Let’s be clear: The American Health Care Act — the legislative turd that Paul Ryan desperately wants you to believe is a thoughtful and compassionate fix for America’s healthcare system — is actually an all-out assault on the most vulnerable among us, and its primary purpose is the same as almost all legislation championed by the Republican party: To make rich people richer.
Look, I get it: You got caught up in all of that “No more politics-as-usual!” mania, right? You wanted to “Drain the swamp!” You bought into the Right Wing’s vilification of “Crooked Hillary,” and for some (probably sexist) reason, you couldn’t stomach the thought of her being your president, so you cast a vote for Donald Trump in the hopes that he really would “Make America
White Great Again.” I get it. I mean, I’m not giving you a pass for it — you’re still a shortsighted fool at best and a misogynistic, xenophobic, homophobic racist at worst — but I get it.
It has become painfully clear, however, that, during the campaign season, a whole bunch of you weren’t paying attention to what a hateful, shallow, dimwitted, reprehensible, ill-tempered, mean-spirited, unqualified douche canoe Donald Trump really is — and let’s just agree that your failure to realize that prior to election day is utterly inexcusable, but here we are.
Maybe you were one of those “Take him seriously but not literally” types who didn’t realize that Donald Trump’s intellect is not a complex set of tools capable of making delicate distinctions, but rather a single, clumsily balanced sledgehammer.
Maybe you were one of those “He’ll dial it down once he takes office” types who also believes in magical, talking, baby-seal unicorn puppies covered in glitter.
Maybe you were, in fact, a racist, homophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic reprobate on election day but have since found enlightenment.
Whatever the case, the good news is: You have a path to redemption.
On the day I entered the Army, I boarded a bus outside the Atlanta airport and traveled to my basic-training post in Alabama. Upon arrival, the other recruits and I were given one opportunity to throw into an “Amnesty Barrel” any items of contraband — cigarettes, drugs, weapons, pornography, et cetera — that we may have unwisely brought with us. If we availed ourselves of the opportunity to dispose of said contraband, we would face no repercussions. If, however, we later were caught with such items, we would be held very much accountable for making such an ill-advised choice.
This is your “Amnesty Barrel” moment, Trump voters … and you have two options: Further embarrass yourself by pledging your continued allegiance to a man whom history will remember as a complete and utter disgrace … or admit that you made a horrible mistake and disavow him.
I know doing the latter will not be easy … especially when the mistake for which you must take responsibility is one of the darkest stains on our nation’s history. I mean, my god, you Trump voters are directly responsible for EVERY SINGLE AWFUL THING this guy has done and will do to our country. That’s gotta be embarrassing … but, listen: doubling down on your poor choice by continuing to insist that this petty, petulant, narcissistic, maniacal blowhard speaks for you is a decision that I promise will not age well.
Donald Trump’s presidency is going to end badly. In just three short weeks, he has made Nixon, the most disgraced president of the modern age, look like an Eagle Scout. Do not doubt for a second that there is a long and ugly fall in Mr. Trump’s future.
“Not so,” you insist? OK, let’s go with that premise. Let’s say that, by some miracle, the Tweeter in Chief makes it to the end of his term. He will never be re-elected … assuming he runs again, that is; I’m not convinced he’s even remotely interested in keeping the job. In fact, I don’t think he ever really wanted it to begin with. My guess is that he still can’t believe so many of you bought his act the first time around.
But here’s the thing: Donald and the spineless Republican Congress simultaneously cowering before him and using him as an excuse to rob the store have awakened something far larger and more determined than they bargained for … and I think they already know it. I think they’ve seen it in the streets and they’ve heard it on their phone lines and they’ve read it in their faxes and emails. And I think that’s exactly why they are ignoring the cries of their constituents and barreling ahead with their short-sighted, self-serving agenda: They know it’s their last chance. They know that they’re going to get swept out in the 2018 midterms, and they know that a Democratic president will take back the White House in 2020, and they know that we will not forget, and that we will never again allow our country to be hijacked by people whose motives are rooted in fear, ignorance, hatred and intolerance … and so they are executing one final, all-out cash/power grab, regardless of how bad it looks.
So here’s your chance. This is your moment to get off of a train barreling towards certain destruction.
Thankfully, some of you already are coming to your senses:
— Agile QA Services (@AgileQAServices) February 9, 2017
— jakethesnake (@heringtonr) February 9, 2017
— The Bunk (@DetectiveBunk) February 6, 2017
— Debbie Nelson (@debbienelson57) February 7, 2017
No, Debbie, unfortunately, you can’t take your vote back … and even more unfortunately, had you burned the three-calories’-worth of critical thought required to determine that Donald Trump was a horrible choice to begin with, perhaps we wouldn’t all be in this mess right now.
But, OK, listen: I’m willing to say that we’re in the “Amnesty Barrel” phase, alright? I mean, the tweets I included above are just a few of the more than a thousand compiled by @Trump_Regrets … and whenever I read that account, I want to respond to Debbie and her ilk with a tsunami of incredulity-fueled profanity … but I’ve restrained myself, because I realize that, regardless of how badly I want to berate Debbie and others like her, neither they, nor we, can change the past; we can only write a better future … and that future will be more easily written if people like Debbie join the ranks of those of us working to fix the damage that she has done.
So Debbie, now is the time for you and those like you to join our ranks. Failure to do so will simply mark you as those against whom we will continue to tirelessly fight. We will drown out your voices, and we will do so easily, because there are MILLIONS more of us than there are of you. This is your chance to get on the right side of history. Heck, we don’t even care if you lie and say you were here all along. It’s what you do next that matters most.
Of course, I know that some of you will not heed my warning. You will say “libtard” and “snowflake” and “#MAGA” and all of the silly, juvenile things that, I swear to you, do not bother any of us in the least, and only serve to expose you as the non-argument-having, intellectually bankrupt frauds that you are. Here’s my response to that:
When your best argument is “libtard” & “snowflake,” you can’t be expected to understand that you’re trapped in the same burning house as us.
— Jon@ScratchPolitics (@ScratchPolitics) February 1, 2017
So don’t worry: Whether or not you’re with us, I assure you: We’ve got this.
Thank you. Thank you to everyone around the country and around the world who poured into the streets today and sent a clear message that we will not go quietly.
Yesterday felt like one gut punch after another. Seeing Barack and Michelle Obama forced to receive Donald Trump at the entrance to their home of the past eight years … seeing Hillary Clinton demonstrate the kind of fortitude it must have taken to stand there and watch a hateful, undeserving, sexist pig take the office for which she received 3 million more votes … hearing that same petty, petulant, insecure man-child give the darkest, most divisive Inaugural Address of all time … listening to him lay verbal waste to President Obama’s many accomplishments by spoon-feeding to his ignorant, gullible and hateful base of supporters one hollow, jingoistic slogan and bald-faced lie after another … it was physically painful, and it left me feeling beaten.
Seeing you all take to the streets less than 24 hours later to stage one of the largest protests in human history was exactly what I, and many others, needed.
But let’s be clear: Today’s protests must be seen not as a standalone accomplishment in and of themselves; they must serve as the shot fired from a starter’s pistol at the beginning of a marathon. Showing up for the race is a far different thing from pushing yourself the 26.2 miles to the finish line. The former will mean little if we do not persevere through the latter.
In so much as the message we sent today surely will bruise Donald Trump’s wafer-thin ego, the real message was the one we sent to each other: We are the majority and we have the power to make change if we’re willing to do the work required.
Make no mistake: When Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and all of the other feckless, spineless, self-serving, two-faced Republicans in Congress take to the floor in the days, weeks and months ahead, they will give precisely zero fucks about today’s protests as they write into law one shitty piece of legislation after another in what essentially will be a massive cash grab aimed at plundering all of us in order to benefit the 1%. The good news is: They can only win this war if we let them.
The bad guys are counting on our collective apathy and our historically short attention span. Why wouldn’t they? Our failure to mobilize and rise up in the past is exactly how they just claimed the entire federal government. Yes, Russia and the Comey letter and all that, but if we did in November what we did today, chances are we’d currently be celebrating yesterday’s inauguration of the first female president. As I said in my recent letter to President Obama: In the big picture, this one’s on us.
We can not go back in time and make right that which we’ve let go so horribly wrong; we only can move forward and do now the things we should have been doing all along.
It will not be easy. A group of Republicans who throughout the presidential campaign disavowed Donald Trump and everything for which he stands already have made clear they are devoid of both integrity and shame. In the weeks since the election, they have again and again demonstrated that they will not hesitate to choose party over country in order to further their own selfish and despicable agenda.
Between now and the November 2018 midterm elections, things are likely to get very, very bad. It is incumbent upon us to do as much as we can to support those members of Congress who are representing our interests and to loudly voice our dissent to those who are not. Protests like today are a good start. Regularly calling on and/or visiting your senators and representatives—both the ones doing right by you and the ones selling you down the river—is a cumbersome-yet-necessary part of the long game.
Also: PLEASE go HERE to avail yourself of the information provided by Indivisible, a group of former Congressional staffers who have worked hard to give us all the information we need to most effectively make our voices heard, and HERE to find out how you can help Democrats reclaim the House in 2018.
Today was an amazing show of strength. Tomorrow, we need to start using those muscles instead of just flexing them. Yes, exercising is a pain in the ass … but only by working out can you get the results you want.
We have the power to change the course of history. We damn well better use it.
Let’s do this.
Dear Mr. President,
Let me begin by saying the two words you deserve to hear cross the lips of every American citizen, whether they know it or not:
Thank you for the tireless work you have done and the many sacrifices you have made on behalf of our country.
Thank you for the dignity, grace, class and gravitas with which you have held our nation’s highest office.
Thank you for not eschewing facts, science, logic, reason, and your own superior intellect in order to appeal to the lowest common denominator.
Thank you for your willingness and ability to endure the disgusting hatred and racism that throughout your presidency have been directed at you, at our amazing First Lady, and at your beautiful family as a whole. The most naive among us — myself included — were hopeful your historic election was a sign that the racial divides in our country had become less pervasive than is actually the case. Your presidency has been, and forever shall remain, a major step toward that goal, but many of us underestimated just how loud, ugly, desperate and energized the filth among us would become when faced with the reality of the less homogeneous, more equal, more inclusive, more compassionate society that your presidency has represented.
The pride and patriotism I felt when you were elected, and again on the day you took office, remain unmatched. Other than my time in uniform, I have never been more proud to be an American than I was when you became my president.
And then, I failed you.
I was an outspoken supporter during both of your presidential runs, and I contributed what little cash I could here and there throughout your campaigns. Once you were in office, however, my position could best be summed up as: “He’s got this.”
“He’s got this” was a cop out. “He’s got this” was my epic failure to be the citizen you deserved. “He’s got this” earned us the predicament in which we now find ourselves.
I have, in recent years, heard some of my fellow progressives complain that much of the change you so sincerely and hopefully promised during your first presidential campaign has not been realized, and that this failure is yours. It is not. It is mine. It is ours … the millions of us who voted for you, who placed upon you the expectation that you would fight for us … and who then failed to fight alongside you.
When then-Speaker of the House John Boehner (whose name you so kindly pretended should be pronounced “Bay-ner”) said of your political agenda, “We’re going to do everything — and I mean everything — we can do to kill it, stop it, slow it down, whatever we can” … I was pissed. When then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that “the single most important thing” he and his shamefully selfish Republican party wanted to achieve was not to help the American people, but to instead make sure you were “a one-term president,” I was disgusted.
But also? I was busy. I had a job and a wife and two little kids and, hey, “He’s got this.” Besides, what could I do, really?
For seven of the eight years during which you have been our president, I have lived in Pennsylvania. Not until this month have I known the names of both of my U.S. senators, nor that of my congressman. Not once during your presidency did I contact their offices. Not once did I do much more than simply cast a vote for you and then say “He’s got this.”
Mr. President, please accept my apology for not doing more to support you during your time in office. You gave me an opportunity to make the most of your presidency, and I wasted it.
As I watched you speak in Chicago the other night, I was filled with emotion. I, of course, was reminded of that November night when you strode onto a similar stage after winning the presidency in what can legitimately be described as a landslide. The emotions that flooded me then were pride and hope and happiness. The emotions that flooded me this time were gratitude and regret and sorrow. Gratitude for all you’ve done for us. Regret for not doing more in my role as a citizen when you needed me most, and for not better appreciating just how lucky we were to have you. Sorrow for how horribly wrong things have gone.
And yet, despite the fact that I and so many others have failed to be the citizens you deserved, you still spoke to us with the same fire and conviction and hopeful optimism that define you. You still inspired me. You still, at the end of eight often-frustrating years in the White House, believe that we who fell so woefully short of our commitment to you are capable of making right that which we’ve allowed to go so wrong.
Thank you for everything. My last ask is the same as my first. I'm asking you to believe—not in my ability to create change, but in yours.
— President Obama (@POTUS) January 11, 2017
Mr. President, thank you for not losing faith in me, despite my having given you every reason to do so. Thank you for continuing to believe that I can be the citizen you deserved while in office.
This is a picture of a letter I received last week from my Republican congressional representative. It is his response to my inquiry regarding the Republicans’ secret vote for a planned amendment to gut the the Office of Congressional Ethics (which, I was pleasantly surprised to learn, he voted against). In the wake of that secret vote, and on the heels of last November’s disastrous election outcome, I and others like me finally found our voices. We flooded our representatives’ phone lines and inboxes with our fury and discontent … and the Republicans were forced to back down.
That small victory has given me and others a taste of what we can accomplish when we organize and engage in the political process. That small victory is an example of what you had hoped we’d do while you were our president. I apologize for not doing it sooner.
You deserved to go out on a much higher note than the one now playing, and I believe it is more our fault than yours. And for that, I am sorry.
Mr. President, thank you again for all you’ve done. Now it’s our turn.
We’ve got this.
Way to go, Red States! You sure showed us, huh? Wow. Rarely has such an epic act of unbridled stupidity, ignorance, selfishness, fear and hatred been carried out on such a massive scale. Well played!
Why, I haven’t seen anything like this since … well, ever, really … but the prize for second place goes to:
Hey, look! Another awful Republican candidate who once lost the popular vote but still won the presidency thanks to you backward-assed Red States! (In related news, I’m pretty sure it’s time for that whole “electoral college” thing to fuck right off, m’kay?)
Now, if, back in those days, I had just taken a big sip of something but had not yet swallowed, and you had chosen at that very moment to tell me that I one day would say “The incoming president almost makes me miss George W. Bush,” I’d have done a spit take that would have left you soaked from head to toe in whatever it was I was drinking, plus my saliva, all of which I would have firmly believed you deserved to be covered in for saying something so patently offensive and ludicrous.
And yet … here we are! Sorry for spitting all over you! I just had no idea it could actually get worse.
You see, the thing about Dubya was that he simply … well, let’s just say it: Dubya was a bit dim … and massively under qualified for the gig … and easily manipulated by the Cheneys and Rumsfelds and Wolfowitzs around him. And, yes, that Iraq War thing? That’s still the biggest fuck-up of my lifetime. Can’t really let him off the hook for that one. But at least he wasn’t a vengeful, spiteful, hot-headed, bad-tempered, narcissistic, ego-maniacal lunatic and pathological liar whose entire skill set consisted of self-promotion and self-enrichment at the expense of everything and everyone around him … which, thanks to the combined efforts of a gullible and/or hateful electorate, now means “planet earth.” Nice going, assholes.
And so, on behalf of all us “elitists” — you know, the reasonable, rational, fact-loving, semi-well-informed, relatively clearheaded grownups who overwhelmingly voted for the other candidate — I’d just like to thank you Trump voters for choosing to express your frustration with The Way Things Are by playing Russian Roulette with our collective future. That was a magnificent display of the critical-thinking skills you so clearly lack.
Unfortunately, instead of the immediate “click” or “boom” feedback of a traditional round of Russian Roulette, we’ll have to wait days, weeks, months, and, Satan willing, quite probably years to find out just how badly you’ve fucked us all … but, based on the behavior thus far of our perpetually tantrumming President-elect, I’d say the smart money is on “Oh-so badly.”
All of which is just my way of saying: “Hi! Welcome to my new website!”
I decided to launch ScratchPolitics.com and its accompanying Twitter account as a place to house the politically charged 140-character outbursts and long-winded rants that, since election night, seem to have become my raison d’être. This is where I will be venting my outrage, frustration and incredulity for the duration of Donald Trump’s sure-to-be-horrifying presidency, which I am hopeful will not actually last four years … a sentiment with which I’m sure even Trump himself would agree … because, let’s face it: not even he thought he had an actual chance of getting enough morons to vote for him. Yes, one minute, he’s just trying to up his Q-rating in order to cut a better post-election TV deal, and the next minute, he’s all, “I what? I won? I’m the president?? Oh, shit.” Just imagine his surprise!
I’m not here to change minds; I’m here for catharsis. If I don’t write about this horror show, my head will explode. (Probably, my head will explode anyway, but, hey, at least I’ll get to do some writing first.) But if, in the process, I can add my voice to the collective efforts of those who refuse to normalize this very abnormal situation, then I am more than happy to do so.
Buckle up, everyone. Things are getting really, really weird … and really, really scary.
Good luck to us all.
Wow. Waaaaahhhhhow. The dude who wrote that previous post was pissed, huh? Daaaaaamn.
Look, what I wrote in that previous post is what spilled out of me in the immediate aftermath of Tuesday’s election, at a time when I was in, shall we say, a state of heightened emotions … but the main thrust of my words remains: Whether or not Donald Trump and/or the bulk of those people who voted for him intended for the forces of hate and intolerance to interpret his electoral victory as an endorsement of their own sick, twisted agendas, those forces — many of whom heretofore at least had the decency to keep their disgusting views on the down-low — now feel energized, emboldened and fully entitled to make life hell for anyone who does not look and think like them.
Since publishing that post yesterday, I’ve re-read it a number of times … and, earlier today, I was toying with the idea of taking it down … or at least toning it down. And in the middle of contemplating that approach, I had this unexpected exchange with a close friend from Massachusetts:
So, um, yeah … I stand by what I wrote yesterday.
I understand why so many previously sane people made the insane decision to vote for Trump … and yet, despite understanding why, I do not understand how they could vote for Trump … for all of the reasons I laid out in my previously posted rant.
I know a lot of good and decent people voted for Trump … and I can only assume that those good and decent people simply failed to recognize just how catastrophic their decision would be for others, if not for themselves … and that is what I can not abide. I can not abide what I believe amounts to sheer selfishness. Voting for Donald Trump was, at best, a very selfish thing to do. And I abhor selfishness … especially when that selfishness hurts others.
I keep reminding myself that there very well may never have been a President Obama if not for the disastrous presidency of George W. Bush. Whether or not it was worth the cost is debatable … and the cost we are about to pay for a Trump presidency seems unfathomable … but I believe that, whatever the final tally, the payoff will be another historic victory of our own next time around. (Can you say “President Warren”? Might as well start practicing. If nothing else, it feels a hell of a lot better than saying “President Trump.”)
These are dark times … and we almost surely are about to experience firsthand that whole “it’s going to get worse before it gets better” thing … but I believe it eventually will get better … as long as enough of us are willing to make it so. In the meantime, as I said yesterday: Let’s all look out for each other, m’kay? Yes, things suck right now … but we are not alone. In fact, we are the majority. Let’s not hesitate to act like it, and let’s not hesitate to wield that power when next we are presented wth the opportunity to do so.