific. It’s inflammatory. These police are exacerbating the situation with the exact behavior that is being protested. They’re not trying to diffuse the situation. They’re making it worse.

Then I choke up when I see videos and photos of other police officers walking with the protesters… kneeling with them… talking to them… helping them. I’m really hoping they’re in the majority among police. They help. They are the ones who let us know that not all the police are vile.

I do know a few reasons why this situation has gotten so drastically worse in the past few years (not that it hasn’t been bad for years and years before this). One neutral reason is the pandemic. Some people are already stressed out over being cooped up (to avoid dying). I think that’s a minor reason, though.

(Here’s where the polemic starts.)

I think the number one main reason is Donald Trump and his administration. Trump is a despicable human being. Putting aside his gross incompetence with running the country, he’s a racist, a liar, a misogynist, a xenophobe, a con-man, a serial sexual assaulter, a cheat, and a pathetic businessman. He’s also a terrible deal-maker.

This isn’t new. This was well known before he ever ran for president, and yet he was voted into office because enough people from the right places decided that it was better to have a man who was an unqualified, racist, sexist asshole in the White House than it was to have an eminently qualified woman there.

Trump has normalized racism and xenophobia. From his comments about Mexico sending rapists to his immigration policies to his border wall, he has constantly hammered home the idea that if you’re not white and you’re not Republican, you’re a danger to this country… unless you can somehow personally benefit him, of course. He glorifies violence (in many cases, promotes it). He belittles women. He demonstrates racism constantly (and has for decades).

When the “leader” of the country exemplifies those traits, it emboldens people with similar reprehensible views to amplify their voices and actions. There is a strong correlation between increases in racial violence and areas where Trump won the election by a large margin.

He has turned off the lights of human decency and emboldened the cockroaches to come out into the open.

Unfortunately, due to the “cockroach effect” and to various policies, the rot has spread more aggressively to certain police departments and now we have squads of police decked out in over-armored Batman costumes, wielding weapons (physical, mental, and chemical) against protesters who are protesting just such treatment.

I had a conversation with someone a couple years ago who felt that “white privilege” isn’t a real thing because he said it never helped him get a job when he was struggling to raise a new family. It was a frustrating conversation because I don’t think he really understood what “white privilege” meant. It’s just the flip side of the coin that has “black oppression” on the other side (well… it’s more than that, but that’s not a totally bad analogy).

Get Trump out of office. Get people in government who will work to eliminate this blight that is infesting our country. Call out racism when you see it. Love your neighbor. Be kind. Be gentle.

Black Lives Matter.

www.obama.org/anguish-and-action/

Dear Politicians…

Fuck you and your thoughts and prayers.

This is “Refreshing?”

Many of Trump’s supporters were saying things like “We like him because he says what he means!” and then, after Trump would say something asinine (often) and get criticized for it, they would defend him with statements like “Oh, well that’s not what he meant.” They also said it was refreshing to have someone running for president who wasn’t afraid to speak his mind… no matter whether he was spouting conspiracy theories, blatant (and repeated) lies, or any number of racist, misogynist, xenophobic, homophobic, and what-should-have-been-horrific-to-decent-people things.

And now, as Trevor Noah points out in this clip from The Daily Show on December 14th, 2016, Trump is still speaking his mind, but this time, he’s pretty explicitly saying that he was full of shit and was just playing his audience… and his supporters eat it up. He’s also admitting (in the bit about Paul Ryan), that he’s a thin-skinned, vindictive, spoiled brat who will throw a hissy fit when he doesn’t get his way (or if someone doesn’t fawn over him).

Seth Meyers: How do you choose?

OMG Politics!

I have a self-imposed rule of not posting anything political or religous on Facebook. I have no such qualms on my blog, but since my political posts are few and far between, I’m putting the content of the post after the break so my home page is filled with things that are funner. Yes… “funner” is a word. Shut up.

(more…)

Joss Whedon’s “Get out the Vote” PSA…

Funny, yet serious…

“Just a shit ton of famous people” Ha!

Brilliant.

Cyanide & Happiness #4062

Ummm… Nice to meet you?

Just had an interesting visit from an older gentleman (probably in his seventies). He was driving by very slowly (which is really common with our construction project looking the way it does) and I was sitting in the garage, so I waved. He stopped, backed up, and pulled into the driveway.

I walked over and he told me he used to know someone who worked at our construction company. I confirmed who it was and said I’d pass along a hello. Then the conversation started to range all over… mostly from his side.

It went from…

  • This is quite a project. People are generally building smaller these days, not bigger.
  • It seems a shame to do this to a 1950/1960 rancher (ours was built in 1977).
  • His brother put an under-powered heating system in his home.
  • He just bought his first house last year and it’s very small.
  • The soil at his house is all clay and all the trees he planted died.
  • The roads these days are paved wrong.
  • There’s an oddly placed stop sign where he lives.

Then is started to get odd (odder?). I can’t remember the segue (if there, indeed, actually WAS one), but it went something like…

  • We just passed the mark where more of our cars are built in China than in the USA.
  • We also passed the mark where more music is downloaded than bought on CD.
  • The number of Christians in the US is decreasing more rapidly.
  • It won’t be long before God takes his blessing away from this country.

Then he said, gesturing at the house, “You’ll probably only get ten to twenty years out of this house.” Expecting some sort of “end times” religious reason (and kind of looking forward to it), I asked, “Why’s that?”.

He replied, “That’s when the Russian missiles will be coming.”

Ummm…

Ummmm... What?Then he went on about how we lost our chance to be friends with the Russians a couple decades ago and how they have three times more missiles now than they did five years ago, all trained on the USA. But we did sell them special weapons that fire rubber bullets for crowd control and they were appreciative of that.

That seemed as good a place as any to acknowledge the conversational dead-end that had just occurred, so I politely told him I’d pass along a hello to our builder and wished him a fantastic weekend. We shook hands and off he went.

And I thought, “Crap. It’s probably too late to build an underground bunker here.”

The Glenn Beck Tactic *

How to get away with saying something crazy - Cyanide and Happiness

* not used exclusively by Glenn Beck

(h/t Cyanide and Happiness)