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Category: Politics

Apology Expected
There has been some big apology news recently, and I find myself inspired by it. If you missed the story, Congressman Ted Yoho called Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a “fucking bitch” right there on steps of the Capitol. Yes, you read that correctly: fucking bitch.

Those are not fightin’ words, because fightin’ words are usually a man-on-man phenomenon. In this case, it was more like a decency/righteousness throwdown, and that is not a good battlefield for yohos like Yoho to fight on. Lexi ate his lunch and then sent him home with a stern note to his mother.

I have chosen that decency/righteousness field as the site of the apology I am expecting. In that spirit, I will not be demanding that the apologizers admit that they were stupid. I’m not looking for the humiliation of the wrongdoers, and I will not be requiring an admission of moral turpitude. They don’t have to confess that they are corrupt or sociopathic or bad persons in any way. That conversation is best conducted between them and their Maker, if they have one.

So (if you are one of the millions I am talking to), please note that a simple, sincere apology will do. “I’m sorry I raised such a big stink about wearing a mask” would be a good start. That alone would not be sufficient, however. I would like you to acknowledge in some way the human suffering and death that may have been caused by the your intransigence. I admit that it’s hard to draw a line from one person’s unwillingness to wear a mask to someone else’s death from the virus, but I think it’s better to err on the side of politeness here and just cop to manslaughter. There, doesn’t that feel better?

Again, there is no need to debase yourself. Something like “I wasn’t thinking straight” would be acceptable, as long as it is accompanied by a deeply sorrowful facial expression. It might help to add an admission that you should have listened to people who actually knew a thing or two about epidemiology because, you know, they have been studying it all their lives. Instead of believing, that is, the wild conjectures of complete strangers who either know jack shit or are on Putin’s payroll.

You will not have to cast aspersions at others, including Donald Trump. You won’t have to disavow membership in the Republican Party or swear off Fox News. What I want is nothing more than an acceptance of personal responsibility; if others wish to step up and do the same, that is their choice — but I want to be clear that I expect it from everyone who participated in this mass hysteria of selfish negligence about something so simple as wearing a mask.

Furthermore, I do not want to hear anything about you learning your lesson and never being such a fool ever again. I would not believe such a claim, and I might even consider it as evidence that your apology was not truly heartfelt. Your future compliance with the rules of simple decency will be enforced solely by the honor system. For the record, that means conducting yourself with honesty, fairness, and integrity.

Yeah, I know that’s hard to do. Yoho couldn’t do it, and he covered himself with shame. I am expecting you to do better.
Fair Is Fair
Ordinarily, it would be hard to miss a budget item of 7.3 billion dollars. In the time of the pandemic, though, we’re looking at trillions of dollars in government relief, so you might be forgiven for not noticing how much of your money was recently granted to organized religion.

The Paycheck Protection Program accounts for 2/3 of a trillion in forgivable loans we are making to private employers, and a big chunk of that is going to churches and church-connected enterprises. Hearing this news was enough to make me go check my copy of the U.S. Constitution, just to make sure Congress was still prohibited from making any law respecting the establishment of religion. And sure enough, there it was, right there in the First Amendment.

Oh well, change is in the air right now, so maybe that whole church/state separation thing is now passé. I get that. Things change, including the Constitution, and we’ve just got to accept that and move on.

And if the Catholic Church needs a little extra scratch to make it through the pandemic — especially in those dioceses where they’re paying off big judgments in child abuse cases — then who are we to turn them down? Same with the megachurches like the City of Destiny in Florida or Robert Jeffress’ first Baptist Church of Dallas. We’ve got your back, folks, even if you preach (as Jeffress does) that gay sex will make you explode and abortion caused 9/11.

One thing, though. As long as we’re breaking down these silly barriers between government and religion, why don’t we make it a two-way street? If we shovel our money into their coffers, why shouldn’t we expect a little something in return? You know, by taxing churches? Not income taxes or anything like a wealth tax (your 17 million stash is safe, Mr. Jeffress), but just a little ol’ property tax. On that megachurch or metropolitan cathedral or the colossal Scientology “Information Center” in Hollywood?

I mean, fair is fair, right?
Just a Heads Up
First, an apology: I am really tired of writing about Donald Trump. Also thinking about him, listening to him, watching him, and having him be my President. Last week was an exception because I felt it was important to point out that he is a second degree murderer tens of thousands of times over. Sorry, but that needed to be said. And now, this week, I feel it’s vital to public safety that I speak out again. Therefore, I am sorry once again, but I have to sound the alarm. So…

Just a heads up. Donald Trump is not taking hydroxychloroquine (pronounced hydroxychloroquine — or, if you like, HCQ). He says he is, but that is a lie. Big globs of plaque are accumulating inside his blood vessels from eating all those Big Macs with extra fries. Plus, he’s morbidly obese. The FDA says that people in that condition are in the high-risk group for whom taking HCQ could lead to cardiomyopathy, ventricular tachycardia, and ventricular fibrillation.

Okay, I don’t know what those are either, but I do know something about the other possible side effect mentioned by the FDA: death. Do we really think an all-in narcissist like him (much less an ordinary sane person) would take such a risk? No, but you see, your president wants to prove that Dr. Rick Bright is a stupid-head. Bright is the whistleblower — and our top-line expert on vaccines until he was demoted for refusing to promote HCQ before it was properly tested. And here’s the proof, Trump is saying: I’m in the high-risk group, and I’m taking it. And I’m fine. So this guy’s wrong, and I’m right. So don’t believe anything he says. Believe me.

Except don’t, because Trump is lying, and he’s lying just to score a bogus rhetorical point against someone who had the temerity to disagree with him. The larger question, though, is why he is promoting HCQ in the first place. It is likely to be ineffective and dangerous. What’s the point in flogging it after the FDA has already weighed in?

My answer to that is a bit more theoretical, but hear me out. In addition to being a compulsive liar, Trump is a fantasist. He spins fantasies to gull his audiences and please himself. The liar in him, however, wants to take those fantasies a step further. Trump insists that the stuff he makes up is actually true. He likes the HCQ fantasy because it would lift him out of his current fix by providing a cure for COVID-19. It’s not true, but wouldn’t it be great (for him) if it were?

All he needs is some proof for his claim. His lie about taking it himself might provide a little, but he needs more. He’s not really taking it, as we have said, because that would be foolish and arguably courageous (neither of which he is). But he doesn’t mind if you think he’s taking it…or even if you take it yourself, plaque-lined arteries or not. He’s not the test subject who is voluntarily taking HCQ, but he wants you to be. You know, in case it could actually work. Without killing you…and that’s what he demands to be true.

So just a heads up, because we have to keep reminding ourselves. Trump is lying because that’s what he does. He’ll risk your life to win an argument or to turn his followers into guinea pigs or simply on a whim.

You’ve been warned. Again.
Donald Trump, Mass Murderer
Okay, that may be a little misleading. Yes, I think Donald Trump is a murderer, and yes, I think he is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths (so far). But the term “mass murderer,” at least in common parlance, is more appropriate for someone who plans and executes multiple killings. That’s not what we’ve got here. With Trump, it’s a case of murder in the second degree.

Accordingly, I will not place our president in the same category as Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, and Son of Sam. Those murderers killed their victims intentionally. They acted with the specific aim of killing other human beings. Trump does not. His actions are intentional, he does what he does on purpose, but he is not trying to kill someone. On the other hand, he doesn’t really care if someone dies, either. It’s just not part of his calculations.

Simply stated, he is indifferent to human life. He does things that cause the deaths of others — many others — and appears to be fine with it. All that matters to him is how he is affected. My evidence for such a claim? Well, there’s plenty, but let’s go back to March 6 and the incident that first launched the coronavirus into our American consciousness. The Grand Princess cruise ship, with 3500 passengers and crew on board, was idling off the California coast. Twenty-one of those people had tested positive for the virus, and they were awaiting instructions for how to proceed.

Trump was stunningly clear in his preferences. “I would rather (they stay on board) because I like the numbers being where they are. I don’t need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn’t our fault.” He did not mention the welfare of the people on board, nor the danger to people on shore. In fact, he had nothing to say about other human beings at all. His only thoughts were about how these events might reflect on him.

Which, it turns out, is not very well. Those 30-odd cases in March have ballooned to nearly 1.5 million, and the death count will hit 100,000 very soon. In order to turn that perception around, he has had to really pick up the pace with his lying. He has lied about everything from the beginning. That is not news, of course. But even though we might shrug off the petty grandiosity of the lies he tells about himself, when it comes to matters of life and death it’s a little harder to be forgiving.

He hides the truth about the virus. He says that he knows, but knows that he doesn’t. He misleads and fantasizes and and gives false hope and shines us on and yanks our chains…while knowing that people are depending on him for the truth. Oh, I do not, and you may not, but many others do…and we are all together on this whether we like it or not. He is the angel of death for the faithful and the heretics alike. He may not be trying to kill us all, but he’s good with it either way.

That makes him a murderer. A second degree murderer. The classic example of that crime is recklessly firing a gun in a crowded room. He hasn’t done that, but his lies are just as careless and dangerous. I suppose his defense attorney might suggest that his client is insane. I’m not sure that malignant narcissism, however, is enough to keep someone from knowing right from wrong. His narcissism would only make right and wrong irrelevant. That alone would not be enough to get him off the hook.

We might also imagine that he’d defend himself against our charges by saying that his actions — and failures to act — have been simple misjudgments, the kind we are all heir to. He could argue that everything he has done was designed to save lives, and that he simply screwed up. In other words, it was just an accident.

But that argument is not available to someone who must be seen as infallible. And since his claim of infallibility demands that he double down on every failure, he cannot learn from his mistakes. The result will surely be even more deaths. Nor will there be any apologies, nor mea culpas, nor appeals to mercy. We can expect nothing but brazen denials right up to sentencing and beyond.

Ah yes, the sentencing. What would be appropriate in this case? He’s no Joseph Stalin or Pol Pot or Adolph Hitler. They murdered millions, after all. President Donald Trump has only murdered tens of thousands, and only in the second degree. So there can be no death penalty, if that was your pick. Those victims are still dead, though, and it is his fault. So how about life in prison as an appropriate sentence? And just to make him an example for future presidents, why don’t we make it 10,000 consecutive life terms?
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Trump supporters are people who know what they believe.
~ JC, Bonny Doon