Dear American News Media: Republicans Have A “Point Of View”; That Doesn’t Mean They Have A “Point”

“Both sides do it” journalism is a scourge because it starts from a false premise — that everyone’s exactly alike and does things for the exact same reasons. Nothing could be further from the truth. If Democrats could march in lockstep with each other, they’d be Republicans. And if Republicans could care about people over money, they’d be Democrats. All you have to do is listen to a progressive speak to appreciate that their aspirations are hopeful, wanting as much happiness and success for as many people as possible. Listen to a conservative and you get cynicism. Expect the worst of people (meaning non-white, non-Christian people) and legislate accordingly. Meanwhile, suck up every dollar you can.

A rapist and his victim both have stories to tell. The rapist — needing to justify a criminal act — will insist his victim “wanted it” or was asking for it. Or maybe even consented to it and is lying now. That’s a point of view. It’s a “side” in the story. It’s just not an honest side. In fact, it’s flat out dishonest. That means, if we’re discussing “sides” to a story meaning legitimate reasons for doing a thing as opposed to, say, just because you’re a bully, it’s going to be hard for the bully to ever justify their bullying. Except maybe to other bullies.

We’ve heard more than enough — way, way, WAAAAAAAY more than enough — to appreciate that cruelty for cruelty’s sake (and corruption for corruption’s sake) is now baked into the Republican brand. Want to dissuade desperate people from fleeing to America in search of hope? Imprison their children at the border. Want to steal an election you’re losing overwhelmingly? Pack the federal bench — up to and including the SCOTUS — with lifetime appointments you denied Barack Obama. For some reason, our Big Story-loving news media can’t keep it in its head that Donald Trump is the first POTUS ever to run for re-election HAVING BEEN IMPEACHED. Icing on the cake? He was impeached for cheating in the very election he’s now running in.

And still cheating!

We’ve now openly heard Republicans saying “own voter suppression!” In other words, be proud of your cheating and naked attempts to undermine the integrity of our democratic system of self-government. That is their point — their “side of the argument”. End it all. Cease to be a self-ruled democratic republic. Become instead a minority-ruled authoritarian hell hole. As we speak, We The People are going to the polls in numbers We The People don’t ever go to the polls.

Take this to the bank: people standing in line for eight hours to vote are not doing that so they can vote for Donald Trump. We’re saying something right out loud by our individual and collective actions: we don’t want what Donald Trump and the Republican Party are doing. We never did. When Americans show up en masse to vote — that’s what our votes say: “whatever the Republicans want, we want the opposite”.

If we were having a conversation with the Republicans instead of voting against them, we’d be telling them: “you have no point”.

Considering as how Republicans rely on cheating to win elections rather than arguing their points (and letting the marketplace of ideas dictate the results), they must not believe their own crap either. Even THEY don’t think they have a point.

And yet — because a Republican spouts the party line — unfounded on anything substantive as it might be — our news media trips over itself trying to present this shotgun blast of bullshit with the other side’s point of view. If, that point of view represents the truth (say climate science versus climate denial) then the news media — in trying to be “fair” presents these two arguments (before they realized how stupid they were being) — would have a conversation that presented truth and bullshit as a fifty-fifty proposition.

Truth and bullshit were given equal weight — as if they weighed the same — and it was left to the news media’s audience to decide if bullshit was truer than truth.

That is the false premise that flows from “both sides do it”. Bullshit and the truth might as well be the same thing. It’s not the journalist’s job to discern between them — having already elevated bullshit and demeaned truth.

Trump smiles at “The Boss” while our allies don’t.

What “side” could Donald Trump possibly have for backing Vladimir Putin time and time again?

What “side” could Lindsey Graham have for ferociously backing a man he said would be the destruction of the Republican Party?

What “side” could anyone possibly have for putting children in cages?

What “side” could anyone possibly have for turning mask-wearing into a political statement?

What “side” could any of the eight Republicans have for spending July 4, 2018 in Moscow?

What “side” could Jeffrey Epstein possibly have had? What side could Ghislane Maxwell or any of Jeff’s other pervy friends have had? What side could Bill Barr possibly have — in ANYTHING?

What “side” does Mitch McConnell have for refusing to let We The People in on the secret that Russia was actively backing Donald Trump in the 2016 election?

What “side” does former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have for not calling the FBI when, during the 2016 GOP convention, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy told him “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”?

What “side” does any Republican Senator have for refusing to convict Trump and remove him from office?

What “side” does anyone have for keeping that “R” next to their name?

As we know — they’re happy to tell us — Republicans always have their point of view. But, being as it’s the point of view of corrupt, racist, bigoted, misogynist traitors, no “side” goes with that.

It Isn’t Just That A Trump Second Term Would Destroy American Democracy Forever, A Trump Second Term Would Finish Turning Us Into Him

Former Republican Rick Wilson got it so right: everything Trump touches dies. There are no exceptions to that rule.

Like a virus, Donald Trump can’t survive without a host. In our case, us. If he can’t infect us, he can’t reproduce his toxicity in sufficient quantity to survive. The best he can do is infect those around him and make more feckless, corrupt, ugly children.

Trump craves adoration because if he can get you to adore him, he can get you to do anything for him. Including die. Trumpism reproduces inside its adherents, zombifying them until they’re permanently cut off from reason, logic, facts, truth.

Just like that, a Trump follower’s needs are Trump’s needs.

There should never have been a first term of this disease. Take Russia out of the Trump equation and he never runs for office. He’s already broke and living on the street because no one was there to step in and rescue his bankrupt casinos or pay him a tidy $54 million profit on a white elephant house in Florida.

During his first term, Trump finished turning the entirety of the Republican Party into him. Take Lindsey Graham — a man who at one point said out loud that if the Republican Party followed Donald Trump, they’d deserve the certain destruction he’d cause them. Lindsey also said he’d never go along with naming a SCOTUS judge in an election year. I bet, when we finally get him under oath, Lindsey tells a long, complex, sordid tale about how exactly a person gets that corrupt and that vulnerable to corruption.

We don’t need Donald Trump to tell us that story because he’s already told it himself. He’s lived a life of corruption and — staggeringly — gotten away with it.

Our news media can’t seem to remember that Donald Trump is the first president ever to be impeached and then run for re-election — having been impeached for CHEATING in the very election he’s running in. That’s an amazing amount of normalization of stuff that should never be normalized. Then again, our news media oversaw the normalization of “Mexicans are rapists” and “pussy grabbing” and “Both sides are good people” and “15 cases will go to zero” and “fake news” and “our military are all suckers and losers” and on and on and on.

Normalization works exactly like an infection. It’s essential to Trumpism. We are the frog thinking the pool’s a little warmer than usual today — when, in fact, it’s boiling hot and we’re about to be frog soup.

There’s one answer to this: No.

The Republican Party is gambling everything on muscling the majority of Americans into submission. They’re slave masters after all, with a whip in their hand.

Oh, the surprise they’re all in for. We’ve taken the last whipping from them. We’ll have that whip — and rather than just turn it on them, we’ll subject them to the rule of law. They’ll wish we’d used the whip instead.

Republicans Have A “Point Of View”; They Do Not Have A “Point”

A car thief — sitting in your car, outside your house, honking the horn because he wants you to see what he’s done — has a thief’s point of view. The thief’s victim — you — also have a point of view.

The cops show up just in time. They catch the car thief inside the stolen object, steering wheel literally in hand.

You tell your story — your side. The cops look to the thief — who they saw stealing your car. What “side” does the thief have in this story? That you gave the stolen object to him?

“Nuh-unh,” you say to the cops when they shoot you a look. Back to the thief. Unless he has a long, sad tale of why he’s a thief, he better keep his mouth shut. He doesn’t have a “side” here — meaning, whatever point he thinks justifies what he did does not exist. He has no point and never did; there is no justifiable explanation for why he stole your car.

Neither “I felt like it” nor “I dunno why” are acceptable or justifiable. A bully may not be able to articulate what compels him to bully but there’s something compelling him. Regardless, his emotional emptiness does not justify his actions. He may think he has a “side” equal to his victim’s, but he doesn’t.

Trump smiles at “The Boss” while our allies don’t.

What “side” could Donald Trump possibly have for backing Vladimir Putin time and time again?

What “side” could Lindsey Graham have for ferociously backing a man he said would be the destruction of the Republican Party?

What “side” could anyone possibly have for putting children in cages?

What “side” could anyone possibly have for turning mask-wearing into a political statement?

What “side” could any of the eight Republicans have for spending July 4, 2018 in Moscow?

What “side” could Jeffrey Epstein possibly have had? What side could Ghislane Maxwell or any of Jeff’s other pervy friends have had? What side could Bill Barr possibly have — in ANYTHING?

What “side” does Mitch McConnell have for refusing to let We The People in on the secret that Russia was actively backing Donald Trump in the 2016 election?

What “side” does former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have for not calling the FBI when, during the 2016 GOP convention, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy told him “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”?

What “side” does any Republican Senator have for refusing to convict Trump and remove him from office?

What “side” does anyone have for keeping that “R” next to their name?

As we know — they’re happy to tell us — Republicans always have their point of view. But, being as it’s the point of view of corrupt, racist, bigoted, misogynist traitors, no “side” goes with that.

Donald Trump & Trumpism Are What Happens When Magical Thinking Goes Psycho

Magical Thinking should have an expiration date — at the end of childhood, say. Or when one turns 18 and votes for the first time.

Alas, that’s not the case. Some people — Republicans — never lose their taste for Magical Thinking. That’s because it’s more than a taste, it’s an addiction.

The reason religious dogma grabs people when they’re young is because that’s when magic still answers questions satisfactorily. Explanations don’t have to line up with facts so long as the narrative captivates. The apostle Paul’s genius — Paul invented Christianity, not Jesus — was to weave Jesus into a vague, mysterious messiah narrative that, if you accept it as “gospel truth”, will allow you to defeat death. That’s what Christianity is selling: eternal life. But only if you believe the ooga-booga lock, stock & two white-or-grey smoking barrels.

Jesus preached a pretty simple message: do unto others. While there was plenty of Magical Thinking in Jesus’s view of the world, his teaching didn’t require any mental gymnastics. One doesn’t have to believe in magic to do unto others. Even if one believed in Yahweh, Jesus taught that one could speak directly to him. One didn’t need the temple priests to do it for you — because they knew the magical code while everyone else didn’t.

Jesus never claimed to be the product of a virgin birth. He never claimed to be the son of anyone other than his actual mother and his actual father. He never claimed messiah-hood. All that magic was imposed on Jesus and Jesus’s story by the early church. The church very effectively disposed of the real Jesus, replacing him with an entirely magical Jesus instead — a Jesus who serves as mascot for their institutions and for Magical Thinking itself.

When people start out believing magic is the answer to our most foundational questions — why are we here and what is our purpose — they’ll favor magic as the solution to those questions. Instead of feeding themselves when hungry, they’ll await manna from heaven. They’ll mistake brain chemistry gone awry for demonic possession. They’ll think the voice in their head is divine and their actions therefore justified (no matter how terrible).

It’s a lot easier to forgive people for accepting magical explanations when their knowledge base is limited. The men who scribbled out the texts that became the OT really didn’t know much. Their world was tiny compared to ours. Most of them never traveled more than 50 miles from where they were born. They had no idea that pathogens existed. Their cosmology was all wrong. Imagine if, instead, they’d had access to telescopes and microscopes and the internet. They wouldn’t have written what they wrote the same way (even if they’d still had the same questions).

We don’t have their excuse. And yet, plenty of people still accept the explanations for basic facts from people who were legitimately ignorant of the facts.

Oy.

If you accept the Magical Thinking that, say, the bible is the “inerrant word of God” then you will approach your work with that as the basis for all your thinking. If God doesn’t say “Hey, don’t pollute the planet” then polluting the planet is fine. But then, if your Magical Thinking tells you that the planet’s going to turn into some magical garden after Jesus returns, it doesn’t matter what you do to the planet. In your magic-addled mind, magic will fix it all anyway.

Except, of course, no — it won’t. Because it doesn’t exist.

The four days of the Republican National Convention was a study in Magical Thinking Gone Even More Bonkers Than Normal. Not only were masks not required, neither was logic. Or any sense of history — including what’s been happening from day to day. Suddenly Donald Trump’s disastrously inept pandemic response was genius. His racism was the best thing that ever happened to Black Americans. His treason was next gen foreign relations.

Every last bit of data and evidence from the last four years says Donald Trump has been a disaster for America and the non- authoritarian world. It says the rich have gotten exponentially richer while everyone else has gotten appreciably poorer. It says racism, anti-Semitism, anti-LGBTQ bigotry and every other form of hate is on the rise. Only Magical Thinking spewed at Trump campaign rallies and by Trumpanistas on TV says otherwise.

Every time Trump tells a rapturous, maskless crowd that the economy’s never been better, that America’s never been more respected, that he cares about them above all, that every negative word said about him is “a hoax”, we see Magical Thinking at work. The crowd mews approvingly as if the words magically made bullshit true.

What’s worse — the press repeats those words — and the crowd’s mewing response. They don’t frame what’s happening as Magical Thinking so it comes across as just “thinking” — so therefore legitimate. A crowd of rubes getting suckered in real time gets reported as “Trump’s supporters agreeing with his assertions”. It’s Magical Thinking to think that’s what’s happening.

Magical Thinking never ever represents reality. Trumpism’s triumph was getting the news media to report Magical Thinking like it does.

And What Will Happen AFTER Donald Trump?

While Republicans have dreamed forever about achieving permanent minority rule, it wasn’t until Donald Trump arrived that they found a way to pull it off. Trump compromises everyone. He makes everyone around him complicit. That’s really his one talent.

Take Russia out of the equation and Trump never becomes POTUS. Everything flows from that fact. Trump’s power doesn’t flow from him, it flows from all the people who can blackmail him — because those are the same people blackmailing the rest of the GOP. The machine relies on Trump to be the organizing principle around which all the other corruption revolves. But, what if Trump suddenly disappeared.

Donald Trump is not a healthy man. We can see it and hear it. I bet up close you can smell it too. It’s the outrageous story twist that still hasn’t happened. But it very well could. At some point, it absolutely will: Trump will die or become incapacitated. What happens then?

If it happens before the election, all hell will break loose. How can it not? Suddenly all those people afraid of Trump coming after them if they tell the truth will have nothing to fear. Trump’s family may vow to pick up the mantle but each and every one of them is about to have their own legal problems. The Republican Party won’t suddenly come to Jesus and realize the error of its ways. They, too, will have legal problems.

Without Trump, Bill Barr’s efforts become harder to defend. Mike Pence calling those shots wont have the same impact that Trump calling them does. No one’s beholden to Mike Pence; in fact, Mike Pence is as beholden as pretty much anyone.

With Trump out of the picture, more secrets will pour from the shadows but without Trump’s presence to reassure his villainous co-conspirators that nothing will happen to them. Aside from Trump, who among the Republicans can in any way assure the rest of them they they’ll get away with this?

No one. Because no one can assure them.

If Trump were to succumb before the election, the entire Republican election effort will fall apart. Who would his followers glom onto instead? Mike Pence? Ha! Ted Cruz? Not even Ted’s family likes Ted. Nikki Haley? Do not hold your breath. The answer is no one.

If Trump were to cheat his way into “re-election” then succumb after his second stolen election, pretty much the same thing would happen. Trump is the corrupt heart at the corrupt core of Republicanism. Without Trump, all those corrupt Republicans will turn on each other like sharks in a feeding frenzy. They’re all criminals after all. They know what everyone else holds over them — and they hate them for it.

Without Trump mitigating all that mistrust? The mistrust will explode. The Republicans will turn on each other with bloodthirsty abandon. Take it to the bank. They’re Republicans. It’s what they do.

The end of Donald Trump will be the end of the Republican coup d’etat and, shortly thereafter, the Republican Party itself.

Extinction couldn’t happen to a better bunch of pirates.

In Post-Trump America, There Will Need To Be An Opposition Party To The Democrats; It Will NOT Be The Republican Party

Stone cold fact: the Republican Party will not survive Donald Trump. A lot of them knew that going in. Lindsey Graham, for instance:

As former Republican Rick Wilson put it, “Everything Trump Touches Dies”. He could have added “Or gets destroyed.” They may not have known just how corrupt Donald Trump was, just how tied in to Russia — but they suspected as much. Current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy famously said to a roomful of the GOP leadership during the 2016 GOP convention that “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump“. Paul Ryan, then Speaker of the House was unsurprised. He made everyone there swear to keep it “in the family”.

Thing is, plenty of Republicans were already compromised by Russia. They’d been taking Russian money into their campaign coffers forever — some via the NRA. In some cases — Lindsey Graham’s, I bet — the compromises went even deeper. It isn’t just inconvenient and suspicious campaign money that’s making Lindsey the ultimate Trumpian lap dog. I bet if Senator John McCain were to return from the dead and visit his old pal Lindsey, his old pal couldn’t look McCain in the eye.

But then, can the Republican Party really look America in the eye anymore?

Republicans are now the party of putting children in cages and police violence and mask politicization and racism and sexism and sanctimony and hypocrisy and white male Christian supremacy. They’re the party that has no interest in following the Constitution or the rule of law. They’re the party that puts children in cages, takes pandemic relief money out of the pockets of its struggling constituents and puts it into the pockets of its wealthiest friends.

Republicans are the party that says voting by mail is “dangerous” — even as they vote by mail. They’re the party that gives lip service to protecting elections while doing everything they can to limit who votes. They’ll protect themselves from the coronavirus pandemic but have no interest in protecting you.

If Republicans were a literal salesman going door to door, he’d be selling poison wrapped in an American flag.

But, the GOP’s problem is the same one a salesman has. What do you do when no one wants what you’re selling? The salesman is shit out of luck. The GOP however is unusually innovative when it comes to corruption. Republicans are used to no one wanting them so they developed a way to shove their product down America’s throats.

As the Republicans will learn, while that may work for the first moment or two, we’re in fighting back mode now.

The Whig Party was active from the 1830’s to the 1850’s. They were progressive in many ways; among other things, they were strong advocates of the rule of law. Slavery split them in two, the norther Whigs being completely opposed to it while the southern Whigs were not. The defeat of Whig presidential candidate General Winfield Scott by Democrat Franklin Pierce (keep in mind, Democrats in 1850 were very different from Democrats today) finished them off. The party went out of business, replaced ultimately by what became the nascent Republican Party.

The Republican Party began its life as the more Progressive of the two parties (for a better understanding, read Heather Cox-Richardson’s excellent “To Make Men Free: A History Of The Republican Party). Their willful descent into racist policy came about after Nixon’t southern strategy turned all those racist southerners from Dixiecrats into Republicans.

The Republican Party wouldn’t be here if the Whigs had lived on. Similarly, some new group of moderate conservatives will live on once the GOP is formally laid to rest. And, rest assured — the GOP will be formally laid to rest — right alongside the Whigs though I doubt that will make the Whigs happy.

No doubt the Whigs will think — as the Republican Party is buried beside it — “There goes the neighborhood”.

In the end, some conservative party will find its footing and endure — so long as they don’t try to pull the same crap. But the conservative of the future — whatever they call themselves — won’t look a whole lot like the conservative party of right now. They won’t have a choice if they want to endure. America is about make a giant leap to the left.

There’s no conservative way out of this mess. Conservatives keep making that point for us. The Progressive solutions (UBI, health care for all, a playing field that’s actually level) will, in time, become ubiquitous. We’ll even start to think of America as a center-left country.

There’s no good outcome for Republicans or republicanism. They are facing extinction and there’s absolutely nothing they can do to stop it.

And How Exactly DOES One “Compromise” With Evil?

Too much of the American news media still has it in their heads that “both sides do it”. Whatever rotten things Republicans do, plenty of reporters, before they get to the rotten things, will remind their audience that it’s not just Republicans who do this rotten thing, “both sides do it”. Got proof?

Do both sides work tirelessly to suppress the other sides voters? No, actually, only one side does that.

Did both sides visit Russia on July 4, 2018 as 8 Republicans did, inexplicably spending America’s Independence Day not with their families but with Russians — for no apparent reason that no one’s ever explained?

Do both sides put children in cages?

Do both sides stand with racists and bigots and misogynists?

Do both sides politicize the wearing of masks?

Do both sides stand by Donald Trump regardless of the clear and evident danger he presents?

Do both sides openly ignore the rule of law & the Constitution? Do both sides happily pour our tax dollars into the pockets of their rich friends while regular Americans spend hours in line at food banks?

Take the current fracas over unemployment benefits to all the Americans who’ve been crushed economically by the pandemic and by our government’s thieving, contradictory, inept & flat out corrupt response to it. Democrats want to maintain the $600/week most Americans receiving that money are now relying on to pay their bills. Republicans wanted to knock it down to $200/week.

Trump, in his executive “whatever’s” signed last night at his golf club in Bedminster, NJ to a room of cheering, maskless golf buddies (well, maskless before the press complained), wanted to give everyone $400. Looks like a compromise, right?

It’s not. A person who needs $600 to pay their bills needs $600. Every bill not paid remains unpaid — and the pressure to pay it mounts.

The Republicans scream that paying people more in unemployment than their unemployment pays disincentivizes them to go back to work. That’s the slave master screaming about his slaves not wanting to be slaves. The fact that $600 means so much to so many people isn’t about people being lazy, it’s about people being horribly underpaid. What Republicans are really afraid of — and they should be — is the lab experiment America is now conducting about economics and reality.

Americans are getting a first hand look at how Universal Basic Income (UBI) works. Unlike a bank, when sustenance income lands in the pockets of a regular person, they spend it. They buy groceries or pay their electric bill. They pay for their kids’ braces or ballet classes. They pay to fix the car or repair the leaking roof. The thing regular people don’t do with UBI? They don’t bank it like banks do.

They don’t hoard it. They use the money and that, in turn, cash flows the economy from the bottom up. Because other regular people are getting paid — their jobs are supported by all that UBI — they pay their taxes and use their money to pay other people for goods and services. UBI is dynamic. UBI — paid at the federal level because only the federal government can do this — is how America will finally get the coronavirus pandemic under control. We need to incentivize people to stay home without fearing they’ll end up homeless.

In a non-pandemic environment, UBI allows people to wait for employment that suits them, suits their skill sets, suits their needs. It makes for happier people, more productive people. Wealthier people. Everywhere they’ve experimented with UBI or systems like it, it has succeeded.

Why would one oppose such a thing? Usually, it’s greed. Greed plus ignorance — especially after one gets to eyewitness all UBI’s obvious benefits. As we now know — also from experience — greed + ignorance = evil. Greed + ignorance also equals authoritarianism. That means authoritarianism = evil. No one with half a brain disputes that the Republican Party has gone full authoritarian.

So — when the yakking heads at CNN & MSNBC get Democrats on their air to interview them about things like the economic support packages the Democrats are pushing vs the packages the Republicans are pushing, those “journalists” go right to the politics of it. They “both sides do it” an argument about regular Americans putting food on their tables. They equate Democrats wanting to maintain the $600/week Americans need with the $200/week the Republicans wanted in the deal as if these were two sides to two legitimate arguments.

Except they’re not. The $600 is a legitimate attempt to deal with real people having real problems.

The $200 (and even the $400) aren’t trying to address anything. They’re just numbers being thrown down on the table as part of a negotiation — AWAY FROM what struggling Americans need and toward what would cause them greater hardship. Never mind the fact that the money in question? IT BELONGS TO THOSE AMERICANS. It does not belong to the politicians trying to withhold it.

What kind of compromise do these reporters have in mind? If THEY needed that money to pay THEIR families, would they feel so “you should compromise because compromise is good”? Would they be cool with looking their children in the eyes to explain that they’re going hungry tonight because “both sides do it”? Would THEY be down with compromising — especially when they know they’re not compromising with a legitimate argument but with a specious, corrupt, cynical attempt to stiff them?

Of course they wouldn’t.

So, why do they think We The People should compromise with evil?

Once we scrub our body politic clean of Republicans and Republicanism, we’ll need to turn our focus on the news media. They have failed us spectacularly. Worse, most of them still don’t see it or acknowledge it. They’re like addicts who still refuse to acknowledge their addiction.

No worries. We’ll throw an intervention.

When they try to make us compromise? We’ll say no.

Republicans Have A “Point Of View”; They Do Not Have A “Side”

A thief — having just ripped you off — has a thief’s point of view of what he just did. The thief’s victim — you — also has a point of view.

The cops show up. They’ve caught the thief red-handed with stolen object literally in hand.

You tell your story — your side. The cops look to the thief — who they saw with the stolen object in hand. What “side” does the thief have in this story? That you gave the stolen object to him?

“Nuh-unh,” you say to the cops when they shoot you a look. Back to the thief. Unless he has a long, sad tale of why he’s a thief, he better keep his mouth shut. He doesn’t have a “side” here — meaning, he has no justifiable explanation for why he took something that did not belong to him.

Neither “I felt like it” nor “I dunno why” are acceptable or justifiable. It’s a fact — thieves don’t “have a side” unless they’re Jean Valjean stealing bread to feed hungry people. And nobody with an “R” next to their name will ever be mistaken for Jean Valjean.

What “side” could Donald Trump possibly have for backing Vladimir Putin time and time again?

What “side” could Lindsey Graham have for ferociously backing a man he said would be the destruction of the Republican Party?

What “side” could anyone possibly have for putting children in cages?

What “side” could anyone possibly have for turning mask-wearing into a political statement?

What “side” could any of the eight Republicans have for spending July 4, 2018 in Moscow?

What “side” could Jeffrey Epstein possibly have had? What side could Ghislane Maxwell or any of Jeff’s other pervy friends have had? What side could Bill Barr possibly have — in ANYTHING?

What “side” does Mitch McConnell have for refusing to let We The People in on the secret that Russia was actively backing Donald Trump in the 2016 election?

What “side” does former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan have for not calling the FBI when, during the 2016 GOP convention, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy told him “There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump”?

What “side” does any Republican Senator have for refusing to convict Trump and remove him from office?

What “side” does anyone have for keeping that “R” next to their name?

As we know — they’re happy to tell us — Republicans always have their point of view. But, being as it’s the point of view of corrupt, racist, bigoted, misogynist traitors, no “side” goes with that.

Are Republicans Hard Wired To Be Mediocre?

There’s a moment at the end of the movie “Amadeus” where the character Salieri — the court composer to the Hapsburg Empire — looks to the priest weeping in front of him. The priest had come to hear Salieri’s confession but got way more than that.

Salieri has just confessed to, more or less, murdering Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart — a thing Salieri claims he did because God had implanted such incredible talent inside Mozart instead of him. Mozart’s remarkable abilities have made it clear to Salieri just how mediocre he is.

Salieri looks to the speechless priest, tears running down his cheeks. “I will speak for you, Father,” says Salieri, “I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint.”

Salieri is the institutionalist. The inside-the-box guy whose imagination ends where the box does. Mozart, on the other hand, lives outside the box — where genius can take flight and flourish.

Republicans are a lot like Salieri. They’re rich and privileged. They’re connected to power. They haven’t an original idea in their heads — because original ideas, they know, are dangerous. To them.

Look at the lineup of Congresspeople working either to investigate or defend Trump. On the Democratic side you have Adam Schiff and Kamala Harris and Katie Porter and Val Demmings and Stacy Abrams — outside-the-box problem solvers and thinkers.

On the Republican side? Matt Gaetz… Jim Jordan… Devin Nunes…

Is there a more mediocre person on the planet than sexual-assault enabler Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan? Piss ants laugh at Jim for being so useless.

It shouldn’t be a mystery why Republican excel at not excelling. At being mediocre. It’s a function of being conservative. Conservatives — as their name implies — want to conserve. Since you can’t conserve the future (it doesn’t exist), you focus on conserving the present because it contains the past — and the past, really, is every conservative’s goal: conservatives want to conserve the past. They want to regress the country back to how it was when everyone understood that white, male Christians were the alpha dogs of American politics.

Those mediocrities will tell you that those alpha dogs made America. Hog wash. Manifest Destiny was thievery. Slavery should have been criminalized, not institutionalized. America has been way better at preaching democracy than practicing it. How mediocre of us.

The one thing we can definitely say about Donald Trump is that, for everything he is, he ain’t mediocre. When it comes to being corrupt or treasonous or racist or misogynist or bigoted or greedy or ignorant or just plain awful, Donald Trump is exceptional.

When it comes to being a human being?

He ain’t even mediocre.