WARNING: Before getting into the substance, and because I am so ____ bewildered and more than a little ____ off, I have written this post with blanks so you, in the privacy of wherever you read these things, can fill in the blanks with whatever words you’re comfortable with. Such words may be namby pamby or they may be harshly vulgar. That’s up to you. No one will know but you. If so inclined, let me know what you think of this form of blog post as a way of communally but also privately sharing your feelings, at least with yourself. If that makes sense. I’m not sure it does. But whatever you do, when you come to one of the blanks do not think of vulgar words; think instead of something else that’s just as good. Really. Try.
Did you ever wonder what an apple cart sounds like when it’s knocked over? No? I thought not. Most people in the modern world never come in contact with an apple cart, let alone one that has been knocked over within earshot. But apple carts are being knocked over left and right (well, mostly left) in Washington with the arrival of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated a popular Democratic incumbent (actually the voters did it, but that’s a detail), and Rashida Tlaib, the first Muslim women to be elected to Congress. Ocasio-Cortez is also known as AOC. How cool is that? One week on the job in Washington and she’s her own acronym. Donald Trumpski thinks she’s a new govt agency and can’t understand why he didn’t get to appoint her and can’t fire her.
Rep. Tlaib shocked the formerly Free World by using a profanity in a statement to a group of supporters, a profanity that, in the world of profanities, seems entirely suited to its target, the traitor-in-chief, Donald Trumpski. But you would have thought Tlaib had actually assaulted someone on the floor of Congress. The _____ Republicans were apoplectic. It’s one thing for Trumpski to say he could shoot someone and not lose votes, but for a woman, a freshman, a Muslim for _____ sake, to call Trumpski a “bad word, why this could be the end of civilization itself. A “sad” day for the Republic, they said. Their delicate sensibilities couldn’t stand such coarseness. Oh my, I think I have the vapors, I may pass out.
The _____ Democrats too were quick to pounce on the use of profanity in politics. What have things come to? Not constructive, they said. Not moving in the right direction. ____ it. More on this in a moment.
So, what was the first reaction from the “establishment” on the left? Here are some examples:
- Shut up!
- Toe the party line
- Mind your manners
- Submit to the “rules” of decorum that we wrote in anticipation that one day someone like you might be elected
- Stop calling attention to yourself, _____
- Wait your turn – we’ll let you know, ______
- Stay in your lane
- Speak only when spoken to
- Ask permission before proposing a policy your elders might not like
- Above all – shut up: Congress is where good ideas go to die
And, on the right? Well, I’ll be ______, you’d have thought Mitch McConnell had voted for national health insurance. The right was both mightily offended and simultaneously gleeful that new targets for their misogyny and racism had arrived. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, unhappy with his new role of powerlessness, was quick to demand that Speaker Pelosi “reprimand” Tlaib. Pelosi rightly responded that she was not in the censorship business. _________. If hypocrite McCarthy wants to reprimand someone, he should start with the leader of his own party. When he brings Trumpski to heel, he can think about imposing his personal standards of propriety on others. What a _____ moron.
You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried. Republicans are having hysterical hypocritical meltdowns over a freshman Congressperson using a vulgarity in relation to the supposed President who has built his entire persona around “telling it like it is,” including the use of a multitude of vulgarities, all available on video even as he, with his usual practice of lying about almost everything, denies that he said what he said. Instead of ganging up on the Democratic newcomers, the _______ Democrats should be making videos of all of the lying and hypocrisy on the right, including their claims that they want to protect health insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions, then post the videos on every right-wing social media site every day until the next election.
AOC blew Republican minds when a video was released of her dancing in college. Imagine that! Dancing in college. _______! She responded … with more dancing. There was a profound lesson in that move that the Republicans, as usual, failed to grasp. Later, she spelled it out more clearly on Twitter:
“None of you understand. I’m not locked up in here with YOU. You’re locked up in here with ME.”
BOOM!! EMT squads were dispatched to Capitol Hill to resuscitate Republicans who suddenly found themselves unable to breathe. There were no reported fatalities but ashen-faced Republicans retreated to a secret meeting to discuss their next attacks on the freshmen Democrats who threaten the entire world order of old white men by having ideas and the willingness to express them.
It’s doubly interesting and profoundly disturbing, I think, that the media have played a facilitating role in the shock and dismay at Tlaib’s alleged darkening of political discourse in the Nation’s capitol. A front-page article in the New York Times on January 5, entitled “Cry to Impeach Upsets Agenda for Democrats,” described Tlaib’s remarks as an “expletive-laden impeachment promise” that was going to “upend the bonhomie of a new Congress.”
Bonhomie? Really? In _____ Congress? Give me a ____ break. One remark by a freshman congressperson upsets the entire Democratic agenda? That must have been some ___ agenda. Where does the MSM get this tripe?
The Washington Post joined the chorus with a front-page article the same day, entitled “House freshman’s cursing revives impeachment talk.” CBS News referred to the statement as “harsh.” https://cbsn.ws/2D374GL
There is so much here, I almost don’t know where to begin, but I will plunge ahead. I understand that media writers have little time to produce their stories against deadlines and the ever-present concept of “breaking news” that they employ to get our attention. But I still expect some respect for the English language by them and/or their editors. I was particularly struck by the use of “expletive-laden” in the Times piece. The click-bait title of a Jan. 4 piece by the Washington Post refers to the speech as “profanity-laced.” https://wapo.st/2M4nwtq
Google reports that “laden” means “heavily loaded or weighed down.” Tlaib used the “bad word” once at the end of her remarks. I suppose one can argue that the word is so powerful in some way that even a single use infects everything adjacent that then becomes “laden,” but frankly, I think the Times andd the Post simply chose to make more of the statement than it could carry by itself. The so-called mainstream media had best be careful lest their already tenuous hold on the popular mind is completely severed. If they want to criticize, do some homework and use English. Leave the click-bait _____ to Twitter and Facebook.
The other thought is this: does anyone really believe that words like that used by Tlaib are not thrown about by politicians in the Capitol all the time when they don’t think anyone’s listening but their fellow inmates? Really? ____ that ____. And can it possibly be true that the Democratic establishment is not aware that many many many people have been openly talking about impeaching Trumpski for two years??? The talk started the minute he was elected.
The final thought about this particular dustup is that the Democrats who are running around giving quotes to the press critical of Tlaib are feeding the beast that threatens to defeat them and our democracy. The CBS News article cited above reports that a huge majority of Americans support impeaching Trumpski. If Democrats from the Old Guard think impeachment right now is a bad idea, fine, say so, but why join the ______ Republican feeding frenzy in attacking Tlaib for using a “nasty” about Trumpski. Why is it that the Old Guard doesn’t understand by now that things have changed?
The reality of national politics is that people like AOC and Tlaib are not intimidated by the mere presence of the Old Guard. They, and the Americans who elected them, are fed up with the Old Guard that opened the door to the election of a traitor and incompetent like Donald Trump and they are fed up with the _____ Republicans who are failing to do their job to rein in a president who is out of control and blatantly unqualified for his job. Democrats had best take heed or more apple carts will be knocked over and they won’t know what the ___ hit them.
Paul, I have been missing your blogs. They go to another category in my email so I sometimes overlook them. My loss. I read this one with lots of smiles and one sobering thought. That thought is\ based on polling Trump has managed to deflect incoming away from him and on to the newly arrived irreverent Dems. I hate it when Trump can turn the tables on the Dems. I want Nancy to advance a united front to throw this president out of office. To do this the Dems need to be always strategic. Cursing doesn’t offend me and it’s hardly material damage to the Dem cause but I don’t like to see Americans “offended” by this irreverent cussing, offended enough to cut the Donald some slick and even side with him against newly minted and “outrageous” Dem’s.
Keep on taking it to ‘um classmate and brother. Patrick
Patrick, you have likely not missed anything. I haven’t posted in a good while due to some health issues, but more coming soon. I understand and share your frustration. I suspect what we are seeing is traceable to fundamentals and in the hope of discovering them I have undertaken to read George Lakoff’s Moral Politics, subtitled How Liberals & Conservatives Think. He is a U Calif professor in cognitive science and has some really interesting and powerful ideas that illustrate how conservatives’ world views translate into saleable political ideas better than those of liberals.
When both sides play whataboutism regarding what someone on the other side said or did, liberals tend to lose both the war of words and ideas. Lakoff believes the power of the central “conservative” message has specific roots in their view of the family and the proper roles of the various members. He refers to it as the Strict Father model. Liberals tend to have the Nuturant Parent model. Neither side can think in the terms the other side thinks in because most of the thinking occurs below the conscious level. So each side hears the other and says “you don’t have a clue about what I’m saying.”
I am only a little way into the book but it is very interesting stuff. My own view at the moment is that liberals simply cannot ignore what they regard as attacks on their “goodness.” Thus, they jump to defend or, worse, to condemn deviant acts that are attacked by the other side. I believe Pelosi, for example, should simply tell the Republicans nothing when they engage in their typical deflective behavior, crying about someone’s use of foul words or some edgy proposal that they have supported. Ignore them and develop your own messaging that may appeal to people at a core level; save the 10-point plans for policy white papers.
AOC and the others, I suspect, believe that they need to shake things up and that bold thinking, even wild and crazy ideas, can do no more harm than is already being done by the Republicans and Trump. Instead of siding with the Republicans who scream every time AOC opens her mouth, Pelosi should tell the Republicans, literally, to shut the hell up and mind your own business. Sharing her disapproval of cursing or whatever doesn’t help get Democratic votes; it just sustains the Republican message.
But I do go on too much. Need to get back to writing. Soon. Keep the faith.