Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: President

Explaining “That’s Too Bad” For the Uninitiated

Before I get into the meat of my post, I have one request from everybody when talking about this president. Stop saying, “Can you believe he said ____?!?” Yes, yes I can. As I’ve said before, unless that phrase is followed by, “I’m sorry to all the people I hurt, and I realize that I’ve been so wrong”, nothing this president says surprises or shocks me. Don’t get me wrong. It’s still disgusting and disturbing, but it’s not surprising. I feel we’re wasting too much energy on, “A president can’t/shouldn’t/won’t ____.” This is who he is. He’s not going to change at this late date. He’s been spouting hateful shit all his life, so do not act shocked now. It’s amazing how many people, mostly white, were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt or said it was just an act. Many of us minorities knew exactly who he was from day one.

This relates to the post of the day because of what happened with the USS John McCain–side note, it’s really distracting to my brain that it’s named that because I keep thinking they’re talking about the senator for whom it was named (and his father)–and this president’s reaction to the news. When informed that the USS John McCain had been in a collision and ten naval officers were missing, this president replied, now famously, “That’s too bad.”

The reaction and backlash were swift. “How could he say  that?” “Omigod! He’s sunk even lower than I imagined!” All the responses were in this vein, which was very annoying for reasons mentioned above. I know we’re all still clinging to the notion of how a president should and shouldn’t behave (and, by the way, this president has shown how much of that is tacit and not explicit), but get the fuck over it. We have to deal with the way things are, not how we think or wish they should/would be.

My formula for figuring out what this president is going to say on any given topic: What is the worst thing I can think of him saying, and then what’s even worse than that? Double that, and it’s close to what he’s actually going to say. Look, I’m not saying don’t be outraged at what’s happening in our country–I’m just saying it’s a waste of your emotional reserves to be continually shocked and surprised by what this president says. Some people are addicted to the outrage, though. I felt that when I’d see people ranting about Morning Joe day after day. Dude. You don’t have to watch. Also, it’s who he is. You know that!

I realize the president is different in that we can’t (or rather, shouldn’t) just turn him off and pretend he doesn’t exist. Still. We need to accept that he is an ignorant, thin-skinned, bullying, narcissistic, incurious, cruel, sociopathic asshole in order to better deal with him. There is no better side to him. There is no deeper layer. He is exactly as he appears, and we would do well to remember that.


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Resistance and Art in the Time of Fascism

I’m still reeling from what happened in Charlottesville, especially since this president is still ‘both sides’ing the situation. He came out with a statement denouncing the KKK, but had to throw in ‘other hate groups’, and it was clear he was only saying it because he felt he had to. It shouldn’t take two days to say, “Fascism and white supremacy have no place in America. We will not tolerate Nazis in this country”, but that’s where we are right now. He got a lot of pushback for his lukewarm statement, tweeted his temper tantrum at being told it wasn’t good enough, and had a meltdown yesterday in which he said there are good guys in on the white supremacy side, honestly, and the ‘alt-left’ is just as bad as the ‘alt-right’.

I mean.

WHAT???

I’m not surprised. I have to say that up front because this is who he is. Many of us minorities knew this from the very beginning, which is why we weren’t willing to ‘just give him a chance’. We didn’t need time to know he’s a racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic fuck, but if anyone had any doubt, his words yesterday should put that illusion to rest.

In addition, he’s a narcissistic, vindictive, petty man who can’t see anyone other than himself, and everything is about him. 24/7. Of course he had to make it about him because he’s incapable of doing otherwise. Of course he wasn’t going to denounce the white supremacist because he believes the same things they do. His grandfather was a slum landlord who did not want to rent to black people, and it’s clear the apple does not fall far from the tree. This president has said racist things time and time again about people of many different ethnicities, and he has white nationalists on his staff for fuck’s sake.

In other words, he’s no friend of minorities, and we’ve known that even before he ever ran for president. This is my way of saying while it’s disheartening that this president refused to full-throatedly denounce white supremacists, it’s not surprising in the least.

I was off Twitter for about twenty minutes when he made his announcement, and when I returned, I had a TL full of anger, disbelief, pain, and fear. This president had just signaled to his base–and, let’s be clear. His base are racist fuckers–that he is with them 100%. It was so appallingly bad, even Republicans were moved to denounce his message, albeit not directly to him. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan subtweeted the president saying that white supremacy is unacceptable. I said, “OK. What are you going to do about it?” Because words don’t mean shit if you don’t back it up with actions.

I think it’s really hard to explain to white non-Jewish people, even really supportive liberals, how exhausting it is to be a minority in this president’s America. Waking up every day, wondering how else he’s going to hate on me and my kin, it’s more than my brain–and heart–can take. I saw so many of my Twitter family in pain, and it broke my heart. I tweeted a message to them because I’m a caregiver even if I’m also cantankerous and a misanthrope, and I’ll post the beginning of the thread here.


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Struggling Against the Darkness

no need to memorialize.
This is the hill they’re willing to die on.

If you’re an American (and even if you’re not), you’re probably aware of what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. A bunch of whiny titty ass babies gathered with their store-bought tiki (Polynesian) torches on the U.Va. campus in the middle of the night while the students weren’t even there, ostensibly to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue, but in reality to get their Nazi/Confederacy/white supremacy cosplay on. Before I get into this heated topic, I’m forewarning you that this is going to be even more stream-of-conscious than normal, and I’m going to go to some pretty dark places. I don’t normally write when my feelings are this raw, but I need to sort through my emotions, and I do it best while writing.

When I saw the pictures of the rally on Friday night, my instinct was to sneer at how pathetic they looked. All these young white men (and they were overwhelmingly men, gee, I wonder why) shouting vile slogans, their face contorted in hatred. They were holding their tiki torches, and it’s not a coincidence that they looked like a lynch mob, and I know I was supposed to be terrified, but all I felt was disgust and contempt.

If it weren’t for the fact that they could (and did) cause irreparable harm, I would just laugh in their goddamn faces. They think they’re so powerful and patriotic, but they’re just a pathetic, whiny mess. They can’t even make their own fucking torches for fuck’s sake! That’s part of the problem, though. They feel powerless and that their lives are a waste, but instead of taking stock of their inner flaws as to why that might be, they blindly seek out others to blame for their shortcomings.

Quick side note: This is one of the downsides to toxic masculinity. If you’re not at the top of the heap, then you’re a failure as a man. If you’re a failure, that’s the worst thing in the world and unbearable, so it’s easier to say it’s someone else’s fault.

I took Saturday off from social media as is my wont, and when I returned Sunday morning, I heard about the murder by car of Heather Heyer by one of the fascist assholes. I heard that the stupid rally raged for days with increasing violence directed at the protesters. I saw some media and politicians ‘both sides’ the situation, and it made my blood boil. Hell, I saw our fucking president say that ‘many sides’ were to blame, but not once did he say Nazi or white supremacists.

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Vying for the Stupidest Man Alive

Just when I think this president and his posse couldn’t get any stupider, they prove me wrong. Again. Amidst all the accusations of collusion with Russia to influence the 2016 election, Junior released an email chain that revealed how he was expecting to meet with a Russian government attorney who had damaging information about Clinton that would expose her or some such*.

::double headdesk::

The sheer stupidity of it had me at a loss for word, which is highly unusual for me. All the frantic denial by this president and his people, and Junior casually tweets out the emails like it ain’t no big thing. Independent journalist, Jared Yates Sexton, went on a Twitter rant about how he’s been chasing this story for a year, and then Junior just went and told on himself. Sexton was just as dumbfounded as I was, though he said it much more eloquently. My favorite tweet is this:

Maybe it’s because I’m a big fan of ellipses to indicate incredulity, but it neatly sums up the ‘what the fuck just happened’ feeling that all rational people experienced when reading about this hot mess.

I will say, though, this tweet made me laugh:

How can you not go a bit crazy after reading what Junior did? Normal people don’t willingly put the noose around their own necks or their father’s. Now, granted, the NYT was going to publish a piece that contained the same information, so maybe Junior thought a good offense is a good defense, but giving how strenuously the president and his acolytes have been in denying any of this shit happened, it’s astounding that Junior would just give it out for free.

This was my brain’s way of dealing with it:

I tend to joke when I can’t process something, and I’m still reeling over this particular idiocy on the part of Junior. He’s explained that this is how you do things in business which is problem number one. Running the country isn’t the same as running a business, and there are very different rules.

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An Open Letter to Ivanka, Woman to Woman

Ed. Note: I know I said I was done with politics, but, apparently, politics aren’t done with me. I still keep abreast of current events, and I can’t help but react when shitty things happen, such as the president pulling out of the Paris Accord. One thing that has been poking in my craw for some time is how Ivanka is treated with such kid gloves. Leave Ivanka alooooooone, cry many of the (mostly male) journalists. One in particular, Chris Cillizza, seems to have appointed himself as her white knight, pun intended, excusing her for not speaking up against her father in public. It’s been both baffling and fascinating to me how differently Ivanka has been treated by the press as opposed to, say, Chelsea Clinton. In fact, the aforementioned Chris Cillizza neatly displayed this hypocrisy with these two tweets: 

It’s OK to pile on Chelsea who isn’t a politician and hasn’t evinced any interest in being a politician, but LAY OFF IVANKA (who, need I remind you, is actually a part of her father’s administration). There are many theories why this is the case, and I think it’s because Ivanka is pretty in a conventional way and has carefully cultivated herself to be nonthreatening. When she speaks, she smiles softly and speaks in this breathy voice, which the psychologist in me says is how she’s learned to deal with her father.

At any rate, this note is threatening to become a post in and of itself, so let’s move on. 

Dear Ivanka:

Hey, girl. Can we talk? Is it OK if I call you Ivanka? I feel as if I know you, and it’s because you’re in my goddamn news feeds almost every day. I know you’re a busy woman, what with doing your business deals while simultaneously…what exactly is your job in the administration? I’ve never been sure, and you’re pretty coy about it–as is everyone else around you. Anyway! You have been called your father’s whisperer, which is the defense given to why you don’t stand up to him in public. Cillizza, who I mentioned in my note, was eager to defend your honor, saying what daughter would be expected to stand up to her father in public*?

It’s not that I don’t sympathize–I do. We Americans only have to deal with this president as our president; you’ve been his daughter all your life. You probably learned early on that you had to play along to get along, and you’ve learned that lesson well. You either intuited or learned the hard way that if you contradicted your father, there would be hell to pay. So, instead, you molded yourself after him, but in a softer, more traditionally feminine version that you knew would appeal to him. You made yourself the ideal woman to gain his approval, and as I said, I am not without sympathy. It’s not easy growing up under the tyrannical thumb of a narcissistic, arrogant, explosive tyrant, and you’ve done the best you can to adapt to the circumstance. If you were just a private citizen, I would completely sympathize, but because you are part of American politics, for worse or for worst, I have to observe how your dysfunctions are affecting the country.

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Top 10 Things I Need When We Talk About This President

don't do it.
Just say no!

I’m tired. I’m sick. I’m sick and tired, which means I’m fucking cranky. As such, my normal filters are gone, so I decided this is the perfect time to go on a rant about how people talk about this president–mostly the media, but also people on social media. Look, I know we’re in dark days with this president, but some of the things you’re doing isn’t helping. At all. Let me put them in list form because people love listicles.

  1. Stop being incredulous about the shit he does. “Can you believe this president _____?!?” Unless the blank is, “Worked at a homeless shelter without cameras around for a day” or some such, yes, I can believe it. We’re only four months in, but he has shown who he is. It irritated me when before he even started, people were like, “Oh, he just said what he said to get elected. He won’t do what he said during the campaign.” Yes, he will! Or something even worse! There is no depth to this man, so what you see is what you get. He’s shown himself to be an ignorant, incurious, idiotic, narcissistic, reckless, and plain old mean-spirited jackass who doesn’t know his asshole from a hole on the ground. He has no filters and no impulse control. Whatever he thinks as it were, he does. Sell out Israel by telling their intel to Russia? Of course. Telling Middle East countries that radical Islam is bad? Why the hell not? There is no more to this president than what he’s shown. Expect the worst.
  2. Don’t focus on the extraneous shit. This one is hard because all he does is shit. Big, huge piles of it all over the White House. It’s hard to know what’s important and what’s not. But, there are a few easy ones. His appearance. There’s no need to be snarky about it. This includes his weight. It amazes me that liberals who jump on anyone for fat shaming turn around and do the same thing to a conservative. That tells me your social justice politics is more politics than social justice, and I am not here for it. I would say most of his tweets are extraneous, albeit infuriating.
  3. In a similar vein, leave Melania the fuck alone. I’ve been extremely displeased with liberals calling her a mail-order bride or making fun of her English. When she does something egregious such as plagiarize Michelle Obama’s speech or defends her husband’s outrageous birther bullshit (before the campaign, even), then have at her, but don’t make it personal. Maybe it’s because I’m the child of immigrants myself, obvious immigrants, but I hate when anyone disses immigrants. It’s understandable given the double standard, same as when Ted Cruz was running for president, but it felt slimy to me. Additionally, I don’t give a fuck that Melania had nude photos taken of her, and I side-eyed liberals who denigrated her while scolding others for demeaning sex workers. Don’t do that shit.
  4. Stop getting mad when people talk about him having mental health issues. I know it’s frustrating beyond belief that the only time we talk about mental health in this country is when someone it’s associated with violence/bad things perpetrated by the person with the mental health issues, but I don’t think the answer to it is to ignore that there are people with mental health issues who do bad things. I once was told in my writing MA program to change the race of my female serial killer protagonist from Asian to white because otherwise that’s all people would focus on. I didn’t because I don’t believe in hiding the dark side–I’m Jungian in that way. We have to face our shadow sides. I’m also for the truth, and no matter how you try to obfuscate or equivocate, this president is not mentally well.

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This Presidential Administration is a Clown Car and a Shit Show

I was in the Syracuse airport yesterday on my way home from visiting Ian upstate NY, trying to ignore everything around me, but I couldn’t block out fucking CNN. Why does every airport have CNN blaring from their TVs? I deliberately ban CNN from polluting my life, but I don’t get that choice when I’m flying. Anyway, there was someone in a suit on the TV, spouting gibberish and sounding idiotic. I listened for a minute, wondering who this clown was. Then, I realized, partly by glancing at Twitter, that it was Sean Spicer, the president’s press secretary. I had never heard him speak before, and I was gobsmacked that this cretin was the press secretary. He could barely put a sentence together, and it sounded as if he had a hard time relaying a thought from his brain to his mouth. I tweeted:

Spicer gabbled on for several minutes, but I tuned out. Too bad, because I missed his stupidest comment of the presser, and that’s saying something. He was talking about the meaningless attack on Syria–by the way, can we talk about that for a second? This president unilaterally decides to bomb Syria, mostly as a stunt, and partly because of his daughter’s tears, and he’s fapped by the press for being presidential for the first time. It makes me sick that our media has learned nothing from W.’s fictitious war and how they reported on it. Also, this same president waxing poetic about the suffering of Syrian children won’t let them into this country. In additoin, there are children in Flint, Michigan dying of lead poisoning, but no one seems to give a shit about that.

I digress.

In talking about the bombing and why Assad is the worst dicator ever, Spicer said this:

You know, you had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons.

When I heard he said that, I couldn’t believe it. I know he’s an ignorant and stupid man, befitting the president for whom he works, but did he really say that? I was certain I was being trolled, but I wasn’t. Yes, the president’s press secretary didn’t know or forgot that Hitler gassed 6 million Jews. To make matters worse, when asked to clarify his remarks, he was forced to admit Hitler did use chemical weaponry, but insisted there was a difference, saying;

I think when it comes to sarin gas, he was not using the gas on his own people the same way Assad is doing.

I literally recoiled inside when I read this. The naked anti-Semitism in this statement is astonishing. Also, ignorant. Also, blind nationalism is never a good thing. First of all, it’s OK to use chemical weapons on people if they’re not your own people? What the fuck is wrong with you? Second, Jews CAN be German. The fact that Spicer doesn’t know this or won’t acknowledge it is fucking scary.

He also said something about ‘Holocaust centers’, which apparently is the day spa version of concentration camps. In other words, it was a whole ball of WHAT THE FUCK sprinkled with a generous portion of NOPE.

He’s apologized for it twice, saying he shouldn’t have made the comparison, but it’s too little, too late. The fact that this is his mentality proves what we’ve long since known–that he shouldn’t be WH Press Secretary.

The problem is, though, he’s perfect for this president. A no-nothing, egotistical, bullying, patronizing, ignorant man who is going to lead us into WW III one way or the other. My brother picked me up from the airport last night and asked me plaintively why this president hasn’t been impeached. I still maintain hope that he will be gone in two years (ideally one, but I’m being, ahem, conservative at the moment), but how much damage will he do in the meantime? Sean Spicer isn’t a bug–he’s a feature. I just read that Betsy DeVos rescinded the protections President Obama put in place to help people crippled with student loans not get fleeced by student loan services. She also recently compared charter schools to Uber or Lyft, pushing the tired old meme that private companies get the best results. I bet she thinks public transit is a waste, too, even though I bet she’s never been on a bus. Speaking of public transportation, Amtrak just got screwed by this administration as well.

Let’s not even talk about AG Sessions or the way the Republicans stole the SCOTUS seat. That’s the problem with this administration–there is something horrible to talk about every day. Several times a day.

I never want to hear that America is a meritocracy again. I knew it wasn’t true before this administration came into being, but it’s highlighted in stark relief by the horribleness of this current president. I wrote earlier about the United Airlines incident in which a doctor of Chinese descent was dragged, screaming from a flight because United needed to seat some of their own crew members on the flight and had no volunteers to be bumped. What happened next was even more disgusting. The local media were Dr. Dao lived dug into his past and did a hit piece on him, detailing his troubled history. This is a defense usually reserved for black and brown people, but I guess it’ll do for the yellow man this time as well. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the cops beating on the victim in the current moment doesn’t have access to his full history, so it don’t mean shit. In addition, we rarely get the same treatment for white victims. Indeed, white perps often have their histories soft-pedaled by the media, especially if they’re athletes of any kind. I’m thinking of Brock Turner who raped an unconscious woman and got only a slap on the wrist. He was a swimmer at Stanford, and that was mentioned in nearly every article about him. The picture accompanying the story was usually one of him looking all clean and collegiate. There were sob stories about his family being torn apart by this incident, and it was disgusting. When the judge sentenced him to a walk in the park, the judge said he did so in part because of how jail would be hard on Turner.

Excuse me???? Isn’t that the goddamn fucking point? Jail is supposed to be hard, goddamn it. But not for a delicate flower like Brock Turner, apparently. Who looks as white as white can be and is from the good old heartland of Nebraska.

Do I sound bitter? Of course I am. This man raped an unconscious woman, sent pictures of her tits to his friends, showed no remorse at all, and yet, jail would be too hard for him. He was treated as if he was the victim, and you can bet your sweet ass the judge wouldn’t have been so understanding if the perp had been black.

Same with the United Airlines situation. I have a hard time imagining that the airport cops would have dragged out a white man in the same manner, but that’s not really the point. It’s the media and how quick they were to dredge up Dr. Dao’s history. There’s some question as to whether it’s even the right Dr. Dao, but that’s not the point, either. Minorities know that we’re here on sufferance. Yes, Asians are the ‘model minority’* but only as long as we continue to excel and don’t make waves. The incident with Dr. Dao shows how quickly that honorary status can be taken away. We PoC know that we have to be twice as good as white folks to be considered not trash.

I bring this up because I cannot imagine how this president and his administration would have been received if this president were black. Wait, yes, I can. All I have to do is think back to the last president and remember how he was treated as if he were a criminal, even though he wasn’t. I wrote a post asking you to imagine how PBO would have been treated if he’d acted the way this president is, and you can bet it wouldn’t have been the same. I will say that this president is the benefit of lowered expectations, even during his campaign, because everyone knows he’s not fit to be president. This should be a reason to be more exacting with him, but that’s not the way America works. Qualified black man handles presidency competently, and he’s run through the ringer by the press. Incompetent white man is an utter failure as a president, and he’s treated with kids gloves. That’s our America, love it or leave it.

Speaking of leaving it, my brother and I talked about leaving America. This would seem a good time for it, and believe me, I’ve given it serious thought. However, like it or not, this is my country–and believe you me I do not like it. I’m old, tired, frustrated, and scared, but this is my fucking country, too, damn it. Even if others don’t think so. I’m here to stay.

 

*This is wrong, by the way, but this post isn’t about that.

Through a Looking Glass Weirdly

About a month ago, this president’s staff accused Obama of having a shadow government. Never mind that there was absolutely zero evidence of this–that’s never stopped them before. Besides the fact that many Americans including me would be crying tears of joy if this were actually true, it got me thinking about the disparity between this administration and the last.

Imagine, if you will, that in his first month as president, Barack Obama did the following. First, his wife decided she didn’t want to live in the White House, so they kept separate abodes. Now, personally, I don’t blame Melania Trump for not wanting to live with her husband or in the fishbowl that is DC when you’re the president’s wife. Think of all the bullshit Michelle went through, being called all sorts of names from all kinds of conservatives*. They made fun of her for wanting to help kids be healthier, and they criticized every aspect of her physical being. Sasha and Malia were not immune from this critical eye, either, so I can understand why Melania would not want to go through that or put Barron through it, either. That said, just imagine if Michelle had said she and the girls wouldn’t be living in the White House and how much of an outrage conservatives would have drummed up over the cost to the taxpayers of wherever Michelle chose to live. It’s costing millions to have Secret Service guard Melania and Barron in NYC, and it’s the taxpayers of NYC who have to pay for it.

Next, imagine that Obama had nominated people with no experience for open Cabinet positions. I have no problem with a president installing people who align with *sigh* his point of view, but I would hope he would choose people who actually know something about the area s/he is being chosen to lead. PBO’s choices for secretary of energy were Stephen Chu and Ernest Moritz. The former was a professor of physics and molecular and cellular biology at UC Berkeley before becoming Department of Energy Secretary (and co-won a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997) , and the latter was the Department Head for the Physics Department at MIT in the early nineties, and his PhD is in theoretical physics. The two of them are distinguished men in their fields, brilliant, dare I say, and they’re succeeded by…Rick Perry, ex-governor of Texas, who thought the job meant he could go around the world bragging about how great the oil business is in Texas.

That’s just one example of the egregious choices this president has made for his cabinet picks. It seems as if in each position, he’s chosen the worst person possible for it. The head of the EPA doesn’t believe in climate change, and the secretary of education disparages public education every chance she gets. This president chose them based on either if he liked them personally or if they were suggested to him by people who only cared about making a profit.

Next, PBO was excoriated for how much vacation time he took as president. Never mind that he took less than W. did or that the president isn’t really on vacation. Imagine if he when he did vacation, he was glad-handling with business people while simultaneously handling a highly-confidential crisis. Now, imagine that he allowed one of the businessmen to take video of the incident and post it online. The Republicans would be howling for his head, and rightly so.

While we’re at it, imagine if PBO still had private business dealings in countries with which he had to have diplomatic relationships as president while being president. This isn’t legal, and yet, this president is still allowed to do it for whatever reason. All of this president’s business dealings are shady, including his beef with Nordstrom, on Twitter, no less, for dropping his daughter’s clothing line.

Speaking of Twitter, imagine if PBO had feverishly tweeted his perceived enemies at three in the morning, picking fights with reporters, businesses, and any rando with an egg avi who dared contradict him.

I need to stop and take a moment here because this is something that has gobsmacked me ever since the campaign. This self-proclaimed billionaire who supposedly is does nothing but win cannot help but respond to every person who insults him. If you’ve ever seen his TL, it alternates between him bragging about how great he is and him yelling at everyone who isn’t firmly kissing his ass. He needs constant validation, and if he doesn’t get it, the voices in his head frantically tell him he needs to stamp out the opposition.

Because of this, he’s extremely easy to manipulate. There are two ways to do it. One, flatter him into doing what you want him to do. If he thinks you get him and idolize him, he’ll be open to suggestions–as long as you make him think it’s his idea in the first place. The second is to goad him by calling him names and questioning his manhood. In this scenario, you have to claim you want the opposite of what you actually want, and chances are, he’ll do the opposite of whatever you suggest just to spite you.

If he were not president, I would actually feel sorry for him. He looks miserable all the time, and I’m pretty sure he’s never felt true happiness. It’s part of the reason he’s so greedy and voracious–he’s trying to fill a hole inside him, and he simply can’t. One thing I’ve always been fascinated by is how his mother is never talked about by him or the media. We know plenty about his asshole father and grandfather, but not a peep about his mother. It’s not surprising, given how heavily patriarchal his family is, but still.

Speaking of family, imagine if Sasha and/or Malia were given security clearance. OK. I think I’ve gone as far down this road as I care to go. The point is, when this president accused PBO of wiretapping him, no one believed it. Even the people who made a career out of being a pain in PBO’s dick didn’t take that accusation seriously. I saw someone tweet about how it’s a testament to PBO’s integrity that it’s ludicrous to think that he broke the law in such a blatant way. Most people didn’t think there was anything there at all, and the rest said if there was any wiretapping going on, then it was because PBO was wiretapping the Russians (legally), and this president was caught in the crossfire. At any rate, no one seriously thought PBO had wiretapped this president during the campaign.

By the way, people need to stop with the think pieces saying Obama has to do something to stop this president. It’s. Not. His. Job. He did what he could while he was president, warning us not to vote for this president and putting in place as many safeguards as possible, but there’s only so much he can do. I have full confidence that he’ll get back into politics soon, and I’ve heard he’s going to focus on the gerrymandering problem, but he put in his eight years. As much as I miss the hell out of him as president, he’s earned his break and as much time off as he needs/wants/desires. He’s put in his time and service, and he doesn’t owe us anything. Again, I’m sure he’ll be active in politics soon enough, but he has no obligation to do anything, no matter how much we implore him.

I have two points to this post. One, the media needs to put the screws to this president. For whatever reason, it seems like they’re grading on a curve when it comes to him. All the shit he’s done, and there’s not the outcry there would be if it were Obama. Or, heaven forbid, (Hillary) Clinton. My god, we heard about her emails every fucking day during the campaign. Even though there was nothing there, the media couldn’t stop jerking off to CLINTON EMAILS. Now, it turns out that the FBI was investigating this president at the same time for being in collusion with the Russians, and, yet, FBI Director Comey chose to talk about Clinton and the emails, but not about this president and the Russians. It’s mind-boggling when you think about it. He chose not to say anything about this president, but had no problems blathering on and on about Clinton’s emails.

I know it’s difficult to keep up with all the lies and misdeeds of this president, but I can’t help but feel that’s part of his (or someone on his team’s) plan. Put all this shit out there, and no one will notice the truly slimy things we are doing quietly. Like Ivanka’s security clearance and the fact that she shouldn’t be in any position of power. Very few people are pointing this out, in part because it’s not as sexy as, say, being too chummy with Russians or sniffs of pay-to-play. It’s also easy to become apathetic because everything is shit, and what can one person do about it?

I’m tired of this presidency already, and it’s only been three months. I hope the next three are much less eventful.

 

 

*Not just conservatives. I’m giving a massive side-eye to Maureen Dowd right now.

A Little Bit of Schadenfreude

That’s a nice Congress you have there. It would be a shame if anything happened to it.

That’s what I imagine this president said to Paul Ryan before placing a horse head on his pillow while they were discussing the healthcare bill.

To summarize, the Republicans in the House placed forth a truly heinous healthcare bill that was noted for cutting taxes for the wealthy. They tried to “improve” it by cutting maternity care and birth control, among other things. There’s a picture that circulated on Twitter of the veep joining other old white dudes in discussing these cuts. Here’s one tweet about it.


A picture is, indeed, sometimes worth a thousand words, and this one shows in stark relief the reality of sexism in action. Not one of those men will ever have to deal with the topics they are discussing, but it’s one of the problems with living an entitled and privilege life. You think your feelings and thoughts on an issue are all that matter, and you can’t fathom anyone would disagree.

I digress.

On Thursday night, the president threatened the House GOP by saying if the bill didn’t pass on Friday, he was going to take his balls and go home. He didn’t want to do that stupid healthcare bill, anyway! That’s the thing with this president–he’s a big baby who needs to be constantly coddled. Also, side note, but his brand is that he’s a winner. He talks about it constantly. He’s tough, and he never quits until he gets what he wants. In this fisticuffs, he threatened to quit when it appeared the Republicans couldn’t get the bill passed. Winners don’t quit! That’s what losers do! It’s completely in keeping with his personality, however, as he’s never had to really work for anything in his life. Have you looked at him? He looks miserable. This job ages everyone who holds it, but it’s really done a number on him.

I’ve contended from the start* that he never wanted to be president. I think he entered the race for a laugh and a giggle, and then when he realized that he could actually win, his competitive side took over. When he won, he realized he would actually have to be president, and the panic set in. I would bet he never thought of the actual job when he was imagining being president. He just dreamed of the glory and the world-wide fame. Remember the pictures of him meeting with *sob* President Obama in the White House before he (our current president) was president? He looked bewildered and befuddled, not to mention a little bit bored.

I’m guessing he was one of the most ill-prepared men ever to enter the White House, and he hasn’t shown any evidence that he’s gotten any better. Anyway, the healthcare bill was supposed to be his stamp on the office and a way for him to show up PBO. When it became clear that it was all falling to pieces, he didn’t know how to deal with it. So, he did what he always does in these situations–he threw a temper tantrum. “Do it MY way, or I’m not playing any longer!” It would be amusing if the consequences of it weren’t so goddamn terrifying. He is the leader of the free world, for fuck’s sake, and the best way of dealing with him is to give him his binky and make him take a nap.

Anyway, the healthcare bill was an utter disaster, and the House Republican leaders pulled it. I can’t help but feel a little schadenfreude, but it’s tempered by the knowledge that these people don’t care if they kill off their fellow humans as long as they can save rich people and corporations a few bucks. The thing is, though, they’ve been the party of “block everything Obama does” for the past eight years, and their biggest goal was to repeal/dismantle Obamacare. By the way, the fact that Obama embraced the name was a smart move on his part. It would have been folly for him to try to fight it, and, yes, there are still some idiots who think Obamacare is a bad thing, but for the most part, it’s just accepted as an alternate name for the ACA.

I’ve always thought that the Republicans didn’t want to actually be in charge because they’re better at obstruction than governance. Hell, they hate the government and think it’s not good for anything, which is weird to me. Why would you do a job you thought shouldn’t exist? But, humans are capable of a great hypocrisy, and they’ve shown that in spades. They also display an astounding lack of compassion or empathy for the people they are governing. I’ve long since believed that anyone who wants to be a public servant should have to live a year in the life of their most indigent constituents to see what it’s like. Actually, I’ve been advocating for this for decades. I used to do diversity training for the county, and I quickly realized how useless it was. It’s hard to teach people what it’s like to be a minority because oppression is often a negative. What I mean is, it’s something that happens to, say a person of color, that doesn’t to a white person. So, since the white person never experiences it, they can’t fathom it actually happening.

My conclusion was that only total immersion would work. At the time, I joked that we need to build a town filled with people of color and then have the white employees live in it, but only a few at a time. It was a joke, but the core idea is sound. Immersion works when you’re trying to learn a language, and I think it could work to help someone understand oppression better. I had a roommate in college who went to an Asian event with me tell me afterwards that she had felt uncomfortable being one of the only white people there, and that was only after a couple hours.

This is what I would wish for any congressperson who talks about cutting Meals for Wheels or healthcare or other essentials: Take away their healthcare (which they get for life as a congressperson) and their pay. Give them minimum wage, a mortgage, and car payments. Tell them they have to live that way for a year. I bet they would change their tune really damn fast. The problem is that they don’t have any empathy or compassion for other people. I got into a debate on Facebook the other day about empathy versus compassion, and the pros and cons of each. I think it’s good to feel empathy to a certain point, but if you’re unable to do that, then compassion is another path to doing good work. To me, empathy is second nature. I can put myself in someone else’s shoes fairly easily, but I can understand that others aren’t able to do it. You shouldn’t have to be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes in order to want the best for them, however, and Republicans seem remarkable unable to do either. Which is surprising because they’re nominally Christians.

Compassion is not a popular virtue. Very often when I talk to religious people and mention how important it is that compassion is the key, that it’s the sine-qua-non of religion, people look kind of balked and stubborn sometimes, as much to say, “What’s the point of having religion if you can’t disapprove of other people?”

–Karen Armstrong

This quote gets to the heart of what I think modern Christianity is for too many people–the ability to look down their noses at others. I see that in the Republicans in Congress–the judging of others. They believe others need to be like them in order to be worthy of love. That’s not what their Jesus says, but I doubt many of them have actually read the entire Bible, especially the New Testament. They seem to see life as a zero sum game–if someone else is ‘up’, then they are ‘down’, and they use their religion to justify oppressing others. There are several verses in the Bible about being compassionate towards the less fortunate, including:

Do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.

–Zechariah 7:10

To my knowledge, there are no verses that say:

Get yours while you can and fuck anyone who is struggling. Stamp out those who do not agree with your worldview.

Anyone who is a follower of Jesus should know that he was firmly on the side of the underdog and the downtrodden, not on the side of the wealthy and the corporate. He talked endlessly about compassion and love and mercy, and yet, I see none of this in many prominent Christians today.

Again, I would laugh at how this president and the Republicans are at each other’s throats because I remember how much grandstanding Republicans did while Obama was president, except their haplessness is harmful to our country. I am a staunch Democrat, but I’m a human being first. I’m glad this bill was pulled because it would have been disastrous to millions of people, but I’m fearful of what the Republicans and/or this president will do to sabotage Obamacare in retaliation.

These are not well people. They should not be in charge of running our country. Yet, they are and will be for the foreseeable future. That is no laughing matter at all.

 

*Of his campaign.