Posted in Commentary, Politics

I Can’t Stand It

I admit, I’ve been a little shut down lately–in self-defense, mind you–regarding the hateful, greedy dumpster fire that is our federal government currently, because I cannot deal with the daily onslaught of untrammeled horror coming out of D.C..  But with the release of the budget, and the intolerable stupidity and heartlessness coming out of the mouths of the people who are stumping for it, I just can’t stand it anymore. There are three things I hate most in life, and those are willful stupidity, meanness, and lying. This government is saturated with all three.

It’s impossible for me to understand all those American voters who voted for what we’re seeing now because they are against “their hard-earned money” going into pockets of people they deem unworthy because they are…well, let’s see, who are they? They are single-mothers, and children, and people of color, new arrivals to these shores, refugees, the poor and vulnerable, and themselves in many cases, but somehow, that doesn’t matter. Somehow, though, they’re just fine with “their hard-earned money” being funneled directly into the deepest pockets in the land. The logic fail on the most basic level just leaves me sputtering in disbelief, and yet it’s happening. I cannot deny it. Robber barons have taken over our government, with the express consent of the people who will suffer most for it, and the majority of us get to suffer right along with them. And they have the gall to be surprised, despite 65,844,610 of us telling them that this was exactly how it was going to be, for 18 months leading up to the election.

What a country. I don’t even know what to do with it. I really, really don’t, because it is so wrong-headed, and the ramifications so dismal, far-reaching, and terrifying that I find it hard to string words together to rant about it, because my basic and constant to reaction to what’s happening is this:

And this:

When you have politicians proudly explaining to us that poor children don’t need free and reduced lunch (often the only meal some kids get all day) because it doesn’t improve test scores, and that the elderly, ill, and homebound don’t need meals-on-wheels (often the only food and human contact some people get all day, or week), we have taken a hard turn to the darkest side. Especially when these cuts are being used to finance tax breaks for people who already have more money than sense or compassion. Their greed is insatiable, and the Trump administration, and all the cronies he’s installed in it, will not be satisfied until they have emptied the treasury of every single cent, and incentive, they can wring out of it for their own current and future enrichment. And they are willing to starve children and old people, to let Americans die without access to health care, to get it.

That is evil, my friends. That is unequivocal evil. And yet these are the people who constantly claim they are the party of morality; that they are the good Christians fighting the righteous fight against the rest of us perverts who think human rights are for all humans, civil rights are for all citizens, and that we ought not let the most vulnerable among us suffer for our selfishness and fear. They don’t know a damn thing about Jesus Christ, or what he stood for.

I have been disappointed in my country before, but this is new. This is despair. We are in real, existential trouble, and people are literally dying, and there will be more, whether they’re shot in the street by racists, or raped and murdered by people who are fans of a President who thinks he can assault women with impunity, or they can’t get the medical treatment they desperately need, or they just quietly starve in obscurity.  I don’t know how we stop this horrible juggernaut. Will it only stop when it has consumed and exhausted all of us, and there is nothing left but corpses and dead earth? Are we going to peacefully, if fearfully, walk ourselves into the ghetto, telling ourselves that if we just cooperate, it’ll all get straightened out, and it couldn’t possibly be that bad?

It can be. It is.

Posted in Commentary, Politics

What did you endure, Trump voters?

No, really, I’m asking:  What, exactly, did you endure, that you suffered so over the last 8 years with Barack Obama as our president?

Because I keep hearing about how you suffered tremendously under President Obama, and now we (progressives) get to know how it feels to be so unhappy in a president.  And I want to know HOW?  Because no one ever gives any specifics of how they, personally, were affected in the negative.  

He righted the tanked economy.  He rehabilitated America’s international reputation.  He advanced civil rights for many marginalized groups.  He showed mercy to refugees.  Right or wrong, he avenged America for 9/11 in killing bin Laden and in the continued hunt for and incarceration at Gitmo of suspected terrorists.  He helped millions of Americans have access to health care for the first time.  

What have you got against any of those things (and others), exactly?

What have you endured, from Obama and from progressives across the nation?  What exactly is your problem?  

Is it that you suffered the “indignity” of being led by a Black man, and were forced to confront not only the racist past, (present, and foreseeable future) of our country,  but also the unexamined white supremacist ideals and structures that have seeped into your own mind and values, and that made you uncomfortable and angry?  

Is it that you were “forced” to be legally decent to people who aren’t you and your family?  That you were prevented by law from actively persecuting people you don’t understand, or don’t agree with?  That you find it ever more difficult to find a receptive audience for your racial slurs and misogyny, and are held accountable when you misjudge that audience?  

Were you intolerably put out by the fact that a large number of people think their lives and their bodies and their sex lives are none of your goddamn business, and spoke out, loudly, to make you understand that they didn’t appreciate your inappropriate, hateful intrusion across their healthy boundaries?  

Were you brought up uncomfortably short by the realization that you really don’t understand what it means to live in a society with others, and that since time immemorial, humans have worked cooperatively for their MUTUAL benefit, stifling the unreasonable expectation that their every individual desire and preference be accommodated at all times, because people are different?  

Did you suffer further by not understanding the history of humanity in general, and this country specifically? Did it hurt your heads to reckon with the uncomfortable truth that this is a nation of immigrants built on the bones of the native peoples of this land, land our ancestors stole from them through violent genocide?  Do you feel enslaved and murdered, as they were, because you have to hear Spanish in the Walmart or Arabic in the grocery store?  And if so, where is your ongoing concern for the people who suffered when your family showed up on these shores as you unironically scream “Go back to wherever you came from!” at strangers?  

While you were enjoying unprecedented access to health care through the Affordable Care Act, many of you not understanding that that WAS the Obamacare you hated so, did it gall you that OTHER people’s children were not dying for lack of health care access?  What was the pain and suffering you endured when the cost of helping ill strangers was spread around to all of us?  I’ve got news for you:  It always has been.  If you haven’t been paying for your health insurance and health care up until now, that means the rest of us have been doing it for you.  That’s how insurance works, in case you didn’t know.  The well people have always been paying for the sick people.  When you get subsidized medications, it’s because the people who can afford them are paying more.  When you don’t have a primary care physician and end up in the ER with no ability to pay, the rest of the people who go to that ER who can pay pay for you, too.  That’s why one night in the ER for me cost over $18K.  Which sucks, but I’m willing to accept it so that at 3 a.m. when your child has pneumonia and can’t breathe, and couldn’t get antibiotics in time because you couldn’t afford to go to the doctor, you can get seen in the county ER and your child doesn’t die.  I know that you and your children are not to blame; my anger is for the insurance companies who are happy to profit from your pain and misfortune.  But I’m happy to contribute so that kids live, even though they’re not my kids.  Evidently, that pains you.

How did it affect your life, really, when Obama, and people like me, said that everyone having a lot of guns wasn’t working out so well for us, to the tune of children dead in elementary schools, and people dying in malls, movie theatres, and dance clubs?  You’re still waiting for him to come for you guns, aren’t you?  

Honestly, I just don’t understand what you’re talking about when you speak of the horrors of the last 8 years under Obama.  I keep hearing how we elitist progressives aren’t listening to you, or trying to understand what you’re going through.  But I’m not accepting that rap.  All we ever tried to do was make sure every last damn one of us, including you, was safe, sheltered, fed, educated, and protected equally by laws that exist ONLY to protect us in the first place.  All we’ve ever tried to do was make sure that our darkest, unexamined, historical demons didn’t get, or stay, enshrined to the detriment of any of our fellow citizens, including you.  All we’ve ever tried to do was get people to understand that it was better to share our good fortune and we’d all be better for it.  Were we perfect in the execution?  Of course not.  But at least it was coming from a place of decency, of compassion, of reason.  You’ll never convince me that starting from there isn’t the way to go.

Such unimaginable horrors you’ve endured, to be pushed to, please, finally, learn to recognize and respect the humanity, dignity, autonomy, and opportunity of ALL the people around you that you share this country and this world with, and that there is, truly, enough for every one of us if we share.  And the very people who have shipped your jobs overseas, foreclosed on your houses, made off with your pensions and retirement savings, locked you out of healthcare in the past, and gutted your public schools, all in the name of personal profit, are the ones running your country now.  If you think you were suffering before, I’ve got bad news for you:  You ain’t seen nothing like what’s coming.  None of us have.