What a Hell of a week it was, eh? Watching America’s democracy struggle through another round in its interminable, ongoing beat-down was like watching a boxing match that should have been called in the ninth as it dragged on through a horrifying fourteenth. You find yourself praying that somebody in the tomato can’s corner will have the wit to throw in the towel before the poor stumbling bastard gets killed. The fight was lost long ago, and this is just ugly.
First, in the case of Rucho v. Common Cause, we had the Supreme Court refuse to do anything about Republican gerrymandering so severe that it is, in effect, undermining the principle of one person, one vote. Not in our bailiwick, wrote miserable, tight-lipped conservative tool John Roberts, completing the process begun when he did away with campaign finance laws in Citizen’s United, and gutted the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County.
Then Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a measure designed to reverse the verdict of a referendum held during the mid-terms, in which 65% of the voters agreed that it was undemocratic to permanently disenfranchise anybody who’d ever been convicted of a crime. This profoundly racist election law, a holdover from Jim Crow which denied about 1.4 million people the right to vote, is now replaced by one requiring anybody who wants to vote to first pay any outstanding fees or fines owed to the government. Given the gay abandon with which Florida’s courts impose fines, court costs and the like upon poor people who can’t possibly pay them, this should keep about 1.1 million people from getting the vote back, the bulk of them, of course, black or hispanic.
The second Democratic debate showcased the mettle and eloquence of Kamala Harris, my personal favourite (oh how I want her on stage with Donald), following which alt-right trolls revived a form of birtherism, asserting, as if it undermines her credibility on matters of race, that she isn’t descended from American slaves (which she’s never claimed to be), while numbskulls on both the left and right complained for various reasons that she’s not black enough (including that nasty little dipshit Donald Junior). The only bright spot in this debacle was Cory Booker tweeting “Kamala Harris doesn’t have to prove shit”, and other Democrats also running to her defence, but none of that did anything to improve one’s view of the manifestly idiotic American electorate and its idiot opinion leaders.
Then we had the spectacle of Dimbulb Donald Abroad, once again making an arse out of himself six ways from Sunday, this time at the G-20 in Osaka. Ever eager to undermine key alliance systems, Trump disparaged a security treaty with Japan which has for almost seven decades been a pillar of America’s geopolitical standing in Asia. Then he cracked wise with Putin about election meddling (hyuk) and murdering journalists (double hyuk), before telling the assembled reporters that yes, he agreed with Putin that Western liberal democracy was obsolete and on the wane – I mean, have you seen what those Democrats are doing in San Francisco? And Los Angeles? It’s disgusting! He then answered a question about school bussing, a long-dormant controversy reinvigorated by the Democratic debates, by saying:
Well, that’s something that they’ve done for a long period of time. You know, there aren’t that many ways you’re going to get people to schools. So this is something that’s been done. In some cases, it’s been done with a hammer instead of a velvet glove. And, you know, that’s part of it.. But this has been certainly a thing that’s been used over the — I think if Vice President Biden had answered the question somewhat differently, it would have been a different result. Because they really did hit him hard on that one. But it is certainly a primary method of getting people to schools.
In other words, he thinks the issue is that the federal government is somehow involved in making kids take those ugly yellow busses to school, I guess rather than stretch limos, and that this is sometimes done “with a hammer” but what are you going to do, you have to get them to school somehow. This almost literally breathtaking display of dumbassery prompted one Twitter user to post a meme that I expect will have thousands of applications in the months to come:
Capping it all off was another liaison with his fickle but delightful lover Kim Jong Un, giving the North Korean tyrant yet another photo-op to boost his standing at home and abroad, while announcing yet another round of talks about denuclearization which should, you know, go swimmingly. Oh boy! Another round of nuclear talks with everybody’s favourite absolute dictator! You know that adage about doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result? How that’s insane?
There they both were, occupying a tiny footprint of about 16 square feet. Stationary. This brought a tantalizing possibility to mind – is it wrong to wish that a two-ton chunk of searing, white-hot space junk had plunged from orbit to impact right at that spot as they posed for this snap? Is it?
Oh well, it was a great PR stunt, with Trump dramatically crossing over the line that marks the middle of the DMZ. Maybe he’s still bucking for that Nobel Peace Prize to which he’s obviously entitled, though those pricks in Helsinki – it’s Helsinki, right? Oslo? Stockholm? – whatever, those Scandinavian pricks won’t give it to him.
Meanwhile, back home, the Democrats are doing what they always do, dithering, hand-wringing, and sniping at each other over who’s most woke. Trump’s lawless stonewalling of Congress thus far seems to have been a complete success, and Pelosi suddenly looks flummoxed and indecisive, offering frankly non-sensical reasons why they shouldn’t just impeach the bastard. At the same time, all the Republican “never Trumpers”, Bret Stephens, Charlie Sykes and that crew, are complaining bitterly that the Democrats aren’t Republican enough and are driving away “ordinary voters” – for which read, white men – with their lefty insistence on helping the downtrodden. The Wall Street Journal, always a source of balanced, enlightened commentary, asked in an editorial what all this left-liberal bleeding heart nonsense is offering to those who voted for Trump in 2016. Journalist David Corn, God bless him, responded:
Here’s what I’d like to offer Trump’s 2016 voters: permanent exile in an unheated cluster of quonset huts perched near the rim of a disintegrating Antarctic ice shelf.
Back in the 1970s, the surrealist comedy troupe Firesign Theatre invented a fictional candidate for President, George Papoon, whose election slogan made sense in the era of Nixon and resonates even more powerfully in this new dark age of Donald:
I’m hoping Kamala sets the world on fire, but whichever Democrat wins the nomination, it has to somehow be impressed upon the stunned American voting public that he or she is necessarily better than Trump, if only because (assuming it isn’t Marianne Williamson) he/she is NOT INSANE. Not a rapist, either, or a dictator-loving autocrat, a thief, or a cripplingly incompetent career moron now showing signs of incipient dementia, but leaving all that aside, not insane. Biden would obviously be a better president. So would Warren, or Booker, or Mayor Pete, or even that Yang fellow. A ripe honeydew melon would make a better president. Or maybe one of those green stripey watermelons. Either way. Look, logically, that has to be the case. No melon has ever been mentally ill! Or demented! You could sit a melon behind the Resolute Desk and it would never throw the full weight of the US Government behind insane policies like tax cuts for the super-rich and banning all the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims from even visiting the country! Would a melon deny the reality of climate change? No. It would not. No melon ever put a four-year-old in a cage, either, right? When was the last time a melon imperilled the Western alliance system while cozying up to Russian thugs? Never, that’s when.
Is that such a hard sell? Heck, America, elect a potato, or a hamster, or a goddam cockatoo, or take Kate McKinnon’s SNL suggestion and plump for a large igneous rock, so long as it isn’t Trump, and isn’t itself barking mad.
Vote Melon! Melon is Not Insane!