davidbeem

President F. Von Clownstick

In 2016 Elections, Politics on November 9, 2016 at 4:40 pm

 

So That Happened

This morning, as I scrolled through my Facebook feed reading existential-dread-filled post after existential-dread-filled post, I stumbled upon an anomaly; a conservative Facebook friend and Trump voter. Of course, I say “anomaly” because Facebook works to separate large blocks of human beings through its “helpful” algorithms. And what the algorithms don’t do we do for ourselves, by unfollowing and/or un-friending people when things get too ugly. In this way, Facebook seems to affirm what we know and feel is right. When a despicable meme pops up in our feed, we feel virtuous by blocking it. And when the good, and true, and right meme pops up, we feel virtuous by passing it on. Go us.

And pass it on we do. Puppies. Babies. Babies snoozing on puppies. I’m partial to humor. I’m happiest with my Facebook friends who make me laugh. Laughing feels good, and it reminds me not to take everything so damn seriously, which I’m prone to do. But whether posting something cute or something funny, we’re nevertheless practicing a kind of intellectual side eye. We know there are dark forces out there, but so what? There’s a baby sleeping on a puppy.

But one of the most popular themes on Facebook this morning is: What am I going to tell my children about the election? As a father of a seven-year-old boy, this question resonates. It resonates because I didn’t start considering it nearly soon enough. I didn’t start considering it seriously a year ago, when I told our son a Donald Trump presidency would basically be like a Lex Luthor presidency, trying to bring it to a level he could understand. I’m regretting that now. Because words matter. Had I considered the possibility then that Donald Trump could win, I’d like to think I’d have chosen more measured language.

And on the whole, that is the biggest critique I have on our politics right now: words.

For instance, when Joe Wilson called President Obama a liar, he was accusing Obama of lying about his intentions. By doing so, he was purporting he know what was in Obama’s heart. The immigration bill Obama was discussing at the time hadn’t yet been finalized; Obama was in the middle of trying to assuage Republican fears, work together, hammer it out. But, no wonder, we never got that far.

Coming back to the important point: words.

All of us need to watch our damn mouths. We’re too cute with words. We’re so cute with words, words have begun to lose their meanings. “Lying” is supposed to be a black and white word—but in 2016, it’s a shades of gray word. (“Context” has become a favorite tool for defending deliberately crafted lies, which should horrify us all. Perhaps this is living in the shadow of Bill Clinton’s definition of “is.”)

“Fascist” is another word that’s been used to death. We’re so numb to it now we just elected the textbook definition of one—something that couldn’t have happened if people weren’t so saturated in hyperbole.

Donald Trump has a problem with words. He says whatever he wants, lies habitually, and his supporters don’t care. He is the apotheosis of nonsense. His words don’t matter.

Returning to my conservative Facebook friend’s post. The thrust of her message was to set aside the hard feelings and come together for the good of the country—something I’ve already done in my own household through discussions with my wife and son. But here, on my blog, I get to be a blow hard. I get to take sides with Jon Stewart and call Trump President Fuckface Von Clownstick. (Because I like humor.) But I also get to lament how the sentiment of setting aside hard feelings for the good of the country—a sentiment shared by every President to come before Donald Trump, including Obama—is laughably out of touch this year. Dangerously tone deaf, in fact.

We’re so bitterly divided as to not see the irony in the Hillary Clinton email thing. The irony is in the Republicans’ accusations of her “jeopardizing our nation’s national security” while they are, by literal definition “jeopardizing our nation’s national security.” And they did it in plain sight by politicizing the hacking of her emails. What they should have done was set aside that issue until after the election, thereby standing with the Democrats in the face of unprecedented cyber-attacks. Every email leaked isn’t just an attack against Hillary Clinton. This was (again, by literal definition) jeopardizing our nation’s national security. By making political hay out of Hillary’s leaked emails, Republicans chose to ally themselves with criminal actors (Russians, if you prefer) over their fellow Americans. And they did it by pointing the finger at her and accusing her of having done in the past what they were literally doing in the present. But, by all means, let’s sit back and wait for the other shoe to drop. (Unless anyone thinks these hackers can’t get into the email of a sitting Republican president, at which point the Democrats will no doubt take their turn at the political knife.)

But I will give Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt. I will do this because I remember how it felt when Republicans lined up against Obama before he was sworn in. I remember the message “I hope Obama fails,” and how that made people like me (who voted for him) feel. I remember just how much Mitch McConnell and John Boehner cared about our mandate, and I’ll try to understand what it is the American people are after here and now. But this is all irrelevant. It doesn’t really matter if Democrats try to obstruct Republicans the way Republicans did to Democrats. Donald Trump will have all three branches of government and a weak and ineffectual Republican party that has so far been unable to control him. He will have almost zero checks and balances. So what will that look like?

I’m not sure what the “good” Donald Trump supporters believe in. It doesn’t seem to be the traditional Republican conservatism. It doesn’t seem to be his character, most people seem to admit he’s an asshole. It doesn’t even seem to be his flailing foreign policy statements, unless you count “defeating terrorism,” which every politician and their grandmother promises to do. I don’t think there are too many people out there who genuinely believe he can build a 2000 mile, $12 billion-dollar wall and have Mexico pay for it. I don’t think there are too many people out there who genuinely believe it is possible to block all Muslims from entering the country “until we can figure out what’s going on.” I don’t think there are too many people out there who genuinely think it’s a good idea to bully and intimidate the press, or “open up those libel laws,” and/or dismantle the First Amendment. I do believe there are people gullible enough to think a man who doesn’t pay taxes and is so boastfully proud of his self-proclaimed greed is going to rewrite the tax code to bravely hurt himself financially so he can benefit the blue collar workers he’s worked so hard to consistently screw over, time and again. That’s refreshingly normal politics.

But what did Donald Trump voters vote for? Well, we’ll see. After such a long election, it’s kind of strange to admit there’s so much we don’t know about him. We know there are an awful lot of lawsuits pending, including fraud and a seedy child rape case; but we haven’t had the opportunity to examine his taxes, potential international business conflicts of interest, and alleged Russian entanglements. Something tells me we’re in for a lot more partisan-fueled investigations and hearings. Time will tell.

As for our son and what we tell him. We tell him that this presidency is unlikely to affect our daily lives in meaningful ways, so don’t worry about it. Look outside your window. You still live on the same street. You still have the same neighbors, same kids on the bus. You’re still stuck with the same mommy and daddy. Your dog is still going to stick his snout up your butt. Go play.

And while you’re playing, spread love. Look for people you can help. Find a grownup if you see someone getting hurt, or bullied.

We tell him that we live in a democracy, and that means you don’t always get what you want. We tell him the trick to a democracy is to hold onto it, even when things look desperate.

And when he’s gone to bed, my wife and I discuss what we won’t do: We won’t be hysterical. We won’t live in fear. We won’t ever, ever pretend that man is a good role model. And we won’t pretend to be proud Americans for the duration of his presidency. Besides his standing in diametric opposition to the principles this country was founded on, his low moral character is now inseparable from our international brand. But if you’re a Donald Trump supporter and you’re reading this, you know exactly how this feels. This is what you’ve been saying hyperbolically of Barrack Obama for eight years. The difference is, this time, words have literal meaning.

 

Saying Stuff

In Humor, politicians, Politics on October 1, 2016 at 1:48 pm

It’s a brave new world. People can just say stuff now. Which is pretty cool, when you think about it. Because saying stuff is fun. Especially if you’re really, really rich and on T.V. all the time. That’s when saying the stuff is the most fun, I’ve noticed.

It used to be you had to say true stuff. Because if you didn’t, all the dumbasses would swoop in on their great white steeds of truth and fact check you. But we’ve evolved since then. There’s no separating fact from fiction anymore and I think I speak for everyone when I say God bless America for that. But then I got to thinking: Why should the politicians have all the fun? I mean, I’ve got a blog right here. I don’t need millions in “earned” media coverage. I don’t need campaign ads. So, without further ado, let’s just start…

#sayingstuff

Elizabeth Warren is a gay Vietnamese turkey trader. And while we’re on the subject, some people are saying Colin Kaepernick is an Iranian spy. I’m not saying it. Some people are saying it. Iranian spy. It’s true.

People who won’t stand up for the National Anthem really honk me off. But what’re you gonna do, folks? I mean, unless you’re a 2nd Amendment person, there’s really nothing you can do. All I’m saying is, it really pisses me off when people won’t stand to honor the country I’m currently stockpiling weapons against.

#Idiocracy

More truth bombs:

  1. Mexicans didn’t even invent the taco.
  2. The Chinese invented the taco.
  3. Gatorade has electrolytes.

Kim Jong Un is actually a pretty swell guy. I mean, he’s strong. You know? For a little guy. You’ve got to be strong to do what he’s done, is all I’m saying. And I’m not just talking about walking around in platform shoes all the live long day. Oh God no. Any bimbo fat pig with an ovary can do that. No, I’m talking about the squinting that guy does. Have you seen his eyes? So squinty. It’s a miracle he can seen anything. He’s like Micky Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s—which, really, one the greatest portrayals of an Asian ever. Superb. Absolutely first rate, folks.

rooney

Did I say Elizabeth Warren is a gay Vietnamese turkey trader? Turns out there’s more to this story. And since Hillary Clinton first raised this issue—which I’m glad she did, by the way—I will now finish it. (Because, as we all know, Hillary isn’t a closer.) Now, some people have said Elizabeth Warren is a gay Vietnamese turkey trader, but I’m looking into the veracity of this rumor. Is it a rumor? I don’t know. Fact is, we may never know. But reliable people are telling me now Elizabeth Warren is actually a nefarious Viagranese Durka traitor. Now, as well all know, the Viagranese are a noble people. Especially, I am told, when it comes to the loyalty of their Durkas. Betraying a Durka is, like, yu-uge to them. People, if this pans out, arrangements can be made with the State Department to extradite Elizabeth Warren post haste.

#lockerherup

Tom Cruise is Pope on Planet Zarg.

All Mexicans should wear their sombreros all the time. That way, when it comes time to deport people, we can feel festive about it! But can I just say; I don’t get why we need all the illegals in the first place. I mean, there are already plenty of people in this country willing to be exploited, ignored, and abused. I see them every day. They’re called cit-i-zens. They pay taxes. Not smart!

#freedom.

*Sigh.* Elizabeth Warren. Okay. Since it’s become a distraction to this very, very important blog, and since I want to put the whole Elizabeth Warren thing to bed so I can get on to talking about the real issues, like Miss Universes starring in porn videos and/or how negative, untruthful, and non-issue-focused  Hillary Clinton’s campaign is, let me just say, right here, right now, there is no such thing as a Viagranese Durka traitor. It’s been completely made up. By Hillary Clinton, who is a lizard in a human suit. I’ve done the country a great big mega huge colossal favor in some esoteric yet meaningful way.

John Travolta is Vice Pope on Zarg.

Now on to the issues.

Donald Trump starred as himself in a movie called Playboy Video Centerfold: Playmate 2000 Bernoala Twins. Last August, he signed a pledge promising to crack down on pornography if elected. Some people are saying he will start by “cracking down” on the First Lady for all those nude photos she did that one time. I’m not saying it. Some people are saying it. All I’m saying is, if Donald Trump is elected, thank God we won’t have that philanderer Bill Clinton in the White House again.

#2016

 

Finding a Friend for the End of the World

In Politics on August 3, 2016 at 9:38 pm

Enough already. We get it. All the words have been used. All the listening is done. If there are thoughtful, reasonable people out there whose opinions can still be shifted, it will not be because they were first disparaged.

I once had the good fortune to hear a remarkable Rwandan speak on the subject of rebuilding his country, post genocide. A question was put to him about how the Hutus and Tutsis could coexist after that. The answer he gave was simple: He and his countrymen had but one choice left: apocalypse, or a future.

They chose a future.

Must we in the United States commit cultural genocide before choosing a future? I don’t believe we must. I know it’s grim out there. So many of us are so obviously in thrall with fatalism, mistrust, and a kind of prideful empathy deficit disorder that’s genuinely puzzling. My theory is that’s what’s behind the Donald Trump candidacy; he’s the grenade. Blow up Washington, so the reasoning goes, and the people will once again have representation, no matter that the representation is fundamentally nihilistic.

The truth is, Washington was only ever a reflection of ourselves. WE put the money into politics. WE venerated wealth. WE created cultural warfare. WE turned against our neighbors. WE are responsible for our disastrous foreign policy. How can we know this is true? It’s the age old axiom: If everyone hates the congress so much, how is its composition so unchanging?

Most Americans evidently think it’s the other party which is exclusively to blame. What an easy fiction that is! How much easier would democracy be if that’s how it worked. Just vote the party line, dummy. But that kind of thinking has run its course. It’s stopped being easy because all the partisan hatred is too exhausting.

So where does that leave us? The grenade…or a future?

I think if you could ask a Tutsi if living next door to a Hutu policeman who had macheted a loved one is a perfect solution, you’d probably hear, no, it isn’t perfect. But these neighbors survived their apocalypse, and from their experiences have gained wisdom that so far has eluded our “first world” problems, over here.  So how far do we need to go before deciding that a future, however imperfect that future may be, is preferable to opening up our own holocaust museum?

So I’ll ask again: Must we commit genocide before choosing a future?

There are those who will say it is better to tear down and rebuild. Perhaps. But isn’t it easier to simply be reasonable with each other? Isn’t it easier to sit down at a table and listen when the other person talks? To be respectful, and show empathy. Isn’t it easier to be even two percent less belligerent, to actively engage in building new habits than remain prisoners to the exhausting status quo, or seek out conflict? Remember: If Washington is a reflection of us, why not start by changing the parts of ourselves that we metaphorically send to Washington? It may be hard to change ourselves, but it’s certainly a helluva lot easier than changing someone else!

There’s reason to hope: We may have lost Bowie and Prince, but not all the good people have gone. Every day on my Facebook feed I see smiling children and happy families. I saw a person post about the outdoor glider chair he inherited from a parent, and another post about a huge cucumber she pulled up out of her garden. There was a guy who posted a really awesome sunset from his boat, and a girl whose daughter recently started the third grade. And what about T-Rex Tuesdays? How great is that?

Isn’t this the real America, the real news? And if we choose to follow the real stuff, the good stuff, isn’t that the antidote to the poison? The noise of our politics may be too loud to totally tune out, but every time we choose to stay in the light, we, as a community of Americans, choose a new habit. Admittedly, new habits can be hard to make—but consider the alternative, as I’ve just presented it. Choosing a future means living to fight another day. American endures, and we course correct from within.

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