Everything The Republicans Are Doing Is Going To Blow Up In Their Faces

In a way, The Republican Party is about to become like a car-chasing dog that finally catches up to a car only to realize it never prepared itself for this moment – and this moment sucks – because the car just ran over it. On two different fronts, Republicans – white, Christian conservatives – are about achieve the very goals they dreamed about. But, like an old friend of mine (the Crypt Keeper) used to say, “Be careful what you wish for, kiddees, you might just get it!” Yes, religious conservatives will finally see the end of Roe v Wade. Core Republicans, libertarians, white supremacists and originalists will finally get to make voting as hard as possible for everyone who isn’t them. For about two seconds, conservatives will celebrate like it’s 1999! And then – in both cases – backlashes will begin in earnest. And those backlashes won’t stop until they’re spent. And where that will land us as a culture and a country? It’s the exact opposite of what these pirates want.

Do conservatives honestly think that the SCOTUS putting an end to Roe v Wade will stop abortion in America? Do they think women will be cowed into… what? Only having procreative sex just in case something happens? Do they think women in America will do nothing after a minority has stripped them of not only a right but their own bodily integrity? Do they think America’s women won’t remind them how cynical their whole “right to life” campaign has been – from the very get-go? Abortion rights were never a thing in America “until 1979—a full six years after Roe—that evangelical leaders, at the behest of conservative activist Paul Weyrich, seized on abortion not for moral reasons, but as a rallying-cry to deny President Jimmy Carter a second term. Why? Because the anti-abortion crusade was more palatable than the religious right’s real motive: protecting segregated schools.” In fact, “W. A. Criswell, the Southern Baptist Convention’s former president and pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas—also one of the most famous fundamentalists of the 20th century—was pleased [emphasis mine]: “I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person,” he said, “and it has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed [emphasis again mine].” The bottom line truth: Evangelicals – the drivers of the entire abortion debate – became “pro-life” only after their battle to maintain desegregated schools failed.

The abortion battle in America has never actually been about babies. It’s always been about racism. But the fact that the abortion battle gave religionistas and women-hating conservatives a “moral war” to wage against women and their bodies? That stone cold fact is going to be the big takeaway the instant the Supreme Court delivers the final coup de grace to Roe – the whole point of Mitch McConnell’s hijacking of the American judiciary and especially the SCOTUS. Take this to the bank and prepare to get rich beyond even Jeff Bezos’s wildest dreams: not only won’t America’s women take this lying down, they’re going to get hyper motivated by it. They’re going to vote out every politician who’s piggishly and priggishly violated their rights. They’ll focus, too, on the money that’s financed these politicians and their war on women.

Here’s an example of how the marketplace of ideas works here in reality. Remember Bill O’Reilly? Yeah, sure – Bill brags about his “online presence“. Ya think he wouldn’t kill everyone he knows to have his old job, his old show, his old life back? The reason Bill shills from the internet instead of Fox News is because America’s women decided they’d had enough of Bill – and America’s advertisers, like a canary in a coal mine, saw it way ahead of everyone. And they saw it because their clients – the companies manufacturing the products whose ad dollars pay for much of Fox News’ budget – saw it coming. And they saw it coming because they know for a fact that the bulk of big ticket buying decisions in American households get made by women.

When advertisers rejected Bill O’Reilly, he became persona non grata at ad reliant Fox. The democracy of the marketplace voted Bill O’ off the air.

The truth is, Roe v Wade never was the best way to get to abortion rights. It makes abortion a privacy choice rather than a health care choice. The fix can only be legislative – and it will be. And it will be sooner than the evangelicals realize. Take this to the bank and prepare to get even richer than before. The investigation into the January 6 insurrection – now beginning to focus on elected Republicans who conspired in it – and the DoJ’s growing examination of back stage Republican planning and financing of the insurrection – will claim hundreds of Republican political lives. The GOP is about to be gutted by the very corruption that overtook it. Purple states are about to go full blue. Red states are about to go purple. People with “R’s” next to their names are going to be fighting legal battles (and paying ungodly legal bills) that make running for office impossible.

Then there’s the second front the Republicans are about to open up against themselves: voting rights.

Let’s take one small anti-democratic law as an example – like the one they now have in Georgia that makes it illegal to give food or water to anyone standing in a line to vote. Let’s do a little thought experiment… It’s November 2022. The election is happening with every bit of Republican anti-voter lawmaking still in place – and an electorate that hates what the Republicans have done. Lines in Black, brown and Democratic districts are longer than ever – by design. Finally, the rage boils over into a collective action: a thousand people hand food and water to a thousand Black, brown, female and/or Democratic Georgia voters. What happens next?

Do a thousand Georgian cops arrest these thousand food and water protesters? Let’s say they do! Let’s say Georgia arrests and sends to trial one thousand of its citizens for giving food and water to good Georgian citizens standing in interminably long lines in order to exercise their right to vote. Do the anti-democratic conservatives crafting this legislation actually think juries will convict after hearing these stories? Do they think they’ll be able to find juries to begin with who don’t sit down already committed to find against them purely on grounds of decency? I’ve served on juries. Both were incredibly decent in our approach to the law and the cases facing us.

But, like the abortion fight comes down to racism and sexism, so, too, does our voting rights fight. Originalists – being racist to the core – want America to return to the days when “All men are created equal” meant ONLY men and ONLY men like them – white, Christian land owners. Just as “right to life” was always really about racism, our fight to fully extend the American franchise – the vote – to every single citizen because it’s their right is a fight against racism (and those who only want white men to vote). The insurrection – still ongoing – is an attempt to deny a level playing field to the majority of Americans. Every last one of its aims is to return America to its conservative heyday – the 1850’s when everyone knew their place.

Alas, this won’t end well for them. American fascists count on America being like Germany. They’re counting on Americans behaving exactly like Germans and falling into line. But how Germans (steeped in German culture and history) acted in the 1930’s is not how diverse Americans will behave. Sure, there were plenty of “Good Germans” who didn’t agree with the Nazis – and they weren’t a small group. But, at the end of the day, they remained more “German” than good. They resisted quietly or, really, not at all. They went along to get along – understandable but immoral. When conservatives attempt to impose their will on a diverse American population? They won’t find enough “Good Americans” to fill enough Nuremburg style rallies to make this shitbird fly. Think Black people are going to go along with this? Think Mexican or Puerto Rican or Central American people will fall in line. A few anti-Communist Cubans will – they’re still fighting the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. But, the overwhelming majority of Latin-x voters will vote for their best interests – and they know the GOP doesn’t have them in mind.

If – per our thought experiment – the GOP did get their two big prizes here? The results will be messy and violent and ugly. But, in the end, the conservatives will lose if only because progress will ultimately happen regardless. As it does. Here in America, we’ve had our history of white men suppressing everyone else. We have zero interest in continuing or perpetuating it. Now that the Republicans have hoisted their “Hail Mary” toss toward the distant end zone, it’s incumbent on the rest of us – the not-so-silent majority – to not only knock down that pass, but to intercept it and run it all the way back for the game-ending, game-winning touchdown.

It is never nice to be hoist on one’s own petard. The Republican Party is going to wish it had never been born with a petard on which to be hoisted. Hell, by the time History is done with the GOP, they’re gonna wish they had never been born at all.

Why Do Republicans Insist On Behaving Exactly Like Slave Masters?

Never mind permanent minority rule, if the Republican Party could really have its way with America? They’d bring back slavery. That’s even more than they already have. In a number of disturbing ways, slavery really never ended in America. It shape shifted. Slavery, at its core, is stolen labor. The whole point of having a slave is they work for free. The slave master gets one hundred percent of the slave’s work output for nada. The only thing the slave master has to cover – to keep that work product coming – is whatever it costs to clothe, house and feed their slave. It’s simple business math: product minus costs equals profits. In America, in the agrarian South, they had three big cash crops: tobacco, sugar cane and cotton. All are labor intensive to farm. From a pure “cost-benefit” point of view, slavery asks “Hey, what if we could get all that farm labor (plus a little extra labor around the house) for nothing?” In a moral world, the response would have been “But, of course, slavery is wrong!” whereas, in America, the response was “Hey, so long as we can get away with it…”.

And that’s what happened. The American South – its business interests – got away with stealing the labor output of virtually all its essential farm labor. Not only did the slave economy not pay for that farm labor, it prevented those workers from ever building up the wealth they would have acquired HAD THEY been fairly paid for their work product. This is why reparations aren’t a “nicety”, they are demanded by any standard of decency.

What if the South hadn’t had the luxury of enslaving its farm work force? What if circumstances had compelled the South to pay a fair wage to every single person previously enslaved? There would never have been a Southern economy and, consequently, no Confederacy. Instead, who knows, a fairly paid work force producing those agricultural products may have been the basis for a worker’s paradise that would have shut Karl Marx’s mouth.

Alas, no such thing happened. Slavery did.

Are white Europeans more racist than anyone else? Hard to say. But they have been more successful than anyone else at spreading their racism across the planet and at profiting from it. The white, land-owning, Christian, European men who founded America’s government had a smashing idea in their collective heads: democratic self government. A hard thing to imagine, but even harder to keep (as Benjamin Franklin noted). What made the idea harder to keep than perhaps it should have been was piss poor execution of this smashing idea. Hey – just because white guys did it doesn’t mean the white guys got it right. In the case of founding America, they got it partially right. Either you mean “all people are created equal under the rule of law” or you mean “All men are created equal” by which you literally mean just “men” and by “men” you mean men who look exactly like you.

Sorry, but we’ll have to split that grade. “A” for the idea, “F” for the execution.

Originalism, you understand, is white men pointing at “All men are created equal” and insisting that THAT is how WE must understand the country today. That is all sorts of nasty-assed, liquid excrement.

This is conservatism’s goal however. The thing conservatives want to conserve is America the way it was. They’re terrified of America the way it’s about to be – where white people are a minority of the population – and, so, are doing everything they can think of (none of it legal, moral or ethical) to hold onto political power for as long as possible – hopefully forever. Conservatives don’t want to share power with the rest of us; in their minds, they’ve already shared too much – and look what it’s brought them!

It’s hard to say if race relations would be different in America had Restoration been allowed to happen in the South. Perversely, having forced Black people into slavery to begin with – the thing that brought the Civil War and the South’s ruin – after the war, white southerners blamed Black people for causing their economic collapse. Bitter at losing a war they maybe could have won, simmering with resentment, they saw everything in “zero sum game” terms. Whatever Black people had was at some white person’s expense. Few things enraged racists as much as Black success and Black wealth – especially if those enraged white people were failing because of their own woeful ignorance, profound laziness and copious inadequacies.

Want to know what really scares a racist more than anything? Having to compete in any way, shape or form.

Let’s go back to slavery. After the Civil War, one couldn’t literally enslave people anymore. Restoration’s failure (thanks, Andrew Johnson – if only he’d been convicted in the Senate!) disrupted the balance of power in the South. Black political power was truncated before it could even take root. Still, Black businesses and communities thrived, in part because of their insularity. That insularity enraged racists. That raged burned out Black Wall Street in Tulsa in June 1921 and Colfax, Louisiana in 1873,. It burned through Wilmington, NC in 1898 and through both Washington, DC and Elaine, AK in 1919. Racism took out the thriving Black community in Ococe, FL in 1920, and took out Rosewood, FL’s Black community in 1923. This was the white South reminding its Black inhabitants that they were nowhere near as free as they thought they were; nowhere near as free as the Constitution was attempting to make them.

Off to the side of this deeply embedded racism, sat “the money”. As Calvin Coolidge put it, “The business of America is business”. Capitalism is neither good nor evil. It’s an idea that can be good or evil. It depends how it’s executed and by whom. Socialized capitalism – like they have in Sweden and Denmark for instance (where wealth is spread as fairly as possible so as to not only reward hard work but to encourage constant innovation – produces a happy, healthy, innovative citizenry. Crony capitalism on the other hand is capitalism corrupted. There’s nothing good or worthwhile about it. Everything crony capitalism touches dies. Especially innovation.

We’ve all known bosses who tried to get us to work for nothing because they were short-sighted, greedy and stupid, and bosses who understood that compensating us fairly would get the best possible work from us – to their ultimate benefit. It’s just a fact: some people can only see value in money. They don’t see value in anything else – like good will or good faith or good relationships – even where their customers are concerned. They want every penny they can get in their pocket and no one else’s. To them, all workers are interchangeable and replaceable. They’re an expense that reduces the business’s profitability. Robots work cheaper (they’re practically slaves by design). That is precisely why so many businesses automate over hiring if possible.

For now however, our captains of industry must hire humans to do as much thankless work as possible for as long as possible for the least amount of pay possible.

It may not be literal slavery, but it can see slavery from its house. Can we call this condition “Slavery Adjacent”?

Republicans despise having a minimum wage because it conflicts with enslaving people. They hate any sort of social safety net because those people-empowering policies conflict with enslaving people. They can’t stand the idea of universal basic income because UBI especially undermines slavery (people can wait for work that suits them rather than take any job because they need the money). Republicans hate social security, medicare, free community college, free pre-school and even food for the hungry because all those things get in the way of re-enslaving Americans by turning America into a giant, corrupt, broken-to-its-core company town..

It’s just a stone cold fact. If we strip away all the pretense in virtually every Republican economic argument, what every Republican is really arguing for is either a return to slavery or a subtle variation on slavery’s theme.

There – I’ve answered my own question. Why do Republicans insist on behaving exactly like slave masters? Because that is what they are in their hearts and aspire to be out here in reality. Just like the Republicans remain hell bent on getting their coup d’etat right, they ache to get slavery right this time.

And they know, these Republicans, that if they score the one (permanent political power), the other (a return to slavery even if not by name) will come right along with it.

Republicans & The Best Stateroom On The Titanic

Sane people can never quite grok how someone will always show up to place a million to one bet on something preposterous on the pure hope that “it could happen”. Those bets never pay off and are never going to. Republicans keep betting that the Titanic – having already hit the iceberg and begun taking on water – isn’t going to sink. They think they’re all Molly Brown – except Molly’s floating away on a lifeboat while they’re sinking into the cold, icy deep. The Republicans are pirates who believe in magic. They’re white guys deluded by their own whiteness; they think because white people imposed their racist will on Europe once – which they failed at horribly, remember – that they can do it again here… with the same results? That’s the whole kicker to white supremacists worshipping Hitler. He’s the literal poster boy for what happens when you let white people’s id run amok. Sure, you get to kill millions of people you hate and (briefly) take over the world. But, then the majority finally imposes its will – and your “thousand year Reich” comes up a little short.

There’s no prettying up what’s about to happen here. It is going to be ugly and violent because of what’s at stake: white hegemony. Literally.

America is on its way to being a white minority nation. Nothing’s going to stop that. Not even the Republican Party attempting to impose permanent minority rule upon the rest of us. The Republican’s racist brain trust – Steve Bannon and Mike Flynn, the Mercers, Charles Koch, Sean Hannity – believes it can pull a “Packer Sweep” and flatten the rest of us into submission as they end American democracy on their own say-so. They believe that what happened in Nazi Germany can happen here. They hope like hell it IS happening here.

But, the GOP is absolutely wrong about that. Their power grab is doomed to fail. Here’s why.

America simply isn’t like any other country – least of all, like Germany at the moment fascism took hold of it. What we think of as “Germans” and “Germany” is a relatively recent invention. The modern political states of Europe are each the product of two thousand years plus of evolution that slowly changed Huns, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Vandals, Burgundians,, Lombards, Saxons and Franks (among others) into Germans, French, Italians, Belgians, Spaniards and English people (among others). The Europeans’ pathogens cleared the way for white people to conquer North, South and Central America with a modicum of effort. White northern Europeans especially stepped onto American shores utterly convinced of their superiority. The Americas are still suffering for that delusion.

The whole rest of the world then, in essence, saw America for the blank slate of potential it always was. While virtually every other human society had been around or evolving in place for a millennium at least, the society that filled up the pathogen-emptied America was made up of all those other human societies. No one – not even the Pilgrims – came here looking for any sort of religious freedom. The Pilgrims found their religious freedom in the Netherlands after they left England. They came to America looking for money – because living lives of religious freedom was expensive. My point: America was always seen as a place for opportunity. For reinvention. Where, if one was willing to put in the hard work, regardless of who you are, regardless of where you’re from, you too can achieve your dreams (so long as that doesn’t infringe on someone else achieving their dreams).

White people may think they “invented” America, but they didn’t. The best we can say for the country’s founders is that these rich, Christian, land-owning men had a great idea in their heads – inspired by the French Enlightenment – that people didn’t need kings to govern them, that they could govern themselves. To that end our founders wrote “All men are created equal”. But, being fallible – and being especially fallible cos “men” – they didn’t get the execution of this great idea one hundred percent right. For starters, they didn’t actually mean “all men” are created equal. They only meant that men like them were equal. In their eyes. They also meant that ONLY men could be their equals. Women need not apply or vote. Some of the founders though understood America, understood what made America worth founding, the republic worth keeping. James Madison insisted that “E Pluribus Unum” be our Great Seal.

“From many one”. That is how America happened. It is precisely what makes America exceptional.

It’s the thing Republicans are hell bent on steering America away from. They will fail. It is inevitable. Hitler relied on both the enthusiasm and physical violence of his followers and the silent, tacit approval of everyone else. There may have been plenty of “Good Germans” who didn’t “like” what Hitler was doing. They didn’t try to stop him either. End of the day? They were more “German” than “good”. Hitler relied on that “German-ness”. The Republicans also are relying on a cohesive “white” response to their power grab. Republicans are relying on enough white people to coalesce around the idea of permanent white hegemony to cow the rest of us into permanent acceptance of same.

I wish them luck with that.

For the Republicans to accomplish their goal, they would have to get the REST of the white people to go along PLUS Black people, brown people, Asian people, LGBTQ people, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Buddhists. We’ll all have to agree to go along to get along. We’ll have to resist seeing common purpose in a common foe. We’ll have to stop ourselves from reacting to each new outrage with mounting contempt for the evil that thinks it can abuse us and get away with it.

IF the Republicans succeed at stealing our democracy out from under us – the only way it can happen – it will be a long, ugly, violent process to get it back. But we will because, at that point, what choice will the rest of us have? Trust me when I say this – as a child of the Holocaust: never again.

The Republicans think their whiteness is a talisman. They couldn’t be more wrong.

The GOP Wet Dream: Turn America Into White Trash Heaven

Think about the America the Republican Party wants us to be: a racist, bigoted, misogynistic hellhole of corruption where the rich get richer and everyone else gets the shaft. It’s an America of sham elections and squalid values. It favors feelings over facts, ignorance over expertise and bullshit over truth. It’s not a coincidence that the GOP’s vision for America resembles America circa 1850 when white, Christian, land-owning men still ruled everything. That’s the America conservatives want to conserve. The one where they held all the advantages, all the power and pretty much all the money. They can’t imagine a world where rising tides even exist – never mind rising tides that lift all boats. Instead, they see the world entirely in “zero sum game” terms. If anyone else gains something, it can only be because they lost the very same thing.

After Trump first seized the presidency in 2016, our news media bought into the whole notion that white rage (lots of it secretive) fueled Trump’s “win”. They made JD Vance (author of “Hillbilly Elegy”) a wealthy man. They accepted as true that economic concerns – rather than racism – fueled white rage when it was nothing BUT racism. Quick side note about racism – asking a racist like Donald Trump IF he’s a racist is utterly pointless. It’s never up to a potential racist to adjudge whether they’re racist. How would they know? The racist’s pals aren’t a good measure either. Nor are any of the rest of us. The ONLY people qualified to say whether or not someone is a racist are that racist’s victims.

Only they know if what happened was racist or not.

I know for a fact that Donald Trump’s an anti-Semite. That’s because I’m Jewish. Everything in me says Trump’s a racist too but I can never be the final word on that subject. Black people can tell you quite definitively: Trump’s not just a racist, he’s a racist’s racist.

The white, Christian, land-owning men who founded America had a great idea. We tell ourselves they not only had a great idea, they executed it perfectly. That’s not so. The white, Christian, land-owning men who founded America and wrote out its founding documents, got plenty wrong at the get-go. In their defense, many never took part in the founding of a nation before. They were new to nation building and because of that they got things wrong. They were short-sighted, some of them. Others were already compromised by slavery – America’s original sin.

Let’s please understand slavery for what it was first and foremost – stolen labor. That’s the whole point of enslaving someone – to get their work product for free. The entire Southern economy was built principally on three main agricultural products: tobacco, sugar cane and cotton. All three required a lot of intense physical labor to get the product from field to marketplace. If every grower had been forced to pay a fair market rate for all the labor needed to build their economy, their economy would never have gotten off the ground. The Confederacy could not have existed without stolen labor. Not only does a slave not get paid, but, because they’re not getting paid for the sweat of their brow, they’re never getting to accumulate wealth and the power that goes with accumulated wealth.

Aside from tax cuts for the rich, cruelty at the border and a non-stop hummer delivered to Vladimir Putin, the Trumpublicans were amazingly short on policy and process. But then, governing has never been the GOP’s “thing”. Proving that government doesn’t work – that’s always been their brand. That’s why they put forward incompetent people to run for office. In their minds, it would do them zero good to make government succeed. Better to make government fail leaving them as the only viable alternative.

And now, Republican nitwits like Marjorie Taylor Greene dream of a “separation” between red and blue America. If we really wanted to punish the MTG’s of the world, we’d up and give them the very America they want (in their red districts). Red America wouldn’t vaccinate anyone. You couldn’t buy a mask there. The Big Lie will be the organizing principle around which everything orbits. First, of course, we’d have to erect a wall to separate us from them; they’d approve of course and happily get to building it (albeit badly).

But, I don’t give it long before boredom sets in. Red America can’t stand Americans succeeding if any of those American are Black, brown, Asian or some other non-white hue. I give Red America about a month before things start breaking down. I give their electric grid two months before it starts blinking out. I give Red America six months before they start to run out of food. At seven months, we should start to expect a quiet knocking at the the other side of the massive wall Red America will have built to keep Blue America out.

That would absolutely happen in the future exactly as it’s happening now. Pretty much every red state gets far, far more from the federal government than it ever puts in. The exact opposite is true for Blue states like California. We GIVE far more than we ever get. But, that’s how innovators roll. And if there’ something conservatives can’t do/won’t do it’s innovate. Innovation produces change and change is anathema to conservative, red state Americans.

I say let’s give MTG and the GOP the divorce they want. And then let’s cut them off. Completely.

Yeah, sure – I’ve no doubt Blue America will break down at the sight of red America’s abject misery and we’ll want to make them whole again. Let’s not. Let’s teach Red America a few important lessons about what they are and what they are not.

The Only “Good Way” For A Democrat To Counter “Critical Race Theory” Is For The News Media To Have Resisted The Rabbit Hole To Begin With

Fascists, authoritarians, seditionists and Republicans all adore rabbit holes, the deeper, the darker, the flat-out crazier the better…

What makes the whole “Critical Race Theory” conversation so perfect for them is that their rage isn’t based on anything. Well, not anything real. It’s a balsa wood chimera and that’s super ironic because there really is a monster at work here: the very white people pitching “Critical Race Theory” as a boogey man. “Education” may have been how the button was labeled — the button they kept pushing in Virginia — but the dot it connected to was pure, unadulterated racism. Every time Glenn Youngkin blathered about wanting Virginia’s parents to be involved in their children’s education, what the suburban moms heard was “Stick together, white people!” Not a one of those parents — even the ones who’d previously voted for Obama — thought they were being racist, but that’s how systemic racism works. The system does all the racist heavy lifting for you. All the white person has to do is show up and look “shocked!” that such things still happen in America.

“Critical Race Theory” is an academic theory that, being an academic theory, can stand up for itself all by itself — in the context in which it was created: academia. The academic idea undergirding CRT is sound. It asks in cold, hard terms what racism cost Black people in America — racism being antithetical to America’s stated purpose. How did white America profit and benefit at Black America’s expense? And how might that very real wrong be righted? How shall America make not only its Black citizens whole but — in so doing — make itself whole as well. How shall America seize this moment to finally fix what the country’s founders got wrong? While they wrote “All men are created equal”, cynically, they didn’t mean “all men” though — cynically — they did mean only men.

America remains a great idea as yet unrealized. Even the founders knew they hadn’t gotten it right yet — and began amending their Constitution almost immediately. Their own intense debate over slavery informed their final work product. Though the founders made a Devil’s bargain with slavery, they built in the means and mechanism for slavery’s eventual elimination. The Confederacy beat the founders to it though. Not a single Confederate state argued “states’ rights” in their secession documents; they all argue for slavery. Slavery may have lost the (Civil) War, but it won the peace that followed. Thanks to Andrew Johnson, Reconstruction (which would have gone a long way toward leveling the playing field that slavery made vertical) failed even before it got started.

Slavery’s bottommost line is stolen labor. A slave works for free. So long as a slave’s work product is worth more than the cost of housing, clothing and feeding that slave? Slavery makes economic sense. And if people still buy your products and do business with you even though they KNOW you use slave labor (hello, China!), then why change what you’re doing since what you’re doing is more profitable than the alternative? Money automatically compromises every conversation it gets into. Slavery is immoral — full stop! Anyone who enslaves others should be a pariah. Anyone who profits from slavery — same thing. Anyone who today continues to benefit from slavery while others continue to suffer from its ripple effects needs to stop benefiting. They’re not entitled to those bennies.

The real point of making CRT a thing is to connect America’s suburbs back to its latent racism. Back to the systemic racism that 1) aims to keep Black and brown people “in their place”, 2) aims to deny that any systemic racism exists, 3) makes ending racism nearly impossible and 4) makes reparations for slavery (racism’s crowning achievement in America) completely impossible. Racism starts on the back end of that process. Reparations are impossible because racism can never end because racism is so pervasive because Black and brown people must be kept “in their place”. Racists don’t have to reason themselves to that conclusion, that’s their starting point. And like all conservative values, the goal is full-on regression back to a “golden age” in the past where white, Christian, land-owning men ruled over all they surveyed.

The first rule about rabbit holes is avoid them. Whether it’s CRT or birtherism or The Big Lie, once you follow a Trumpanista or a Republican down any of these rabbit holes, the game is already over and they won. Does anyone really want to try and reason a QAnon follower back to reality? They wouldn’t recognize it even if we chained them to it. The only good answer when a Trumpanista offers to show us around their rabbit hole is “Thanks, but no thanks”. Don’t even stand in the doorway — it can suck you in like a black hole’s event horizon. One minute there you are, YOU, the next you’re being spaghettified by the intense gravitational pull of the most powerful force in the universe: bullshit. The moment you even allow that “bullshit ‘could’ be true”? Bullshit won. Don’t expect it to be gracious about it.

Every time Glenn Youngkin said “education” or “CRT”, the correct response from the press shouldn’t have been what it was (“Oh, please — tell us more!”), it should have been a derisive groan as they pulled back their microphone and an angry “What the hell are you even talking about?” And every time they leapt into the rabbit hole, expecting us to follow, they should have seen us standing at the rabbit hole’s rim, arms akimbo, a look of withering disrespect in our eyes. “No,” our expression should say, “I’m NOT following you down there, that’s bullshit! You want to have a conversation, Skippy, you and your lying ass step outside the rabbit hole, otherwise…”.

It’s not unlike arguing with a child. After not getting so much as listened to for a while (never mind not getting their way), even the most intransigent five year old eventually will come around because they’ll need something which, being a five year old, they can’t provide for themselves. Similarly, Republicans spewing bullshit would eventually come around if the news media stopped ingesting that bullshit and began demanding receipts instead.

That would be my recommended response: “Back it up or it’s bullshit”. Think of the look in a Trumpanista’s zombie eyes as, instead of following them into the nether regions of their lunacy, you told them to put up or shut up first.

That doesn’t seem like much of an ask of our news media — to demand receipts from BOTH SIDES instead of the one that always has them — the Democrats. The reason Democrats have receipts is because they use facts as the basis for their world view whereas Republicans never have receipts because they base their worldview on their feelings. And, since the prime feeling inside every Republican is white terror at losing political hegemony, there can’t ever be any facts other than the one: white supremacy relies on white people maintaining political power even if it’s at the expense of our democracy.

That’s what Glenn Youngkin really pitched to Virginia — a neater, “cleaner” version of Trumpism and, especially Trumpism’s core racism. Calling it “Critical Race Theory” has the added benefit of putting racism’s victims — Black people — right back on the defensive: how DARE Black people demand that white people admit to some simple, basic historical truths: without slavery’s stolen (and therefore free) labor, the Confederacy would never have risen the way it did. Every single slave is entitled to every bit of back pay plus interest. But, that’s only if we really want to be fair.

Being fair is hard. It can be really expensive too. But, consider the alternative. The instant we abandon “fairness” because it’s hard, we make being unfair the go-to position since it’s so much easier. And then we wonder why our whole country — despite the majority wanting democracy — teeters on the edge of authoritarianism. Nothing good comes from following anyone down a rabbit hole.

That gets exponentially worse when the rabbit hole is constructed entirely of racism.

The Takeaway From Tuesday’s Election Should Be: In American Politics, Nothing Succeeds Quite Like Racism

Our news media still thinks it’s “journalism” to ask a racist if he thinks he’s a racist. It’s one of those stupid questions that’s so stupid, it’s shocking that anyone older than five would ask it. It’s like asking Hitler if he’s an anti-Semite. Really? You have to ask? And, what if Hitler denied being one? Would we take his word? “Hey, if the guy says he loves Jews — but in a “tough love” kinda way — who are we to question how he shows his love?” This is the view from inside the rabbit hole. Is an alcoholic in deep denial of his alcoholism really the best person to ask if he’s an alcoholic? Of course not! Racists are even more likely to pooh-pooh their racism as “normal behavior”. It’s the fact that we’ve normalized so much racism already that’s brought us to this precipice. And by “normalize”, I mean “accept”. We have accepted racism as a given because we think it’s up to the racist to decide whether or not they’re racist.

This is insanity!

Racism, like beauty, is entirely in the eye of the beholder. Where racism is concerned, it’s up to the racist’s victims to adjudge whether anything racist, bigoted, misogynistic or hateful has been directed at them. Only they have the proper perspective. But, America hasn’t figured that out yet. At least, our news media hasn’t…

Our news media — high again on “both sides do it” — saw the results through the lens they always see it through: as a rebuke of Progressive politics when the only vaguely progressive concept on the table was an initiative in Minneapolis to change their police department into a public safety office (which lost — a whole other conversation). The news media jumped on the Democrats for being oblivious of “kitchen table” or “water cooler” issues when the legislation they’re fighting for — the Progressives more than anyone — is all literally that: kitchen table legislation that polls incredibly well. “Gone too far left!” “centrist” Koch whores like Joe Manchin want to deny their own constituents the benefits of their tax dollars that they have said they want. The Democrats aren’t being hamstrung in these negotiations by the Progressives, they’re being hamstrung by two corrupt centrists negotiating on behalf of corruption!

Ah, but our news media is as oblivious of corruption as they are of racism. For months now, the news media focused on the bottom line number while the Progressives tried to explain WHY that number needed to be as large as possible because the goal was to level the playing field for ALL Americans. But, our news media doesn’t “do” nuance — which is why they never reported on it and reported on the “horse race” aspect — the number — instead. And, because THEY focused on the number, they accused the Democrats of focusing on the number — which FORCED the Democrats to focus on the number instead of the great things they wanted to talk about.

Meanwhile, the Republicans have been hard at work taking a sledge hammer to our democracy in plain sight. Most of the GOP now says out loud that they believe Joe Biden stole the election from Donald Trump. Get it? While the Democrats have been trying to craft legislation that will do what Americans say they want done, two centrists (representing WHO exactly in this negotiation since it isn’t their actual constituents) have stood in the way, refusing to articulate an actual position not connected to “a number”. Joe Manchin’s entire stance has been “well, that number’s too big!”, an argument he didn’t present when the Republicans were in power and robbing the American taxpayer in broad daylight. All while committing sedition, insurrection and treason to boot.

Our news media KNOWS what it means when a Republican throws down “critical race theory”. It’s not taught beneath upper level college and graduate school. When Glenn Youngkin made CRT and Toni Morrison an issue in Virginia, it wasn’t because he gives a rat’s ass about anyone’s education. In fact, what Youngkin’s after is the diametric opposite of education, enforced ignorance. This is white people in America refusing to look our collective history — including theirs — square in the face because it won’t be a pleasant experience for them. Contrition never is easy but then, that’s why contrition’s so important.

If the irony wasn’t so deadly, it’d be hilarious.

The Republican Party really has become like The Worst Bond Villain Ever. While Bloefeld had world domination in his sights, the GOP has permanent minority rule. While SMERSH has an army of people loyal to them (I’m guessing) because of a decent enough paycheck to make them overlook all the compromises they’ve made working for an uber villain, Republicans have race zombies whose brains have been rotted by dreams of white supremacy. There’s no killing them because there’s no killing the thing that drives them. As I’ve said here repeatedly, America is a great idea as yet unrealized. The flaw sits right there inside “All men are created equal”. The white, European, Christian, land-owning men who wrote or stood by “All men are created equal” didn’t mean “all men”. They only meant men exactly like them. But they did mean ONLY men. That kinda takes a huge, steaming dump on the whole experiment in human self government when only some of the governed are allowed to do the governing.

To their credit, the founders DID get it right when they put “E Pluribus Unum” on the great seal. Out of many one — diversity, in other words — has always been what makes America exceptional, not “some men are created more equal than other men”. The Republican Party, in Reaganism’s wake, saw demographic annihilation coming at them faster than they expected. Democracy itself was their problem! That’s what “originalism” is meant to counter: it doesn’t matter what current day America is, it only matters what 1780 America was like — in every single way right down to how they thought regardless of how wrong it was. If the founders were racists then racism should be baked into the rules — that’s originalism.

Glenn Youngkin’s win was evidence of the GOP adjusting their marketing on the fly. They know Trump is toxic to the one group of Americans they can still pull back into their tent — suburban white people (women especially) who want to do the right thing as a community but feel tribalism’s tug more distinctly. Rebranding racism as “concern for how we educate our children” is clever but obvious. At least, it should be obvious. But, our news media punches the clock everyday and then insists “both sides do it”. They insist on being neutral because they think neutrality at all costs is “fair”. The problem is who it’s being fair to.

If you learn that someone is a criminal but refuse to report on them as a criminal, you are mis-reporting the truth. Our news media reported Donald Trump’s criminal behavior constantly over the course of his 2016 candidacy: “Hey, Russia, if you’re listening…!” was a criminal act — literally. Just because we refused to prosecute it as such doesn’t mean it wasn’t a criminal act. Put it into the context of everything that follows —

— and suddenly this photo plus a back channel communication system between Trump Tower, Russian-owned Alpha Bank and the Kremlin doesn’t look quite so… well it wasn’t innocent to begin with. We’re already deep, DEEP into treason! And, just to remind ourselves: when the GOP nominated Trump to be their candidate in 2016, they did it KNOWING that Trump was compromised by a country at cyber war with us. Or, as current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy put it as he entered a room filled with GOP leaders: “There’s two people I think Putin pays — Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!”

The reason Donald Trump needs to be POTUS again isn’t because he loves the job. Oh, yeah, sure — he loves the power. Because of what the power will let him do: avoid getting prosecuted and punished for betraying America.

Those are the stakes now. That’s what the national GOP is after — using the rule of law and the Constitution to subvert the rule of law and the Constitution in order to shove permanent minority rule down our throats while they point at how they did it legally. Well, it ain’t legal and never was. In order to get the ship (of state) headed the way they needed it to head, first the Republican Party committed TREASON. But for Russia, Trump never becomes POTUS. Truly — take Russia entirely out of the Trump/GOP equation and Hillary Clinton beats whatever racist ape the Republicans toss onto the fire.

Oh, make no mistake — Mitch McConnell and the rest of his racist pals would have done everything possible to shove a broomstick into democracy’s spokes. But, they wouldn’t have been able to do it with Vlad Putin at their backs, kompromat in his pocket. Want to know why the GOP was and remains so loyal to Donald Trump? Yeah, yeah — his base counts for something. But it’s the threat of being tried for treason that really sits center stage. The thought of life imprisonment — or capital punishment (it’s still on the table as a punishment for treason) — that is what terrifies every single Republican. And if it doesn’t, it will.

Our news media still thinks Republicans are honest actors. They still think a Republican unable to articulate what “critical race theory” even is represents a reasonable point of view. Would they feel the same way if the ignorance spewing from the ignorant destroyed all their rights? Wouldn’t they kinda want to jump on that because — neutrality be damned — they know from personal experience that the person they’re interviewing is a liar and a dangerous liar at that?

Of course they would cos “skin in the game”. The news media’s failure isn’t one of politics (though politics play a part), it’s one of craft. They failed the craft of journalism and, in turn, American journalism failed America.

America Has Achieved A State Of “Intractable Absurdity” (But In Our Defense, We Were Born This Way)

Know why few things in America seem to make sense anymore? Because they don’t. Know why it feels like there’s no way to fix it (whatever the hell “it” is)? Because there is no way. “Insane Problem To Have”, meet “No Way To Fix It”. Have fun together!

There’s not a subject matter you can think of that the right wing hasn’t politicized for very political reasons. Voting is an act of patriotism. Protecting the right to vote therefore isn’t a political act, it’s an act of patriotism. And any attempt whatsoever to infringe upon any American’s right to vote in any way, shape or form is (quite literally) a crime! It’s not up for debate. It can’t be or, as Ben Franklin would point out, we don’t have a republic anymore because we couldn’t keep it. That Republicans turn everything into politics — for political reasons — is absurd!

Everything about Donald Trump’s rise from the shit heap of his genetics to the presidency drips with corruption (and absurdity). Trump is a vile, corrupt, racist and a serial rapist. It’s because Russia MADE Trump POTUS (and the GOP knew it!). Take Russia completely out of the Trump equation (out of the GOP equation, too) and Trump does not even enter the race. If you took every last dollar of dirty Russian money (that Trump was laundering) out of the picture? No one steps in to save Trump. Instead, Trump loses every bit of daddy’s empire and ends up broke. Some other Republican hump wins the nominiation and gets creamed by Hillary Clinton.

Mark Burnett owes America an explanation, an apology and every penny of profit he’s gotten from “The Apprentice”. Burnett (along with Tony Schwartz in “Art Of The Deal” but at least Tony apologized) invented “Donald Trump, Master Businessman”. Outside of the idiotic TV show, no such character exists.

Racism was Trump’s sales pitch as it had become the GOP’s. That’s what made Trump’s absurdity palatable to Republicans. They were totally willing to put up with every bit of Trump’s racism because they liked his economic policies. See how that works? Put a little coin in their pocket and suddenly you could murder nuns, orphans and puppies on prime time TV and they’d still have your back. Throw racism into the mix and now you’ve made everyone happy since, really, racism is now the GOP’s organizing principle. The Dixiecrats and Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” subsumed the Republicans long, long ago. Calling the GOP “the party of Lincoln” these days is to be cruelly ironic. And absurd.

In America’s defense though, we dropped the ball at the snap.

“All men are created equal” starts off in need of a rewrite. For starters, the white, Christian, land owning men who penned it didn’t mean it. Apparently, some men only counted as three-fifths of a man so, clearly, NOT all men are created equal especially those poor bastards. America’s founders cutting a deal with slavery was absurd. It’s like good cutting a deal with evil. Who will walk away more compromised in the end? Do you really have to ask?

Republican Glenn Youngkin making “alternative race theory” a campaign topic is intractably absurd since no such thing is taught in the schools that would concern any of the people who insist they’re really “concerned” about this. In fact, as news video showed, at least one Youngkin supporter was vehemently opposed to teaching our young-uns CRT even though he couldn’t say what it was — only that whatever it was, he didn’t like it! That is beyond absurd. And how the hell does one “fix it”?

That’s the problem. It can’t be fixed. It’s intractable. And it makes no sense. It’s absurd.

But, what if there were a fix… Let’s not go nuts here — it can’t be fixed all the way but what if we could finagle this in a way that knocked down absurdity’s impetus and bought us some time to find a more permanent solution? One thing we can do is prosecute those at the top of the Ponzi scheme — the ones bamboozling all the foot soldiers into marching along. Let’s start with the January 6 insurrectionists.

Even the judges adjudicating the assembly line of foot soldier miscreants are appalled by the Department of Justice’s “slap on the wrist” approach. That’s not an admonishment to a seditionist, it’s an open invitation to try again (and next time, get it right!). If the frontline prosecutors are simply using the lowest level useful idiots to flip the next tier up, they need to pick up the pace. One can be a little circumspect while prosecuting the mob — they’re criminality isn’t threatening to overthrow the republic. But, the stone cold fact is, everything about the insurrection, the power grab, the refusal to accept the peaceful transfer of power is a product of treason.

Treason, treason, treason, treason, TREASON!

A president of the United States committed treason — right in front of us. and his entire political party co-conspired with him. That should be crazy talk — conspiracy theory wack-a-doodle gibberish. Except it really happened.

How absurd!

Living At The Mercy Of A Lie

Though the news media has placed Donald Trump’s “final lie tally” above 30,000 (that means Trump must have lied on average 21 times a day), the truth is, Trump lied every single time he opened that anus-shaped mouth of his. For starters, there’s “The Big Lie” itself. We have a political party hewing to what everyone agrees is “a big lie”. Think about that! But then, Trump’s entire presidency was a lie. Trump was never, EVER, the legitimate POTUS. That’s not a political assessment, it’s a criminal justice assessment.

Just because we can’t officially call a car thief “a car thief” until he’s convicted for his car thievery, that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t a car thief every moment before we convicted him. In fact, he was a car thief the entire time. For reasons of fairness to the thief, we refused to acknowledge the stone cold truth about him until late in the game. In a sense, we were living inside a kind of “lie-adjacent” that the car thief was an honest actor and a good citizen when the truth stayed the same the whole time: he was and remains a criminal. At least, that’s a lie with a higher purpose.

The authority to govern flows from the election process. We elect people to govern us on our behalf. The assumption, of course, is that our elections are free and fair as is their tabulation. I’m not sure that’s ever really been the case here in America. White people have actively worked to keep everyone not them from voting since the founders stood by “All men are created equal” without actually meaning it. The truth of America has always been “E Pluribus Unum”. But white people — the descendants of white, Christian, mostly Northern European heritage — have always seen America through blinders of their own invention. That’s why America remains a great idea as yet unrealized. Because we persist in living not just one lie, but multiple lies — and every last one of them is a product of racism.

As Virginia holds an election today, our (always perspective-free) news media has made the tightening poll numbers for Virginia’s governor a referendum on Joe Biden, completely ignoring the fact that the Republican candidate — Glenn Youngkin — has made “critical race theory” the entire thrust of his campaign. The news media understands — they report it — that everything about the “critical race theory” debate is utter horse shit. More to the point — that it’s racist! But, because our news media never aggregates stories about Republicans (they still think Republicans — even as they stand beside insurrection and insurrectionists — are “honest actors”) and never questions their motives the way they question every Progressive’s, Youngkin tossing overt racism into the mix is just another “legitimate campaign strategy”. It’s not! It’s racism,, pure and simple! And that means that the reason the gubernatorial election in Virginia is close has zero to do with Joe Biden (who our news media insists this is about) and everything to do with racism.

But then, our news media thinks it’s up to racists to decide if they’re racists — so, when it comes to the whole topic of racism, our news media remains intensely white in their framing and viewpoint. Why would a journalist ask a racist if they’re racist? How the hell would they know? Unless they want to be a pariah, of course they’re going to deny being racist. FFS, Trump still insists he’s the “least racist person ever”. Anyone buying? No? So why ask this racist his opinion about anything related to race?

Right — because we insist on living inside a lie that racists can determine whether or not they’re racist.

Having been born in 1959, fourteen years after the death camps were liberated, I grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust in a large, upper middle class Jewish suburb of Baltimore. My community didn’t shy away from the murder that had just been visited upon us. Even Jews who couldn’t point to an actual family member, felt the camps’ breath on them. I grew up identifying completely with the boy in this famous photo —

“Why me?” his eyes shout. “What did I ever do?”

The Holocaust was the product of nearly two thousand years of aggregated Jew hatred. What made Germany’s take on genocide so much more successful than any previous genocide was industrialization. Germany applied factory work dynamics to the murder of human beings. Jews became a commodity. If an individual Jew had value as a slave worker (that’s what you are when you work for free — a slave), they were kept alive (and then worked to death). If they had no value upon entering the camps, they were disposed of in the cheapest way possible. My first Hebrew School teache had a number tattooed into her forearm. She wasn’t shy about reminding us that she was among the “lucky ones”.

Where did such intense, homicidal anger come from? Why, it came from a lie, of course…

Ask almost one hundred percent of Christians where Christianity came from — what it’s actual origin story was — and they will get it wrong. More likely, they have no idea. The Truth was made irrelevant at the start, having been replaced by pure, unadulterated mythology. Jesus did not invent Christianity. He was born, lived his entire life and died a Jew. He taught Jewish lessons and mythology to other Jews who understood the context in which Jesus taught and spoke. When the priestly Saul of Tarsus “came to Jesus” on the road to Damascus and reinvented himself as “The Apostle Paul”, he set out to spread what he said was Jesus’s message. But, when he arrived in Jerusalem, Paul got pushback from Jesus’s family. The Jesus Paul had in his head wasn’t actual Jesus (Jeshua ben Joseph).

But, Paul persisted. Whether Jesus’s family believed (as Paul did) that their family member was the messiah, we don’t know. Regardless, Paul was better at it. And, when Paul turned away from the Jews (who’d rejected him and his version of Jesus) and took his version out to the Gentiles, he did it knowing he now had free rein to make “Jesus” into anything he wanted “Jesus” to be. None of the Greeks or Romans living in the far flung communities of Asia Minor to whom Paul wrote his letters and epistles were familiar with any of the Jewish mythology Paul was altering to make his version of Jesus fit into the larger accumulated Jewish messiah myths.

To appreciate Paul (and I think the guy was an absolute genius!), you have to see the world he was marketing his ideas to. He was, mostly, converting polytheists to monotheism (well, a kind of monotheism). Polytheist gods weren’t divine the way Yahweh (the Hebrews’ God — the one we now call “God”) was. And polytheistic gods weren’t really concerned with humans in any significant way. They certainly didn’t see humans as their creation the way Yahweh did. That was the first major disruptive change: Yahweh was a god who cared about humans because he personally created us.

Paul took that spiritual innovation and improved upon it. By the time Paul was done reimagining the Jewish mythology, he had this construct. All human beings are sinful because of Eve’s original sin in Eden. The only redemption available to sinning humans is via Jesus, who died in order to redeem humanity’s sins. And — bonus points (the point of the whole exercise in fact) — if the believer is willing to believe in Jesus and his story exactly the way the church teaches (to the letter!) then that believer can, like Jesus, conquer death.

That, in a nutshell, is Christianity’s sales pitch: believe in it and beat death. You can’t take away from its genius because we’re still talking about it.

Now, once you get into the actual tick tock of Jesus’s story (as cobbled together by the early church fathers from various third, fourth and fifth-hand accounts), you bump into myriad contradictions and fractured logic. Just for starters, if the whole point of Jesus is to redeem humanity via his death, then Jesus NOT dying would be a problem for Christianity. Does Paul have the same vision on the road to Damascus if Jesus dies in his bed, an old man surrounded by his loved ones (including wife and many children)? What’s his basis for Jesus’s messiah-hood then?

For the story/mythology logic to work, Jesus must die. Well, if that’s the case, then Judas’ betrayal is as essential to eternal life as Jesus’s dying. No betrayal, no crucifixion. No crucifixion, no Christianity. I won’t even bother with all the factual problems Paul’s (and the early Church’s) version of events presents. But then, Paul didn’t care about historical accuracy. In fact, historical accuracy was Paul’s enemy.

As it was the enemy of the church Paul’s letters and epistles was forming.

“Do unto others” is a simple teaching with profound implications. That did not interest Paul. In his defense, new religions need new rules. If new rules are going to stick (or be held out as divine), they have to carry weight. Ritual is essential to religion (as it is to most things humans do). But, the moment ritual becomes dogmatic, it starts to service itself and not the person performing the ritual. “Do unto others” becomes “Do what we say — or else!” Those aren’t the same messages.

“Jews killed Jesus” is, top to bottom, no true. Paul spreading it — knowing it wasn’t true — made it a lie. It has always been thus. The entire history of European anti-Semitism is based on this lie. The Holocaust was that lie’s biggest, ugliest, cruelest, most successful iteration.

So, lying on a cultural level is nothing new to us. Hey, “War On Christmas” anyone? “All men are created equal” is a bit of a lie if you consider that the men who wrote and stood by it didn’t mean “all men” though they did mean “only men”. Our news media is a product of white hegemony culture. That’s what pays the bills and their salaries. So, it’s hardly surprising that they frame everything from an embarrassingly white perspective. But, part of that bad framing insists that bad actors are good actors and criminals acting for political purposes are no different from the victims of their criminal behavior; a vote suppressor and the voter being suppressed “both do it” by this thinking.

That is a stinking lie.

Living a lie is exhausting. Living the GOP’s lie is potentially lethal to the republic. We The People need to call this lie out for every bit of the lie that it is. For the majority of Americans, the Truth will absolutely set us free. That same Truth will put a whole lot of Republicans behind bars forever.

Are Anti-Vaxx Cops From The Same Hiring Pool As The Cops Who Murdered George Floyd?

Across America, police departments are facing the same problem: a quarter to a third of their employees refuse to get vaccinated (against this particular coronavirus exclusively; none of those employees seems to have balked at any vaccination before this one) and are willing to walk off their jobs if that means staying unvaccinated. Let’s please, please agree: these cops aren’t worried about any science. This bizarre stance doesn’t flow from any positive human impulse, rational thought process or real world situation. It is entirely manufactured within the heads of its adherents. It is defiant ignorance for defiant ignorance’s sake. Hmmmmmmm… now, why does that feel so familiar to us? Probably because it flows from the same toxic, tribal belief cesspit as racism. And bigotry and misogyny and every other ignorance-born way of thinking. From a Human Resources POV, this reflects two distinct hiring pools: cops who accept new information and cops who don’t. From a sociological POV, this reflects two distinct types of human: hard core conservatives and everyone else.

Politics shouldn’t play any role here. It’s obscene that they do. But both sides didn’t put politics into this conversation; only one side did that and we ain’t just talking about their anti-vaccine attitudes. One side of the American political spectrum relentlessly puts politics at the center of everything. They have to if they’re going to accomplish their goal of permanent minority rule. When Republicans gerrymander a Congressional district, their goal isn’t to see that district’s population represented regardless of their politics, it’s to do the exact opposite. Because politics. When Republicans suppress Democratic voters by writing bullshit, anti-democratic, unconstitutional legislation, their goal is political — even as they behave criminally to achieve that goal.

Every time a Republican infringes in whatever way on another American’s right to vote? THEY’RE BREAKING THE LAW. They are. That we’ve been slow to see it that way — and prosecute it accordingly — that’s not the law’s fault, it’s ours. The rule of law can’t enforce itself — and it can only reflect our best efforts at creating a country where everyone really does get equal treatment before the law. Equal enforcement of the rule of law would create an environment more conducive to a truly level playing field where every American truly has the same opportunities to achieve “the American Dream”. And to hold onto and build the wealth their hard work has earned them. And to hold onto and build upon the political power that wealth invariably brings.

Of course, when most everyone has a similar level of comfort (via “wealth)) and no one is struggling to get by or just eat, our society as a whole will benefit. It’s not hard, either. President Biden;s Expanded Child Tax Credit reduced poverty in America and spurred the economy at the same time — exactly as universal basic income always does whenever it’s battle tested. But, what if our problem is that some Americans WANT other Americans to remain in poverty — with zero political power? The impulse to pay people as little as possible for their work stems from the same impulse to enslave people. Slavery’s bottom line is stolen labor. It’s the entire point of the exercise: you get their work product for nothing (except the costs of housing, clothing and feeding a slave). The American south was always agrarian. The three big cash crops that established and then became the entire basis for the Confederacy’s economy were cotton, sugar cane and tobacco. All three demand a lot of field labor to plant, tend and harvest. If the plantation owners who grew those plants had paid a fair market rate for their labor, that would have directly impacted their profits.

But stolen labor is stolen money. The money that should have gone into fieldworkers’ pockets went into everyone else’s pockets instead. At no other stage of the sugar cane process as it went from seed to consumer did anyone NOT get paid — except the people who physically touched the plant itself. The reason slavery’s descendants are entitled to reparations is because something very real was stolen from their ancestors: their pay.

Though slavery ended in practical terms, the economic impulse to steal labor never did. Here in America, white money has always tried as hard as it could to steal the labor it needed for its businesses (non-white labor especially). The reason we have a minimum wage is because without it plenty of bosses would economically abuse their workers. What’s happening today though — where businesses are struggling to find workers willing to work for them is because pandemics historically change the economics of the eras they ravage. The Black Death destroyed feudalism. Here, today in America, the same thing is happening. Slavery is feudalism and feudalism is a perverse form of slavery. Just as bubonic plague decimated the work force as it ravaged 14th century Europe — throwing economic power to the workers (being in such short supply) — COVID is throwing economic power from those who need work done to those needed to do that work.

Here’s the takeaway: if pandemics can change whole economic systems (as they have), it’s probably possible for them to change how people treat and value other people non-monetarily too. We don’t have to be racist (or bigoted or misogynist or hateful in any way). We choose to. Just like we choose to hire cops who we know are racists even as we hire them.

George Floyd’s murder changed our national conversation because the proof of what Derek Chauvin did to him was, well, so clearly evident. Eight minutes and forty-six seconds during which Derek Chauvin knowingly and willfully executed George Floyd while a crowd watched and begged him to stop while they videoed him. “I don’t care” shines like a beacon from Chauvin’s eyes. “No one — NO ONE — is the boss of me”. That’s what Chauvin’s whole demeanor shouts.

Take this to the bank: Derek Chauvin didn’t show up for work that day having never behaved that way at work. This was how Derek Chauvin practiced policing because he still believes that that is what policing is. Policing in America began with slave patrols. It’s never stopped thinking of itself that way.

Here’s the problem: racists are good at not questioning things they should question. They walk in the door totally convinced that white people really are superior to all others. That’s not based on anything substantive. It’s all feelings and zero facts. Racists, once triggered, become zombie-like, driven by whatever those feelings tell them to do — attack peaceful, prosperous, productive Black communities, for instance, as a white mob did in Tulsa on May 31, 1921 when they destroyed the Greenwood section of town.

In jobs where we need people to “follow orders”, we still need them to follow orders sensibly. Soldiers or cops who’d follow a leader literally off a cliff won’t be around long. We’ve built a moral obligation into our military laws just so soldiers and cops don’t have to do that. We’ve made following morally repugnant orders a choice not an obligation. But, we never turned away from hiring — as cops or soldiers — people who would follow morally repugnant orders. That’s not on them — they are who they are and who they’ve always been. It’s on us. We don’t have to hire people we know (yes, we DO know!) are either racist or feel sympathetic toward racists. Being “racist adjacent” is the same as being racist.

The anti-vax cops nationwide are doing us a favor and we’d be stupid not to let them. Hear, HEAR, John Oliver!

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder (and Eric Garner’s and Michael Brown’s and Tamir Rice and Walter Scott and Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and Stephon Clark and Breonna Taylor among too, too many others!), America finally saw policing and its police departments in the light in which policing in America should always have been seen. Because we evolved policing from slavery — from recapturing escaped slaves — policing in America has always held onto its compulsion to keep Black people in line. Policing still thinks of Black people as someone’s property — three-fifths of a man some “full man” owns.

We need police officers to keep the peace. We need them to help mitigate emergencies and to be part of any dangerous situation’s first response on our collective behalf. We need them to do this work in order to have order. But, we’ve heaped a lot of other jobs onto “policing” that don’t belong to them. How we solve that is a whole other series of conversations. For starters though, we need to stop setting ourselves up for failure by constantly returning to the same hiring pool for police officers when that hiring pool consistently produces problems for us.

Perversely, over the last two years, nothing has killed more police officers than the coronavirus. If one was a cop, you’d think that fact alone would cut through the bullshit and force you to see sense. Ah, but racist brains don’t work that way. Neither do anti-vax brains. They sure seem to be one and the same.

In hindsight, my bet is, we’ll connect those dots. The same cops who think violence is policing also think not getting vaccinated against a demonstrably deadly virus proves their loyalty to… what? What are these people being loyal to? What’s causing them to choose stupid and selfish over doing the right thing for the right reasons?

Maybe our problem isn’t just the hiring pool itself but those who keep returning to it. What do they expect to find there (aside from a hire they need to make)? Maybe, perversely, the coronavirus is doing something we haven’t the courage to do for ourselves: remove racist assholes from every PD hiring pool in America.

When Are We Going To Stop Being So Permissive To Criminals And Are We Being So Permissive Because Those Criminals Are White?

On January 20, 2021, at noon, Donald Trump ceased being POTUS and reverted to being Citizen Donald: former president with a few perks-of-the-office still but, in most other ways, just another American beholden to the rule of law. So, when Trump told those subpoenaed by the January 6 Commission to ignore those subpoenas, he was openly violating the law. In fact, each time Trump opens his mouth — like he did again at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines this weekend — and repeats those instructions while also continuing to openly support insurrection — that’s also a crime. When members of Congress stand with and support insurrectionists, they BECOME insurrectionists themselves because that’s how conspiracy to commit a crime works — especially when members of Congress openly associated with those insurrectionists in advance of the insurrection. It’s a crime to assault people just because you disagree with them. It’s a crime to threaten them — especially with a weapon. It’s a crime to co-conspire with hostile foreign governments to undermine America’s government.

At least, in theory, all those things are crimes. Apparently, they stop being crimes when rich, white Christian men are the perps.

First question: WHO is being permissive here? Who appears willing to accept terrible behavior by one group versus far less terrible behavior by other groups? For sure, Black people aren’t being permissive toward white crime, neither are brown nor Asian American nor Native American nor anyone LGBTQ. That leaves white people — and the people who speak for white people, our news media. If outraged citizens on the street, witnessing George Floyd’s murder, hadn’t videoed the event with their phones, we wouldn’t know about it. Same as we don’t know about most of the 6,400 other people police have killed or fatally shot since 2015. This doesn’t happen in other countries. It doesn’t make us “exceptional”.

America remains a great idea poorly executed because the white, land-owning Christian men who drew up America’s founding documents couldn’t overcome their own native racism. And, yeah — they were racists. They proved it by agreeing that “All men are created equal” so long as “All men” is “white, Christian, land-owners who also are MEN”. No one else qualifies as “equal”. Well, that idea is demonstrably false. The same men also put “E Pluribus Unum” on our Great Seal. “Out of many, one”. The Great Seal doesn’t qualify who the “many” are. That’s because E Pluribus Unum captures more fully America’s Secret Sauce (what makes America truly exceptional) far better than “All men are created equal” does.

The playing field has never truly been level here in America. That’s not a reflection on the strength of our founding idea, it’s a reflection of our not having gotten the hang of democracy yet. It really is a challenging form of government, being all DIY. As Churchill put it, “…democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms…”. Democracy is the best of a bad lot, in part, because (as Ben Franklin pointed out) it demands so much hard work to maintain a republic. It demands that its citizens participate — not an easy ask. In the whole history of humankind, self-government is a very, very recent innovation. Kowtowing like betas to an all powerful, divinely-connected alpha dog who claims a superior blood line is much more our habit. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. And people claiming divine authority for their power are the MOST corrupt. They’re also the most full of shit.

That’s not a coincidence.

Here in America, white people gained an unfair advantage at the start that — understandably — they are loathe to let go of. But, what originalism really is saying is “Hey, we wrote the rules at the start — with a heavy bias toward ourselves — but that’s just how it is and how the country must always be”. White people also rationalized a legitimacy for enslaving people. America’s economic base, in the beginning, was agricultural. We could easily grow vast amounts of sugar cane, cotton and tobacco. The only problem with those particular crops though is the labor intensity demanded to grow and harvest them. If one had to pay a fair market wage to the labor needed — and one needed lots of labor prior to industrial farming techniques — then the profit margins would shrink radically; they might even vanish altogether. The decision to use slaves to perform that labor solved that problem by making the labor costs virtually zero.

At its bottommost line, slavery is stolen labor. America made stolen labor legal — so long as the laborer was Black. We also imposed a variation of slavery on Mexican farm laborers and Chinese railroad workers. Slave wages are designed to make economic independence impossible, keeping the worker enslaved to his or her job. An unhappy worker tied to a job because it has health INSURANCE (not health care — ours isn’t a health CARE system, it’s a health INSURANCE system — not the same thing!) that they literally can’t live without is not much better than a slave tied to a master because otherwise they’d have nowhere to sleep, no clothes, no food. Policing in America began as an adjunct to slavery. Originally, cops were slave hunters.

In other words, even the basis for law and order in America harkens back to our racist flaws and the maintenance of a corrupt, brutal economic system based on only one group in America actually having any rights to speak of. We walk in the door making life easier for white people and harder for everyone else. Crystal Mason is doing five years in a Texas prison for voting in 2016 though she was still on parole. Republican (and white guy) Edward Snodgrass forged his dead father’s signature on an absentee ballot — then voted himself — in the 2020 election. Snodgrass is a local politician in Porter Township where he lives. Busted, Snodgrass pled guilty to a reduced charge of falsification and received a sentence of three days in jail and a $500 fine!

Hmmmmmm… doesn’t seem quite fair, does it?

When Trump said, during his 2016 campaign, that he could shoot one of his followers on 5th Avenue and not suffer any consequences, he was horrifyingly right. Trump didn’t use a bullet to take out his followers, he used the coronavirus and lies. Trump understood — having lived the life of a criminal — that being rich, white and Christian was already a kind of “Get Out of Jail Free” card. He also understood that by corrupting others, the potency of that “Get Out Of Jail” card increases exponentially.

All abuses of power are corrupt. Our permissiveness toward white people when they act criminally is corruption on the hoof. That, too, is illegal. If we really want to stop this merry-go-round from hell, we need to stop it for good. We need to call corruption what it is and criminals what they are. If we just reframe our story, we’ll suddenly understand exactly what the story really is. And we’ll stop treating Republicans like honest actors, our partners-in-governance and start treating them like the criminals they are.