Somewhere around the year 2042 or so, I hope to remove from my pocket a shimmering, translucent, flexible square about the size and weight of a hanky and use it to read this B-section article in the NEW New York Times:
Hope springs eternal, mostly. And yet. Ryu Spaeth published a piece in the New Republic last week that stuck with me because it captures the sense of trauma and despair of the Trump era so well:
There is so much selfishness and ignorance and hatred in this county, and they have found their concentrated embodiment in Trump, who bludgeons us with the worst aspects of humanity every single day. This is self-evidently traumatic for the body politic, harming our capacity for empathy and reason and decency. And yet it is difficult to express just how awful it is: how it makes us worry for our children in existential terms, how it makes our lives a little more sordid every day, how it slowly bleeds our world of joy and purpose.
The traditional response to bad presidents is to resist, to organize, to prepare for the next election—to have faith, even if everything else fails, in democracy. But democracy already failed us once, handing the presidency to a man who lost the popular vote by a resounding margin. It has been subverted by gerrymandering, and is being weakened by those working to keep minorities and the poor from the polls. It was compromised by the intervention of a foreign government, and the president is reluctant to even acknowledge that fact, let alone make sure it doesn’t happen again…
This is the point in the essay where I should say that we mustn’t lose hope, that we must impede Donald Trump at every step, and I do believe that. Still, to quote Howard Beale, everyone knows things are bad. I wake up each morning prepared for something terrible to happen. But something terrible is happening, every day, all around us. The most frightening part is that we’re not sure if Trump’s America is rock bottom or if we have further to fall.
All of that. The only way out of this mess is to roll back Trumpism and make the GOP pay for damaging America so grievously. But it will be a long, hard slog; we don’t even know yet how long or how hard. And the outcome is uncertain.
Yesterday, I spent a few hours registering voters and collecting signatures for a ballot initiative in support of ex-felon voting rights restoration. Taking even modest action like that makes me feel less powerless. But after this week, it also feels a bit like throwing a thimbleful of water on a raging grenade warehouse fire.
Many of the people I talked to yesterday seemed similarly overwhelmed and despairing. But in a way, that’s a hopeful sign, I think, the widespread horror at the damage done.
Thimblefuls of action — volunteering to assist immigrants, helping people get ID to vote, showing up when Nazis try to assert ownership of our streets, voting in every single election — add them up, and they become a deluge. I hope? I hope. I hope!
Anyhoo, open thread!
RIP, Jerry Lewis
Jerry Lewis, dead at 91.
France must be in mourning
Betty, I posted this in the thread below:
BC – this is our only hope, we cannot count on the GOP to do the right thing – hell half the time we cant count on half the damn Dems to do the right thing! – there is no fairy godmother to swoop in and make the evil disappear. We are going to have to do this ourselves and that will only be from the tiny interactions of a billion snowflakes to create an avalanche.
If we fail the nation dies, but no pressure you know
Who could tell?
He stopped being entertaining about the time you and I were in middle school.
a great piece but I am pretty sure I learned of it here months ago. If anyone has not read it they need to do so
It is excellent. I agree, it deserves to be FP’d.
Insane Clown POTUS
I wonder if he will manage to tarnish the name Trump enough that his relatives disavow it. Perhaps change back to the original spelling or go with their mother’s maiden name.
I never liked his brand of comedy (I did admire him in The King of Comedy) and after the first few years the Labor Day Marathon was simply maudlin and not the least bit enjoyable. So in that sense I agree with you. But there is no denying his huge status as an entertainer for pretty much the entire second half of the 20th century. To note someone’s passing is not necessarily to suggest approbation. He wasn’t to my taste but he apparently made millions of people happy. That’s no mean legacy.
Betty, There are lots of us. Even a teenie, tiny step from a good portion of us totals up to a big step. This is such as disaster that many who didn’t understand how bad it could possibly be before, do now. People are angry that nearly half of their fellow citizens voted for this mass of semi human waste that is now president. Yes idiots are empowered by the idiot in chief but they are fucking idiots. Yes there is a lot of them. But there are more of us. More people who even if they didn’t quite get it, surly do now. I stated the other day that if even half of us got just one person to think, to open their minds, to come over to the dark side we would win overwhelmingly. We have momentum, given to us by the morons from the other side, we have to run with it.
I don’t understand why the DCCC keeps pushing us to acquire bumper stickers with Trump’s name and image on them. I do not want Trump on my car. Why would I?
The Trump regime has turned me into a nicer person. I find myself less willing and able to make off-the-cuff nasty remarks because when I do I often hear them in the voice of The Orange Better One or one of his minions (thanks to Scaramucci, I have even, very reluctantly, cut way back on my cursing — I say the words in my head, but they don’t come out of my mouth because I imagine how they might sound to someone else). I’m not holding hands with nazis, I’m just not seeing someone run a stop sign and immediately thinking he’s some vicious right-winger who cares only for himself. I’m making myself see that not all Republicans are the same, that there are decent conservatives, that just because Ben Sasse is full of shit that doesn’t mean that Steve Schmidt and David Jolly are too, just because they’re Republicans.
It may really come to civil war in this country, and if it does I have no doubt which side I’ll be on. But in the meantime, I feel like we have to trust the power of civil discourse for a while longer. Much as I loathe The Orange Better One, I have to realize that when I find myself wishing someone would put a cap in his ass, I am becoming like him. It’s true what Nietzsche said about fighting monsters.
@Schlemazel: Yeah, the date says May 2017, but as far as i’m concerned, it could have been written yesterday.
Wow. I’m having the exact opposite reaction. I’m much angrier, curse a lot more, and hate everyone I see just in case they didn’t vote for Hillary.
@SiubhanDuinne: He was also very good in Funny Bones, in which he played basically the same character he did in King Of Comedy — himself, perhaps.
Helping people gain access to the ballot is about the most important thing we can do right now. Hats off to you, BC, for weathering the Florida heat to do this.
Regarding the reckoning: I feel like we’re only scratching the surface when it comes to our understanding of how we got to this point. White working class rage has been festering for some time and yet, until the birth of the Tea Party in 2009, it didn’t really register in our (or at least my) consciousness. There are a million and one explanations for why this rage bubbled over, and the Great Recession, the changing face of manufacturing, demographic shifts, the prominence of smart and successful minorities in public life as epitomized in Barack Obama all played their part. But somehow it feels like in the digital age we have no public square and hence no civic bond. We’re more isolated than ever. Someone joked yesterday in the the thread on Boston how painful it must be for the white supremacists to discover all their supposed friends are bots. It’s creepy to think how true that might be for so many.
I’m lucky enough to live in a very “urban” part of the big city. Nobody here voted for The Orange Better One.
@efgoldman: @SiubhanDuinne: Sad to say, my first thought was of how much I disliked him, his schtick grated on me like fingernails on a chalkboard, but I didn’t want to be the asshole that says “I never liked Prince” in the Prince RIP thread, so I was opting to say nothing at all. (Mom would be proud.)
After reading your exchange and this comment from SD, I am able to feel more gracious toward the man, and for that I am grateful. RIP.
? ?? Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) ? ?
I used to think like that too. But then I realised that wishing an evil person would die
=actually victimizing vulnerable people and causing innocents to die.
ETA: However I respect your decision to be a better person than I.
As a break from the many angry tweeters I follow, I like to check in with A Bear. This seems appropriate for the moment:
Betty, just to be clear… you wrote that little B-section article, right? From your lips to god’s ears.
@WaterGirl: Wow, that’s outstanding. Thanks.
OT. There’s some… unusual stuff posted at LGM right now. Like a tour of an unusual mansion. It’s… unusual.
Since this is an open thread, can i just say that I love my garden and all my flowers, but I am so fucking sick of watering that I could scream. Every bit of rain they predict goes right over us on the way to someplace else. Or sometimes we get 3-5 minutes of rain where you could practically count the individual raindrops, and then it’s gone as soon as it arrived. It’s maddening.
@SiubhanDuinne: You could look at him from the humanitarian perspective, He created the Muscular Dystrophy telethon mostly because he saw first hand the devastation of that disease. I just looked up the Wiki for it, and had no idea it had been going on for almost 50 years. I didn’t do the totals raised because lazy but it’s incredible what got done by him.
I am the mayor of a small town in a blue state, but a very, very red county and town. Since Trump, and especially since Charlottesville,, I have been a bit more vocal of my actual opinions of things on my personal Facebook Page. I have been pretty gentle about it all however, mostly sharing posts about why removing confederate monuments is not the destruction of history, that kind of thing. Yesterday a constituent approached me on the street and in broad daylight began screaming at me, telling me no one wants me here, I need to move away or I will regret it, and when I tried to calm him down he punched me. I do not feel that taking this to my police department would be productive. I know emails are circulating about me, and local bloggers are accusing me of all manner of atrocities. People are showing up to City Council meetings very angry, and they are aggressive. I feel like something is changing in this country. For the first time in my life I am frightened of my own neighbors in my own town — and I’m a white maie. I am filled with dread about what is happening. I am not sure most liberal urban dwellers understand how close to violence we might be in this country. It is the most troubled I have ever been, and I lived through Nixon and Reagan and the threat of nuclear annihilation.
and every day in between
we should form a team I’m with you
@MattF: It’s as if someone left little clues (the mini fridge in one room, office chair in the living room, the reception/security desk near a door) so you’d have something to say in the face of such awfulness.
The only person affected by wishes is the wisher. See also: wish in one hand, etc.
Seriously? You need to swear out a complaint and have the stupid asshole arrested and charged.
Actions have to have consequences or there’s no overcoming the shitheads.
Thank you Betty. This work is so very important.
I’ll put another plug here… As I replied to aimai downstairs, yes everything we want to do requires time and money and the GOP has advantages in both. But it’s not hopeless.
If you buy stuff at Amazon and haven’t already done so, please look into signing up for smile.amazon.com On doing so and using that URL for your purchases, 0.5% of your purchase price goes to a charity of your choice. It doesn’t cost you anything, it comes out of Bezos’s pocket (presumably Amazon gets a tax deduction).
VoteRiders gets a little something whenever I make a purchase there. It adds up.
Don’t leave free money on the table!
(Just someone who does far too much shopping at Amazon…)
@E: Be careful out there. I admire your civic spirit and your equanimity in dealing with such hostility.
? ?? Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) ? ?
You should definitely take that incident to your police department. Get a police detail if you don’t already have one. I don’t want to scare you but today, an unhinged lunatic punched you. Tommorow it could be something worse. How do you gauge the level of support you still have as mayor?
@E: That would be so scary. I am so sorry. Maybe as mayor you are in a position to start a public dialogue about this? Who knows, maybe your blue people will outnumber the threatening people by a ratio of, say 40,000: 500. Even if not, it might provide an outlet for others in your town to talk about their fears and experiences being physically threatened by their neighbors.
There are no easy solutions and maybe my suggestions are naive, but that’s all I’ve got except that my heart goes out to you.
I live in a nice little college town, and even though my neighbor’s license plates used to be “KKK” – un-fucking-believable! and my neighbor across the street is a right-winger, I don’t feel my personal safety is being threatened by my obvious political beliefs. I hope you are not right about how close things are to exploding, but you may be, I have no way to know from my own experience.
@E: I’d say you’re being tested, pushed– to see if you’ll push back. I’ll add that as mayor– a public figure– you have some responsibility for how things work in the public domain. No easy choices here.
? ?? Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) ? ?
@Yutsano: I don’t deny he raised a great deal of money for MD.
None of that kumbaya shit. The bastard needs to be hauled into court just for the inconvenience and to make it clear that there are strict, hard limits.
@E: That’s horrible!
EFG makes a good case, but you know your town better than any of us. You’ll have to do what you think is right.
Can you somehow impress on the nominally sensible people (if any?) in your town that acting out in anger doesn’t solve anything? If you’re just getting screamed at in town meetings, then you need to either get more sensible people out to support you or you need to get protection and move the troublemakers out of the meetings. Mob rule and intimidation cannot be tolerated.
Can you get help from the county or state? Would writing an OpEd letter to the local paper help?
Stay strong – it’s important, but don’t risk your life.
@WaterGirl: Here too. Yesterday looked like the thunderheads might build up, and it rained over the mountains, but not here. Today it’s cloudy with some buildup but no rain yet.
Wow. Where is Suzanne? Suzanne needs to see that, and share her reactions with us!
@efgoldman: How about both? Police + dialogue.
@SiubhanDuinne: Do you want to give the poor woman a stroke?
Yes, yes they did. I also live in a very blue county, in a very urban area. People here voted for the orange shitstain. I used to live in Marin County, CA. Wealthiest county in CA. reliably 80% dem, that’s 20% not. In every city, county, area in the country that you want to define and someone who voted for the orange shitstain. Stupidity and partisan politics is everywhere. Now it’s quite possible that everyone you know didn’t vote for him but no one? No, I don’t buy it.
@SiubhanDuinne: Saw that earlier and thought about Suzanne too. But still the staging is just CRAZY. Two beds in one bedroom in a 7 bedroom house? Lotsa desk chairs. CRAZY.
Hmmm. We must be using different brands of time machines. My copy of the 2042 NYT is printed in Chinese.
@E: That’s shocking and horrible.
That is disturbing.
You should definitely report the person who punched you.
@hellslittlestangel: I can’t do it. I’ve actually had the opposite reaction, Steve Schmidt et al were perfectly fine with the GOP policies that led us to this pass, including suppressing the votes of minorities, the poor, and gerrymandering. If Trump had a nicer demeanor, like Rubio or Jeb!, they’d be fine. I may try to be polite, depending on my patience level of the day, but they should know I’m always prepared to tell them to GTFO.
The problem with these guys and gals, those who rode the GOP train of anything to gain power, is that now that they finally see the true nature of what they created, they don’t withdraw into private life and do good works, they leverage their connections once again to paper over their pasts with a patina of respectability. They don’t come on our tv’s with warning labels saying “this pundit was always wrong about everything to do with the direction of the GOP for the past 20-50 years while liberals were right all along.” They may be sincere, but they’re also backstabbing, power hungry, and dangerously wrong for a long time. I don’t have any obligation to bend over backwards to be polite to them when I’m angry on the behalf of people who are currently being harmed by the policies they supported for so long.
I will accept their help in chasing this man from office, but I expect them to try and shiv us all in the back the minute that part is done.
@efgoldman: This is the problem. I don’t want to out myself but my County Sheriff is under investigation for actions that would make the KKK proud, and my County Supervisors are not far off and have no problem spouting outright lies about the world, and my police department is at best iffy. There is no local backup system. It’s been completely compromised. This is what fills me with dread. Talking to people used to work, but it isn’t working so well anymore.
The bathroom with the red shower curtain — note the relative placement of the toilet and the TP roll. That’s quite a reach for a normal-sized or smaller person.
And how would you like to keep those kitchen cabinets clean and grease-free?
Nah. She’s a professional, she can take it.
Sorry for your experience; it must hurt you to the core given you’re trying to lead your town.
Am with the others it needs to be reported–ultimately you can decide not to press charges but the odds this person just punched somebody for the first time in his life would seem to approach zero and it would be good to have the incident on record for when it happens again to somebody else.
Holy crap that sounds like the plot of a southern gothic novel.
Is there a county grand jury you can reach out to?
@E: I don’t know your town, or even if you live in one of the rare blues states where open carry or even concealed is common enough that escalation is a concern, but it’s also dangerous to allow someone to go around punching anyone without consequences. Since it’s not safe to get your town cops involved, you still need to get the incident documented. Did you go to the doctor/hospital? Is there a state level agency you could report the incident to? If you are experiencing multiple public incidents, perhaps it’s time to document them in a diary or get a video streaming app on your phone?
I hope this was simply an aberration. In the meantime, I’m so sorry this is happening, I hope you can keep safe.
Like WaterGirl, I too live in a nice little (Democratic) college town in a Republican county. (OK, to be honest, I live just north of the borough line in an adjoining township, but in the same school district and zip code, and I think of Carlisle, PA, as my home.) On Wednesday evening, in response to Charlottesville, there was a rally for peace on the historic town square (across High Street from the Presbyterian church where George Washington once worshipped, next to the old courthouse with Confederate bullets embedded in the pillars). Attendees (myself included) numbered in the hundreds, and speakers included the borough mayor, the state rep (who is a conservative Republican), the Dickinson College president, and — you would have been proud, Adam — an officer from the U.S. Army War College. None of the speakers was in any way wishy-washy about the need to oppose white supremacism. I read later that there were several counter-protesters, but they must have stayed on the edges of the crowd because I didn’t see them. I did notice that revved-up cars and motorcycles keep circling the square, making it difficult to hear the speakers; whether this was an oppositional tactic or normal evening cruising, I don’t know. (We applauded anyway.) I don’t want to attach too much significance to this one local “Kumbaya moment,” but I took heart.
@E: If it’s a blue state, can you reach out to the governor? The punching of a mayor should be an occasion for the town to go through some collective soul-searching on what it means to have civil dialogue. This is not an alternative to filing a complaint against the guy who punched you…more like an addition. All this is easier said than done. I’m sorry you have to go through this personally and I wonder how widespread this kind of intimidation is.
@SiubhanDuinne: I’m right here!
I am still debating what to do Tuesday night. I fear a disaster.
That is seriously messed up. Indiana, huh, Pence’s secret orgybunker? “Tell mother I’m busy.”
As I said down thread, thanks for the shout out.
@WaterGirl: Wow. Thanks for the Solnit link.
Did you look through the photos @MattF‘s #24? Just amazing. Would love to read your informed comments :-)
As for Tuesday, I think you’re wise to be cautious. Everything feels like a tinderbox right now, and especially if Sheriff Joe is there, things could get ugly. But you can read the local mood better than I can. Whatever you decide, stay safe.
That monstrosity is in Indiana? Does it say that? I was trying to figure out where it might be located, but I’ve gotta say the Midwest didn’t occur to me.
No One You Know
@Quinerly: You are very welcome. I just hope Betty Cracker front pages it.
@SiubhanDuinne: Can you even imagine the oportunities, from design, to permitting, to build where no one pulled the IN Charge Ones aside and asked what the goal was. Its, I can’t even believe this was built and whoever staged it committed a crime against humanity.
@trollhattan: Zooks! I would have guessed Florida, not Indianapolis!!
(via the Twitter thread of the pictures, scroll up).
@E: I also think a complaint is warranted. If not for yourself, then for other officials.
@E: Have you considered going to the state police, state bureau of investigation, or AG about this? I can only think of two or three states that are possibly corrupt enough to ignore assault on an elected official.
THIS. THIS. & A THOUSAND TIMES THIS!
That’s beautiful! Let’s hope that narrative carries the day.
Yeah, I feel your pain & concern as a minority; wish I could tell you that everything would be okay and our country will prevail but I’m not sure myself these days. Be she & keep us updated on your status & whereabouts! I wish I knew what town & state you were in, but I’ll be praying for you besides.
No One You Know
@E: I am so sorry about this experience you’re having. So proud of you for daring to speak. So admiring that you’re doing what you can. So hopeful that the people in your town who aren’t screaming at you will make themselves known to you.
Who can help you in this in real life? Reach out, as far as you have to.
How can we help you here? What can we do? more importantly, what do you need…we don’t know what we can do until we try.
What does that look like?
@? ?? Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) ? ?:
Doesn’t have to be. You can choose to be Dr. Rieux instead..
@No One You Know: Hi all. I am not that worried about myself. I can handle this dipshit. What I am concerned about is much bigger. I feel our hold on the basic levers of a civic society being lost — like the ability to argue and disagree and still set policy. The photos of people with automatic weapons showing up at a San Antonio City Council meeting, for example, have me very unnerved right now. This is looking to me to be far more dangerous than we are giving it credit for. Right wing militias are forming and, in some parts of the country (mine) they have a great deal of local support both from the public and the elected officials. This is how things go south in a democracy and I feel they can go there pretty fast. I had a good view of Yugoslavia when it blew. I don’t thing we have the right pieces for that to happen, but we are moving that way.
J R in WV
Any guesses about what that big round thing is in the second from last picture?
I agree that if your county and city police are not trustworthy you need to go to either a state or federal police agency, or perhaps a prosecutor.
It seems dangerous to do nothing. Please keep us posted on how things go!
I thought I posted here last night but it didn’t seem to take. Thank you all for the support. I am not too worried about this one guy or my own safety and I have a great deal of support in the town and on the Council, and among my staff. My fear is a larger one. There are so many guns and there is so much hatred, and the talk is turning to violence and now a little taste of that appeared here on the street. As I said upthread, many if not all of the law enforcement and government entities are not fully reliable, or in some cases are not at all reliable. I am as frightened by our Sheriff’s Department as I am of the unassociated militias. It terrifies me to see how this could go.