Distracted From Disaster

As we debate the proper language for polite society, the Republicans in the Senate have taken the first steps towards dismantling our flawed, but operational healthcare system. And our president leads Nazi pep rallies in front of the Boy Scouts.

We can no longer hope that Trump will simply disappear or die of a heart attack. He’s here and he’s bullying everyone to doing his bidding. Even if he should get impeached and convicted, it would take a very long time given his army of New York lawyers. And even then, can you imagine him walking out peacefully?

We can no longer hope that the sensible Republicans, the Never Trumpers, will have enough courage to stand up to him. Hello, John McCain.

Traditions and ethics have kept our institutions working in the past, even when dealing with incompetance and greed of politicians. Well, tradition and ethics have no hold on a guy who can shamelessly tweet elementary school insults at 3:00 am.

I’m at a loss at what we should do.

13 thoughts on “Distracted From Disaster

  1. I’d say we need to do those old-fashioned things–find, support, and elect candidates that match our values. It’s worked for the Rs for a long time. We Ds have to stop thinking that electing a particular president is all we have to do, that somehow an African-American or woman can make everything work. As we can see, the power is also in the House and Senate, and in the courts whose judges are confirmed by those senators. We also have to accept imperfect candidates that may not agree with us 100% of the time, but who at least represent us better than the alternatives. If we do in 2018 what we did in 2010–stay home and not vote in the mid-term, we deserve what we get.


  2. I agree about the never-Trumpers being useless. Having grown up in an environment where most of the adults identified as moderate Republicans, it took me a long time to accept that at any level of aggregation relevant for political outcomes, there are no longer any moderate Republicans. The Republicans have managed to create a parliamentary-style unified political party and the Democrats will have to respond in kind or face extinction.

    But Obamacare is going to be repealed. For the Republican Party not to destroy it would either admit they are too incompetent to govern or that they were lying about Obamacare being the worst thing ever. Both of those are true, but there’s no way for anybody who isn’t going to read a real newspaper to see that so long as Obamacare gets repealed. That Trump is manifestly melting down by the minute provides more urgency, not a reason for caution.


  3. Anyway, failing to win back control of the White House and Congress by 2020 looks pretty certain to results in America becoming a banana republic.


  4. Yes, I know what you mean about disasters (though, I do believe that we are debating more than language in your other thread).

    In my heart, I’d been counting on the less conservative Republicans, and I don’t think they have completely failed (they did vote against the “repeal”, after all), though we’ll know more if they do agree to stabbing of the ACA in the form of taking out the mandates and taxes and watching it bleed to death.

    What can we do?

    We can’t give up. It’s hard not to give up when you meet failure. My favorite poster of the Amplifier Foundation (Shepard Fairey’s project) is Ernesto Yerena’s poster, “We The Resilient have been here before”. Things have been worse and have gotten better and they can be better again. If I stop believing that things can be better again, I will leave.

    We have to fight against the attempts to suppress voter effect, through redistricting, through underfunding the census, and through voter fraud/id laws that disproportionately affect some. We have to accept that there is no moderate, or even a functional, Republican party capable of governing, which, in turn, means accepting positions on the Democratic choice that might not be what we want (from all wings — for me, that means potentially accepting safe injection sites, which I do not believe are an appropriate approach to opiate treatment as well as accepting more regressive tax plans than I prefer).

    And, I personally, have started to think of the Miep test — which is, if things get really bad, can I count on friends to be Miep, not just for me, but for others who are vulnerable, and with whatever power they have. I’m not having to make that decision personally, but, while voting for a Republican might have been something I could agree to disagree on, that’s just not enough anymore.


  5. And this morning we wake up to the disastrous tweets about transgenders in the military. He did this to please the conservative republicans, right? And try to pressure them into passing the Healthcare repeal & replacement. Disgusting!


    1. In the political communication system, the people are informed by two separate yet equally bizarre officials: the president who tweets out random bits of prejudice and spite, and the communications director who issues death threats to government workers. These are their stories.


  6. Charles Blow was echoing the theme this morning:

    “There is an enduring expectation, particularly among American liberals, that progress in this society should move inexorably toward more openness, honesty and equality. But even the historical record doesn’t support that expectation.

    In reality, America regularly experiences bouts of regression, but fortunately, it is in those regressive periods that some of our greatest movements and greatest voices had found their footing.”

    The rest of the column gives examples.


    1. I’ve been thinking about this all day. I’ve decided that while bouts of regression are unavoidable, this isn’t just regression. Things are moving away from openness, honesty and equality, but none of those cover a white house communications director calling a reporter to say that he isn’t sucking his own cock or senators voting for a bill after specifically asking for a promise that it not be enacted into law or a president issuing trying to ban transsexual people from serving in the military without telling the military before he tweets it.

      The stories staffers used to put in their memoirs about things that happened twenty or forty years ago or that reporters spent years digging up are about behavior less objectionable than stories coming directly Trump and his peoples’ own mouths or phones. These are horrible, unhinged, dangerous people.


    2. Yes, it is getting difficult to tell the difference between a reality show or the onion and the White House. They are horrible people. But I think that some of the difference between now and then is that we know more — that conversations are routinely taped, that information spreads like wildfire.

      We know more and I do think knowing can sometimes be worse than not knowing, when it normalizes behavior like Scaromucci’s. But sometimes knowing can be good — there is more exposure now of a variety of bad behaviors that had victims and were hidden.

      And, someone with more knowledge of history than me will have to tell me if voting for a bill in the Senate while demanding it fall in the house is really unprecedented. Hasn’t making law always been convoluted and ugly?

      I think those of who haven’t had to fight/resist before (and I include myself — my opportunities have been the perfect example of the American Dream.) need to look for inspiration from those who fought and failed and kept fighting (current hero is Emanuel Cellar, whose biography we are reading, but there are lots of examples from every era).


      1. The Mooch called a reporter for the New Yorker. That’s not exactly a new way to spread information. Sure, it took a couple of days to circulate back when Wallace Shawn’s dad was running the thing, but it’s not like Mooch was recorded in secret.

        Speaking of The Onion, this is pretty good. It reminds me that when the question is “who uses types of mental illnesses to insult people?” the answer is more likely to be “complete shits” than “confused college freshman.”


  7. Sean King spoke at an event I was at recently and said to all of us that if we’d ever wondered what we’d have done in the dark days of the civil rights movement that we should think about what we are doing now.

    Clinton went to Texas to register minority voters. I am never someone who would have been part of freedom summer. But I would have held the place at for other more adventuresome fighters. That’s what I’m trying to do now. I took on a responsibility at my kid’s school that I would normally have turned down. I decided to do it because I could. Then I realized I was taking over for the woman who is now outreach coordinator for our newly elected firebrand congressional representative, who is willing to fight tirelessly for “lost” causes.


  8. So, apparently threatening to duel people, insulting them because their plane got shot down, and threatening to retaliate against their whole state can backfire. That’s good to know.


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