On this day five years ago, a great man and a great mayor came together to announce a very great hotel that would sweep away the rabble and shower Lexington with jobs, prosperity, pride and a Hard Rock Cafe.
Not so much, eh?
But seriously, who could have predicted such a failure? (Besides us and Rob Morris.)
I think I’ll call this my favorite excerpt, which pretty much sums it up:
The developers lied.
They lied repeatedly. And with no trace of shame. It isn’t a pleasant or polite thing to say, but Lexington needs to stop being polite to hucksters and charlatans.
They lied about their secret mystery financier. They lied about his death. They lied about his heirs and ‘numbered Swiss bank accounts’. They lied about backup financing. They lied about backup financing for the backup financing. They lied about the urgency of demolishing historic buildings. They lied about their schedule. They lied about tenant commitments. They lied about 61 (or 64! or 65!) ‘handshake’ deals for their condominiums. They lied with pretty pictures of ugly buildings. They lied with pretty pictures of pretty buildings. And they lied with overly optimistic financial projections.
They lied to the press. They lied to the public. They lied to the Urban County Council. They might have even lied to themselves.
And when their thick layers of lies wore thin, they resorted to insulting and bullying their critics instead of offering substantive rebuttals.
Strong words, but I hear Dudley is breaking ground in 60-90 days, so we’ll be eating crow soon.
Until then, continue enjoying your invisible unicorn park, Lexington.
Let’s have one last post mortem for Progress Kentucky and then put them to bed.
The other day, Progress Kentucky put out a racist tweet attacking Mitch McConnell’s wife. This caused some serious backlash (as it should) and a slew of national attention on McConnell’s reelection campaign.
In reality, those within the state familiar with Progress Kentucky knew they were never going to be a major player in this race, and now the national media is onto that fact. While Progress Kentucky says they will continue, you’ll have a hard time finding anyone who will now defend, support, and give them money. And it’s not like anyone was giving them money to begin with. They had only raised $4,000 online, and while they haven’t filed yet with the FEC, we have to doubt that they’ve managed to raise a great deal more than that.
And there’s not much more to say on the matter — but this: If the state Democratic Party was doing its job, there never would have been a space for Progress Kentucky to “fill.” National media time and again over the past three months have quoted PK as if they are (or, more correctly, were) a valid force.
As Joe detailed in his obit, this occurred in part because of the “hottness” of the race and the seeming seriousness of a group that called itself a “Super PAC.” That makes it sound legitimate in this day and age, so the Big Foots in DC and elsewhere ran with it.
But the other factor here is that PK was, over the past three months, the loudest voice “hammering” McConnell. Because of that, to an outside observer, they may have seemed like the front running anti-McConnell group.
But if Progress Kentucky’s messaging was amateur hour (and it undoubtedly, inexcusably was), the Kentucky Democratic Party’s messaging has been mostly nonexistent. As Joe’s pointed out time and again (here’s just one example), the KDP has failed to capitalize on opportunities Mitch has presented to them.
Because they have spent much of the past two, four, six years not seeking to chip away at the powerful (and politically adept) McConnell, they face an uphill battle getting going now. That’s not to say they can’t turn on their afterburners (does the KDP have those?), but it’s all the more difficult.
Their habitual reticence to take on the Senate Minority Leader — and the least popular Senator in the nation, with just 17% of the Commonwealth solidly behind him — is the greatest reason he would cruise to re-election. Blaming their woes on a potential Ashley Judd candidacy is simple transference.
This is not an ideological assessment. It’s just simple politics. You can’t beat a guy if you won’t attack him. If you go long stretches not trying to weaken an opponent when all opportunity is on the table, you have reason to be defeatist about the race.
Which is what the KDP has for so long been.
So now when you see KDP leaders whining a month ago that Ashley Judd hadn’t yet called them personally, and when KDP leaders argue that no candidate would be better than actually trying to win a race, you see a Party that’s got its priorities backward.
Progress Kentucky was a disorganized, undisciplined group before their racist tweet — the racist tweet just made it more obviously evident for anyone who hadn’t already realized it.
Because the KDP refused to take control of the messaging, it was left open to others to do so — and unfortunately that ended in a racist tweet.
The Kentucky Democratic Party may have squandered opportunity after opportunity over the past several years, that’s water under the bridge unless they, too, are disorganized and undisciplined as a group.
The real question of this wake is whether that Party can now do what any opposition Party would’ve already been doing. They’ll have to create and mobilize the groundwork in a hurry, but perhaps this has motivated them to finally do so.
Or they could just stick with their existing plan and run no one.
So I woke up this morning to find a picture posted to Facebook, of a stylized US Constitution that asked me to share if I opposed Obama’s unilateral anti-gun executive action that would circumvent Congress and reminded me that the US was not a dictatorship and that we have Congress for a reason. Now, normally, I would just ignore this, but the more and more I thought about it…well it really started to just piss me off. So I decided that I would share my thoughts on the stupidity of this particular picture, (and that comment is directed at the picture and not the original poster). I also chose not to share this picture so no one could be confused that I agreed with it.
1. This picture is calling for us to trust a United States Congress that has a 14% approval rating. Now this means that 86% of Americans just flat don’t like our Congress. Why is that? well mainly its because they’re bitterly partisan, so inefficient it borders on being just completely inept, and well to be honest, incapable of accomplishing anything. Keep this in mind…I believe this applies to the whole of our Congress but primarily leadership in both the Republican and Democratic Caucuses.
2. The picture poses what OUR US President Barrack Obama did yesterday was completely unheard of, well thats not true. Both Bush the first and Clinton issued executive orders placing restrictions on the importation of certain guns. They used “unilateral executive action” to accomplish a needed task that Congress was unable to do.
3. So one might ask…what dictatorial moves did Obama make yesterday that harm the very fabric of our Constitution? He instructed certain federal agencies to remind gun dealers and healthcare workers how to respond to currently written laws, instructed the Department of Justice to use a program currently in place that would make resources available to local school districts and law enforcement agencies to have a greater police presence in our school zones, and called for Congress to consider certain proposals going forward.
What!?! Wait a minute…are you completely f–ing kidding me? The President said we’re going to tell a bunch of people to do the job they’re already supposed to be doing….he said we’re going to send some letters, put cops in schools and Congress is going to consider legislation…thats it??? and that has all of these right wing gun nuts in an uproar?
Wow! I mean seriously NRA…wow.
So I’ll ask anyone out there to kindly update me on how this was the move of a dictator? How was this so harmful? Hell, to be honest with you, it didn’t do anything…nothing…not one damn thing to solve gun related violence. If anything, liberals should be mad that he didn’t reach far enough. We should be mad that he’s sending letters and then asking Congress (remember that group with the 14% approval rating thats incapable of doing anything right) to consider some of the most important gun control legislation of our generation.
So honestly…go suck a d–k NRA, you got what you wanted, the President is basically bowing out of the gun control debate and leaving it up to the Turtle.
Let’s begin with a moment of silence for those who died and those were wounded in the shooting.
I’m kidding, kind of. Unless you are Sarah Palin or think putting tea bags on your ears is a political statement, you probably didn’t read this out loud, so it was already a moment of silence.
I want to say something about how we now grieve. President Obama called for a moment of “silence and reflection.” That feels right. It’s beyond politics. No matter how degraded we’ve become in our public discourse, you couldn’t imagine Rush Limbaugh countering by calling for a moment of “noise and shallowness”, at least not in so many words. (A little off topic, but how can Rush Limbaugh love twinkies and oxycontin and be against other people’s health care? The whole reason that walking side of bacon exists is because Pfizer has a tube shoved up his ass, probably taking up half of their resources. If you want to cut the cost of healthcare, you should let Rush Limbaugh die. And Rush, as ever, if you are reading this, bone a lawnmower, you gravy-soaked mouth-breather. It’s a good thing your mother didn’t love you or else your first affection would be from a whore.)
Anyway, I was talking about civility in our public discourse. I’m all for it. And there’s something very human and touching about a moment of silence. But tea party to key party, we are all shocked by what happened to our neighbors to the west.
Wait a second, did I just say “to the west”? I did because I wrote the above five months ago after the Batman shootings in Aurora, Colorado. I meant to write a meditation on grief, on why so many people I love felt a special kinship with the victims at the theater that they wouldn’t have felt if the shootings had happened at, say, a football game. Above all, I wanted to say that the only patriotic move President Obama could do was to exploit the tragedy to win the 2012 election. It was, I assume, going to be brilliant. (As an aside, I like summarizing articles I didn’t write. It’s easier than writing them.)
So why didn’t I finish it? Because life goes on. I moved across state lines and started a new job. Then the election was in full swing. Look, it’s impossible to continuously feel grief for strangers. After a while, it moved to the back of my mind, the way these things do. I still feel bad for Chandra Levy, but my family didn’t mention her in our Thanksgiving prayers.
Why say this? I seriously doubt that my editorializing could have stopped more than half of the shootings. But what I’m interested in is the nature of how we express our grief. This goes back to our moment of silence.
TS Eliot ends “The Waste Land” with a chant he translates to “the peace that transcends understanding. “ The moment of silence approaches that. We bury our dead in awe of the happening. Reasons, explanations, and actions follow, but for now we accept the world rather than try to explain it.
But it’s just a fucking moment.
This is the reality we’re missing in our national discourse. The moment of silence has taken over our conversation. “Surely, we can’t talk about this when people are still in the hospital,” say the people with no connection to the victims who are trying to buy time. And to be clear, when President Obama says “We must never let this happen again”, he is continuing the moment of silence. Don’t say what we already know—repeating yourself accomplishes nothing but self indulgence (says the man who started this essay by repeating something he wrote half a year ago).
Five moths ago, we had a moment of silence. Then we extended it for fear of offending the dead. And now—as a tertiary result of our silence—children have been murdered. Because what has changed from Aurora to now that could have conceivably stopped this shooting? What has changed from the Gabby Giffords shooting? What has changed from Columbine?
Perhaps this is a better question: What practical good have assault rifles done? We know the evil they can do, but tell us the good they have done?
The silence you hear to that question is not an accident. The NRA eludes responsibility because we let them run out the clock. “To speak now is disrespectful,” they say. And soon you’re talking about the fiscal cliff, about Romney’s tax returns, about Christmas, about the UK/UL Game. Then we say “Wasn’t there a shooting in Oregon, or Hendersonville, or I think it was Vermont?”
Now is the time to talk about gun control. Not because of Sandy Hook, but because of the next one. The time is before, not after, a shooting. Don’t worry about the Newtown shooting, worry about the Lexington shooting that will happen next March—what did you do to prevent it? If you’re still saying it’s a matter of personal freedom as you’re picturing your kids hiding in their lockers to dodge gunfire, then I don’t know what to say except, “Senator Paul, I didn’t vote for you, but I respect your office”. But know there will be more. The shooters are getting smarter and more strategic. Let’s call this by its proper name: terrorism. And let’s deal with terrorism in the exact opposite way that Ronald Reagan did—let’s stop arming them.
So yes, let’s start with an assault rifle ban. You could go farther than this, but that is the minimum. Let me state my biases on this: I’ve never fired a gun. Guns never appealed to me, but then again NBA basketball and college football appeal to me, and a lot of my friends think those are ridiculous indulgences, so I get it.
So let’s talk about it. (Let me say that I have great friends and family who call themselves Libertarian and I genuinely love them, while thinking their opinion is fucking idiotic, so I want to represent their POV as honestly as I can.) The libertarian argument, as I understand it, breaks up into the following five points.
1. Do we trust the government to take our guns from us?
Take our guns? Who? Seriously who said that? No one is going into your house and taking what you’ve already bought. When McDonalds discontinues the McRib or the Shamrock Shake, you don’t think they are going after your weirdly-named Irish Heart Attack Foods, do you? What’s yours is yours. No one is taking your guns. What I’m talking about is discontinuing a certain type of weapon that serves no purpose except to kill multiple people in very little time. That’s different than entering your house and seizing all of your guns.
2. It’s a matter of mental health, not gun control
This is kind of true and very beside the point. Sure, we want to take care of the mentally ill. (Even if Republicans don’t want to take care of the physically ill). What does that have to do with guns? It also doesn’t help that the NRA will still block mental testing for people buying assault weapons. So it’s not about guns, it’s about mental illness, and it’s our job to arm the sane and insane alike. Also, have you noticed how no one says, “It would be wrong to exploit this tragedy to talk about mental illness.” It’s only guns we can’t talk about. Because of respect for families. Obviously.
3. It’s not a matter of need; it’s a matter of want.
This one is true. If people want them, and the market can maintain them, then we have the right to have them. Gun owners don’t have to justify themselves to the government for what they want. Fair enough. But again, when there is tangible harm done by assault weapons and—as far as I can tell—absolutely zero positive benefit, then why should they be legal? When you say words like “rights” or “liberty” you have to understand those are abstract. Dead children in Connecticut are concrete. Does it infringe on your rights that you’re not able to own a SCUD missile or a grenade launcher? Some things are made illegal for the greater community’s safety. Aren’t assault weapons demonstrably dangerous enough to be labeled as such?
4. If everyone had assault rifles then it wouldn’t have happened.
Seriously? Fuck you.
4. If everyone had assault rifles then it wouldn’t have happened
Oh, you are being serious? Who is that supposed to dissuade from shooting up a school? The shooters who always kill themselves? Your idea is to introduce assault weapons to schools, where people can’t hold their liquor, are constantly bullying each other, and think suicide is a cool phase you go through? You don’t see any problems with that? Is my increasingly condescending string of questions making my answer obvious enough? It’s not? My answer is “Seriously? Fuck you.”
5. It’s crass to use this tragedy for your political advantage
Okay, so we’re back to the moment of silence. Just know that the people who say “we can’t talk politics during this time” fear the politics of this time. This is a winning issue for liberals. Assault rifles have never been less popular. If a school shooter attacked an elementary school, and a crack-shot teacher shot the gun from his hand and apprehended him, and suddenly assault weapons were insanely popular, would the NRA say “Now’s not the time for politics.” The NRA isn’t stupid: they know what side public opinion is on, and they’re the ones clamoring to change the subject. Do it for politics or do it to save children: it’s still the right thing to do.
The moment of silence is over, and with ever day that passes we become less likely to do anything of substance. Except, of course, waiting for the next one. We’re a pretty practiced nation of weepers. We’ve been told it’s the only valid response. But we all know that’s a lie—let’s be both brave and impolite enough to remind people of that.
I’ll end with two quick observations. One: You know those commercials that they run during basketball games where there’s this yuppie couple who surprise each other with cars for Christmas. And the narrator is like “You dumbass, why didn’t you just buy her a car? That will make her happy.” And we’re supposed to be like “Of course! Why didn’t I think of that? I forgot that people like new cars. Why didn’t I just buy everyone a car?” Those used to drive me up a fucking wall. In fact, I thought they were the worst part of the Christmas season. Then the school shooting happened. I offer that as a reminder to keep perspective this year.
Secondly: On Saturday, the day after the shooting, my cousin collapsed of a heart attack while jogging. The first responder who saved my cousin’s life was Adam Lanza’s uncle (His mother’s brother). It’s a strange and almost comforting feeling to know that someone associated with the most hated man in America can save your family member’s life. I offer that as a reminder that life is strange, and that’s as it should be.
Crit Luallen- She’s going to be governor, and doesn’t want to live in the swampland. If she’s not going to run against Mitch, she certainly isn’t going to run for this busch league office.
Would beat Barr, but probably won’t happen
Alison Lundergan Grimes- Grimes is currently choosing between KY-6, 2014 Senate, secretary of state re-election, governor, attorney general, and 2016 Senate. Best bets are her taking on Mitch or AG, though you can feel free to hold out your hopes.
Jim Gray- Mr. Mayor likes his job, and Lexington likes him (we hear his numbers are staggering). We can’t rule out KY-6 totally, but it’s a very safe bet that he’ll be running for his job again in two years.
Adam Edelen- Adam also thinks he’s going to be governor. Get in line.
Can beat Barr, and should run, dammit
Kathy Stein- We’ve often wonder and daydream how a real liberal Democrat would campaign and perform in this district, and what it would be like to have someone fighting for us Yarmuth-style in Washington. And then there’s Kathy Stein, who is just… well, she’s the best. A Stein campaign would show us, at long last, just how “conservative” this district really was, with a take-no-shit tornado of sass whipping up the Democratic base in Lexington and beyond. If she lost? Well, at least we’d know what was possible, right? We still think the potential reward is worth the risk. Would she actually run? It’s currently unclear, but if you want to see this happen, be sure to let her know. Run Kathy, run.
Might run, and might win
David O’Neill- The Fayette County PVA is used to crushing hapless suckers here in Lexington, but might want to take his show on the road. He’s one of those rare folks that appears to be equally tight with the Lundergan and Beshear clans. He’d be like a really, really grumpy version of Jared Polis.
Colmon Elridge- A young talented guy that has honed his craft fighting conservative idiots on Fox News, so he’d be ready for Barr. He’d also have the full backing of Gov. Beshear, who he’s worked for since he was 5-years old or something. He lives in Lexington and would do great here, but he’s also a native of Harrison County. He’s black and he’s proud, so he’d test our non-Obama racial harmony outside Fayette and Franklin. He’s also fairly liberal, despite all the Jesus talk.
Won’t run, but would be fun
Ashley Judd- If you really believe that she’s serious about running for office in Kentucky, it would be against Mitch, not small-time Andy. That’s despite the fact that she’d have a much easier time in this race, and less Louisville Cardinal fans to deal with.
Matt Jones- Seriously, he’d be legit, with his huge fan base and world-class Transylvania political education. But why in the hell would you want to spend basketball season in DC when you already have the best job in the world? Not going to happen.
Might run, but can’t win
Teresa Isaac- The twice handily defeated former Lexington mayor told the Herald Leader that she’s “looking” at the race. Lord knows why.
Legislators that should take a look, and would be great
Kelly Flood- We kind of doubt that Flood is interested in taking this leap, but the 6th could do a hell of a lot worse than her. Should consider running if the field looks open, or is full of coal.
Sannie Overly- Another new talent that is making her way up the ranks in Frankfort. She’s more liberal than her district outside of Lexington, and she’s damned smart. No idea if she’s interested, though.
More legislators that might be interested
RJ Palmer- The state senator from Winchester is fairly conservative, but would be able to raise money and give Barr a decent race. I assume he’s getting bored doing nothing in the minority of the state Senate.
Ricky Henderson- He would have no chance, but we hear that he’s fond of snake-handling, so perhaps he’s crazy enough to run.
Shouldn’t run, though it would be fun to watch them lose
Jim Newberry- The last time ole Newb ran for KY-6 in 1998, he gay-baited Ernesto and bragged that gays should be put in prison for sodomy. For some reason, Lexington allowed him to be mayor, though they redeemed themselves by voting him out in a landslide two years ago. We assume Newberry — a man consumed by bitterness and hatred of Jim Gray — will try for a rematch, though the thought of his ego pushing him into a futile run for KY-6 as a conservative Democrat brings a smile to our face.
Doug Martin- The angry clown and Southside Screamer likes to think of himself as a very important person, so it’s not inconceivable that his ego could convince him to jump in. Unfortunately, it’s more likely that he’ll run and lose against fellow clown Stan Lee that year.
Dan Mongiardo- He lives in the district now, doesn’t he? We miss Lt. Dan.
Ben Chandler- Actually, Ben doesn’t belong in this category. There’s nothing even remotely entertaining about this man. Time to let somebody else take a chance.
My first point is my favorite: we kicked the shit out of the Republicans. Actually, that felt so good that I’m going to make that point again using the exact same language. We kicked the shit out the Republicans. Still feels good, so I’ll try it a little differently now. See that big pile of shit on the floor? That used to be in a Republican, but my liberal friends and I ganged up and kicked him repeatedly until the pain became overwhelming, and in a moment so humiliating and emotionally crippling that it will undoubtedly haunt him for the remainder of his life, he voided his bowels. Take that, Injustice! (Okay, that one was too far. If it helps, don’t imagine the Republican as weak or George Will-like, but stout and strong like Karl Rove or Abraham Lincoln).
I’m digressing. A lot of people have said that this victory feels more hollow than the last one, now that we know that the nation can’t truly unite around President Obama. To that I say bunk. And to the question of why I’m using words like bunk, I say fuck you, I want to say bunk.
Most thinking people knew there’d be no consensus, nor should there be. Remember when Democrats decided to give Bush a consensus to show national unity in the wake of 9/11? It only turned out to be the worst idea of this century anywhere in the world. Parties are supposed to check one another, to fight, and to stop each other from getting too big. This time around, the GOP fought dirty and they fought for keeps. They rattled their sabers until their poor sabers got concussions, said Obama was the worst president in American history, in any history, said he was out for the blood of our founders, that the survival of all American dreams are at stake in this election. Then we kicked them until they shit themselves. I’m not worried about building consensus. We fought, we won—fuck you and your consensus.
So maybe we can start out by asking what does this election mean for Republicans? Not as much as you may think, I’m afraid. For as much dick-swinging as the left is doing, let’s remember that we ran one of the most charismatic and gifted politicians in our lifetime, had the advantage of incumbency, were going against a dog-torturing downsize-artist, and we won by two points. Maybe all they have is rage and a fat stack of money, but that almost gets you one vote out of two.
Still, the future doesn’t look bright for our GOP partners. We traded Indiana for Florida (probably the two worst states, but ours has more people and smells a little better). They can’t count on The Rust Belt (Ohio, Pennsylvania), The Cocaine Belt (Florida, The Bush Compound), or The I-Wanna-Fuck-This-Prostitute-So-Help-Me-Take-Off-This Belt (Nevada). Moreover, the trends are trending and those trends tend to portend bad ends for our GOP friends. They’re getting older, more isolated, smellier, both closer to and more deserving of death. Bill O’Reilly yells at his audience so much, because it’s the only way these people can hear them. Plus, given that Obama will soon force them into a gay marriage and a death panel, I don’t know if they’ll be around to vote for Rand Paul in 2016.
Liberals, on the other hand, are younger, multi-racial, and, thanks to all the organic food and condoms, reasonably healthy. Are we going to get more conservative as we get older? Please. You’re just saying that because it has happened to every single generation everywhere in the history of the world. The world belongs to us now, right?
Nope. Lost in the liberal circle jerk is the reality that the American government is much more conservative than it was thirty years ago. Ronald Reagan, the whore of The Heritage Foundation, would be far too liberal to represent the Republican Party today. A lot of people bring that up as a totem to show how crazy Republicans have become, but what does it say about us? How did this pot-legalizing, sodomy-indifferent, anti-war country become okay with an economic system that makes the 1980’s Greed-Is-Holy yuppies blush? The truth is that we’re not okay with it. We know it’s not right, and we’re not happier. America isn’t more conservative—its representatives are and nobody likes it.
I see it as a problem of language. We accept the basic definitions of the right wing, and try to moderate within those realms. It’s a problem exacerbated by two presidents I very much admire—Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. These Democrats played within the rules the conservatives set, let them walk off the cliff and plucked the low-hanging fruit. Except no matter how far we let them wander, it’s still 49-51. And that’s a problem.
It’s not a political problem—we’re set up pretty well as far as politics go. But it is a problem in that Bob Dole’s health care plan (now called Obamacare, a mandate to fund the private insurance companies at the root of the problem) is now considered Marxism, and George HW Bush’s environmental plan (Cap and Trade) is considered a war on America. But more than that, it’s a problem because it sells half of America short. I’m a die-hard, no apologies liberal—I hate the pussy term “progressive”—and I think most conservative ideas are stupid and dangerous. But I don’t think most conservative people are stupid and dangerous. And this is where it comes down to language.
If something is going to change this election, let it be the way we consider our words. For instance, look Rush Limbaugh’s reaction to losing the election. Mr. Limbaugh and I don’t agree on issues of politics or whether or not he fucks little children, but I still kind of like him. After all, if every self-righteous drug addict was prevented from screeching his opinions then my Thanksgivings would become a lot less interesting. So I tuned into his radio show on Wednesday in part to hear what conservatives thought of the previous night’s vote and in part because I wanted to bask in his gravy-like tears. His opening salvo surprised me, and, frankly, it made me a little sad.
“It is practically impossible to beat Santa Claus,” said the man who resembles Santa Claus, if St. Nick liked Viagra and Oxycontin. “People are not going to vote against Santa Claus, especially if the alternative is being your own Santa Claus…I went to bed last night thinking, ‘we’re outnumbered,’” he said. “I went to bed last night thinking we’d lost the country. I don’t know how else you look at this. The first wave of exit polls came in at five o’clock. I looked at it, and I said … ‘this is utter BS, and if it isn’t, then we’ve lost the country.’”
Got that? The only problem with America is Americans who are a bunch of fucking spoiled children wanting a Santa Claus. The problem with America is you. Not because you’re reading a liberal website. Not because you’re reading, though that makes you suspect. It’s because you’re an American. You’re a beggar, and he’s lost the country.
So he’s mad, and that’s his right. And of course, he never had the country to begin with, but okay, he’s hurt and he’s lashing out. Except that he has now forever thrown away the notion that he’s a patriot. He actively dislikes most Americans (at least most voting Americans, and I don’t imagine he has a lot of kind words for those who stayed at home).
Of course, no one is obliged to love their country and there’s no shame in not being a patriot—especially given how the word patriot has been degraded to mean blind adherence to your country. By this definition, do you know who absolutely wasn’t a patriot? Thomas Jefferson. He broke away from his country, formed a new country, and fought a war against his given nation. But Thomas Jefferson wrestled with these issues, and made a conscious choice to commit treason. Rush Limbaugh insults Americans, then goes to sleep tonight in a haze of Pork Rinds and Yoohoo, nestled between his fourth wife and his Reagan Real Doll, secure in the knowledge that he is a patriot and you are not.
He can do this because we’ve ceded the word patriot. We give him our language and in exchange pick up the milquetoast Senators and Representatives, thinking it does no harm. But now that we have a clear majority, can we at least politely ask the other side to stop spitting in our face?
So, friends, I propose, now that we’ve won a reasonably decisive victory, we don’t have to settle for something as abstract as taking our country back—this was always our country, theirs too—let’s instead take our language back.
You see, when the other side says, “The founding fathers would say…” they mean “I say…” When they say “This socialist agenda…” they mean “That idea I disagree with…” When they say “Ronald Reagan” they mean “Me” and when they say “George W Bush” they mean “Me when I’m drunk”, when they say “Jesus Christ” they mean, “Me when I can successfully suppress my gay thoughts.” When I protested the Iraq War, they were out there with American flags, in counter-protest, chanting “USA-USA” but they really meant “Me-Me-Me, Me-Me-Me”. When they say “Tea Parties” they mean “Tea Parties”—where little kids dress up and pretend to be someone else more sophisticated and adult than they are. And that’s cool. Pretending is fun. But from now on, because there are more of us than there are of you, we are going to decode you.
You can’t chant USA without us reminding you that the USA twice elected Barack Obama and rejects all you stand for. Don’t dismiss us by saying “Class Warfare.” You’re terrified of class warfare because so far it’s been you all winning a very effective guerilla class warfare. On top of that, you can’t say “socialism” unless you have the remotest fucking clue what a socialist is. Your secret is out. You say “socialist” because after Bush, you can’t scare anybody by saying “liberal.” Because America is liberal, and we won’t hate the phrase anymore if we know what it means.
But that’s not enough. We need to change the language in the way the news is reported. Why is a line in the DOW going up or down supposed to mean dick to me? I don’t own stock. Finding out it’s gone up or down is like finding out if the terror threat level is orange or yellow, a daily bit of outdated nonsense. Don’t tell me about how much the stock sold for—tell me if the workers got paid, and if the jobs stayed in America. Why does the GDP have to constantly be going up if the value of money goes down? This is banker logic and banker language. Wall Street is a Gallup Poll, except one we’ve been conned into believing matters. I’d much rather hear a report about workers than a report our national shell game.
And without your linguistic advantage, GOP, what do you have? Your ideas are unpopular, your voting base is aging, and your death rattles don’t frighten us anymore. Sure, there’s a parallel between 2012 and 2004, and we worked our way out of that mess. If you can resist nominating Paul Ryan, you have a few decent ponies in your stable. But here’s what you don’t understand—in 2004, we had a message problem. You have an issues problem. We were bad salesmen trying to sell a good product. You all are Mitt Romney trying to sell outsourcing your job and having no recreational sex.
But let’s not sell each other short. We have equal claim to this nation. If there’s one thing this election should have taught you about America, it’s that you didn’t build that—we all did, and we continue to do so. So there’s no need to despair, and you don’t even have to change your views. But this marks the end of your ability to use shorthand to frighten us with monsters that don’t exist. You owe it to America and you owe it to the English language.