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Here’s what I’d like to believe: that the rage of everybody to whom Trump and his enablers have exhibited ceaseless cruelty will finally be galvanized by Kavanaugh, that women, minorities, Millennials, the working poor, everybody who isn’t a white male older than 40 will turn out in droves come November and cleanse the Congress of its Republican majorities.

I doubt it, though.

I doubt it on general principles – my luck doesn’t break that way.

I doubt it based on the recent history of mid-terms – Democratic voters seem not to understand that who controls Congress is, if anything, more important than who sits in the Oval Office. Hell, we wouldn’t even be in this mess if they hadn’t stood around like bystanders while the Tea Party took over Congress, initially to destroy the last six years of the Obama Presidency, and now to execute the Republican agenda of deregulation, tax cuts for the wealthy, and right-wing appointments to federal courts at all levels. The pundits say it’ll be different this time. I gotta be from Missouri on that one.

I doubt it because the Supreme Court fight has seemed to energize what just a short while ago looked to be an apathetic and demoralized Republican base.

I doubt it because the electoral math of these mid-terms has never favoured the Democrats’ chances in the Senate, which is where the courts get stacked.

I doubt it because if sanity, decency, and simple common sense actually existed any more there would be no Trump Presidency, there would be no dominance of the Senate by awful old white men like Mitch and Orrin and Chuck and Lindsey.

I just don’t believe in the coming Blue Wave, not today, anyway.

I’m not sure what finally killed my last little germ of hope. Maybe it was Orrin Hatch, shooing away some women who wanted to confront him as others had done with Jeff Flake, telling them to come back when they “grow up” – he then gave a nasty little “buh-bye” wave, all but flipping them the bird. Maybe it was Chuck Grassley opining that the women protesting Kavanaugh’s appointment were paid operatives of George Soros. Maybe it was Lindsey Graham telling a woman who exclaimed that she, too, had been sexually assaulted to “call the cops”. Maybe it was Mitch McConnell, exalting in how his party had resisted mob rule by confirming Kavanaugh – this is how his crew gets away with describing lawful democratic protests, as “mob rule”. Presumably it’s mob rule when anybody but white folk vote, too, which is why he and his pals are so keen to suppress the minority franchise at every turn.

Maybe it’s the way Trump keeps getting crowds to chant “lock her up”, including most recently about Ms. Blasey Ford.

Maybe it was hopping over to the blog of the guy who criticized my most recent post, and reading this:

I really hate to keep using the phrase “but you didn’t do this when Obama was president,” But I can’t help it.

The Libs have been so incensed about what Trump said after the events in VA, but I cant help but wonder where all this outrage was when Obama rushed out to play golf after a quick comment about an American beheaded by ISIS? Where was it after Ft. Hood when Obama felt the need to start out that speech by giving a ‘shout out’ to a buddy of his? Why are all of you liberals so upset by Trump’s word choice, yet for the last 8 years didn’t give a damn that Obama’s administration refused to call any attack a terrorist attack?

I’m serious, do any of you even understand your own lack of self-awareness or are you just so brainwashed that it doesn’t matter?

Do you even understand what you’re upset about in what happened in Charlottesville? Are you upset that people didn’t want a statue removed? Or do you think that they deserved to be attacked? Can you even see how many more riots that your side causes? That’s all that you know how to do. It’s disgusting. Did that woman deserve to die? Are you proud of what this guy did because “that will show us white people and us conservatives?” do you even know what is the right side to be on?

Apart from anything else, he seems to think that protestor Heather Heyer was killed by somebody from ANTIFA or something, and not James Alex Fields, Jr., a tragically young neo-Nazi, just 20 when he made the fateful decision to plough his car into the counter-protesters there to challenge the Unite the Right white supremacist rally.

Whoo boy.

Maybe it was reading a piece in the Atlantic by conservative Tom Nichols ( Why I’m Leaving the Republican Party), who’s disgusted enough to renounce the Republican Party, but couldn’t resist repeating the gross caricature of liberals as authoritarians who think the government should control everybody and everything:

I do not believe that human nature is malleable clay to be reshaped by wise government policy. Many of my views, which flow from that basic conservative idea, are not welcome in a Democratic tribe in the grip of the madness of identity politics.

Oh good Lord. “Malleable clay to be reshaped by wise government policy”. Tom, buddy, human nature is, among other things, deeply, sickeningly cruel and abusive, and the whole of human history is the story of the powerful preying on the weak. So yes, given a choice, I’d like a government that took some of that highly predatory and decidedly not malleable clay and force-molded it to pay me a decent wage, stop poisoning the earth, let me vote, and provide me a system within which I don’t have to sell my goddam house if I need a hip replacement. The “basic conservative idea” he applauds so often boils down to little more than an essentially childish demand to be allowed to keep making a mess, ‘cuz it’s fun, and anyway the blowback hits somebody else. It’s also rich to hear any conservative decry “identity politics”, when the whole purpose of the conservative movement for as long as I’ve been alive has been the preservation of white identity and the privilege that goes with it. When they do it, it’s because white people are the new oppressed minority in America. When anybody else decides to stick up for themselves, it’s toxic identity politics.

Then there’s this:

I’m not a Republican anymore, but am I still a conservative? Limited government: check. Strong national defense: check. Respect for tradition and deep distrust of sudden, dramatic change: check. Belief that people spend their money more wisely than government? That America is an exceptional nation with a global mission? That we are, in fact, a shining city on a hill and an example to others? Check, check, check.

Sure, sure. Limit the hell out of government, except when it’s spending upwards of a trillion dollars on the national security state, fighting wars that never end, and procuring hardware that always seems to cost too much, take too long to develop, and suffer the effects of mismanagement verging on corruption*. And oh yeah, people spend their money more wisely than governments, except when it’s for things that only governments can buy, like aircraft carriers. But not infrastructure and health care. Not education, and certainly not guys running around the country checking to see whether the food is contaminated. Those guys in the patent office, though, they protect intellectual property, so they’re OK. It’s like listening to a clever five-year-old. Next week’s debate topic: why people are better able to decide for themselves what side of the road to drive on. 

Liberty without constraints is merely anarchy, Tom, and the only debate is how many constraints create the most good while limiting personal freedom in ways that are tolerable. Do you really survey the wreckage around you, compare yourselves to every other industrialized nation, and think “yes, no question, we have the best of everything, we have the balance just right, and they all live under relative tyranny”? Honestly?

You still want the government to provide a fire department, though, right?

Then there’s all that ludicrous city on a hill horse shit that conservative Americans treat as an article of faith. City on a hill, Jesus, they built their country on land stolen from murdered indigenous people while exploiting slave labour and fighting an extraordinarily violent and bloody civil war over the issue of whether it was decent and Christian to own human beings. Race relations remain scandalous, oppression of women is always in the offing, distribution of wealth is starting to give the Gilded Age an inferiority complex, gun deaths top 36,000 per year, the health care system is still a ridiculous, overpriced mess, the military is everywhere fighting wars it never wins, the government is run by climate change deniers even as the coastal regions are drowning in floods while the heartland burns to the ground in wildfires, and Trump has a seemingly bottomless supply of morons who’ll come see his rallies and chant “lock her up!” – and that doesn’t even begin to describe all the things that are sick about America.

Ooh, so shiny. Look at her shine up there on the hill.

Maybe it’s because despite all the reasons not to, I have for all my life loved America, warts and all. Yes, they’re exceptional. Exceptionally lucky, mainly, to have been created in the first place by England, from whence all their cherished ideals and institutions derive, instead of Portugal or Spain; to have been plonked down on an entire continent they could seize; to have been spared the close proximity of equally powerful geopolitical rivals while ascending the ladder to global power; yes, a whole hell of a lot of things went very right for a very long while, and the most exceptional thing about it was the exceptional opportunity it afforded them, which opportunity they are now, sadly, squandering. They’re our last hope, you see. When they falter, no one remains to step in to defend the liberal world order, the way they did when England passed the torch. After them, it’s nothing but bleak tyrannies like China, same as it ever was, and when I’m angriest at America, and Americans like conservative Tom Nichols, who has left the Republican party without realizing that they didn’t betray true, core conservative ideals, they exemplify them in almost every way, it’s because of the myriad ways in which they fail, and make a mockery of all their shining city on a hill mythology. It’s the way they persist in being uniquely blind to their many deep, abiding flaws, while thumping their chests and shouting “USA! USA!”. It’s the way they squander all their chances at greatness. It’s how much it hurts to wish, most fervently, that they really were what they so smugly believe themselves to be.

Maybe, too, it was watching the cancer metastasize across the border to my home in Ontario, which now has to suffer under God knows how many years of Doug Ford.

You know, I think it’s actually starting to be bad for my health to keep paying attention.

As if I could stop.




*I could write a frigging book off the top of my head about US military procurement scandals and disasters, and I bet Mr. Nichols, a professor at the US Naval War College, could too. We could start at the 14 billion dollar USS Gerald R. Ford, and work our way back through the DDG-1000 and the SSN-21, before leaving the naval arena to discuss the F-22, the F-35, the B-2, the Army’s Future Combat Systems debacle, and so on. The one area in which the argument that governments squander the dollars they tax and spend is most obviously correct is in the realm of “strong national defence”, but I guess it’s tolerable so long as the goal is worthy, eh?


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