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Jun 27 2018

Still Not Ready To Make Nice

A long, long time ago back during the early years of the George W. Bush administration just before the invasion of Iraq, the lead vocalist, Natalie Maines, of a female country/rock group from Texas, Dixie Chicks, made a statement opposing the invasion. Ms Maines told an audience in London, England, “We don’t want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States (George W. Bush) is from Texas.” The backlash in the US resulted in the group being blacklisted for the remainder of the Bush regime. As popularity of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq waned, they began a come back in 2007 with the Grammy winning song “Not Ready To Make Nice.” There was a growing number of us on the left who were madder than hell and, definitely, not ready to make nice.

Flash forward to November of 2016 and the election of Donald Trump, the racist, xenophobic, sex abuser, alleged billionaire real estate magnate from New York City and his gang of grifter, criminals who are occupying the executive branch of the US government. Since Trump announce candidacy, he has become the nation’s chief bully and bigot. he has called for his minions to physically attack his dissenters, praised despot dictators, white nationalist and religious bigots, insulted war heroes, veterans, the disabled, Mexicans, Muslims, survivors of mass shootings in schools, the free press, immigrants fleeing terror, Muslims, snatched infants and children from their parents who are seeking asylum here in the US. Not to mention his assault on the rule of law and the facts. The man is a malignant narcissistic liar who would have been impeached of he were a Democrat.

His minions get in the face of brown people in public places and shout all manner of vile insults. They call the police on blacks walking with their kids and barbecuing in the park, entering their homes or just waiting for friends in a coffee shop. The heads of departments and the press secretary lie to the press and the public daily. The press secretary, Sarah Sanders regularly insults the press and makes snide, nasty remarks about individual reporters all while spewing the latest litany of lies and gets really nasty when called out on her prevaricating.

When the left strikes back, we get told by the Democratic leadership to be civil. Why? They aren’t. It’s divisive and they will use it against us in the November mid-terms, we are told. Seriously? Divisive?? This country is already divided. It has been for a long time. Now, it’s just more obvious than ever and the left “going high, when they go low” has been as effective as spitting on a forest fire. It is long past time that the right wing extremists where taken to woodshed and shamed for their behavior.

I give credit to the people who jeered Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi out of a movie theater a day after she announced her plan to end protections for health care consumers with pre-existing conditions. I praise the owner and staff of the Virginia Red Hen for telling Sarah Sanders and her entourage that they were not welcome and to please leave. I stand with the protesters who chanted Department of Homeland Security head Kirstjen Nielsen out of a DC Mexican restaurant after defending the Trump policy of “zero tolerance” for migrants seeking asylum and snatching and then losing their children. They did the same to Trump white nationalist adviser Stephen Miller a couple of days before. My hat is off to the folks gathering outside his apartment house and Nielsen’s home with wanted posters and blasting the audio of terrified migrant children crying for their parents. I stand and salute Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) calling on citizens to publicly shame Trump staffers telling them they are not welcome in civil society.

As Betty Cracker at Balloon Juice so rightly said to the “Tone Police”:

(T)he “Fuck Your Feelings” crew — who support a racist, sexist, xenophobic demagogue because they’re tired of “political correctness” — melt like extra-dainty snowflakes the minute they get a taste of their own medicine.

But non-wingnuts are aghast at the incivility of denying Sarah Huckabee Sanders a pan-seared pork chop too. [..]

These smoking hot takes fail to take into account a few relevant factors. First, when our country is caging babies and toddlers, we’ve moved beyond the realm of political discussion. I’ve had this argument with my Trumpster relatives, who profess to be stunned by my refusal to “agree to disagree.” This isn’t Democrat vs. Republican anymore; it’s good vs. evil.

Second, what recourse do we have? An erratic, lying demagogue is remaking the country in his vile image, and the institutions that exist to check presidential behavior like rampant thievery, failure to protect democracy and open subversion of the rule of law have instead rolled over and piddled on their own bellies. So what the fuck else are we supposed to do?

And that brings me to the third thing the Tone Police are missing here: They’d best hope the reaction to Trump and his minions’ outrageous behavior remains as tame as denial of entrees and feature films. That’s actually a fairly mild response to an administration declaring itself above the law, crapping on the US Constitution and interning children.

Anyone who’s ever been a clinic escort, public gun control advocate, canvasser for Democratic candidates, identifiable as a liberal woman or minority online, etc., already knows what it’s like when wingnuts “find their own special moment.” I’ve lived in their “special moment” for all of my adult life and have been admonished to “respect their feelings” for decades.

Fuck their feelings, and fuck the tone police. If we don’t stand up to oppose an administration this destructive, we don’t deserve a democracy.

As for all those folks who are calling for the left to remain civil, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, et al, do they remember 2009 when the Tea Party boisterously disrupted Democratic town halls and rallies, when they followed Democratic candidates with bull horns to their homes and children’s schools? Some of us have better memories.

In a twitter thread, Liberal commentator Amanda Marcotte said that the civility debate reminded her of the dynamics of abuse:

The reason scolds attack liberals for things like asking SHS to leave a restaurant, while sliding the far more egregious daily civility fouls committed by Trumpies is they assume liberals are amenable to these arguments, whereas Trumpies will sneer “snowflake” and keep at it. [..]

This is very much parallel to the way that abusive couples are treated by friends, family, and society at large: The abuser is treated like a force of nature, not a choice-making person, and the victim’s behavior is the only one that gets examined and policed. [..]

But the effect of this, of course, is that the abuser realizes he is, for all intents and purposes, allowed to beat a woman and he will not be blamed. She will. So that creates permission for his abuse, whereas she is scolded for every move she makes, even in self-defense. [..]

Same thing with Trumpies vs. liberals in this civility debate. Trump, SHS, etc. realize that functionally, they can do whatever they want, treat people however they want, and they will not be held accountable. But any self-defense moves from liberals will be policed and scolded. [..]

Anyone who actually cares about civility, like anyone who actually cares about abuse, needs to stop victim-blaming and instead start treating abusers like choice-making people who are far more in need of being held accountable than their victims are.

We are tired of being abused and we are striking back. We are even madder than we were during the Bush crime regime and we are certainly not ready to make nice with these abusers of our democracy. Now get thee to the voting booths and throw this scum out. We’ve already paid the price.