Archive for politics

Make America Hate Again

I don’t like to get political, but–

Sorry, I couldn’t even finish that sentence without laughing uncontrollably.

Though I’m often cracking wise about the election over on my Twitter feed, this is actually going to be the only regular blog post I’m going to make about this little grudge match we have going on right now. Extended writing about politics is just too exhausting for me.

Back in 2004 I started a new section over on my site called …without Bush, which was a series of monthly columns leading up to the election that year. This was back when people’s attention spans online lasted a little longer than 140 characters or a Snapchat image. After John Kerry lost the election that year, I continued the columns but at a slower rate–turning them from monthly to quarterly. I kept writing them until George W. Bush finally left office, even offering a countdown on the site to the end of his term.

The name of the section came from a phrase that I believe I heard somewhere else but I was nevertheless trying hard to popularize, that “you can’t spell ‘bullshit’ without ‘BUSH.'” The columns were what one might expect from a left-wing writer angry about the state of the country and the uneducated madman in the Oval Office at the time. I covered a variety of topics that I researched long and hard beforehand, hitting a number of subjects that I thought were important that election season.

I did issue a minor challenge throughout those columns. I simply asked Bush supporters out there to explain to me why they liked him. Unfortunately, I never got any answer. Oh, people did read the columns, as somehow word got around about them (and again, this was before I would have used Twitter to promote them). My piece about the environment seemed as if it was the most popular; while one about the soldiers lost in the Iraq war triggered an angry, seemingly non-specific, most likely copy-and-pasted response from a supposed Army sergeant who was upset at seeing a colleague’s name among the dead (as if that was my fault).

Perhaps the most interesting reaction (of sorts) I received came shortly after I started posting the columns, as a new subscriber joined the e-mail list for my (completely unrelated) “Weird Al” Yankovic Songography…a subscriber using a e-mail address–yes, as in the corporation Dick Cheney ran before becoming vice president and still had a financial stake in. Amazingly, this person’s interest in Weird Al’s catalog of songs waned right after the Bush administration ended in 2009, at which point they asked to be removed from the mailing list. But remember, it’s Hillary who supposedly abused private e-mail servers, right?

Now, this blog post isn’t going to be any sort of major thinkpiece. Everyone pretty much knows how I plan to vote anyway, and at the moment I don’t think any return of a …without Bush-like series of articles is going to change the course of the election (Trump certainly doesn’t need anyone else’s words to sink his ship). BUT, for those of you who are still for whatever bizarre reason still considering filling in that oval for Cheeto-colored, Tribble-headed seacow Donald Trump, then this blog post is sorta for you.

First, just real quick, what the hell is the matter with you anyway? Are you so terrified of a woman or non-white holding public office that you’re willing to insult your own intelligence and vote for this charlatan? And don’t give me the “He acts like a phony because he’s a celebrity” line. Bullshit. Reagan was a celebrity before entering politics and he never acted like a drunk frat boy crashing an alumni dinner. And remember back in 2008 when Republicans were so enraged that Obama’s popularity made him a “celebrity” without any supposed political experience? He didn’t seem to have any problem acting like an actual statesman. So drop the pretense here about Trump being an asshole because he’s a celebrity. He’s simply an asshole.

Like with Bush, it just goes back to not understanding why people like him. For that matter, I also don’t quite get why some people hate Hillary so passionately. I’m sure someone somewhere has some rambling diatribe ready about Benghazi and Wall Street and cops and Bill’s penis and Vince Foster–it’s all bullshit, too. You hate her for some intangible reason (surely not gender) and you’re tripping over your own ass trying to backtrack your way into a plausible reason.

To be fair, what the hell difference does it make if you like a candidate as a person? You’re electing them to be president, not your best friend. If you want to vote on a messiah, go to church. The rest of us adults are a little more concerned about the welfare of our country than if we personally want to have a beer with a candidate.

But anyway, there had been talk from Trump about Hillary supposedly not looking “presidential,” whatever that is really supposed to mean coming from him. To me, he always looks and sounds like a bad character actor playing a president in a low-budget Syfy movie–he’d be the president worried about the sharknado affecting “tourist season.” But supposedly what it all means is that Hillary is not carrying herself the way a president should.

This is white male privilege at its essence. “This isn’t how I envision something, so therefore I must be right.” And the reason he gets a pass on all the shit he’s said and done is because his loyal base is just like him: big, dumb, white guys. It’s not that they don’t know any better; they like what they see. It’s simple-minded male empowerment. They see a supposed alpha and roll over to expose their bellies.

But seriously, let’s just run down a quick “greatest hits” list here. Pretend this isn’t a white male doing this stuff. Can you imagine the outrage and reactions from the right…

…if Barack Obama said that Mexicans were notorious rapists and drug dealers?

…if Hillary Clinton attacked a Gold Star family for speaking their mind, and then suggested that the wife’s religion was forbidding her from talking about it?

…if Barack Obama referred to a U.S. senator as “Pocahontas”?

…if Hillary Clinton mocked a disabled person?

…if Barack Obama went onto Russian television and slammed not only the American press but also U.S. foreign policy?

…if Hillary Clinton lied about donating to September 11 relief charities?

…if Barack Obama encouraged voters to track down and watch a sex tape?

…if Hillary Clinton said that POWs were not war heroes, or that soldiers with PTSD were not “strong”?

…if Michelle Obama had appeared in a nude photoshoot, let alone one showing her engaged in lesbian sex?

…if Hillary Clinton asked Russia to spy on a political rival?

…if it was revealed that Barack Obama had appeared in a number of softcore Playboy home videos?

…if Hillary Clinton had a convicted felon introduce her at a black church and use the word “nigger”?

…if the Clinton Foundation used donations to buy a ten-foot portrait of Hillary to hang in a restaurant?

…if Barack Obama proudly announced that he refused to pay income taxes for eighteen years?

And we have all that before even going into the “grab them by the pussy” interview tape, the increasing number of sexual assault stories and allegations, the championing of the housing crash, and all of the other things that would disqualify any other candidate in a heartbeat, let alone a Republican!

But none of this matters to Trump’s basket of unintelligibles. His core support is living in a fantasy world–one where some dead asshole’s political blog is considered a news source, one where Scott Baio is their answer to Gore Vidal, one where a foundation meeting with world leaders to fight child hunger and disease is supposedly more scandalous than one embezzling money to buy a butt-ugly painting, and one where a goofy, bankruptcy-prone reality television star should be running the country. But hey, he’s going to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!

“Again”? Based on what criteria and what point in history? It seems that the things that have made America great are still around or are still impacting us: the Industrial Revolution, the New Deal, civil rights, marriage equality. I mean there are some things that should probably return to make America better–the estate tax, the higher tax rate for one-percenters, pre-Citizens United campaign finance restrictions–but I doubt Trump has any of those things in mind.

But of course, by “Make America Great Again” he means going back to the era that old, white, uneducated, middle class guys pine for. Blacks had to use separate bathrooms. Women were supposed to stay home to cook and clean. Tab Hunter had to pretend to be Rock Hudson. Workers didn’t have rights. The environment didn’t matter as long as Coalworker Joe Lunkhead didn’t have to learn to read in order to support his family. The world that characters like Archie Bunker and Hank Hill are satirizing.

It just won’t work. Civilizations don’t thrive let alone improve when they go backward. Nothing does. People don’t know how to let history be history. You can be nostalgic for something but also look forward to something better.

We can’t live in the past. I’m voting for the future.

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