“When people show you who they are, believe them.” Famed writer, poet and philosopher Maya Angelou wasn’t speaking about the GOP writ large, but her quote fits them like a well-worn sneaker.
Much ink has been spilled on the pages of today’s media bemoaning how hateful and divided we are as a country. “Both sides!” they shout into the void; “it’s the Trump Effect,” they say, as if one person could shift the narrative in this country on his own.
Back from my blog holiday to say: all that is fucking bullcrap. There is largely one side responsible for dialogue’s denigration—and reprehensible disgusting behavior predates Orangina Thinskin. We can trace it back to the 2008 presidential campaign for a more “modern” understanding of where we are today. We’ll start there and plot our way forward.
I’m restricting this analysis *only to town halls and presidential debates.
⬆️ Before McCain himself was an on-again, off-again Trump boyfriend, here he is back in October 2008 actually defending President Obama to jeers in the crowd. Then Grandma Karla-Jane McGillicutty stands up wearing red flannel PJs and says “I’ve read about Obama. He’s an Arab.”
⬆️ “This is Little Hussein,” says a Palin rally attendee, proudly holding up a monkey with an Obama bumper sticker as a bandana. Neat! The rest of the above clip is actually legit funny stuff about taking away the vote of “angry males.” Any policies or decisions that stem from anger will not end well. (See my final point at the end.)
⬆️ McCain had lost control of the room, clearly, even after admonishing them “we need to have a conversation folks.” Let me remind you about 2008-09, in which our country was in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, and some fucking dingus shouts from the crowd “kill Obama!” Because murder will cure all financial woes, or something. Whatever, bro.
⬆️ By the end of the campaign, McCain had morphed into Angry Republican Voter Whisperer and questioned then-candidate Obama’s character. “Who is this man?” So before you start calling him a Maverick, remember how he shape-shifted in 2012 to try and solidify his basal support. Obama won in a landslide.
⬆️ “Your state has executed 234 death-row inmates,” noted NBC’s Brian Williams in one of the 6,000 GOP primary debates. “More than any other governor in modern times.” The audience cheered that. Cheered. If you accept Newsweek’s calculation that 4.1% of death-row inmates are innocent—the number could be higher or lower depending on any given state’s checks and balances—Texas, under then-Gov. Rick Perry, killed nearly 10 innocent people. I’m against the death penalty for that reason: humans are flawed and make mistakes. But cheering executions should have been a sign to us that the republic was about to go full banana.
⬆️ “Don’t do to other nations what we don’t want done to us.” Ron Paul sounds reasonable invoking the Golden Rule, right? Wrong, says the audience, who jeered and booed that rational and fair statement. Here we have a preview of modern-day evangelical hypocrisy—where evangelicals support a pedophile and cheer when something pisses off a liberal. Today, they have embraced Trump as Jesus, which *actual Bible Jesus warned against. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15) You can’t claim a mantle of piety when your publicly stated beliefs insult your Savior (I’m talking about Bible Jesus there).
if we've learned anything the past 6 months it's that Evangelicals put politics before Jesus. pic.twitter.com/KHtLKBduOA
— William Barr’s Jumpy Polygraph Test (@bywillpollock) July 13, 2017
⬆️ In another choice 2012 primary moment we have cheers for torture and claims from both Michelle “Marcus is totally not gay” Bachmann and “999” Herman Cain that yes they’d like to please return to waterboarding as a means to squeeze a perp for information. Say whatever you want about the audience reaction; candidates for POTUS in 2012 see torture as totally kosher and not illegal at all. Nice. The Red Cross was the first international organization to come out and say waterboarding is torture, and it’s also in violation of the Geneva Convention. But hey, clapping or whatever.
⬆️ In probably the most disgusting example of vitriol—and a total misreading of how repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell would affect the military—vocal audience members booed a gay active-duty military member. He was asking a reasonable question about what the candidates would do with and for gay soldiers, and the audience and Rick Santorum turned it into a exercise in phony pearl-clutchy nonsense.
There are many, many other examples I could cite, but I’ll spare you the rest. Here’s my point: you can’t blame the GOP’s Trumpian behavior on Trump. Hateful strains of false populism, fake christianity and un-christian character assassinations pre-date Donald. Donnie is simply a feature in the Hate Machine, not the machine itself. To say that it’s all Donald Trump would be paying him a backhanded compliment he absolutely doesn’t deserve.
So, how’d we get here? We got to this point from gullible, vulnerable Americans allowing themselves to be whipped in a frenzy by Fox News, Fox Nation, Brietbart, Drudge Report, NewsMax, RedState and so many other fever swamp “news” sites. When you add in the amplification of Russia’s meddling in 2016 (we’re going to find out it was conspiracy, not just meddling) and you have yourself a perfect storm that gave us this disgusting administration whose sole purpose is to destroy the institutions that we hold dear.
⬆️ Don’t believe me? Trump invited Ted Nugent (threatened to kill President Obama) Sarah Palin (claimed Obama “paled around with terrorists”) and other yodels to the white house for a photo op, embracing/endorsing their hate and ideology. These people don’t deserve to be cleaning the Oval Office, let alone have an audience with an American president*.
Like Circuit City or Sports Authority before, the GOP is a failed company trying to sell a tired product, with shitty sales associates who are dashing toward the exits. Many are retiring ahead of November 2018 because they see a Blue Hurricane coming and don’t want the house fall on them. 🔵
— William Barr’s Jumpy Polygraph Test (@bywillpollock) January 17, 2018
What in the name of Arthur Sulzberger is going on at The New York Times? The institutional publication known as “The Paper of Record” is now birdcage lining. The paper famously claimed “you guys, there’s nothing to this Trump-Russia thing!” despite being briefed by Christopher Steele two weeks prior to publication of “FBI sees no link to Russia”; the paper relentlessly reported on Hillary’s email while totally ignoring Trump’s misdeeds—giving all the Trumps a pass on doing the same thing today; NYT repeatedly glad-hands Trump and is obsessed with maintaining access to the thin-skinned Orangoutang.
NYT just dedicated its entire editorial page to letters from Trump supporters, too. So when this asshole is impeached, what then? Will NYT ever apologize for its treatment of Hillary or her historic run for POTUS? No, they won’t. I’ve stopped all e-mail alerts and deleted the app off my phone, and will get my news elsewhere. If I wanted to be lied to I’d watch Fox News.
Related reading: Louise Neu’s “An Open Letter to the New York Times” on Medium. It’s really great.
— William Barr’s Jumpy Polygraph Test (@bywillpollock) January 7, 2018
The first Cure Your Crankies moment of 2018 comes as a colossal “awwww” about a kitten befriending a photographer. This kitty is both determined and brave, and I only hope he ultimately adopted that little guy.
That’s a wrap guys. We’ll see you right back here next week at 2 p.m., and I’ll pop in with single posts based on news breaking.
He is the author of two books (Pizza for Good & Leaving Triscuit), with more on the way. Sign up for the mailing list, follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram–and check out the book links below. Make sure to comment often–cranky loves company.
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