Category Archives: politics

one year later

January 6 is going to be one of those Never Forget days for me, for a long time. Maybe for the rest of my life.

One year ago today, a violent mob of domestic terrorists, inspired and commanded by an impeached fascist who lost a free and fair election, overran the United States Capitol in an attempted coup.

The coup failed in part because the defeated president was and is surrounded by people who were and are as incompetent as him, but by the end of the night, the fascist movement he leads had successfully assumed complete control of what had been called the Republican party, finally bringing into the open its enthusiastic embrace and promotion of white nationalism after keeping it hidden behind dog whistles for decades.

That was the most shocking thing for me, when I think about it. After all that violence, after the horror of it all, after we all watched our Congress come within a doorway of the unthinkable, they still stood by him. I mean. Wow.

I remember, in the evening of January 6 last year, listening to Lindsey Graham — Lindsey Graham, of all people! — declare from the floor of the Senate that he was done with Trump. Lindsey Graham! I listened to Mitch McConnell — the Senate Minority leader — remind everyone, for the Congressional record, that Trump bore responsibility for the attack. I remember watching two powerful, privileged, coddled men who were clearly shaken by what they had experienced. They seemed like people who had felt, maybe for the first time ever, a real threat to their lives, and they knew who was responsible for it. I remember feeling the faintest hope that, now that it was personal for them, the appalling violence of the insurrection would give Congressional Republicans an opportunity to actually put America first (not in the fascist slogan way, in the patriotic way), and purge Trump and his supporters from government. The McConnells and Grahams in the party got a lot out of him in four years: disatrous, unpopular tax cuts for billionaires, the most cruel and inhumane immigration policies imaginable, three SCOTUS seats, countless unqualified political operatives confirmed to lifelong seats in the federal judiciary. They got so much, moved the Overton Window so far to the right, surely they’d celebrate their victories and cut out the malignant cancer that was rotting not just their party but the entire political system in America. Regroup, and come after the Democrats in the midterms with a message that was aimed at the suburban voters who were appalled by Trump, but remain inexplicably cool with all the GOP policies that created him. A clean break was so easy and right there for the taking. I remember thinking, “If Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell are saying this on the record, it’s finally over. Thank God. It’s finally over. They are done protecting him. They’re still repugnant, but at least they aren’t full-on fascists.”

WELP.

As it turned out, instead of forcing Trump and his fascists back to the fringe of their party, those Vichy Quislings put him in charge of the whole thing. It’s almost like they never had a problem with the appalling behavior that repulsed so much of America and the world: his embrace of white supremacists, his embrace and celebration of autocrats and dictators, his cruelty, his corruption, his belligerent refusal to do a single thing to protect us from Covid. It wasn’t until he almost got them killed that some of them were like “Hey, wait a second,” and even that only lasted for a few hours before all was swept under the rug. 147 Republican members of Congress, just hours after hiding from a violent mob that was there to kill their colleagues and hang the vice president of their party, stood with that mob and refused to accept the election results, as commanded by their defeated leader. When he was rightly impeached (becoming the first president in history to be impeached twice) a few weeks later, so-called “mainstream Republicans” [sic] had their clearest opportunity to reject the violence, the man who instigated it, and his movement. It would be a heavy lift with a lot of their voters, but they could do it. They EXCEL at coordinated, disciplined, communication. They could reasonably claim that maybe they got out over their skis a little bit, but now they could at least bring the country back from the brink of civil war. They could have made a vote to convict all about the Constitution. They could have made an argument to his supporters that they still thought he was awesome, but laws are laws and we all have to follow them. They could make the very reasonable argument that instigating that kind of violence and lawlessness was a bridge too far, even for them. It would have been tough for some of them. Some of them would likely face difficult conversations back home with people who believed the Big Lie, but the future of the country was at stake and like John McCain telling that lunatic woman that President Obama wasn’t a terrorist, show real leadership.

But all of that is predicated on what turns out to be the entirely incorrect presumption that there is any daylight at all between Trump and so-called “mainstream Republicans” [sic]. It would require us to believe that Trump and Trumpism was an outlier, not the logical and anticipated consequence of fifty years of Republican policies and Southern Strategy lies. Holding Trump accountable presumes that Republicans respect their oaths of office, that they hold some fundamental values other than the preservation and expansion of their own power, that they are willing to do the hard work of governing a diverse nation during extraordinary times with a commitment to improving the general welfare.

We all know how that turned out. All but seven Republican Senators — forty-three of fifty members in the upper chamber — protected him and embraced his Big Lie. In the year since, they have doubled down on it, and they have not stopped insisting that we did not see what we saw one year ago today with our own eyes.

Depending on one’s point of view, it’s either a bug or a feature, but FIFTY-NINE PERCENT of Republicans still believe the Big Lie. Fifty. Nine. Percent. The next mob is all primed and ready to go. They are even asking when they get to use their guns to go shoot Democrats. Years ago, it was Republican pundit David Frum who said that when Republicans couldn’t win votes in a democratic election, they wouldn’t change their policies to win over more voters, they’d just reject Democracy entirely. That sounded nuts at the time, but holy shit was he right.

I hope that the people behind the coup attempt will be meaningfully held to account, so this never happens again. I hope they’ll go to prison, all of them. Hannity, Meadows, Bannon, Eastman, Gosar, Boebert, Cawthorn, Hawley, all the Trumps, all of them. They are all traitors. I hope that all the Democrats, including the execrable Joe Manchin and the loathsome Krysten Sinema, do whatever it takes to secure free and fair elections in America at the federal level while they still have the chance. Because if they don’t, the next coup, which is already in motion, will succeed.

So on this one year anniversary of Trump’s failed coup, as we continue to hold him to account, do not forget for one second all the Republicans who enabled and continue to enable him. They’re evil, not stupid. They won’t fail a second time.

and …. breathe

I just realized that I’ve been holding a tension in my shoulders and a tightness in my chest for the last four years. Every minute of every day, without realizing I was doing it. It’s only now, that it’s gone, that I realize how heavy it weighed on me.

Having an abuser as president was so hard for me, and millions of other people who are abuse survivors. Every day was a trigger for something. It was exhausting. It hurt. (I’m sure I don’t have to tell you. You were there.)

I feel this incredible sense of relief, like the worst storm I’ve ever experienced is finally gone, and the sun is peeking out from behind the clouds.

I’m going to go outside, and soak it up.

we are so close. he is almost gone.

I made this countdown four years ago, because I needed to have something to work toward, and to look forward to.

I don’t expect anyone to look back into my blog from four years ago, so I’ll just repaste the code here:

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There is so much work to be done, but at least America won’t have a Fascist in the White House.

 

history has its eyes on you

In today’s Washington Post, Dana Millbank published an op-ed titled We have no excuses now. Our eyes are wide open. He closes by saying:

On Tuesday, voters will make a decision in what is the purest midterm referendum on a sitting president in modern times:
Will we take a step, even a small one, back from the ugliness and the race-baiting that has engulfed our country?
Or will we affirm that we are really the intolerant and frightened people Donald Trump has made us out to be?
If we choose the latter, 2018 will in some ways be more difficult to take than 2016. This time, we don’t have the luxury of saying we didn’t really know what Trump would do.

Our eyes are wide open.

I keep saying this: history doesn’t just happen. The world isn’t a story that someone tells, and we all ride along inside the narrative, unable to affect it in any meaningful way.

I am 46. I was raised in an America that claimed to be The Land of Opportunity, a place where all people are equal under the law, and anyone who was willing to do the work could make something special for themselves and their families.

That is painfully not the America we are living in now, and that didn’t just happen. This America, this country that is so xenophobic, so profoundly unequal, which treats nonwhite lives like they are disposable, which is currently lead by the most despicable, dishonest, openly racist and misogynist man to ever hold the presidency … this America didn’t just happen. This America was slowly and deliberately built by people like Ronald Reagan, John Bolton, Dick Cheney, George Bush and his idiot son, Newt Gingrich, The Koch Brothers, The Mercers, Fox News, Stephen Miller, and their malignant voice of hate and fear, Donald Trump.

Taking a look at my 46 years in America, it starts to become clear that, at least at the national political level, presidents like Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter are not our norm, as much as I wish they were. Looking at just the last 25 years, we see two presidents who were not elected by the majority of Americans, and we see a Senate that continually and gleefully abuses its anti-Democratic power to keep shaping America further and further away from the ideals of freedom and equality and opportunity that America at least claimed to stand for when I was a child.

What we are witnessing now is a fight for not just the future of America, but for her present, and for the rest of my life. Will America continue her march toward open civil war between the revanchist, paranoid, bigoted army of racists who make up the incredibly small but powerful Republican base, and the majority of Americans who are not bigots, anti-Semites, white nationalists, and misogynists? OR will we send a clear message that our voices, which are the overwhelming majority, will not be silenced, and we will not allow ourselves to be governed by Trump and people who support him?

Dana Milbank is correct in his column and in his assessment: our eyes are wide open now, and we know exactly what we get when Republicans are in power.

This election is powerfully and unambiguously clear: you are with us, or you are against us. You are with Trump and his hateful, violent, paranoid, racist values, or you are against him. This is the reality in which we are living, and you have to choose a side.

History doesn’t just happen. Every election matters and every election helps decide what our country is going to look like not just for us, but for our children and for the future. And though it isn’t just this election, (because we aren’t going to undo thirty years of right wing paranoia, voter suppression, and assaults on basic human and civil rights with just a single election any more than the Kochs and Adelsons and Mercers corrupted America’s free and fair elections in a single election) this is the first nationwide, congressional election of the Trump era. This is the first election since the Republicans stopped winking and dogwhistling and giving themselves plausible deniability, and openly embraced racism, bigotry, xenophobia, violence, and started proudly and stridently embracing the most deplorable ideas and beliefs in American politics since the Confederacy.

Put simply: if they can hold onto the House, if they can consolidate their power after they have made their intentions and beliefs crystal clear and without any doubts, they will be empowered to go even further toward taking civil and human rights away from people, because that’s what they’ve been promising to do since Trump’s election. History doesn’t just happen by accident, and what’s acceptable in America doesn’t just happen. In America, elections and the people they elect decide what history will be written, and by whom. In the past, a person could make the case with winks and nods and dogwhistles, and a voter could credibly claim that they were voting on the economy, for example. This election is different. This is the first election in my lifetime where openly racist, antisemitic, white nationalists are telling you exactly who they are and exactly what they will do if you vote for them.

It may seem like one vote doesn’t matter, or one election doesn’t matter. It may seem like “they’re all the same” or “there’s no difference between the parties” but I want you to consider that there is one main group of politicians in America (and their supporters) who don’t have a problem tearing a child away from its parents, who claim to be good, honorable, God fearing moral Christians, yet whose deeds consistently hurt the poor, the marginalized, people of color, and immigrants. There is one main group of politicians in America (and their supporters) who are appalled and revolted by the abuse of children and the destruction of any family, regardless of that family’s nation of origin. They believe that women’s rights are human rights. They believe that healthcare is a right. They believe that workers should have rights and protections, that the air we breathe and the water we drink should be clean and safe, that we can do more together than we can when we’re divided, and that all people, regardless of their gender, who they love, where they were born, who their parents are, how they pray (if they pray), and how much money they earn, deserve to live their lives in safety and prosperity.

Every election in America is a choice between these two parties. I know it shouldn’t be that way. I know that we should have more nuanced choices. But the reality is, we don’t. We can choose between a party that will tell nonwhites that they don’t matter and don’t have basic, fundamental, human rights (that are also their Constitutional rights, by the way), and a party that says their lives and their rights and their families matter. That’s the choice. In the past, they muddied things up with fear and economics, but this time is different. This time our eyes are open and we know exactly what this election is about, because they have told us what this election is about.

History doesn’t just happen. Elections have consequences. If Republicans hold on to power or — god forbid — expand it, they will make good on their antisemitic, misogynist, bigoted promises, because their voters will have told them that’s what they want.

On Tuesday, we all vote with our eyes wide open, and we have a chance to grab the pen that’s writing our history. Don’t let anyone tell you that your vote and your voice doesn’t matter, because history has its eyes on you.

black friday

 

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