Well, it’s been another one of those weeks, hasn’t it? I’ve been in one of those funks when I’m too enervated and depressed by current events to rant in any sort of formal, written setting, confining my efforts to yelling at the TV, when I can bear to watch it. I realized I was reaching some sort of breaking point when I found myself compelled to flip away from MSNBC’s Deadline Whitehouse last week, which I never, ever miss watching; it was during the discussion of Paul Gosar’s hijinks, and how the GOP Troll Squad stood up for him during the censure debate, when not even the soothing tones of my beloved, impeccable Nicole Wallace could mitigate the soul-destroying toxicity of the daily news. I couldn’t stick with it.
You know, time was that the horror shows presented themselves singly, at decent intervals, giving us poor saps in the lumpen proletariat a little time to react, vent our outrage, emotionally adjust, and maybe even do something minimally constructive, like file our reactions away for future reference when the next election rolled around. These days it’s just a numbing onslaught, one shitstorm after another, bang bang bang, just as it was throughout the Trump years, I suppose – it just hasn’t let up, as if Trump’s still in charge, which in a way he is, despite his multiple humiliations and de-platformings.
Everybody who might otherwise have cared seems numb and punch-drunk, me especially, while far, far too many just never cared in the first place, seems like. It’s amazing, really, how little splash was made by these sorts of headlines, which arrived last week like a stream of machine-gun rounds:
Nobody cared. That the sitting President of the United States:
a) deliberately, and purely for political gain, forced the mismanagement of a once-in-a-century public health emergency, costing hundreds of thousands of lives; then
b) planned an actual, honest-to-God coup to retain power after decisively losing a free and fair election,
doesn’t matter a bit to anybody who’s always been inclined to vote for the fat orange monster. That shit is either disbelieved, or, we’re being honest, already baked in, and A-OK with the MAGA crowd. As long as Donald, and all his little boot-licking minions, continue to despise everybody they despise, and keep on sticking it to the Libs, they’re happy. In fact, they’re so happy, they’ll soon be handing the keys back to the goddam GOP in the mid-terms, before returning Trump to the White House in 2024.
Anyway, all that COVID/Coup stuff happened almost a year ago! Old news!
Then there was the steady drumbeat of items further highlighting the extent to which White America is utterly in the thrall of the GOP/Trump/Q-Anon Rage Machine, like:
“Let’s go Brandon”, for those averting their glance of late, is code for “Fuck Joe Biden” – it’s a long story. Similarly demoralizing are the anti-vaxxers, who’re everywhere standing in the way of efforts to bring this accursed pandemic to a halt – while the rest if us wait, biting our nails, for the inevitable mutation that skirts the vaccines and sets the whole world on fire again – now showing up at town halls and school board meetings wearing yellow Stars of David, thus equating themselves with the victims of the Holocaust, the poor oppressed things:
Ever notice how White these morons always are? One of my favourites was the screaming wench who showed up at some sort of legislative hearing hollering about how the COVID vaccine had rendered her body magnetic (she did her own research), as she would now demonstrate by sticking a house key to her neck, which, naturally, immediately failed to adhere and fell to the floor, though since such things are usually composed of non-ferrous metals like brass it’s hard to say for sure whether she’d actually joined the ranks of the X-Men. Geez lady, next time bring a steel washer or something!
I don’t know what I’d do, confronted with that shit in person; I look at their stupid caucasian faces and long, frankly, to club them like baby harp seals.
But hey, they’re good Christians anyway, beloved by the likes of crazed ex-General and pardoned former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, who’s out there calling for a Taliban-style Theocracy (but that’s OK because it would be a Jesus-loving theocracy):
…which isn’t exactly what the Framers had in mind, but no time to focus on that, because the Troll Squad was grabbing our attention by taking a run at Big Bird, on whose fictional behalf a message advocating vaccine shots for kids was sent by the well-meaning folks at Sesame Street, who I guess haven’t yet grasped that they’ve already lost the culture war:
…which wound us up here, I shit you not:
I’m not aware that prior to this, Big Bird, Bert, Ernie, Oscar et al had even been planning to attend the next CPAC, it’s not really their sort of gig, but you know, what mattered was the crucial symbolism of the gesture (which bears no similarity, let’s be clear, to the heartily despised cancel culture bullshit characteristic of the hated Libs). Long as they’re at it, maybe they can also issue a Shoot On Sight order for this undoubted Commie rabble-rouser:
Don’t let’s forget Steve Bannon, out on his own recognizance and rubbing our noses in it, running out the clock on his prosecution for contempt of Congress, no doubt expecting to drag things on long enough to get another Presidential pardon when Trump is back in the Oval in 2025. Actually, he won’t even need the pardon, Trump’s appointees will simply drop the case. Say, do you think we can lure back Billy Barr? Meanwhile, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Garland’s Justice Department has absolutely no intention of going after the January 6 coup conspirators:
Elie Mystal, a pundit I enjoy a great deal, took a lot of flak last week for accusing the saintly Garland of cowardice, but I share his intense frustration. While it’s true, as some have pointed out, that we don’t really know that nobody’s going after all those high level coup plotters in Congress and the White House, who, in addition to scheming out the unlawful maneuvers they wanted Pence to make, may have actually aided and abetted the insurrectionists who assaulted the Capitol – such investigations are supposed to be confidential, after all – by now, something would probably have leaked if anything was going on. Even if Garland runs a very tight ship, folks interviewed as witnesses, defence lawyers, Congressional aides and so on would likely be talking. It’s hard to think anything save that a political calculation has been made that going after the true architects of American democracy’s near death experience would tear the country apart, and maybe spark off that civil war that everybody keeps proposing.
Which leaves me kind of glum.
And look, don’t even get me going on Kyle Fucking Rittenhouse. Like everybody else in the broad, bloviating rabble of pundits, both amateur and paid, I had every expectation that the little murderer would get off scot-free, and would have thought so even if his case wasn’t presided over by a dim-bulb judge whose obscene bias was so manifest as to have been disqualifying. No way a white kid shooting BLM protestors is going to suffer criminal consequences in today’s America, and listen, y’all better brace yourselves for another acquittal for the killers of Ahmed Arbery, the poor unarmed kid gunned down, you’ll recall, for Jogging While Black by a couple of white suburbanites who seem to have figured that it was open season, and might have been right about that.
Maybe they won’t skate, but I’m prepared. I’m ready.
What really threatens to break me is this:
This even as the mammoth infrastructure bill has just become law. Somehow, Americans have convinced themselves that things are going badly since Trump left the scene. They think the ongoing COVID pandemic – still killing at a rate of about 1,100 per day, or ballpark 400,000 per year – isn’t their own anti-vaxxing, mask-mandate-opposing fault, but should be blamed on Biden, who’s merely made it possible for everyone in the country to get vaccinated in remarkably short order (except the stupid bastards won’t take the shot, while conservative judges in the stacked Federal Court system are striking down his federal employee vaccine mandates – Jesus Christ, even military personnel are resisting). They’re obsessed with inflation, which yes, is painful, but likely to be a passing thing, and anyway only one aspect of an increasingly high-revving economy which is in fact booming, and creating millions upon millions of jobs at a record pace, concurrent with the first meaningful rise in real wages in decades, trends the new infrastructure bill will only accelerate. They love the trillions in child tax credits and associated relief measures that the Dems passed in the first few months of Biden’s term, but don’t think the Dems had anything to do with such things, perhaps because they aren’t paying enough attention to realize that Republican politicians are lying through their teeth when they run home to their districts to claim credit for all the programs they voted against. They think the Dems, who are bending every sinew against fierce, virulent, mendacious GOP resistance, trying to enact policies to benefit all of them in myriad practical, meaningful ways, are “out of touch”.
I had more or less convinced myself, not long ago, that if enough was done to make everybody’s life better, that would simply have to start mattering. Now I’m not so sure. After all, a few years back they all loved the Affordable Care Act, too, it was just “Obamacare” they despised. I’m reminded of my own sentiments, expressed in this space prior to the 2020 election in a column titled The Undecided Voter:
I used to have conversations with friends in which I’d insist that sooner or later, people would wake up and smell the crapola. Look, I’d say, you can’t tell an out of work coal miner that he has a job, which he doesn’t, because Donald brought back coal, which he didn’t, and you can tell he didn’t because the mine is still closed. You can’t tell farmers that agriculture is going great guns when China just tariffed your soybean crop right into the crapper and you’re about to lose the land handed down to you by your Daddy, and his Daddy before him. You can’t tell people they got a tax break when it kept coming right off the top of their paycheques, just like usual. You can’t tell some poor slob who can’t get health insurance that you fixed the health care issue, and now no matter what he thinks he actually does have health insurance. Just like you can’t claim that the current fiasco is the fault of the next President, unless the next President is you, in which case there is no fiasco.
But you can. You can.
It would seem the opposite is also true. If they hear it often enough on Fox and OANN, they can just as readily be convinced that everything’s awful, even when their own life experience proves the opposite. You can also tell them that the very GOP legislators who voted to prevent the tax breaks, financial assistance, public works, and all the rest, were actually the ones who brought home the bacon.
Bill Maher was on the other night, chiming in with the increasingly curmudgeonly James Carville in claiming that the whole issue is the Democrat’s messaging problem, and in particular the intolerable Wokeness thing. It’s because the Dems are just so militantly, insanely Woke about everything, see?
He’s got a point, sort of, but whose fault is this, really? Could some of it be laid at the doorstep of pundits like him, who harp on virtually nothing else? How is it, exactly, that people like Ted Cruz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Madison Cawthorne, Kevin McCarthy, and the rest of the Troll Caucus can successfully characterize things like infrastructure spending – something that was once, you’ll remember, the obsession of their Orange God King, whose serially fruitless “infrastructure weeks” became a running joke – as communism? Who in the media is out there telling the people what’s really going on in Congress, and what’s in those bills that the Dems want to pass, supposing that sumbitch Manchin can ever be placated? Who’s selling the Woke “out of touch” narrative for all they’re worth, and bitching and moaning about AOC all day long? That’s not you, is it Bill? I mean, it’s not like you’re in there slinging the gasoline along with the rest of the media bucket brigade, right next to Tucker Carlson, pouring on the fuel while the joint burns to the ground, is it?
Gimme a break.
I don’t know, today it just feels hopeless.
Kinda makes you wonder why I don’t just give up, doesn’t it?
I guess I’m nevertheless endlessly hopeful, which would surprise everybody who knows me, but listen, there are the odd encouraging events. Look:
Yay! And Hurrah! And fuck you, DeJoy. Fuck you to death, ya prick, ya. What could be more gratifying, among the limited set of things that remain possible, than finally dealing with this corrupt-as-Hell, smugly-grinning Trump-era A-hole?
Oh, and by the way, Bill, White People Suck might indeed be a lousy campaign slogan for the Dems, but it sure would be God’s truth, wouldn’t it?