politics

Out: RINOs. In: CINOs. (Christians in Name Only)

Beau of the Fifth Column (not me, because even though I’m a Beau from the South, I have neither this accent nor this beard nor this way with words) eviscerates the idea of anti-Trumpsters being “RINOs,” pointing out that Trump was an independent, a Reform Party supporter and, yes, a Democrat before deciding to join and manipulate the Republican Party.

This, in and of itself, is not a new thought. Trump’s record of party-shopping and even his willingness to contort his own alleged views to suit that party is well-documented.

And while the old quote that Trump figured Republicans were idiots he could manipulate is actually fake, he clearly found that the GOP (or “Gutless Old People”) was quite malleable. Traditional conservative values like free trade, small government and standing up for democracy vs. dictators have gone out the window. A party that had gone full-bore “Tea Party” libertarian is now authoritarian.

But, again, the other Beau puts it better than I could, noting that Trump settled on the Republican Party in part because it was the one in which he could “give them permission to be their worst and it would motivate them.”

Also related to the Trump base: a story in The Atlantic (might be paywalled) noted something about the evangelicals who support Trump. As it turns out, they don’t go to church that often:

And a pearl-clutching study of evangelical opinions finds that evangelicals are (gasp!) more willing to accept LGTBQ people and accept the prospect that many roads lead to heaven, but the authors are heartened by the fact that a solid 90% of them are against fornication.

So here’s why the political landscape of the last seven years makes no sense …

While the country is getting more diverse along theological, gender and sexuality lines, a significant number of people who consider sexual morality more important than many theological issues have decided that they shall put all of their stock in a man whose attitudes on sex and marriage should be repulsive to them.

Should we still be dissecting Trump? Maybe not. That’ll be for the courts.

But this peculiar tendency is something we have to notice. State and local governments are already making things very uncomfortable for people who are more about compassion for others than condemnation of others.

And these people aren’t just RINOs. They’re CINOs as well.

Uncategorized

Olive branches for many, but justice for all

At my new Gen X blog, X-temporaneous, I’ve issued a sincere invitation for Trump voters to explain their decision.

I want to know in particular why people of color voted for someone who has stoked racial tension and ramped up cruelty at the border, but I also want to know why a lot of people are so skeptical of Joe Biden that they overlooked Donald Trump’s many faults, especially the willful ignorance and lack of empathy that led us to botch our COVID-19 response, to cast their ballots for him.

But let’s be absolutely clear:

  • I have no interest in hearing from people who are OK with racism.
  • I have no interest in hearing from people who think Q-Anon and Tucker Carlson have some access to facts that the mainstream media do not.
  • I have no interest in hearing from people who make excuses for separating families — possibly forever — at the border while snorting about how they should simply apply for “legal immigration” in a system that’s broken.
  • I have no interest in hearing from people who thinking wearing a mask is an act of cowardice rather than an act of responsibility for our fellow human beings.
  • I have no interest in hearing from people who deny science in other forms as well, especially but not limited to climate change.
  • I have no interest in hearing from people who think it’s OK for parents to have to explain to their kids why sexual assault, lying and bullying are bad for them but somehow acceptable for a president.
  • I have no interest in hearing from Cuban-Americans in Florida who think a slight increase in taxes on the ultrarich, still nowhere near where that tax rate was under Democrats and old-school Republicans, is more of a slippery slope toward Castro’s realm than the emerge of an outright authoritarianism. A safety net would turn us into Western Europe. Not modern-day Cuba.
  • I have no interest in hearing from people who think God wants a president who pays lip service to stopping abortion and behaves as far from Christian teaching as anyone possibly can.

I want to see some people in prison. I want to see some people live the rest of their lives in disgrace unless they make dramatic acts of repentance and atonement.

I think a lot of people have been hoodwinked by false information in today’s dizzying media whirlwind. I think some people heard “Defund the Police” and took it literally. I think some people have legitimate complaints that their concerns haven’t been heard by a lot of liberals and progressives who have stereotypes of Middle America, not realizing that their hard work fuels our farms and factories.

But the converse is true. I think a lot of people have stereotypes of Coastal America, not realizing that their diverse work subsidizes much of the rest of the country and that their political beliefs are grounded in a sense of empathy and responsibility for the rest of humanity. When the world celebrates like all the planets in the galaxy in Return of the Jedi, it’s worth trying to figure out why.

And I think some people are consumed by their prejudices, using them as a crutch to avoid worrying about other people and acting for the general welfare.

So if you’re concerned about your future or have some concern that hasn’t occurred to me, I want to hear from you.

If you have no desire to join us in building a more rational and compassionate country, then piss off.

Uncategorized

If you’re not yet convinced to vote for Biden …

It’s difficult to describe what’s good about Joe Biden without describing what’s awful about Donald Trump.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Biden will respect expertise and surround himself with competent people. That means respecting science on the new challenge of COVID-19 and the old challenge of climate change.

Biden will listen to other points of view, starting with his vice president. He has already worked with Bernie Sanders on a “unity” platform. The more Democrats that are elected to Congress, the more of a chance these things have of becoming reality.

Biden is also less prone to spouting utter bullshit than Donald Trump, who has created a whole industry of people working feverishly to document his lies (20,000 through July, The Washington Post reports), some of them so outrageous that you wonder how anyone could possibly take him seriously.

These things should be obvious, of course. But frankly, they weren’t necessarily true of other Democratic candidates.

And they’re certainly not true of the most malignant man to live in the White House, at least since before the Civil War.

If you’re unconvinced of this, consider the following arguments and the links I’ve compiled to support each one …

Cruelty: In the Trump cult, empathy is a bad thing.

Immigration: Always a net positive for the USA but a scapegoat and a racist dog whistle for Trump.

Environment: Even aside from climate change, what Trump has done has been horrific.

Guns: Not something really addressed in the past four years, for better in some respects but mostly for worse.

Foreign policy: There’s hardly an ally Trump hasn’t alienated. Well, maybe Saudi Arabia.

Economics: Trump has taken credit for growth he did nothing to engender, and his tax cuts just racked up national debt while adding to the nation’s inequality.

Corruption: If Congress had any sense of duty or morality, we’d be voting out President Pence right now. Maybe even President Pelosi.

Authoritarianism: The scariest aspect of Trump and his cult is that they will change the very fabric of the U.S. government for their cruel intentions.

We have many issues to address and many viewpoints to consider. With any luck, the next four years will be a productive discussion between progressives and centrists, with the incompetent and heartless people who’ve been in power for four years pushed off to the sideline. I look forward to finding common ground and solutions.

But Job #1 needs to be done by Nov. 3.

If you don’t do it, frankly, you’ve failed your fellow human being and will have to live with it the rest of your life.

This is our Normandy. This is our Gettysburg. And we don’t have to charge toward machine-gun nests on a beach or across a bloody battlefield to rise to the challenge.

You just have to vote.

If you’re not inclined to wait in a socially distanced line on Nov. 3, look up your state’s voting policies.

Then make sure your vote has been counted. Most election boards have websites on which you can check the status of your ballot.

Then we can breath a sign of relief Nov. 4 or 5 or whenever the count is finished.

Then we can get to work to make sure this country never again turns upon its own people.

cynicism, politics

Being “triggered” is an act of courage, not cowardice

Dear Donald Trump Jr. (and Boris Johnson … for that matter, and Vladimir Putin),

On behalf of “liberals,” “progressives” and former Republicans, I would like to say the following …

You’re damn right we’re “triggered.”

We’re triggered because we’ve seen a rise in violent racist hate crimes and other signs of emboldened racism, including a fatal rally in Charlottesville that its own organizer said “wouldn’t have occurred without Trump.” (No, the recent action that’s supposed to help fight the rise in anti-Semitism won’t help.

We’re triggered because we know separating kids from their parents and keeping people in inhumane conditions because they’re seeking the same opportunities our grandfathers sought is incompatible with any sort of morality, secular or religious. And it’s even taking a toll on the economy.

We’re triggered because we know the bill will come due for the corporate debt and federal debt we’re using to prop up the economy while people like you are afraid to steer us toward *long-term* prosperity. (Yes, Obama ran up deficits, but only to bail out the last Republican president, and it worked. When the economy recovered, so did the budget.)

We’re triggered because we know we’re also passing the bill for climate change to our kids and grandkids. We don’t all buy into the worst-case scenario of impending extinction, but we know we’re going to be spending a lot of money to relocate and renovate farms, put up seawalls (got $46 billion?) or simply move cities inland, and repair all the damage from stronger storms and fires.

We’re triggered because we’re the developed world’s biggest hotbed of gun violence, and yet a minority of people who insist it’s somehow not about guns has managed to intimidate people like you.

We’re triggered because Puerto Rico is part of the United States and shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to get aid after a hurricane.

We’re triggered because we think 25-year-olds who are diagnosed with cancer while they’re working entry-level jobs without insurance shouldn’t have to declare bankruptcy to get the care they need. (They’re just part of the hundreds of thousands of people who do so each year.)

We’re triggered because younger generations are racking up massive debt just to go to college, something other countries have managed to make accessible to all.

We’re triggered because we’re the world’s laughingstock. (OK, that’s not really directed at Putin.)

We’re triggered because we believe women shouldn’t be sexually assaulted. (No, we haven’t forgotten. Nor have we forgotten that he said it was OK.)

We’re triggered because we believe our gay and transgender friends and family should have the same rights we have.

You’ve convinced farmers you’re on their side, even as your tariffs ruin them.

You’ve convinced hard-working people that they can keep their coal and manufacturing jobs rather than working to train them for the future, and they’re already losing out in industry and agriculture — thanks in part to Trump’s tariffs.

You’ve convinced evangelicals to support you despite your obvious lack of morality because they think you’ll get abortion banned. Let’s not even debate the thorny biological and theological questions there. Let’s tell the truth. If you or one of your buddies knocks up your mistress, you have the means to push her onto a plane to fly somewhere abortion will still be legal, and you can pay for the procedure while slipping her a bit of hush money. You know abortion will only be banned for poor people.

You’ve convinced people on Wall Street that it’s OK to buy into your short-term thinking and keep their party rolling.

You haven’t convinced us.

And it’s telling that you’re not even trying. Your book isn’t called “Persuaded.” You don’t even care.

We do.

We care about other people, and we will never be ashamed of it.

We will never stop fighting for them.

You will be defeated.

The good news is that a lot of us still believe in repentance. Your path back is clear.

Donate your royalties to causes that will help undo everything you’ve done.

Then come back and work with us instead of treating us as the enemy. We’re good people. You’ll feel good about it.

I’m really writing this for you.

The person who has read this far.

You can stop this. You can stop buying into the propaganda. You can join us in fighting for others.

You can vote with a conscience.

“Triggering” is easy. It’s not an accomplishment.

You can have the courage to care. To fight back.

To be positive. (Yes, it’s OK to live a happy life. We’re not just negative nannies. We want to encourage people to share the joy we get from pursuing the good life without stomping on those in need and future generations.)

Besides, we have all the good bands. All the people who make good TV shows and movies. All the good writers. We even have all the good preachers.

So come join us. We’ll have fun. ALL of us. Not just those who were born with all the advantages the world can offer and chose not to use them for anything but self-gratification.