March Fundraiser: “The Ideas of March”

This month’s fundraiser is shorter than the others, but I think what it lacks in length, it makes up for in punch. At the risk of sounding incredibly full of myself, I really, really love this story!

The Ideas of March coverA girl receives the most disturbing Valentines present ever. While everyone is talking about that, a famous actress adopts her latest child overseas, to the camera flashes of the paparazzi. And while sanctions in the Middle East cause chaos and controversy, ten teenagers are dumped from their sailboats into frigid water…even as another group of teens plans to rocket a giant mirror into space to protect us from global warming.

What connects these stories? How are they related?

Maybe they’re not.

But maybe, just maybe, they are.

As with all of this year’s fundraisers, “The Ideas of March” costs a mere $1.99 and all proceeds go to the ACLU.

Also, the story will only be available for the month of March, so go get it now! And please, spread the word to your friends!

More Crap from the Democrats

You’d think an article titled “Democrats launch scorched-earth strategy against Trump” would have some good news in it, but it turns out to be more useless, cowardly nonsense from the Democratic Party. Go read it, then come back here for the fisking.

There’s so much wrong in this story that it boggles the mind. Here are just a few things that jumped out at me:

Some party leaders are wary of the implications of teeth-baring, no-holds-barred opposition. They worry about the difficult position in which it puts vulnerable Democratic senators — 10 of them will be up for reelection in 2018 in states that Trump carried.

Translation: If we’re mean to Trump, his supporters won’t vote for us! Guess what, geniuses? They’re never going to vote for you! Your game here is to show undecideds and pissed-off lefties that they can trust you to stand up to President Tic-Tac, not coddle him in hopes of turning his acolytes. Voters respond to strong, confident action, not soothing words.

There are also concerns about the dangers of appearing overly obstructionist, and the possible blowback it could create for party officeholders up and down the ballot in 2018.

Yep, appearing “overly obstructionist” absolutely devastated the Republican Party, didn’t it?

An explicitly aggressive approach also stands to shape the 2020 presidential field, incentivizing potential candidates to compete in expressing their level of anti-Trump vitriol.

You say that like it’s a bad thing.

“We need to remember that one of the reasons young voters, especially, were uninspired is you can’t have a message of, “I’m not him,’” cautioned DNC vice chairman R.T. Rybak, the former Minneapolis mayor.

Are you kidding me? Someone kick this guy out. Voters weren’t uninspired — Hillary got more votes than President Pussy-Grabber! Voters were unevenly distributed. And given Trump’s first week, I think a hell of a lot of people would vote for “Not him.”

Democratic lawmakers have still found ways to embarrass Trump…

You can’t embarrass this guy. He has zero shame. Stop thinking embarrassing him is a victory!

…less objectionable picks through without a fight, like Housing and Urban Development Secretary nominee Ben Carson…

Oh, so “less objectionable” = “clueless, inexperienced, and with no idea how to handle the issues he’s been given.” Gotcha. I await my appointment to the Joint Chiefs.

…senators believe they can inoculate themselves from the criticism of obstructionism often leveled at McConnell during Obama’s presidency.

See above. McConnell is still standing, jackasses, and he’s stronger than ever!

By delivering a massive slight to the president on the first day of the Trump era — roughly a third of the House Democratic Caucus refused to attend his inauguration — Democrats sent a strong signal about their intentions both to the White House and to the American public.

Oh, God. This is the point at which I’m ready to put a gun to my head. If you think anyone in America noticed or cared about this, you need to resign right now. Symbolic gestures are absolutely meaningless in this case. If you’re really going to go scorched earth, you have to actually, y’know, set the ground on fire. You can’t just talk about getting the can of gasoline.

Like this:

I’ve said before that the Democratic Party needs to toughen up. This article is worrisome because it shows that it thinks it has, when it clearly hasn’t.

A New Hope

So, I read this story in the Washington Post. Go read it — it won’t take long.

OK, so just in case you didn’t actually go read it, the TL;DR of it is this: A woman in a Trump town who had spent her whole life as a Republican and who had no outside influences on her just…spontaneously decided to take a closer look at things, switched to being a Democrat, and went on the Women’s March.

There’s a lot of talk about how to reach out to those Trump supporters (a majority, I hope) who were gulled into voting for him, who don’t really understand the stakes or the issues, who were seduced by easy talk and fake news. But that’s a mighty tall order. Almost by definition, “they” don’t live where “we” do. “They” don’t read, watch, or otherwise consume the same sources of information as “we” do. It’s a tough nut to crack.

But this woman… All on her own, without any sort of outreach, without a person in her life saying, “Hey, have you considered looking at things a different way?”, she just looked around and thought, Wait. This doesn’t make sense. This doesn’t seem right.

Well, damn.

Maybe there’s hope after all.

“Democrats…Fight”

A few days ago, I published my open letter to Nancy Pelosi, in which I said, in part:

In my decades of following the political conversation, I’ve never seen a headline that contained the phrase “Democrats fight.”

My brother recently sent me this screenshot, which contains those words, but with a niggling detail between:

Democrats wuss out

This isn’t a dilemma, Democrats. You fight all the way. Otherwise, you fall into the trap of compromising too far. If you’re at B and the Republicans are at H, it’s OK to compromise at D or so. But if you’re at B and Trump’s at Z, you’ll end up compromising somewhere around M. Not cool.

The late Ron Silver, playing Bruno Gianelli and speaking words written by the inimitable Aaron Sorkin, said it best years ago:

“No more” should be the Democratic rallying cry. Instead, it seems to be “Please don’t hurt me.”

(P.S. Please buy my short story “The Ghosts at 95” before 1/31/17 — all proceeds go to the ACLU.)

11/8/16

Words are not enough, but words are all I have, and I hate that.

I didn’t want to drop my daughter off at daycare this morning. I wanted to keep her home and hold her all day, but she’s too young, she doesn’t know, and the disruption to her routine and the moroseness of her father wouldn’t have helped her or me, so I let her go.

Haven’t slept save for handfuls of minutes, stolen bits of panic-streaked dreams in darkness. I want to believe — desperately — that this is just another gone-bad election, that I survived Reagan and Bush and W., that it’s no different, but of course it is, it is.

For years, we’ve mocked the right for living in the Fox News/right-wing bubble, but — as Bill Maher has pointed out repeatedly — there’s a left-wing bubble, too. Social media allows us to communicate with anyone, but more often than not, we choose only to communicate with people who agree with us, who reinforce our beliefs, our wishes, our desires. When Nate Silver had the temerity to suggest that Hillary wasn’t a lock on election, for example, the left went crazy and bent over backwards to “prove” him wrong. It sure felt good at the time.

How’s it feel now?

I’ll tell you how I feel: I am absolutely petrified for my friends who do not have the luxury, as I have, of having been born white, male, cisgender, and straight. If this is a nightmare for me, I literally cannot imagine what hell they’ve already conceived, with the knowledge that reality very well could be worse. I yearn to be a comfort to them, yet I know that nothing I do or say will ever — could ever — compensate for what our fellow Americans have unleashed.

We’re living in a dystopian novel, but there’s no plucky hero who can rise up to save us all.

So, we’ll have to do it ourselves.

Don’t think of 2020. That’s too far away. The midterms are in 730 days. It’s time to purify Congress and the statehouses, and start to build a new future. Let’s do it. It’s the only thing we can do — the only thing — that will both make us feel better and actually make things better.