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Saturday, May 4, 2019

Thanks, But It Was Never About That


As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
-- John F. Kennedy


I was at the hardware store.

I needed parts for my in-ground lawn sprinkler.

The irrigation system came with the house. Like everything else that came with the house, the system was a kludge – and that’s probably an insult to kludges. I’d spent two years fixing and replacing the mess left by the previous owners, from faulty wiring to leaking, poorly installed plumbing to cheap watering heads no doubt purchased from every bargain bin for three counties around. Given that my lawn covers four acres in the boiling Florida sun, it’s a project. I’d gotten to most of it, but I’d left one original sprinkler head on the far side of the front yard. It seemed to work okay … right up until a week ago when it suddenly blew out of the ground and was replaced by a geyser of high pressure water shooting 20 feet into the air.

I shut the water off at the well and went to survey the damage.

It was a muddy mess, a dirty hole in the ground surrounded by sand and ruined plants, the failure caused by the usual hash of mismatched parts, poorly fitted together. The previous owner was some sort of accountant. I hope he was better with numbers than he was with plumbing. I dug it up, cut out the bad assembly, cleaned off the feed pipe and went back to the shed for the appropriate replacement parts.

Naturally I didn’t have the one PVC joint I needed.

Naturally.

I invoked the standard profanity laced prayer to the Gods of Foolishness and headed for the hardware store.

And so, there I was a few minutes later, covered in drying sand and mud, holding a handful of plumbing parts, facing the cashier.

Cashier: “Military?”

“Retired,”I answered reflexively.

Cashier: “thankwewferyersevich.”

I made some sort of non-committal grunt in response.

This is the social contract we veterans have with America nowadays. The tedious hoop we have to jump through, that awkward moment at every checkout. The words are empty, it all runs together, a required part of the spell necessary to make the banking system process your debit card, I guess. The cashier just wants to get through their shift and get paid, I just want to fix my sprinkler. Thankyouforyourservice nothankyou haveaniceday youtoooo, you mouth the incantation without thinking.

Well, most of the time.

The cashier did cashier things, giving me a discount, I guess. Then…

“No,” he said, “I really mean it.”

I can make it through the empty thankwewforyourservice. It didn’t used to bother me much, and I wrote about that a few times, but in the last few years it’s just everywhere. And this is where I don’t want to be. Right here. Talking about my service with some random person in public. I just want to fix my goddamned sprinkler. Like every other civilian schmo.  I just want to be that guy, the guy who can walk into a hardware store in America and buy plumbing parts without it being part of some enforced national narrative on military service. But no. Now he really means it and I have to be The Humble Veteran. Aw shucks, Citizen, it weren’t nothing. Grateful to serve America, kill some commies for Jesus. Ooorah! Anyone would have done it.

That’s what is expected, right?

What I actually said was, “Thanks. Appreciate it. I'm in a hurry here.”

I wasn't, in a hurry. I just didn’t want to be rude. I just wanted to buy my stuff and get out, go back to fixing my yard. I didn't ask for the discount. The cashier noticed my haircut, or my bearing, or that my debit card was from a military institution, I don’t know. And that's fine. Being a veteran should maybe be good for something other than a limp and a bad attitude, I guess, and I'm not such a jackass that I won't accept a couple of bucks off the price. I can use it. And I do appreciate it. I do. I don’t expect a discount. I don’t demand it. But if it’s offered, sure, I’ll take it. Why not? Not like the benefits of being a veteran are all that spectacular, wealth wise.

Look, I'm not trying to be an ass and I'm proud enough of having served. I spent 20 years at it. I'm certainly not ashamed of who I am or bitter about it or disgruntled or PTSD'd or whatever.

But how I feel about my service is … complicated.

And it’s personal.

And it’s my business, not yours.

More, it's not the only thing I am and right now I'm just buying parts for my sprinkler system and I don't want to be reminded of certain things, again, for the tenth time today by yet another random cashier. I'm not offended, or angry, so much as just tired of the ubiquitous inanity of this mandated ritual every damned time, of being thanked for my service over and over. I got it, America. You're welcome. Let's move the hell on now. Please.

But, of course, we can’t. Move on. Because this is America and this is our collective guilt trip.

He didn’t take the hint. He went on, “I don't think the military is appreciated enough in this country.”

I didn’t respond. Because anything I could have said would just make it worse. And, as noted, he’d already missed the hint.

“It's just a shame the way the military is treated.”

He was obviously waiting for me to agree. And it was like fingernails on a blackboard. All the shit I don’t want to think about, there it is. In my face. I just wanted to fix my fucking sprinkler, instead I’m ambushed with this bullshit and now I’ve had to do this dance, again.

I just wanted him to shut up.

But he wouldn’t.

“You guys deserve...”

It wasn’t the thanks.

It wasn’t the thanks. No, it was this. This narrative. This is what always comes after the thanks. This. This neck-deep conservative bullshit, pushed by people who never served themselves, this never-ending attempt to co-opt my service into martyrdom for a political ideology built on lies used to diminish other Americans.

You look at my haircut and you think I’m one of those assholes and I’m sick of it.

That’s what it is.

That.

And so I did answer him, “Just, goddamn, man, stop. Just stop. You don't think the military is appreciated in this country? Seriously? There are two national holidays dedicated to the military and I don't know how many state holidays. None for teachers or doctors or peacemakers. But two for the military and they're trying to turn all the rest of them into some statement on military service too. Every town in this country suddenly has some sort of park or monument dedicated to veterans. There are parades and fireworks and TV shows. There are two Executive departments of our government dedicated to the military. TWO. We spend more than 50% of the national budget on the military. Every car has one of those idiotic magnets on the back of it, or some sort of bumper sticker. I can see three of them from here. Every goober in this store is wearing some sort of military shirt with eagles and guns and flags on it. We idolize the military. It's a goddamned fetish! (I might have been shouting by this point). What the hell are you even talking about?”

He wasn’t particularly taken aback, I think he wanted the argument, “Well, liberals are...”

There.

There it is.

Well, liberals are…

Oh, yes. Liberals. That’s the problem.

Maybe you didn’t see it coming, but I sure did. Because I do this dance multiple times every day. It wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about gratitude. It was about using my service to make some shitty political statement.

And that’s where I ended it. “Just stop. Fucking stop. Give me my receipt.”

And I walked out.

And by then I was too fucking mad to finish the job I’d started and the lawn had to wait another day.

He was young, 20s maybe, old enough to be serving himself if he felt so strongly about it. But, of course, he wasn’t. Serving. They never do.

Maybe I should have been more patient and maybe ... I don't know. It's not my job to deprogram these damned zombies and detox the conservative talk radio bullshit out of their systems.

The military isn't appreciated in this country? Fuck me.


If only education, healthcare, the environment, or people, were "unappreciated" half so much.


But it doesn’t end there.

Of course it doesn’t.

I’m a writer.

And I write about politics.

I write about the cultural narrative.

I write about things that hurt me, because that’s how I deal with them.

And so I wrote about this. A shorter version of the above story appeared on my Facebook page and as a thread on my Twitter feed.

And for the last four days, it’s been viral across social media, viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

I got a lot of feedback. Some good. Some not.

I shared some of it on Twitter, because Twitter is designed to make such comments easy. I didn’t post the feedback to Facebook, because it’s a lot more difficult on that platform.

I’ll share some of that here, because it’s important to me that you see it. The reasons for which will become apparent by and by.

Now, before I do, I’ll remind you that it wasn’t about being thanked. Not really. And if it had ended at being thanked, or not thanked, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

"Thank you for your service."

That’s what the cashier said, like every other cashier.

I acknowledged it. I did. I wasn’t a bitter curmudgeon it. He said thanks, I nodded, or grunted, or whatever. I didn't profusely thank the cashier for his thank you or break down in tearful gratitude and a heartful rendition of Lee Greenwood’s Proud To Be An American, but I acknowledged his appreciation. As I said, if it had ended there, there wouldn't have been posts on social media.

But it didn't end there.

I acknowledged the thanks. And I acknowledged it the second time he brought it up as well.

I said I appreciated it.

After that, I don't want to talk about it. It makes me uncomfortable for reasons that are none of your damned business – but I’ll explain anyway here in a minute.

That doesn’t matter though, does it? My comfort. That’s something else I have to sacrifice as a veteran. America needs veterans to be symbols, heroes, not people, so my discomfort doesn’t matter – so long as you feel good.

I don't claim to speak for any other veteran.

I told you what happened and I told you how I felt about it. Me. That's all.

I didn't tell other veterans how to feel. Hell, I didn’t even demand that Americans stop thanking random veterans.

And again, because I’ll have to keep reminding you, it wasn't about being thanked. Or not thanked.

But can you maybe see that some of us don’t want to be reminded all of the time?

Can you maybe understand that some of us just want to go to the store and do our business without it being a referendum on our service every goddamned time?

Or does that even matter? Is your need to feel validated more important?

Who is this really about?


I know plenty of vets who wear their service on their sleeve.

As I said, I don’t speak for them. Maybe they do expect to be thanked. Maybe they even demand it as their rightful due. You can hardly blame them, that’s the national message, isn’t it. You’re owed a thank you, Veteran. Owed it. Certainly a significant portion of this country increasingly sees it that way.

Me? I see America as more than some warrior class – even though I am a member of that class. Or was.

And I have to wonder why we don’t respect other citizens half so much?

What we did, we veterans, what we do, out there in the dark and dangerous corners of the world, is often rough, there’s no doubt about that. But, is it any more important to the fabric of society than, oh, say, being a garbage collector? I mean, let your garbageman not show up for a few days in a hot Southern summer and see if your appreciation for the profession doesn’t increase. Why is the soldier more important than the teacher who trains the next generation? Than the farmer who feeds the nation? Than the doctor and the nurses who treat the sick? Than the average faceless nobody who drops a dollar into the cup of a homeless veteran on the streets of America and thus provides a moment of joy and compassion?

Why do we revere the warrior and scorn the peacemaker?

Decades ago, a different war, a different nation, and perhaps America didn’t so much revere the warrior.

I understand if you served in that war and came home to that country how you might still resent it. I would.

I don’t presume to speak for you, or to your experience.

And I never asked anything of you except for the same courtesy in return.


I don’t mind being recognized as a veteran.

Do you mind being recognized for who you are?

Are you expected to change your appearance so as not to be the object of unwanted attention?

Maybe you are.

Women know what I’m talking about. Ironic then that every comment I got about my haircut came from a woman. If you don’t like the attention of your military appearance, hide it, grow your hair out, don’t wear certain clothes, don’t carry yourself in a certain manner. Pretend to be somebody else.

Otherwise, it’s your fault.

As I said, ironic.

Maybe I’d be prettier if I smiled more.

Again, this wasn't about being thanked. Or not thanked.

It wasn't even about having part of your life constantly pulled out and held up for examination by random people.

Or that society deems you should be grateful for that attention and is resentful when you aren’t.

No, it was about that last bit, that part about the military in America not being appreciated.

The military isn’t appreciated enough in this country. That narrative, pushed by the nationalists, by military fetishists, by a certain strident political ideology bent on creating a hallowed warrior class – and then perhaps using it to crush their hated neighbors.

We are coming to a point where respect for the military will be mandatory.

When we declare taking a knee as unpatriotic, how long before we're required to line up and salute those tanks rumbling down the streets of our capital and the tromp of marching boots, those military parades as our president demands?

How long before gratitude turns to resentment for those veterans who don’t toe the party line?

How long before that forced gratitude becomes a weapon?


She was ashamed of my service.

I’m a decorated veteran. I served my country honorably for more than 20 years, in peace and in war.

But she’s ashamed of me. Ashamed that I was ever in the military.

Because I’m don’t want to discuss my service with some random cashier. Because I don’t want to be reminded of what I did every minute of every day, of the friends and comrades I lost, of things I saw and wish I hadn’t. Because I just want to be a regular citizen, just a guy who can walk into a hardware store and buy some screws like any average joe. She’s ashamed of me.

But is she even an American?

I included Catheri22165164 for a reason.

Because she’s very likely a Russian bot. A troll. Attempting to weaponize my comments and turn America’s obsession with thanking veterans into another way to divide and stir hate.

The next one is a real person, someone who followed me and no longer does because I disappointed her.



She’s disappointed.

Disappointed in me.

Disappointed that I'm not doing it right, being a veteran.

Disappointed that I'm not the symbol I'm supposed to be.

Disappointed that I'm not what some random person needs me to be every single minute of every day.

Disappointed that I’d be so selfish as to want to walk into a hardware store, minding my own business, without having to be a fucking hero.


Put my ego away.

Because it’s me.

Because maybe some hippies 50 years ago did or didn’t do something, now I’m – me – I’m somehow now responsible to … be the object of respect? What? I don’t know who I’m supposed to be in this scenario. Am I the flower child or the baby killer? Help me out here.

As to making it real, why does every cashier get to define my reality?



The commenter is making a lot of assumptions there, but let’s say she’s right.

Let’s say the cashier lost some respect for me.

So?

I don’t know the cashier.

I wasn’t looking to impress the cashier with tales of military glory – yes, I know, who doesn’t love to hear a veteran in the checkout line tell war stories all day, bragging up their exploits, impressing the cashier. And the cashier would be impressed, oh he would. Still.

I didn’t go into the store looking for respect. I don’t need gratitude and validation from random people to feel good about myself.

I just wanted some parts for my sprinkler system. That’s all. What does it say about this country when a broken water pipe in my front yard, when every goddamned trip to the store, becomes a mandatory political statement about my military service?

I could go on. There were hundreds of responses. But I’m going to finish up with this last one.

This is the one that finally got to me.

This is the one that perfectly encapsulates the problem America has with its veterans.

This one, right here.



It’s funny, you see?

Big joke. Laughing out loud. Hilarious.

I shared something which bothers me, something I’m uncomfortable with, something that matters to me as a veteran.

But that’s not important to her. Sounds like you need a Snickers.


She didn’t know what the subject was, hadn’t bothered to see if it was a personal tragedy or some horrible disaster. You see somebody else in pain, irritated, uncomfortable, that shit is funny, man. You hangry. Hilarious.

And I wonder if her husband is getting out of line because he’s hungry or because he’s just sick of standing next to a self-centered asshole.



She hadn’t bothered to read any of the thread.

Thirty-seven tweets? That’s like … a whole paragraph. Laughing my ass off at the idea of such an effort. That’s four laugh-crying emojis funny, man!

I mean, why would you even bother to read the whole thing and actually get some idea of the context before offering up advice? Eat something, Buddy, you’ll feel better! That’s right.


That’s right.


You’re standing there, right?

And the cashier is thanking you for your service. Right?

Your service.

Sure. Your service and what about it?

You joined up. You were proud of swearing the oath, wearing that uniform, serving your country. It mattered to you, a lot.

See, you’d always been a small kid, skinny, buck-toothed. Lousy at sports. A reader. A dork. Bullied. Picked on. Pushed around. Loser. Now, suddenly, you were an adult. Is this who you were going to be for your whole life? Get some shitty job. Never leave your hometown. Spend the rest of your life living next to the jerks who think you’re a loser? Live your life vicariously through stories about heroes and adventurers, those who had the courage to do what you could not?

You wanted to prove something. Not to the bullies, not to those who thought you were a loser, but to yourself.

Your dad, man, you admired that guy. He was a veteran, a Navy man in the Korean War, and goddamn was he proud of you for signing up. And your uncles, Navy men both. One a medic on the beach at Normandy, yes, that Normandy, during that war, on that day, and another, a Seabee, on Midway Island, yes, that Midway, during that war, during that battle.  A cousin, another Navy man, in Vietnam. That was just the Navy, there were Marines and Air Force and Army in your family too. That’s the legacy you followed out of your small Midwestern town. And after that, nobody called you a loser or tried to push you around and the military became your home. And you believed. You did. You knew it wasn’t all heroism and righteousness, you knew your country wasn’t always that shining city on the hill, but you thought you were one of the good guys. You did. You worked your ass off for it. A decade, two. You set the example, led from the front, and one day you were an officer. Married. Kid. College degree. And you were starting to think about what you might do next when your country was attacked. And thousands of the people you swore to defend died. Horribly. And suddenly America was at war and it was your job, yours, to lead others into battle and you realized on that day how those men looked at you the way you’d once looked up to the heroes in those stories you so loved as a kid. It was your job to take the fight to the enemy and make him pay for what he’d done. You knew you were one of the good guys. You did. You knew it when you looked down and saw your son looking back up at you as if you were ten feet tall, tears in his eyes as you left for war. A final hug for your wife, who was terrified that you wouldn’t come home, but was proud that you were going anyway.

And you did.

You went.

You did the thing.

You went to war, as your family had done for generations.

You weren’t even scared, because you were one of the good guys and this is what you were supposed to do. Your whole life had come down to this moment.

Oh, you had doubts, because information was your specialty and the things you saw didn’t line up with what your government was telling the world. But war is complicated. You didn’t know everything, you were just a cog in the machine. You had to believe those in charge, those elected to run the country, knew what they were doing. That they knew the real truth and one day, if you lived, you would too.

That was your job – to believe.

To lead by example. To get the mission done. To get your people home alive.

And that’s what you did. And you were proud of it and why the hell shouldn’t you be? Not many could have done what you did or as well. You’d done things they write books about. You’d done things they make movies about. You were that guy.

But…

One night, a few days into the war, you stood on the deck of a Navy cruiser and you watched as other ships of the fleet launched salvo after salvo of missiles. It’s been a long time since that night, but you can still hear the roar of boosters flinging those terrible weapons into the sky, still smell the acrid sting of the propellent, still see the rocket’s red glare, still hear the womp! as each booster burned out and the missile’s sustainer engine lit off and that weird whistling sound it made as it disappeared into the night, bound for some target in enemy territory hundreds of miles away. Those under its fall were already dead – they just didn’t know it yet.

But…

You remember what you felt that night, watching the death of tens of thousands rise into the sky.

Fierce satisfaction.

Revenge.

Pride.

Joy.

Those who had killed so many Americans, those sons of bitches were going to die and you were happy see them burn. Because that was your job.


Only it wasn’t you, was it?


No. It wasn’t you.

It was me.

It was me standing on that deck. Feeling those things. Doing what had to be done. And there was more, a lot more, but I’ve told you all I’m going to and the rest is none of your business. It’s my job to live with it.

We went because we thought we were doing right.

Because those who led us, they told us we were doing right.

Just as I told the men I led that we were doing right.

But…

Yes. But.

That’s the rub. Isn’t it? That but.

We weren’t the good guys after all.

We weren’t doing right.

It was all a lie.

Those missiles, when they fell, they killed thousands of people who had never done America any harm. When it was done, when the war was finally over for us, more than a decade had passed. I don’t how many died. No one does. Hundreds of thousands. More.

I was part of that.

And I remember exactly how I felt back then in that moment.

A few weeks back, Ari Fleischer, who’d once been a member of the Administration which sent us into war on a lie showed up on Twitter.

Fleischer began with this: The Iraq war began sixteen years ago tomorrow. There is a myth about the war that I have been meaning to set straight for years. After no WMDs were found, the left claimed “Bush lied. People died.” This accusation itself is a lie. It’s time to put it to rest.

He went on, making excuses, blaming Americans, blaming liberals, blaming everyone but those actually responsible. Lying. Because lying is what he does. He lied for a president and he got paid for it. And that president, those dirty rotten sons of bitches, they lied to America.

They lied to the United Nations.

They lied to the world.

They lied to you and they lied to me.

And most of all, they lied to themselves. They lied knowing they were lying, with deliberation and malice aforethought.

It’s sixteen years later, and they’re still lying about it. And I remember exactly how I felt that night when we killed tens of thousands of innocent people.

I believed them.

Hundreds of other military men and woman believed them.

And yes, it’s easy for you to sit here now and call us fools – and we were certainly that – but you weren’t there. You weren’t out there, on the pointy end of the stick when the towers fell. And you don’t have to live with being a fool now and I guess that makes you better than me.

That’s what I live with.

I always did right, as best I was able, even though they made me part of their lies. I made the choices I made so that I could look my dad, my son, in the eye. I served honorably. I was decorated. I got my men home alive. I did it.

And for what?

For a lie.


Don’t be grouchy.

Kidding! Lighten up.

It’s corporate policy for businesses to keep reminding you of the things you have to live with – as if you don’t wake up at 3AM thinking about them already. It’s nothing. A feelgood moment. But you, me, I end up thinking about it all day. I remember that night, feeling joy knowing those people were about to die.

And that’s just too bad for me. Eat a Snickers and get over it.

Laughing out loud and can’t even be bothered to read the context. Some of us, we spent years out there fighting America’s wars. We spent more months than I can tally away from our families, not knowing if we were going to make it home, doing our jobs on the knife edge. But this woman, this American citizen, she can’t even be bothered to spend a single minute reading a single paragraph. Because it doesn’t matter. You’re a veteran. America doesn’t need context, doesn’t need to know you or your history. No. You’re not a person, you’re a symbol. You’re a joke, a punchline. It’s funny. You’re hangry! You need to eat something. That’ll fix it.

If ever there was a metaphor for how America regards its veterans, it’s this horrible fucking woman right here.

Hilarious.

Not so goddamned funny when it’s the other way though.

You wonder why so many veterans have trouble coming home?

You wonder why veterans drink, do drugs, fall apart?

You wonder why veterans kill themselves?

Do you?

Maybe it’s because you’re not listening.


Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.
-- Henri Frederic Amiel


_________________________

Epilog:

This discussion, if that’s what this is, has been raging on my Twitter timeline for four days now.

Yesterday, I’d had enough.

I didn’t want to think about it any more.

I didn’t want to be reminded of certain things any more.

I didn’t want to be part of this national narrative, if only for a while.

So I took the day off and went where there is no internet, no cellphones, and few people.

And I found myself standing on a deserted sandbar in the middle of the Blackwater River, in a remote part of the Blackwater State Forest. Holding a camera – which is what I do when I’m not writing. Photography. I’m good at it. And I enjoy it, the mechanical perfection of it, the skill, the art of it. The mind clearing concentration it takes.

The day was hot. The water was icy cold. The sky was gray. The alligators were lethargic and unlikely to be any trouble.

And it was just what I needed.

Then an older couple in a canoe appeared from around a bend upstream.

I waved as they came abreast of my sandbar.

The woman asked, "Navy?"

See, I expected to spend the day doing wildlife photography, wading in the river and through the cedar swamps and not interacting with strangers. So I grabbed the first shirt out of the drawer where my wife puts "work clothes," a stained, ratty old navy PT shirt.

"Retired," I answered, reflexively.

"THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!" she shouted, as they cruised past and disappeared down the river.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Objectionable Content

Monsignor Chamberlain: Remember, to go against the church is to go against God!
-- Priest,
Sony Pictures, 2011

“This post goes against our Community Standards.”

Facebook wouldn’t allow me to post to my own timeline.

I’d violated the rules and was to be locked out in penalty. Again.

That’s what it said.

“You can't post right now. You may have used Facebook in a way that our systems consider unusual, even it you didn't mean to. You can post again in 3 days.”

Unsurprisingly, I suppose, I’d apparently gone against community standards. And to go against Facebook’s community standards is to go against … God. I guess, given that arbitrary smiting and capricious power wise there doesn’t seem to be much difference these days.

Leaving aside the part where Facebook isn’t sure but “you may have” “even if you didn’t mean to” so you get punished anyway (see my comment above regarding a certain petulant deity) I’m pretty careful about community standards on the various sites I inhabit, especially Twitter and Facebook. I’ve been suspended enough to ensure that I read the rules and adhere to them. Generally when I get suspended, it’s because I hurt a fascist’s feelings. No, that’s not hyperbole. The last time I was suspended from Twitter it was literally for insulting a self-declared Neo-Nazi. In fact, about a year ago, a certain infamous Nazi put a bounty on my head and announced it on Twitter. When I publicly mocked him for it, Twitter suspended me (On the up side, so far, no one has collected the bounty). I’ve been suspended from Facebook for exactly the same thing. More than once.

Seems the Master Race is somewhat delicate, feelings wise.

But I hadn’t insulted any fascists lately.

Or had I?

Impeach Trump. There is more than enough reason to begin impeachment proceedings. We impeached both Nixon and Clinton for far less than is in the Mueller Report. So, impeach Trump. Impeach him in the House. Take up the investigation, one he CANNOT stop or obstruct or redact, one his pet Attorney General and his cronies cannot impede, one that Trump himself has NO control over whatsoever, and impeach him if that's where the evidence leads. THEN if the Senate refuses to convict, if Mitch McConnell refuses to take up the impeachment, refuses his duty and the Senate stands by him, hang it around their dirty cowardly necks like a fucking albatross. Make them own it in 2020. Make them own it forever.

That’s it.

That’s what what got me suspended from Facebook. 

That’s what I said, impeach Trump. That’s what goes against Facebook’s “community standards.”

What?

What’s that?

The swear word?

I said “…hang it around their dirty cowardly necks like a fucking albatross…” and that’s the problem?

Nope. No it’s not. See, profanity is not a violation of either Facebook or Twitter’s rules. I told you, I’ve actually read those rules. There’s nothing in there about profanity. Nothing.

Facebook’s community standards are divided into five parts:

Nothing in my post suggested violence or criminal behavior.

There was certainly nothing safety related – unless you consider the number of threats Facebook and Twitter allow their users to send me, though I doubt my post was removed because it put my safety in jeopardy.

My post did not violate Facebook’s alleged standards of authenticity. I certainly wasn’t pretending to be anyone other than myself.

My post was my intellectual property and thus did not violate copyright or IP laws.

And my post was not removed because I requested it – that’s what “Content-Related Requests" means (You ask to have your content deleted, or you die and your designated estate asks Facebook to remove your account).

So, the only “standard” I could possibly have violated would be “Objectionable Content.”

Except, again, I’ve read the rules and Facebook defines objectionable content as, “Hate Speech,” “Violent or Graphic Content,” Adult Nudity and Sexual Activity,” “Sexual Solicitation,” or “Cruel and Insensitive.”

My post wasn’t hate speech, unless we’re now defining politicians as a protected class.  It wasn’t violent or graphic. It didn’t contain nudity or sexual activity. It didn’t solicit sex (though with Republicans, you can never be absolutely sure what they might regard as sex. And I did say “fucking.” Still…).

So, that leaves us with the last one.

And I suppose I can see that.


I can indeed see how calling for impeachment may have offended the delicate sensibilities of those who would be fascists. 


This amuses me. Well, okay, maybe “amuse” is the wrong word, but I admit to some satisfaction that my point was proven so succinctly.

You see, there was no violation of Facebook’s Community Standards.

Of course there wasn’t. No, what happened is that my comments were shared widely, both on Facebook and Twitter – which is the point of social media. And because the post was shared widely, it naturally came to the attention of conservatives. Republicans. Trump supporters.

Russian operators, perhaps.

They were outraged. Impeach Trump? How dare you! How dare you suggest such a thing!

I got messages. I got email. I got tweets – some might even have been from actual Americans outraged at the very idea of a congress that actually does its duty.

They mass reported my post for violation of Community Standards and Facebook’s automated software took my post down and locked me out. Shut me up. Shut out the words they didn’t want to hear, didn’t want you to hear.

And the irony of this amuses me.

A bunch of faceless goons marching in lockstep call me – me – a “Marxist” and then try to silence me not because I actually violated any rules but because they were offended by the idea of a government accountable to its people, literally the very ideal the United States of America was founded on.

Imagine being offended by that.

And that – that right there – is what this about.

This isn’t about me. This isn’t about some ridiculous suspension from a social media platform – or at least it’s about that only tangentially, as a metaphor for larger things.

I don’t think it’s any secret I detest Donald Trump, both as a man and as a president.

And as a carbon-based lifeform, so long as we’re on the subject.

I have a right to detest him. I have a right to despise everything he stands for. I despise his greed, his endless conceit, his avarice, his gluttony and his sloth, his deliberate stupidity, his staggering foolishness, and his towering ignorance touted as some sort of virtue. I am daily appalled by his open encouragement of the worse elements of our society, his abuse of power, his obvious lies, his casual racism, his gross misogyny, his swaggering jingoism, his prideful nationalism, his craven xenophobia, his quailing insecurities large and small, his childish need for revenge, the bottomless unplumbed depths of his cowardice, and the utter shallowness of his character.

But most of all, most of all, I despise the gleeful hypocrisy of his chanting supporters.

Those who wave the American flag and spit on everything it stands for.

Those who daily demand for themselves the rights guaranteed by this country and would deny those rights to everyone else.

But I didn’t call for the impeachment of President Trump because I detest him.


I called for impeachment because it’s the only way to save the Republic.


Last Sunday during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, the President’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said there's nothing wrong with taking information from America’s adversaries in order to win an election. Yes, that’s exactly what he said. And he meant every word of it.

And today, half a week later, that outrageous comment isn’t even front page news.

Giuliani was responding to Republican Senator Mitt Romney’s statement the day before, where Romney said he was appalled that “fellow citizens working in a campaign for president welcomed help from Russia.”

“Stop the bull,” Giuliani shouted. “Stop this pious act!”

Stop this pious act? Pious?

To go against the Church is to go against God! Or to go against Trump. Same thing, I guess.

Right.

Giuliani then dismissed Romney’s criticism, saying that when Romney himself was running for president he likewise was “trying to dig up dirt on people. Putting dirt out on people.”

Tapper pointed out that there was a difference between legitimate, legal, opposition research and taking information from a foreign intelligence service.

Giuliani shouted Tapper down, ““What a hypocrite! Any candidate in the whole world, in America, would take information. Who says it’s even illegal? There’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians!” Giuliani hedged his comment at the end with the caveat that the legality of accepting information from a foreign agency “depends on where it came from.”

Do you believe that?

Do you believe that any candidate would accept information from a foreign agency regarding their political rivals? Particularly a foreign agency in opposition to the United States itself?

Do you believe any candidate should? That such is indeed legal, even morally acceptable?

Do you believe this should be the norm in our democracy?

Do you?

You do.

Yes, you do.

Some of you anyway. You do.

That’s what the Mueller Report says. That Donald Trump was elected to office with the help of foreign intelligence. His campaign took information from foreign agencies. And at the same time, those same foreign governments used social media and other vectors to manipulate American voters. Some even tried, and did, hack into our voting machines. There is no doubt whatsoever that Donald Trump benefited from those efforts and that his opposition was penalized.

And you’re fine with that.

Some of you.

You told me so, on Twitter, on Facebook, here on this blog, in email. Yes you did. Did you forget?

You told me it was acceptable for a foreign agency to provide information – whatever that information’s source –  to American politicians, to manipulate the American citizen according to its agenda even if that agenda is hostile to the Republic.

That’s what you said. Some of you.

See, you told me Julian Assange, a foreigner with the stated goal of bringing down the government of the United States was a "journalist."

You told me that Wikileaks, a foreign political agency dealing in stolen materials, who manipulated and selectively released information in support of its own foreign goals, operating in conjunction with our adversaries in direct support of Julian Assange’s personal agenda, is a news organization.

That’s what you told me.

Assange, Wikileaks, these are not Americans. They have no vote in our democracy, no standing in our Republic. Whatever they are, whatever their agenda, these are not in America's interest -- just as the Russians don't have our best interests at heart.

Russia, Wikileaks, they both push information that furthers their agendas and they hide information counter to their goals. These facts are supported by the evidence at hand – including the words of Julian Assange and Vladimir Putin themselves. These facts are supported by the conclusions of the Mueller Report. These facts are borne out by every US and allied intelligence agency.

Russia and Wikileaks worked together and separately to manipulate our democracy, to influence you, to put in place a government favorable to their goals. To put Donald Trump in office and to keep Hillary Clinton out of it. And whatever that agenda may be, you can bet its not in our best interest.

And so, when you tell me that Assange is a journalist, you're telling me that Rudy Giuliani is right.

You’re telling me that it's acceptable for Americans seeking power to take information from foreign sources – even if those sources are antagonistic to our nation. Even if that information is backed by foreign political agendas inimical to our interests. You don’t how that information was gathered. You don’t know if that information has been manipulated, grossly or subtly. You don’t know the purpose behind a foreign power giving you access to it. You don’t know what’s been purposely left out. If you take that information, if you act on it, if you put it into the public consciousness, you are allowing a foreign power to directly influence how this nations thinks -- and thus, indirectly manipulate democracy. That’s what the Mueller Report, among other sources, says.

You’re telling me the ends justify the means.

Even if the means bring down our nation.

You can't have it both ways.

We know our democracy is vulnerable. We know money directly influenced the outcome of elections in this nation and that we, we citizens, we voters, we are not allowed to know the origins of that dark money. We are not allowed to know who funds our politicians, who pays for those ads on television and on social media that directly influence how Americans think – and thus vote, if they bother to vote at all.

Dark money, we call it.

But it’s not just dark money.

It’s dark information as well.

Facebook was founded in 2004.

Twitter was founded two years later.

Smartphones. Unlimited real-time connectivity. Troll farms. Bot swarms. Social media influencers. The weaponization of information piped directly into our minds. The merging of 24/7 broadcast news, print journalism, internet, and social media. It took a decade for the technology to reach critical mass. 2016 was the first election where social media had as much, or more, influence on how we think, how we vote (or don’t), how we see the world, what we believe, as money does in our political process.

And we are ill-equipped as a people, as a democracy, as a republic, to handle it.

That’s what the Mueller Report tells you.

In such a world, truth, lies, reality are all malleable.

Reality is whatever narrative gains traction, is “liked” and shared, goes viral.

Two days after Rudy Giuliani declared there was nothing wrong with a candidate for president accepting damaging information on a political rival from a foreign intelligence agency, other Republicans took up the same narrative, Rick Santorum chief among them.

And that becomes the narrative. That becomes reality.

Anyone who objects is shouted down. Silenced. Redacted. Guilty of violating community standards.


And that’s why impeachment matters.


If you wait to do the right thing, wait until it is politically expedient, then you’re not doing the right thing.

Republicans have allowed Trump to become the norm, to become their reality. There is no lie too big, no moral abyss too deep, no act of cowardice too craven, no tweet too insane. When the president’s own lawyer says on national TV that as a presidential candidate there’s nothing wrong with allowing yourself to be manipulated by foreign agency – and make no mistake, that’s exactly what Rudy’s words mean even if he himself doesn’t realize it – and no one pushes back, not the press, not the White House, not Trump, not Republicans, not even the opposition for more than a fleeting moment, then this is become our normal.

The very worst elements of our society are now running our country unimpeded.

The very worst elements of our society, of social media, of foreign agency, now define our reality.

If we don’t impeach this president, then what is the threshold for impeachment? How low does an administration have to sink? How bad does it have to get?

Mueller could not indict the president.

Mueller could not exonerate the president.

That wasn’t his job or his responsibility.

That is Congress’s job.

That is Congress’ responsibility as spelled out in the Constitution.

It is Congress’s job to indict the president OR see him exonerated.

WE, citizen, we cannot know the truth of this matter. Not yet. Not now. By definition the information we have to work with is tainted. What you think you know, did that come from Wikileaks? From Russia? From some Fox News pundit? Some CNN anchor? Some rumor on Facebook? The product of trolls and bots on Twitter? How do you know? How can you know? How can you know when the only analysis you have has been redacted, filtered, processed through the very subject of the investigation? When you can’t see the raw data? When you don’t know the scope of the investigation because it’s hidden under those blacked out lines?

Impeach Trump.

That’s what I said.

Do it. Impeach him.

Congress threatened to impeach Nixon for far less than is in the Mueller Report. Nixon resigned when the court ordered him to hand over information he knew would convict him and the Articles of Impeachment were never brought. A conviction in the Senate was not necessary. But the end result was the same. Nixon was removed from office and faith in our government was restored – or as much faith as Americans ever have in government anyway.

The House did impeach Clinton, again for far less than what we know about Trump. The Senate refused to convict and so Clinton stayed in office. And those who brought Articles of Impeachment against the president went down in flames.

Nixon was threatened with impeachment because he was a goddamned crook.

Clinton was threatened with impeachment for political theater.


And that’s the lesson, right there.


There is more than enough reason to begin impeachment proceedings. Begin with hearings, with an investigation that Trump cannot impede. Cannot control. Cannot stop. Cannot redact. Ensure those hearings are bipartisan. Professional. Above reasonable reproach. Not theater, but duty. Nixon. Not Clinton.

And if those hearings find nothing, then be done with it. Exonerate Trump. Publicly. Swallow the sour grapes and move on. Do the right thing, head up, and own it.

But …

But if those hearings do find something, not infidelity or some other ridiculous charge but find evidence of real crimes, then the House must bring Articles of Impeachment against Trump and as many of his administration as indicated.

And if that impeachment finds evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors, then send the charges to the Senate to be tried.

If the House does its job, professionally, dispassionately, thoroughly, then the Senate cannot refuse to take up the case.

But, of course, in the America we live in, the Senate could refuse. And, so, if the Senate does refuse to do its duty despite the evidence, then hang it around their necks like a fucking albatross. Make them own it in 2020. Make them own it forever. Nixon. Not Clinton.

Make every politician who puts party over country, political expediency over duty, own it. 

This is what I said a week ago.

This is what I say now.

This is what I will say tomorrow.

Because this is the only way to save the Republic.

Because this the only way to restore faith in our government.

Because if we don’t get to the truth, one we all agree on, then it hardly matters what happens in 2020.

Because if we don’t get to the truth, then this – this right here – this is our truth. This is our normal. This insanity.

We’ve been on this curve for thirty years, growing more and more divided, more and more unstable. If we don’t stop it, then our government will swing in shorter and shorter partisan arcs until it collapses and our nation implodes.

We, Citizen, must know the truth, whatever that truth may be.

A truth that cannot be redacted or obstructed.

And if you’re afraid of that, if you are afraid of where the truth might take you, if your loyalty is to a would be king and not the nation, then you are complicit. If you’re outraged at my words instead of at the thought of what that process might find, if you don’t want to know the truth, well, then you’re the problem.

You. Are. The. Problem.

If you want a better nation, then you have to be a better citizen. 

Chamberlain: Remember, to go against the church is to go against God!
Priest: Then I go against God.
-- Priest

Monday, March 25, 2019

Knowing

Woe!

Gloom!

Misery!

Ha ha! Losers!

This morning, I look at my social media feeds and I see…

On my Left, despair and bitter disappointment

To the Right, gloating and raucous glee

… and I wonder if we’re all living in same world.


I warned you this might happen.


I did.

I warned you.

I warned you that the universe doesn't care.

What you want has no bearing on what is.

Facts are not influenced by thoughts, prayers, or your silly god.

Truth is indifferent to human desire, or to human suffering, no matter how badly you might want something.

And so, here we are, bitterly disappointed yet again. Or joyously gleeful, depending your point of view.

But let me ask you something: In the cold, hard light of this Monday morning, what is it that you really know?

What do you really know?

What do you have to be disappointed about? Or to crow at? What? That Trump wasn’t magically proved a traitor and criminal? Is that it?

I warned you this might happen. That it wouldn’t be easy. That there wouldn’t be a unicorn. The world is more complicated than that.

I warned you: Robert Mueller is a professional.

Professionalism is what defines him. And that means Mueller would not be influenced by Trump's lies or his threats. But it also means neither would Mueller be influenced by what you wanted.

A professional's investigation goes where the facts, the data, and the evidence lead. Nowhere else.

And so it is just as insulting to expect that he would hand you what you wanted just because that’s what you wanted as it is for the President of the United States to call him a witch hunter. You see, unlike those various congressional inquiries we’ve seen all too much of in recent years, Mueller's investigation wasn't driven by what he wanted, whatever that might be, or by what you wanted, or by what Trump and his supporters wanted, but only by evidence.

And so, here we are.


But what is it that you really know, now, today?


What justification do you have for your despair or for your joy?

What is it that you really know?

I’ll tell you what I know.

I know that the Press hasn't seen the report.

I know that Congress hasn't see the report.

I know you and I haven't seen the report.

That’s what I know for certain.

We haven’t see the report.

We haven’t seen the facts.

We haven’t seen the evidence – and leaving aside the implied assumption that we are qualified to make a legal judgement on that evidence if and when we do, in fact, see this report.

That’s what I know.

That’s what you know.

That's the one thing you know for certain. That you haven't seen the report. You haven't seen the facts.

The pundits who are right now on your radio and on your TV, opining with absolute confidence, they haven't seen the report.

The endless panels of "experts" on every news channel, the roundtables of personalities, Diamond and Silk, Fox & Friends, and the women of The View, none of them have seen the report.

All of the so-called "experts" in politics, law, intelligence, international relations, and everything else who live on social media, on Facebook, and on Twitter, the trolls and the bots and the influencers, none of them have seen the report.

None of them.

They don’t know any more than you do – they’re just hoping you don’t notice.

So, what is it that you know now that you didn't yesterday?


Well, actually, you might know more than you realize you do.


See, you know Trump has seen the report.

You know the Attorney General has seen the report.

You can guess with reasonable accuracy that Trump's inner circle, they've seen the report.

But no one else.

And isn’t that interesting?

It's been three days.

It’s been three days and the report has not yet leaked from an administration that is about as watertight as a wiffle-ball.

Trump didn’t just hand over the report to Congress. Instead he sent William Barr to give a sanitized briefing, a book report approved by The White House, to congress.

And why is that?

More significantly, Trump lives on Twitter. For more than a year he’s daily tweeted in protest of this investigation. Screaming NO COLLUSSION! NO COLLUSION! WITCH HUNT! WITCH HUNT! like some demented parrot. A week back, with the report imminent, he raged the entire weekend, tweeting furiously and giving feverish interviews to anyone with with a microphone. And then, Friday … suddenly he went radio silent.

As soon as Mueller handed in the report, Trump dropped off the air.

He returned this morning, but now that he actually holds in his hand the final report he has become curiously subdued.

And that tells you something.

Trump began the day with, "No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!"

Complete and Total exoneration, he says.

Complete and total exoneration.

Except, if the report truly does exonerate Donald Trump, completely and totally -- and that is possible, however unlikely -- then the easiest way to prove it is to make the report public. Make the report public, seize the narrative, crush his opponent in one single stroke of schadenfreude. It would be the greatest moment of triumph in the history of politics. Trump, utterly vindicated, by the very man he’s daily vilified as his enemy. And don’t tell me sealed-indictments or classified information are stopping him. Because Trump has never demonstrated any concern for protection of either the legal system or classified information. This investigation, these accusations, this has been Trump’s obsession, the gadfly of all gadflies, the burr under his saddle and the pebble in his shoe, the festering carbuncle on his ass. I gave up counting how many times he’s tweeted about it, or angrily proclaimed his persecution in interviews, or furiously declared “Presidential Harassment” at one of his campaign rallies.

For more than a year we listened as Trump and his various mouthpieces have pushed paranoia and increasingly unhinged conspiracy theories.

And now, in his moment of triumph, when Trump and all of his supporters from Alex Jones to Sean Hannity have finally at long last been proven right, he’s suddenly what? Become reserved on Twitter? No desire to rub victory in the faces of “Chuck and Nancy,” Crooked Hillary, Crazy Joe, Da Nang Dick, CNN, The New York Times, Fake News, or even Alec Baldwin and Saturday Night Live? Really?

No press conference?

No tweetstorm?

Really?

If Mueller’s report really says what Trump claims it does, then he could own all the liberals, forever, by simply releasing it.

Instead, he’s quoting Fox News this morning and wishing us all a great day.


Of course, Trump could similarly prove many of the things he claims by making public his tax returns, transcripts, etc. He won’t do that, either. And probably for the same reason.


Folks, it was always likely Mueller would find no directly actionable evidence of Trump's personal collusion.

Guys like Trump don't get their own hands dirty.

Nixon had his plumbers and Reagan had Ollie North and unless Trump was incredibly stupid about it, proving his personal collusion with Russia was unlikely. Sure, he benefited from Russian interference in our Republic. Certainly Russia wanted Trump over Hillary Clinton. None of those things are in dispute, but that’s not collusion.

The bar for proving conspiracy and treason is very high, and for good reason.

But obstruction of justice, well that’s something else entirely.

Mueller had to walk a very fine line. We’re not just talking about indicting some idiot general here or some political hack or just any American – or some random coffee-getter. We’re not even talking about Donald Trump the man. No, we’re talking about the Office of the President of the United States of America.

And so the hill is very high, not just the legal and evidentiary requirements, but in this case the political threshold.

If Mueller’s report had dramatically accused the president directly of treason, it would be dismissed out of hand as a political hatchet job. Even if you believed it, Trump’s supporters never would. Trump might have been removed from office, or he might have become a martyr – and I remind you that he and his supporters have repeatedly threatened violence – but it would never be settled.

It was never Robert Mueller’s job to remove the president from office.

That’s our job.

And that is how you want it. That’s how our country is designed. That’s why the Founders wrote the Constitution the way they did.

Because if Trump – any president – is to be removed from office, then unless his crime was so egregious, so blatant, so utterly obvious to every American no matter their ideology, then a report, no matter the integrity and professionalism of the investigator, isn’t enough.

We are on the edge.

Our country is divided.

Danger is close and violence is at hand.

It wouldn’t take much of a spark to set off a conflagration – especially given that there are agencies hostile to our nation who are actively working to see that very thing happen, who would love nothing better than for Americans to begin killing Americans and for the United States to fall into civil war.

No. If Trump is to be removed from office, then the process must be out in the open, public, tried in a court of the people before the people and to such a degree that no reasonable person can argue with the results – or at the very least the argument, no matter how passionate, falls short of civil war and blood in the streets.

Mueller’s job was to gather evidence in confidence. No more. No less. It was never Robert Mueller’s job to remove the president from office and I warned you so.

That’s our job. That’s Congress’s job.

This morning, you have no reason for despair.

You have no reason for glee.


What do you know today that you didn’t know yesterday?


Well, you know the report has not been made public.

You know who’s seen it and who has not.

You know Trump, a man with a record of pathological lies, is asking you to just take his word for it.

That’s what you know.

And, my friends, that’s a lot.


Sunday, March 3, 2019

Last Refuge


Number one, I'm in love, and you're in love. We're all in love together.
-- Donald Trump, CPAC speech.

I call it love, Gracchus. The people are my children, I am their father. I shall hold them to my bosom and embrace them
-- Commodus, Gladiator, 2000


Ah, CPAC.

The Conservative Political Action Conference.

It’s like Burning Man for Republicans, only instead of inclusion, self-expression, and cheerful nudity, there was conservative rage, xenophobia, and howling conspiracy.

Also, Donald Trump fucked a flag live on stage like some strange textile variation of a Tijuana donkey show.

No word yet on if Trump made the flag sign a nondisclosure agreement or if his lawyer had to pay the flag $140,000 to keep quiet.


But, I digress.


Trump spoke for more than two hours at CPAC.

I watched it live.

I tried to take notes.

Calling it a speech suggests there was structure and content and some sort of narrative theme.

There wasn’t any of that.

Instead it was a frenetic mash of unscripted, unhinged rambling lunacy, sometimes changing topics two or three times in the same sentence. Frankly, the aforementioned donkey hopped up on knockoff Mexican Viagra and cheap tequila probably would have had more coherency.

Eventually, I just gave up and poured a couple fingers of William Wolf into my dirty coffee mug and watched in increasing disbelief as Trump careening from a disjointed recap of his election to tariffs to something about when the wind stops blowing you’re out of “electric” then back to tariffs jumping to collusion with Russian witch hunts to Andy Jackson and Red Hats to Robert Mueller back to a comparison of inauguration crowd size to something about how R. Lee Ermey should have gotten the Academy Award for Full Metal Jacket but Hollywood is made up of liberals apparently to something about the color of his hair to “thirty-two big fat rallies” (don’t ask, heehaw heehaaaw!) to how he invented the 4th of July to … I don’t know, a partridge in a pear tree.

It’s taken me three days to work my way through the video and transcripts.

And the rest of that bottle.

Trump said a lot of things, most of which sounded like a plea for involuntary commitment to a mental health facility, but it was the expected plug for his wall that really caught my attention.

See, as justification for declaring a national emergency, something conservatives like those in attendance at CPAC would have called “Government Overreach” and “abuse of Executive Power” back when the black guy was in the office, Trump again invoked the plight of immigrant women:

"Mothers, who love their daughters, give them massive amounts of birth control pills because they know their daughters are going to be raped on the way up to our southern border."

No mention, naturally, of the hundreds of immigrant children who have been sexually assaulted while in Trump's own detention camps.

That's the message.

We must build a wall because immigrant woman are being raped on the way to America.

Women, from Central American countries, are being raped as they migrate north.

Thus, Trump’s reasoning goes, we should build a giant wall to keep them out.

Because if immigrant woman can’t get into America they won’t get raped because they’ll just stay in their own countries where there’s no rape or, you know, other forms of oppression and crime which is why they were seeking a better life in America in the first place or … something. Trump wasn’t exactly clear on the details.

If you build it, there will be less rape, I guess.

Maybe Costner will play Trump in the movie, he’s got the hair for it anyway. But I digress, again.

There’s a certain strange irony in that Trump is attempting to rally support for his wall from the xenophobic right-wing fanatics of CPAC who not only hate immigrants but illegal immigrants in particular by playing on their supposed sympathy for the plight of illegal immigrant women. Moreover, irony wise, these people – supposedly horrified at the idea of rape visited upon young women and female children – are the very same conservatives who unequivocally and loudly denounced a woman who claimed to have been sexually assaulted by their choice for Supreme Court Justice.

And here I am digressing for a third time in as many paragraphs.


Maybe it’s just me.


Let's say this was true.

This bit, where Trump says,

One in three women is sexually assaulted in the dangerous journey north. When I ran for my first speech, mentioned the word “rape”... If you look at that speech, that was so innocent compared what's actually happening. Mothers who love their daughters give them massive amounts of birth control pills, because they know their daughters are going to be raped on the way up to our southern border. Think of that. True story told to me by the Border Patrol. Think of how evil that is.

Let’s say this was true. It's likely not, because that's not how birth control pills work, but let's say it was.

Trump says, "think of how evil that is."

Think on how evil that is.

Think on how evil it is that mothers must give their daughters "massive amounts of birth control pills" because they will be raped on the way to our border.

He’s not exactly clear, but for the sake of simplicity let's be charitable and assume it’s the rape part he has a problem with and not birth control pills per se or motherhood.

Okay.

Rape is evil.

That’s what he’s saying.

Rape, sexual assault, that’s evil. That’s bad. We don’t want that.

It’s so evil, in point of fact, that it’s still evil even when it happens to people we hate – like illegal immigrants.

THEN SHOULDN'T WE AS A MORAL NATION TAKE THESE PEOPLE IN WITHOUT DELAY AND PROTECT THEM?

Well?

Should we not immediately grant them sanctuary?

Is that not what a moral people would do?

Is that not what Christians would do -- and those cheering Trump when he said this, were they not Christians? Were they not Christians, self declared, righteous, soldiers in the name of their God? Do they not consider this a Christian nation? Why then are they cheering the idea of building a wall to keep these victims out?

I mean, what’s the point of even bringing it up, if we’re not going to do something about it?

If what Trump says is indeed true, why shouldn't we grant these victims immediate sanctuary?

If not, then why not?


Be specific and show your work.


You see the implications. Do you not?

You do all see what Trump is saying, right?

Trump’s statement at CPAC is directly counter to his stance on immigration itself.

Trump has said repeatedly that those crossing our Southern border are murderers, rapists, thieves, drug smugglers. Criminals of all stripes. That is why we must build this wall.

We have to build a wall to keep them out, to keep out crime and drugs and terror. Right? That’s what he tells us.

Yet, here he is literally telling you that many, perhaps even most, of those seeking refuge are not criminals at all but are in point of fact victims of horrible crimes.

Hell, we’ve gone to war in foreign lands for less.

If these were Christian women being raped by Muslim men in the Middle East, a task force of Navy ships and Marines would even now be sailing for that distant shore at flank speed in righteous moral fury.

Donald Trump laments this atrocity, but he isn’t talking about stopping it.

Instead, he tells the raging nationalists of CPAC that we must build a wall and keep these women on the far side it.

He demands sympathy for the plight of these victims solely in order justify victimizing them even more.

He’s not suggesting that we help these women in any fashion. Just the opposite in fact.

And yet, by Donald Trump’s own words, these are the very people we should be granting asylum to instead of turning away.

We Americans should be greeting these women, these victims, with open arms, with security and support and comfort.

For if America can’t protect the weak from the ruthless, then what goddamned good is it?


I've heard that flag later burned itself.
-- T. Alexander, in response to my comment on Twitter.