Biden, musings, Trump

Struggling not to be a hypocrite…

This week has been bewildering. I can see it in my blog posts from the past ten days or so. I’ve gone from being cranky and irritable, to elation. Elation turned into dismay, then there was a dash of guilt. This morning, as I sit here thinking about what I want to write about today, I realize I’m a hypocrite. Every day, I struggle to be consistent about things. I try not to be hypocritical. But I often fail.

I’m not alone. Most people are hypocrites. Most of us say one thing and do another. We often have good reasons for being hypocritical. A common excuse is that a certain situation is different somehow. Like, for instance, I recently wrote a sympathetic post about how hard people are being on Skylar Mack, but then I wrote another, much less understanding article about how Jenna Ryan and Jacob Chansley are getting what they deserve.

I wrote yesterday about how I think redemption is important. I think that people should be able to rise above their mistakes. So how is it that I can have so much empathy for Skylar Mack, but not as much for Jacob Chansley and Jenna Ryan? There are some significant differences in each of those cases, of course.

Skylar Mack is 18 years old and barely an adult. What she did, while foolish and potentially dangerous, didn’t actually harm anyone. She wasn’t infected with COVID-19 when she broke quarantine. That doesn’t mean she was right to break the rules; it simply means that this time, she didn’t literally hurt anyone by breaking them.

Skylar needed to be punished, though, because other people are always watching. Not punishing Skylar could have emboldened other people to do what she did. Some of those would be rule breakers might be infected with COVID-19, and if they broke quarantine and mingled with the locals, they could cause an outbreak on the Cayman Islands. It was just my opinion that Skylar didn’t need to rot in jail forever for what she did. I’m glad the local officials agreed and let her go this month, even if a lot of virtue signaling hypocrites at home thought she should have fried.

Conversely, both Jenna and Jacob are much older than Skylar is. Jenna Ryan is a 50 year old businesswoman. Jacob Chansley is 33 years old. Both are well over the ages at which their brains should be fully developed. Skylar still has a few more years to go before her noggin is completely solid, and medical science supports that. According to this article by the University of Rochester Medical Center, Skylar still has a “teen brain”, and she will have that for about seven more years. That means her judgment is not the same as an older person’s should be.

Jenna and Jacob surely knew that what they were doing was illegal, and it’s been illegal for a very long time. I mean, come on. When was the last time you were able to just walk into a federal building like the Capitol, completely unvetted and unchecked? Granted, I haven’t been in a U.S. federal building in ages, but even in the years prior to 2014 (which is the last time I was in the USA), most federal buildings had at least a security guard. Many of those buildings have metal detectors and require showing identification. On January 6th, 2021, a whole bunch of people showed up in Washington, DC, hellbent on breaking and entering a restricted building. They KNEW it was wrong. If they didn’t know, they probably shouldn’t be allowed to cross the street by themselves.

Moreover, five people DIED at the riot. Countless other people were physically injured, psychologically traumatized, or both. There was a lot of property damage due to vandalism, and there was also theft. Jenna Ryan and Jacob Chansley may not have stolen anything or caused any property damage themselves, but they were certainly not doing anything to stop the damage. In fact, they were encouraging it and participating, and they were doing so with a very defiant, unapologetic attitude. They had to know that what they were doing was against the law.

By contrast, up until the spring of last year, people were coming and going from places like the Cayman Islands with no one tracking their movements. Face masks weren’t a fashion accessory. Neither were armbands that monitor a person’s movements. Except for the fact that Skylar Mack was evidently in the Cayman Islands alone at age 18, she was doing what many teenagers before her have done, completely without consequence. The rules suddenly and radically changed for her and her peers. The rules did not suddenly and radically change for Jenna and Jacob.

And finally, Jenna and Jacob did things to draw attention to themselves. They bragged about what they were doing on social media. Jenna Ryan went so far as to advertise herself as a realtor as she raved about “stopping the steal” and “taking back our country”. It’s sheer lunacy that she thought this was okay and that she’d get away with it. And after she got busted, she took to social media to beg for donations. Later, she posted an unbelievable confession:

WHAT? Who do you think you are, Jenna? Televangelist Paula White? Seriously, I bet Jenna is a fan of Paula White’s. I used to watch Paula on TBN, as she would beg for love gifts for her “ministry”, even though she lived in a mansion.
Paula White in action. I think Jenna sounds a bit like her.

PayPal canceled Jenna’s account, so I guess those “blessings” are no longer flowing. Mom and Dad would be so proud that I remember a concept from the Doxology. All those years in church sometimes come in handy. But, besides taking donations she claims she doesn’t need, Jenna also felt entitled to a pardon from Donald Trump, who quite predictably, didn’t come through for her, or her buddy Jacob Chansley, who can’t eat prison grub and needs an organic diet.

At least Skylar Mack did her time, paid her fines, and respectfully admitted that she deserved to be held accountable for what she did. Yes, her grandmother reached out for help from the government. She was genuinely concerned about her loved one’s well-being. But I didn’t hear Skylar, herself, asking for Trump’s help.

Jenna and Jacob acted like their shenanigans were a big fucking joke, and they were entitled to behave like miscreants because apparently, they think Trump gave them permission. Even if Trump had “invited” them to break the law, that didn’t mean there wouldn’t be serious consequences for doing so. Surely, Jacob and Jenna know that U.S. Presidents aren’t actually above the law– although Trump has sure acted like he was.

Judging by the news yesterday, I can see that there are still some pesky QAnon folks around who haven’t gotten the news that they were “played”. Some of those folks have wisely come to their senses… but too many are still on the QAnon/Proud Boys’ bandwagon. That includes a newly elected legislator from Georgia named Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has already filed articles of impeachment against President Joe Biden. This Trump trailing twit says that Joe Biden is unfit to hold office because he “blatantly abused power” when he was Vice President during the Obama years. She also accuses Biden of “blatant nepotism” regarding his son, Hunter Biden. Um… nepotism? Where the fuck was Ms. Greene during Trump’s tenure? Does she not realize that Trump gave most of his children and their spouses government jobs? I just can’t understand the stubborn cognitive dissonance in some of these people.

But anyway… I see that some people might think I’m a hypocrite for some of my views. And I’ll own up to that. I did get a little pissy the other day when someone chastised me and accused me of “falling for click bait”, although my getting pissy didn’t result in anyone getting blocked or unfriended on Facebook. And maybe I should be more understanding about my former “friend” blocking me a couple of days ago for praising Mike Pence on my space. I really don’t know what she’s going through right now. We’re all dealing with a lot of stress. I mean, I’m feeling depressed, hopeless, and stressed out and I don’t even have kids or a fucking job!

On the other hand, Biden is now in power and Mike Pence is not, so is it really that harmful to offer Pence some praise as he (hopefully) leaves federal politics? I’ll bet praise has been slow in coming for him over the past four years. He sure as hell never got it from a true narcissist like Donald Trump. I’ll bet “Mother” went through some hell, too. Poor woman probably had to hear and witness many horror stories about what an unapologetic asshole Trump is… although I’m sure Pence didn’t swear when he told her about it. If he didn’t actually tell her, then I’m sure it showed up in his demeanor. I’m married to a man who was both married to and once worked for narcissists. And I’ve witnessed and heard a whole lot of sad stories myself.

Well, anyway, I guess it’s time to wrap up today’s post. Bill has just called me to breakfast and he hates it when I let it get cold. So I’ll close by saying I know I’m a hypocrite about a lot of things. I really try not to be. But, as my former asshole psychiatrist once told me, “The first step to overcoming a problem is admitting you have one.” So I’m doing that now, and I’ll try to be accountable. And maybe my next post will be about something other than politics.

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complaints, rants

Being “canceled”…

As someone who grew up in the 70s and 80s, it’s been a surreal experience to go from having in person relationships to online relationships. I remember when I was dating Bill, I told my mom that we’d met in a chat room. My mom was horrified. She thought it was so weird. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t tell her what kind of chat room it was. 😉

Nowadays, a lot of people meet and even become friends online. Some people never meet in person. Others are people we once knew offline, but then continue a relationship on the computer. I think communication has really changed significantly with the development of the Internet. In many ways, it’s made people a lot less civilized than they once were.

Take, for instance, my experience yesterday. On Wednesday, I had shared an article about Mike Pence, who was talking to Kamala Harris at Joe Biden’s inauguration. I remarked that Mike Pence had really redeemed himself in my eyes over the past couple of weeks. I said I thought he had a hell of a lot more class than Trump does. I thought some of my more conservative friends would appreciate the nod to Pence, but I immediately got backlash from so-called friends about this statement.

One of them got so pissed that she eventually blocked me, having also criticized me for saying I was going to buy a Donald Trump toilet brush for my bathroom. My remark to her, when she said she wouldn’t want anything “Trump” in her house was, “Luckily, it’s not your house.” I was totally kidding when I wrote that, but apparently, it struck a nerve. In my defense, I read her comment back to me yesterday morning, while sitting on the toilet and before I’d had my coffee. Maybe she thought it was rude for me to say it wasn’t her house, but I think it’s rude to criticize people’s shopping choices– *shrug*.

For context, we were discussing my new Angela Merkel citrus strainer, which Bill was using to make me a celebratory cocktail on Wednesday night. I have started collecting funny household items, particularly if they involve politicians. I also have a Margaret Thatcher nutcracker, and Soviet Matroyshka dolls that feature all of the former leaders up to Yeltsin. I had commented that the only Trump item I would want is a toilet brush. I wouldn’t want the toilet paper, since I don’t want Trump’s image that close to my genitals. However, I think he’s perfectly useful for scrubbing shit residue from my toilet. It was a joke, anyway.

Yes, I finally bought one… I need a new one anyway. I also used to have a Michael Vick chew toy before Arran destroyed it.

I can only assume that I got “canceled” because this person, whom I once knew and greatly respected offline, is gay. Mike Pence is famously ani-gay, and when he was Indiana’s Governor, he had no regard for anyone identifying as LGBTQ. Many homosexuals suffered under his regime. I don’t agree with or condone the way Pence has treated homosexuals. I suspect he does it because of his deeply religious nature. Like it or not, most religions are against homosexuality. I don’t think being anti-gay is Christlike behavior myself, but as we all know, lots of people have different views and don’t care what mine are.

Whether or not anyone wants to believe me, I actually don’t give a flying fuck what someone’s sexual orientation is. I have several gay relatives, one of whom has become somewhat close in the past few years. My sister-in-law is a lesbian who has been married twice to women. I also have a fuckload of gay and lesbian friends, all of whom I value. I don’t give a shit what anyone does in their bedroom, as long as the people participating can and do consent, and there aren’t any pets or livestock involved.

The person who canceled me yesterday was someone I had considered a friend, but clearly it wasn’t so… she didn’t value my friendship at all. I say this because this one incident involving my comments about Mike Pence upset her so much that she very quickly dropkicked me out of her Facebook sphere. She did so, even though I reiterated repeatedly that I didn’t vote for Pence and wouldn’t vote for him. I simply recognized that instead of going along with Donald Trump’s criminal QAnon gang, he’d followed the law and probably spared us a bloodbath. And then after that, he was the only representative from the Trump administration who attended the inauguration and acted like a mature and civilized human being. Maybe it shouldn’t impress me that he did his job, but it really did. I see nothing wrong with stating that.

I used to not have any appreciation whatsoever for Pence, so the fact that he’s gone up a few notches doesn’t mean that I love him. The bar was set very low, so any positive regard that came from the past couple of weeks still doesn’t negate his actions of the past. And I truly thought I was being nice when I made that comment on my own page. I certainly didn’t imagine it would turn into a controversy. Perhaps it wouldn’t have gone so far south if I hadn’t used the word “redeemed”. But it was late in the evening; I was feeling emotional, and had enjoyed my evening wine.

I bring this up today because I’ve been really disturbed by the phenomenon of cancel culture. People don’t want to discuss things rationally anymore. We have arguments and if someone disagrees, it turns into a hair flip and a “Fine, we’re done!” attitude. I know that this wouldn’t happen so quickly if folks were face to face, but it’s hard to do that right now, thanks to the pandemic.

This isn’t the first time this has happened to me. Last summer, when Mary Kay Letourneau died, I got into an argument on RfM with someone who called me a “rape apologist” because I expressed condolences to those who had loved her. The woman who called me a rape apologist insisted that having any positive regard or empathy for Mary Kay Letourneau meant that I condoned her actions against her former student, Vili Fualaau, who later became her husband. Vili was at Mary Kay’s side when she died. He is also now a grown man, and obviously didn’t consider his former wife his rapist, even if the law and society say she was.

While I agree that what Mary Kay Letourneau did was very wrong, she did do her time in prison. And even though she went to prison, Vili Fualaau was waiting for her when she got out. They were married for twelve years, divorcing only because Vili wanted to start a marijuana farm and couldn’t legally do so with a convicted felon as his spouse. My thinking is that whatever I might think of Mary Kay Letourneau’s actions are secondary to what her victim thinks. She paid her debt to society, and she clearly had people in her life who loved her, including her ex husband. Although Mary Kay is dead, those people are still left behind and were grieving their loss. They deserve respect and sympathy, even if Mary Kay might not have.

The same thing goes for anyone convicted of a crime. Very few people have no one in the world. Very few people are so awful that there isn’t someone who appreciates and loves them. So when I express sorrow for someone who’s done bad things dying or being injured, it’s not just for that person. It’s also for the innocent people who love them regardless of any negative things they’ve said or done. I feel like I should be allowed to do that without being labeled, chastised, or canceled. In a different era, I probably would be. Or, at least I might have a chance to explain, right?

I can understand why people cancel each other. Nowadays, we’re all bombarded with so much information and relationships tend to be wider and more shallow, rather than deep and narrow. We live in an era where it’s easy to become acquaintances, especially online, but it’s hard to become real friends. And so, when someone is annoying or upsetting, we can just change the channel, as it were, or click the unfriend or even the block button. I’ve done it myself a few times, although I usually do it to strangers before I’ll do it to people I’ve interacted with regularly. I usually don’t unfriend people for being offensive unless they are repeat offenders and I’ve asked them to stop at least once. A person I’ve actually met really has to upset me before I ostracize them completely by hitting the block button. I’ve never done it to a relative, although some of my relatives have done it to me. The vast majority of the people I unfriend get dropped because I don’t actually know them or speak to them, they’ve gone inactive for a long time, or they’re dead. I reserve blocking for people who won’t leave me alone, people who are stalkers or creepy, or people who have been deliberately hurtful.

I know a lot of people are perfectly fine with calling people out and “canceling them”, as if they’ve never done anything wrong themselves. But personally, I find it a very disturbing phenomenon. I’m a big believer in allowing people to be heard, even if what they have to say isn’t something we want to hear. Sometimes unpleasant messages have truths within them, and sometimes group think can obscure humanity. For instance, some years ago, I watched a Disney propaganda film about the rise of Hitler. It’s called Education for Death.

This is a pretty interesting film…

At about five minutes into the above video, we see a schoolboy named Hans in Germany being taught about a fox hunting and killing a rabbit. Everyone in the class is all about the fox killing the rabbit except the little boy, who expresses sympathy for the creature. He’s ostracized and ridiculed for having a different viewpoint, so under tremendous peer pressure, he eventually loses his natural regard for the rabbit and joins his classmates in their bloodthirsty enthusiasm for killing. The narrator says sarcastically, “Hans has now come around to the ‘correct’ Nazi way of thinking.”

Now, I am not in any way comparing what happened to me to Naziism. What I’m trying to point out is that respectful discussions and sharing different perspectives are good things. It’s useful and helpful to talk about different views. I see nothing wrong with recognizing something good in someone’s actions, even if that person has been “canceled” or is not politically correct or popular. Like I said, I don’t think there are too many people who are truly all good or all bad. I do think “all bad” people exist, but my opinion is that there are very few of them. And a person should have the chance to redeem themselves, if they can. It’s not a good thing for someone to go through life being hated by everyone.

I also think hating people takes a lot of energy. There are a couple of people in the world that I can honestly say that I legitimately have no regard for at all. I have my personal reasons for feeling that way about them, though, and I don’t expect others to feel the same way I do. Having negative feelings about those people who actually harmed me in a personal way already takes a lot of energy. I don’t have the energy to spare to also hate politicians with whom I disagree. Trump, of course, is a different matter. I probably do legitimately hate him, and I make no apologies for that. But I’m not going to kick people out of my life for disagreeing with me. If I did that, I’d never speak to my family again.

My former friend apparently loathes Mike Pence. She has her reasons for loathing him. I probably even agree with her for feeling the way she does. But prior to the other day, it was not something we’d ever discussed. I can’t say we really discussed it the other day, either, since she quickly got pissed off and split. She just expected me to share her view and canceled me when I didn’t. Or, at least that’s what I concluded, since she didn’t talk to me about what had upset her so much. And I was left realizing that this person I had once respected, and had even told that I respected, had no respect whatsoever for me.

I know some people will tell me I’m too sensitive. In fact, when I posted a thought about this situation, I got a comment from someone who acted as an apologist and gave me advice. Advice was not really what I was seeking, though. What I was doing was requesting that those who are too immature to have a respectful discussion to go ahead and unfriend me now. Because that’s not how I “do” real friendship– at least not with people I actually know and care about offline. And I am not going to let anyone tell me how to think or what I can or can’t say. I’d rather have fewer real friends than a bunch of fakes clogging up my feed.

If I want to commend Mike Pence for following the law and showing dignity at the inauguration, that should be my privilege, especially on my space. Real friends will let me say that and have a rational and respectful discussion if they disagree with me. They won’t flip their hair, call me names, or cancel me for voicing my opinion. And if that’s the kind of person you are, as my ex friend said, “count me out.”

In other news… yesterday, we found out Arran has a mast cell tumor. He has to have surgery on Monday. Here we go again.

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Biden

Now the healing begins…

I was tempted to give this post a provocative title. People who know me offline, know that I often say shocking things. It’s a habit that people tend to either love or hate. Some people think my penchant for being shocking and gross is hilarious. Others disdain it and consider it a tasteless, vulgar habit. Personally, I think it’s more of my form of rebellion. I was encouraged to be classy and ladylike when I was growing up, although looking back on it, I didn’t have that many examples to follow. So here I am…

Last night, as I was eagerly waiting for Joe Biden’s inauguration, I ran across an article posted by Rachel Maddow, a journalist whose wit has really enchanted me over the past couple of years. The article was about “draining the swamp”– as in, Trump rolling back one of his very first policies from 2017. You see, when he was first installed as 45, Trump made a big deal out of a policy that would forbid “executive branch employees from lobbying any agency where they had served for five years after leaving office.” The order also instituted a lifetime ban on lobbying for a foreign government.

But then, in the wee hours of the morning– 1:07am, to be exact– Trump reversed that order. So now, people who are newly disenfranchised thanks to Biden’s inauguration can go for those lobbying jobs to their hearts’ content.

I don’t really care too much about that particular policy. It’s not something that affects me personally, except to point out, yet again, that Trump doesn’t honor his promises. That’s not a new or earth shattering revelation, though. What inspired me was the image of “draining the swamp”. It made me think of a painful, infected, inflamed, oozing sore. So I left this comment on Rachel Maddow’s page.

Phew.

I actually know of what I write. Back in 1996, when I was about halfway through my Peace Corps service, I got a very painful abscess under my arm. It was probably because I got a cut shaving under there. It was the first of quite a few somewhat serious skin infections I suffered from June 1996 until May 1998. I had cellulitis diagnosed three times, but if I’m honest, I probably had it at least five times. Twice, I didn’t go to the doctor for treatment because I didn’t have the money to go and it was located in an embarrassing place (right over my butt crack).

I’m pretty certain I somehow picked up a staph aureus germ while I was abroad. I’d get an infection. It would fester and swell, then burst and heal. Then I’d get another one. Fortunately, I didn’t get sick in either of the cases in which I didn’t see a doctor. But then one day, my luck ran out, and I finally did get an infection that made me really ill, to the point at which I had to go to the emergency room in Gloucester, Virginia. It was on my stomach. I watched as it went from being the size of a 50 cent piece to the size of my hand. I developed a high fever and was in extreme pain. It was probably the worst pain I’ve ever experienced.

I remember going to the hospital in hysterical tears. I cried as I showed the nurse the infection, which was hot, red, and burning with pain. I remember her shaking her head and saying, “Oh my God. That’s got to hurt.” Not long after that, I was hooked up to an IV, getting very powerful antibiotics. When the bag was empty, I felt so much better. My fever went down. The chills stopped. The pain grew much duller. As the days passed, the infection completely cleared, and I was as good as new… at least until the next time I got cellulitis.

Cellulitis causes a really nasty, painful, dangerous infection. It forms deep in the skin and causes searing pain, high fevers, inflammation, and swelling. When it clears, it drains thick, brown, foul smelling, oily pus, that is really messy, sticky, and disgusting and leaves an empty pocket beneath the skin. Sometimes it’s bad enough that you have to be hospitalized to get over it. The second time I got it, I had it on my face. I looked like the Elephant Man, and my doctor wanted to admit me to the hospital. He was worried that my eyesight or even my life could be in danger from the infection. Fortunately, I got better without being hospitalized, but I was left with a scar on my cheek.

I got treated three times before I finally stopped getting those serious infections. The first two times, I had to take very powerful, expensive antibiotics that gave me yeast infections. But the third time, the infection wasn’t so bad and I got well quicker. It was the last time I ever got cellulitis, and I finally went on to recover for good. I remember during that time, I also finally addressed the depression and anxiety that had plagued me for years. It was the start of a much better life for me. I started to heal.

Yesterday’s inauguration reminds me a little bit of that serious infection, and finally getting the cure. I don’t tend to watch inaugurations. In the past, they didn’t interest me. Like a lot of people, I was pretty complacent about politics. I always had the feeling that the “new boss” was the same as the “old boss”. I guess if there’s one thing good that came out of Trump’s presidency, it’s that he jarred a lot of people like me out of complacency.

I teared up watching Joe Biden becoming our 46th president. It’s not because I am particularly enthusiastic about him. I have never followed his career and I don’t think he would have been my choice for a candidate. But I have to say that listening to him speak yesterday was a real pleasure. I felt kind of like I did after I got those powerful antibiotics that started to clear the infection that made me so sick. I felt like maybe healing was possible, even if we have to go through some unpleasant and expensive treatments to get there.

Of course, I’ve already lost some friends. Some of my relatives don’t speak to me anymore because I’m not a Trump fan. This morning, I lost an old friend because I expressed basic empathy for Mike Pence, even though I certainly don’t agree with his politics and would never vote for him. But if Mike Pence hadn’t done his duty and stayed faithful to his oath to support and defend the Constitution, yesterday might not have happened. If he had gone along with Trump’s wishes and given in to the threats of the Proud Boys and QAnon, where would we be today? Maybe yesterday still would have happened, but it would have been much harder to pull off. So I am grateful to Mr. Pence for doing his duty, even if I disagree with his political views.

Well worth watching.

Dr. Ramani, in the above video, makes a lot of sense… although perhaps some people think that by recognizing humanity in Pence that I’m enabling their abuser. I’m not, though. I simply recognize that Pence has spent four years trying to work with a narcissist. It doesn’t mean I excuse him for his policies or that I’m a fan of his. It means that I have some basic empathy for him and appreciation that ultimately, he didn’t follow Trump when he was under tremendous pressure to do so.

I guess losing friends and relatives is part of this process of healing. At least I know I’m not the only one, draining the festering abscess of the past few years. I know that recovery won’t be cheap or easy. But I have hope that it will finally begin, if only because we have someone in charge who is an adult with empathy. I have no delusions that the QAnon wackos and Proud Boys are vanquished. I’m sure they’re waiting in the wings, ready to strike. I’m sure Trump’s successor is being trained up and will be ready to attack when the time is right. We have to stay vigilant. But it’s nice to finally have hope.

I also know, having watched Bill deal with narcissists and having experienced dealing with them myself, that what Pence did was actually pretty brave. I know that after he refused to do Trump’s bidding and made him look like a fool to his followers, he became Trump’s mortal enemy. You can rest assured that Pence is now dead to Trump. He won’t ever be forgiven. Maybe some people think Pence deserves that treatment for signing up with Trump in the first place. But most people don’t understand that narcissists are not normal people. Pence probably thought he could change Trump or handle him. He probably thought Trump would drop out and he would take over the presidency. He was duped, like a lot of people were.

I do feel better today, even if some people don’t like me anymore. It’s not like I haven’t been through that before, though… I will survive, stronger, healthier, and maybe with a fresh battle scar or two. I know some people are sad about Biden being our new president. Some people are legitimately frightened, mainly because they’ve been misled into believing conspiracy theories. But others, like me, are very hopeful for healing, messy and painful as it might be.

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Police, politicians, politics, racism

Mike Pence is still sleeping, and others are not facing reality…

A couple of days ago, I wrote a post wondering if Mike Pence was finally “woke” (much as I hate that expression). He’s now made it clear that he’s still snoring. In a letter to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Pence wrote that he has no plans to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Donald Trump from office.

I’m not surprised that Pence won’t cooperate. I had faint hope that he’d grow a spine, and my opinion of him did go up last week when he addressed all of the right wing whackaloons who stormed the Capitol last Wednesday, condemning them for their violence. But given that Trump has just a week left in office, it doesn’t surprise me that Pence would rather not be part of an action that would kick his boss out of office. It doesn’t matter, though, since Trump is going to be impeached for a second time, and he will be the first president in U.S. history to have such a “distinction”. I would be satisfied to know that Trump can’t run for office again.

Meanwhile, I’ve noticed that a lot of my friends are arguing amongst each other. I do still have some conservative friends on Facebook, and more than a couple of them have been engaging in a bit of “whataboutism” regarding last week’s riots versus the riots that occurred nationwide last summer, due to the Black Lives Matter movement.

I have not been getting involved in those arguments myself. I see them as different entities. BLM was supposed to be a movement bringing to light the injustices faced by people of color when they come into contact with law enforcement, as well as racially motivated violence. It’s a fact that many people of color have been injured or killed by police officers, and even if they aren’t arrested, people of color are more likely to be racially profiled. In 2013, many people were rightfully outraged that George Zimmerman, who was a private citizen, was acquitted of killing unarmed Black teenager Trayvon Martin, thanks to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. Since then, there have been other cases of Black people being injured or killed in racially motivated altercations. For instance, George Floyd, was absolutely helpless last May when he was arrested by Minneapolis cop, Derick Chauvin, who had rear handcuffed Floyd and knelt on the man’s neck, resulting in his death. People were and still are rightfully pissed.

It’s also true that last summer, a number of demonstrations became violent and resulted in destruction of property and looting. I condemn the violence and criminal activity that arose from the BLM riots of last year. However, I support the movement itself, because I think there’s ample evidence that, on the whole, people of color have not been treated fairly. I absolutely think they have a right to protest, even if I don’t condone violence, theft, or destruction of property.

Last week’s riots in Washington, DC were not about peace or promoting fairness. They were about a large group of white people– many of them men, armed with weapons, wearing body armor, and carrying zip ties– who felt emboldened to disrupt democratic proceedings. They were engaging in treason and, in the process, also destroyed property, looted, and killed and injured people. For some reason, these folks can’t accept that Donald Trump lost the election and will no longer be in charge as of next week. They can’t fathom that over half the country does not want him to be the president anymore, and they’re trying to disenfranchise people who made their wishes known with their votes. They allowed an unhinged orange dude to rile them up and incite violence. And they don’t seem to understand that the orange guy isn’t going to help them, now that they’re facing the consequences of their stupidity.

Yesterday, I shook my head as I read about some of the people who were involved in last week’s uprising being arrested. The widely photographed Shaiman guy, 33 year old Jacob Chansley (aka Jake Angeli) is now sitting in an Arizona jail cell after turning himself in to federal authorities. I read a story about his mother complaining that her son hasn’t eaten anything since Friday, because he only eats organic food. You know, I’m not usually one to say things like, “don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time”, but maybe ManBearPig should have thought about his aversions to gross jailhouse food before he decided to storm the Capitol. He says he didn’t commit a crime, since the doors to the Capitol were “open”. Yes, but I think he knew full well he wasn’t supposed to go barging in there, right? And he was in Washington, DC to stir up trouble. And he sure did find it, didn’t he? I wonder if it was worth it to him and his cronies, now that they’re being arrested and charged with crimes.

I don’t see BLM and what happened last week as similar situations at all. The only thing that they have in common is that they attracted criminal behaviors among spun up, outraged people. It’s never okay to destroy property, steal things, or hurt or kill people in the name of a “movement”. But I think BLM is very different from “Stop The Steal”. It’s been repeatedly proven that our election was fair and there is no evidence that votes were tampered with. I think what we have right now is a bunch of white people who are pent up and legitimately fed up over COVID-19 restrictions, mixed with their own distrust and dislike of people who aren’t like them. They’re afraid their way of life is going to be disrupted. Well… it sure will be disrupted if they land in a jail cell, right? Violence is not the answer and won’t lead to positive resolutions or change. And while Mike Pence won’t acknowledge that Trump incited the riots, a whole lot of us know what he won’t admit. Donald Trump is directly responsible for the catastrophe that occurred last week. He egged on the most radicalized of his followers to try to overthrow the government, and that is not acceptable. Trump needs to face serious consequences for his actions. It’s too bad Mike Pence is too cowardly to do the right thing. But again, I am not surprised.

I have never in my life seen so much polarization caused by a political leader. I’ve seen many people breaking up friendships and even family relations over Trump. Last night, I was talking to my mom, who dislikes Trump as much as I do, telling her about how people on my dad’s side of the family are ardent Trump supporters. There are only a few of us on that side of the family who don’t support Trump. When we speak out, a few of the Trumpers on that side of the family can’t stop themselves from arguing. Just last week, one of my cousins, who is not a Trump fan, posted a rare status update on Facebook, denouncing the riots. Another cousin immediately took her to task about it. Then, when I commented in support of her statement, the same cousin tried to argue with me. I politely told him to fuck off. I mean, I didn’t actually say, “fuck off”, but I did politely ask him to leave me alone. There was a time when I really liked him a lot. He used to be one of my favorite relatives. Now, I can barely stand talking to him, because he won’t let people express themselves without overbearing commentary on why their opinions are “wrong”. He’s especially overbearing toward women. I’ve found that getting into arguments with people, rather than having a respectful conversation, rarely leads to anyone changing their views. It’s just annoying and aggravating, and it makes me wonder if I’ll ever be able to look at him in the same way I used to, before Trump was a thing.

It’s depressing and sad to watch the news and worry about what kinds of violence and mayhem will occur next week. I hope the DC cops and military are prepared for what’s coming. I’ve read that it won’t just be DC that gets targeted. There are also “storms” planned for state capitals, which may be besieged by batshit crazy people who feel emboldened by Trump and want to disrupt peace in an especially difficult time for people around the world. I can only hope and pray that some of them wake up and get with the program.

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Biden, politics, Trump

Is Mike Pence finally “woke”?

Today’s featured photo is a screen grab of a video about the attempted faux coup last week.

Please forgive me for using that term. I kind of hate the expression “woke”. And please forgive me for yet another political post, although I have a feeling I’ll be writing them for some time to come… at least until the dust settles on Trump’s exit from the White House.

I didn’t write anything yesterday, nor did I practice guitar. Instead, I watched a lot of old episodes of Glee and hung out with Bill. We did a lot of talking about the events of last Wednesday. Vice President Mike Pence is probably feeling the heat right now, as pissed off MAGA cultists descended on the Capitol and erected a gallows as they screamed “Hang Mike Pence!”.

Trump stoked the fires of public resentment against Pence for refusing to “undo the will of the People”.

Why were they screaming? Because Donald Trump had expected the vice president to “overturn” the results of the election. Trump repeatedly made the false claim that Pence had the power to nullify the will of the people. He also repeatedly made baseless claims that the election was “stolen” from him. And he encouraged a mob of people to take action against legislators tasked with certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

Mike Pence, who has been totally loyal to Trump for the past several years, did not do Trump’s bidding. And now, he is discovering what happens when you cross a malignant narcissist. Although he’s probably never been formally diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, it’s pretty obvious to me that Trump is a narcissist. A lot of people might claim that most politicians are narcissistic. And they would be right in making that claim. But there’s a big difference between being “narcissistic” and having full blown NPD. And even within the realm of NPD, there are varying degrees of it. I think Trump is pretty far on the NPD scale, which means he’s extremely entitled, very immature, and completely focused on himself and his own needs. Couple that with his charisma and innate ability to say what people want to hear, and you have a very dangerous individual.

I don’t agree with Mike Pence’s politics at all, but here he sounds much more presidential than Donald Trump EVER has. But I suspect that Mr. Pence thought Trump would burn out quickly and he would wind up being the 46th president.

Right now, I think Mr. Pence is understanding what it means to go against a malignant narcissist, even when it’s the right thing to do legally, ethically, and morally. Unfortunately, hitching your wagon to a narcissist in hopes of getting ahead often ends in disappointment. Always remember that narcissists ultimately don’t care about anyone but themselves, and it doesn’t matter how loyal you are to them or were in the past. The minute you cross them, you’re in their crosshairs of revenge. They see other people strictly as tools to be used and they have no compassion or understanding when someone disappoints them, even when it’s because they have been put in an impossible situation, as Mike Pence was.

Donald Trump now faces a second impeachment, and Pence is under pressure to invoke the 25th Amendment. If you ask me, he should have done that a long time ago. But I can see why Pence would not have wanted to invoke the 25th Amendment, even though Trump is clearly unstable and dangerous. For one thing, there’s that old boy network of mutual back scratching and political favors. Pence wouldn’t want to piss off his buddies in the Republican party. But there’s also the fact that Trump could go off the deep end and do something much worse than what he’s already done, simply out of spite. And there are thousands of people who want to hang Mike Pence for not being totally obedient to Trump rather than following the Constitution.

This morning, a friend of mine shared a Twitter feed showing people who were mobbing the Capitol being refused return flights as they were being arrested. Some of them are crying pitifully as they are correctly being kicked off of flight, labeled terrorists, and escorted away in handcuffs. Indeed, people who breached the Capitol are being identified, and those who managed to leave the nation’s capital are being arrested at home. Somehow, these folks, in an era of iPhones and surveillance videos, thought they could get away with their felonious behavior without being held accountable. I guess it’s a good thing Trumpers are not known for wearing face masks. It makes identifying the perpetrators of these crimes much easier than it otherwise might have been. And these folks are going to find that Trump will likely do NOTHING for them as they properly face charges, fines, and possible jail time for what they did.

Powerful words from a true leader.

Yesterday, I watched Arnold Schwarzenegger’s speech about the events of last week. I was actually pretty moved by what he had to say. Arnold Schwarzenegger is certainly no paragon of virtue himself, but he would have been 1000 times better in the White House than Trump has been. Unfortunately, Arnold, who obviously loves America, can’t run for President, because he’s a naturalized citizen. But even though I have sworn off voting for Republicans, I might make an exception for Arnold Schwarzenegger, because he’s clearly a much fitter leader. And what he says about the effects of Hitler on his home country of Austria, are very astute. He’s not the only one who has seen the parallels of Trump’s leadership and the rise of Naziism in Europe back in the 1930s and 1940s.

One more thing. I don’t think this is over by a long shot. The MAGA crowd is super pumped and emboldened right now, and while Trump might be riding off into the sunset soon, there’s sure to be someone else waiting in the wings. I suspect it’s someone younger, smarter, more likable, and actually knowledgable of and dedicated to the cause. I don’t think Trump actually cares that much about the MAGA movement. He just wants to stay in power and avoid the extreme narcissistic injury of losing. But I feel certain that there are other people out there who really do believe in forcing America to turn into their warped white supremacist Christian vision of what they think it should be. You can bet that even if Trump’s era ends, someone else will try to do what he failed to do.

We must all stay vigilant and aware of those who want to turn our country into real life Gilead. That’s why I hope Mr. Pence will do the right thing and help the Democrats get Trump out of power as soon as possible. There’s a lot he can do in the next nine days. I’ll be surprised if Pence actually does invoke the 25th Amendment, but I think it’s the right thing to do. I believe our country is in serious danger. I already have more respect for Pence today than I did a week ago. I think doing the right thing by the American people and helping to restrain Trump would go a long way in redeeming Pence’s lapdog image, at least as far as I am, personally, concerned. I do think Pence has more concern for others than Trump ever will. He’s certainly saner and more competent.

Bill has empathy for Mike Pence. He once worked for a man who is a lot like Trump is. Being second banana to a raging narcissist is a thankless and punishing endeavor. Bill was fortunate in that there were a lot of people who supported him and realized the terrible position he was in, and he came out of that experience relatively unscathed. However, when he was working for that man, it was hell on Earth. I’m sure Pence can relate, because I don’t think he has the same extreme ego Trump has. People like Trump never choose people like themselves to work with them. They look for people who are malleable and trustworthy. So now that Pence could be “woke”, like so many of the rest of us have been for years now, maybe he will earn the trust of the majority of Americans who would like to see Trump removed from power. Even if it means he never again has another peaceful moment.

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