I watched the Marjorie Taylor Greene Amnesia-Fest yesterday. Technically, it was an evidentiary hearing to determine if MTG should be barred from seeking re-election to Congress based on a violation of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. In practice, it was MTG playing dodge-ball with the Truth, ducking any personal responsibility by claiming she couldn’t remember much of anything about anything.
You may be wondering just what in the name of the Great Bearded God of Goats is in the 14th Amendment. There’s a whole bunch of stuff in it, but the only part that MTG was fretting about was Section 3, which says this:
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.
The hearing was to determine whether there is any evidence that MTG ‘engaged in insurrection’ against the United States (SPOILER: yeah, lots of evidence) and whether the evidence was enough to begin a legal proceeding to remove her from the mid-term election ballot (SPOILER: probably not, but who knows?). The entire proceeding could be boiled down to this:
Lawyer: Ms. Greene, did you do some insurrection against the US? MTG: I don’t recall.
I’ve seen a lot of trials and hearings, and I think I can say without any hesitation that MTG was a shitty witness. It wasn’t just that she was occasionally dramatic or uncooperative or snarky AF (though she often was), or that her memory was remarkably and conveniently inconsistent, it was the astonishing scope of her lack of memory that was staggering. She couldn’t remember nothing about nothing unless it meant nothing.
I wouldn’t expect her to remember every pro-insurrection tweet she made, because lawdy, she made a LOT of them. But I’m pretty sure that most folks would remember whether or not they discussed, with the President of These United States, imposing martial law on the US. That’s not the sort of thing that would slip your mind. But that was the level of her denial.
Sadly, I doubt the judge will find the evidence is sufficient to remove her from the ballot for the mid-term elections. It’s pretty clear she was lying some/many/most of the times she claimed she couldn’t recall stuff she’d done, but it’s damned difficult to prove she was lying.
At the heel of the hunt, this will probably be yet another example of a Republican lying, violating the law, and getting away with it. I suspect MTG will get to stay on the ballot and will likely be re-elected. I suspect other Republicans will learn the lesson that they can lie and get away with it.
I keep hoping that someday somebody somewhere will be held accountable for something.
Fischer Wells just wants to play field hockey. The State of Kentucky says she can’t. I’m not making this up. Kentucky passed a law to make sure this twelve-year-old girl won’t be able to play field hockey at her middle school. Think about how fucked up that is.
You know what? It’s more fucked up that you think. Consider the process of passing a law in Kentucky (or any other state, for that matter). It’s a time-intensive process. You have to cobble together the language of the bill you want to become law, including defining all the elements. Then you have to present the bill to…wait. Here, look at this:
This is the amount of effort the State of Kentucky went to in order to keep 12-year-old Fischer Wells from playing field hockey at school. Note Step 11: “If bill is vetoed, it goes back to each chamber. If approved by a constitutional majority in each chamber, the veto is overridden and the bill becomes law.” That actually happened with this particular bill.
Andy Beshear, a Democrat and the Governor of Kentucky, vetoed the bill because it “most likely violates the equal protection rights afforded by the United States Constitution.” The Republicans, who control both legislative chambers, voted to override the veto.
Why would Republicans go to so much fuss and bother to pass this law? Because Fischer Wells is a trans girl. She’s the ONLY known trans girl playing in middle or high school sports in Kentucky. She’s in the 8th grade. She’s not much of a threat.
A number of states have passed similar laws designed to prevent trans students from participating in middle school, high school, or college sports. They claim they’re doing it in the interest of ‘fairness’. Their reason can be summed up in this comment by Robby Mills, the Kentucky law’s GOP sponsor:
“Boys have athletic advantages even before puberty in cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, speed, agility and power tests. A lot of time and effort is put into achieving a certain level of mastery in a sport and it would be crushing for a lady to train her whole career to have it end up competing against a biological male in the state tournament or state finals.”
Sure, that would be tough on a ‘lady’. But Mills and his fellow (should I call them bigots? I mean, the law is bigoted, to be sure. And it’s supported by anti-trans bigots. But it’s possible, I suppose, for a legislator to support the bill NOT because they’re a bigot, but because they want the votes cast by a bigoted public. But fuck that, if you vote for a bigoted law, you’re a bigot) bigots seem to be under the insane impression that there are guys out there in the sports world who consider themselves male BUT are so insecure in their ‘mastery in a sport’ that they’re willing to temporarily identify as female simply in order to win a high school sports championship.
And that’s fucking ridiculous. You have to be astonishingly stupid to believe that.
At the college level, where sports participation starts to really pay off, they’ve already taken steps to insure fairness. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has a complete policy outlining transgender student-athlete participation. In theory, it applies to both trans men and trans women; in practice it’s directed primarily at trans women. It says trans women have to be taking hormonal treatment for gender transition for a certain period of time in order to participate in women’s sports. Trans men, on the other hand, don’t have to be taking testosterone in order to participate in men’s sports.
I’m not entirely convinced the NCAA actually needs to do this, but at least it’s an honest and sensible approach to ‘fairness’ regarding trans folks in college sports.
But the ‘fairness’ issue is really just a mask for all trans-related fear and hatred. Banning trans athletes isn’t just unfair to openly trans athletes, it actively discourages trans kids from even considering participating in sports. It actively discourages trans kids from letting their family and friends know they’re trans. It actively encourages trans kids to hate themselves. It actively increases the likelihood of trans kids self-harming or killing themselves. It actively encourages transphobic people to bully trans kids or find other ways to harass trans people. It normalizes trans fear and hatred.
On the surface, this seems to be a partisan political issue. Republicans pass anti-trans laws, Democrats try to protect trans rights. But some (how much, I don’t know–maybe a lot, maybe a little) of GOP anti-trans legislation is an aspect of their performative politics. It gets their base motivated, so they don’t give any thought to the repercussions. And yet at least one GOP governor demonstrated some basic human decency.
Gov. Spencer Cox of Utah vetoed an anti-trans sports bill passed by his own party–a bill that, like the Kentucky bill, only affected a few kids. Cox wrote this in his response:
“Four kids and only one of them playing girls sports. That’s what all of this is about. Four kids who aren’t dominating or winning trophies or taking scholarships. Four kids who are just trying to find some friends and feel like they are a part of something. Four kids trying to get through each day. Rarely has so much fear and anger been directed at so few. I don’t understand what they are going through or why they feel the way they do. But I want them to live.”
I want them to live. There it is. I don’t understand what they’re going through or why they feel the way they do. BUT I WANT THEM TO LIVE. You don’t have to understand (though it would be nice if you tried). You don’t have to agree with their choices. Just refrain from cruelty. Just let other folks live and be comfortable in their bodies.
There have been thousands–tens of thousands–of Fischer Wells, who’ve grown up afraid. There are lots of adult Fischer Wells out there, trans women who worry about going out in public, who wonder if they look fem enough to avoid harassment, to avoid assault, to avoid being targeted and killed.
If you vilify a 12-year-old trans girl who only wants to play field hockey, you create the social conditions that can keep her scared and uncertain and anxiety-ridden and alienated her entire life.
Just let Fischer Wells play. Let every Fischer Wells play. Just stop being assholes. Just make some attempt at some basic human decency. That’s really what this is about. Letting other people get on with their own lives. Letting people be themselves. It’s really not that hard.
Look, in the grand scheme of things (wait…IS there a grand scheme of things? It doesn’t seem very likely, does it. But never mind, it’s too early for that sort of tangent.) Chris Rock getting slapped by Will Smith is pretty small beans. Who cares if a rich actor slaps a rich comedian?
Except it happened in front of an audience–a live audience and a really huge television audience. Except that it happened during an award ceremony. Except Smith, just half an hour or so later, said, “People do crazy things for love,” as if the slap–and let’s just call it what it really was: a violent assault–as if that violent assault was the result of love. Except that some folks interpreted the assault as a ‘defense’ of Smith’s wife, who was the butt of a tacky Chris Rock joke.
Except that the assault was really a clear, public display of male ego, of male rage, of male privilege. Except that Will Smith felt he had the right to interrupt a ceremony to exact physical retribution for a perceived insult to somebody else. Except the assault had nothing to do with love. Except that Will Smith made the entire incident–the entire award show and the entire night–about him. “Keep MY WIFE’s name out your fucking mouth.” MY wife.
You know what would be a good way to defend your wife? A good way to turn that joke into something actually about love? A good way to truly demonstrate your love for your wife? Use your time in front of the camera to talk about alopecia. Use that time to educate folks about what it is. Use that time to discuss the weird and often unhealthy social relationship between women and their hair. Use that time to remind folks that humor doesn’t have to be cruel. Use that time to say love doesn’t depend on hair. That love doesn’t depend on appearance. That the Beatles were right, and love is all there is.
At the end of his acceptance speech, Smith said, “I’m hoping the academy invites me back.” Invites ME back. Me. This may be the saddest thing about the entire incident. Will Smith was given an opportunity–a truly unique opportunity–to demonstrate how love for another person works. Instead, he put himself in the center.
EDITORIAL NOTE: I’ve said this before, but it’s always worth repeating. Hell, it’s necessary to keep repeating. Burn the patriarchy. Burn it to the ground, Burn it to the ground and collect the ashes, and grind them into powder. Bury the powder deep in the earth, and salt the ground above it so nothing will ever grow there. Pour cement over the salt. Then nuke the entire site from orbit (it’s the only way to be sure).
Okay, Ukraine and this invasion business. From what I can tell, it’s a result of three things: 1) Putin’s ego, 2) fear of democracy, and 3) water. I know a little bit about the region and its history, but I’m not by any stretch of the imagination even remotely expert on the affairs of Russia and Ukraine.
That said, I’ve been mostly skeptical about the notion of Russia invading Ukraine–not because I think Putin/Russia (and at this point in time, those two are basically conjoined twins) respects Ukraine’s territorial integrity. I’ve been skeptical because I couldn’t figure out what Russia would get out of an invasion that would be worth the price.
Putin’s not stupid. Sure, he’s got a massive ego, and he may long for the days when Russia was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics–when Russia was feared as a super power. But I can’t see him trying to reconquer all the former Soviet Republics just to recreate those days. I sorta kinda figured threatening an invasion would get him the global attention he thinks Russia deserves. I thought Putin would feel the threat would be enough to show the world that Russia is still a major player on the stage of world affairs. I thought a few weeks of saber-rattling would do the trick.
Apparently not. So back to the original question: what’s in it for Russia? I suspect Putin, like all tyrants, has a genuine fear of representational democracy. That’s one reason Russia helped Comrade Trump in the 2016 election. I mean, yeah, having an ignorant, egocentric, mendacious, greed-head president like Trump would be a boon to Russia, but the horrible genius of their election interference was that just making him a viable candidate was enough to weaken the entire electoral process. Helping Trump was the equivalent of injecting poison into a healthy body. It didn’t kill us (yet), but it’s compromised our immune system.
For Putin, having former Soviet Republics like Ukraine thrive under democracy is a threat. Don’t forget, Putin earlier tried to gank Ukraine’s democracy through political interference. Back in 2004 Russia supported Viktor Yanukovych when he ran for president of Ukraine. Like Trump, Yanukovish won. However, the election interference was so blatant that the Ukraine Supreme Court ordered a run-off election, which Yanukovych lost. But they tried again in 2010, when Yanukovich ran against Yulia Tymoshenko. That time, Yanukovich won.
How did he win? He hired an American political operative as his campaign manager. Paul Manafort. In 2018, as part of a plea agreement (on charges of eight counts of tax and bank fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and witness tampering) Manafort admitted he’d conducted a media campaign against Tymoshenko, accusing her of anti-Semitism and corruption in order to undermine her support. Tymoshenko was eventually imprisoned. (This is where I note that Manafort was originally Comrade Trump’s campaign manager, and the Trump campaign is probably best remembered for this slogan related to Hilary Clinton: Lock her up. This is also where I note that Trump, after he lost the 2020 election, gave Manafort a full pardon for his crimes–which also dismissed the criminal forfeiture proceedings involving Manafort’s 10-bedroom, 6-bath US$11 million home at Bridgehampton, Long Island, his apartment in New York’s Chinatown, and his townhouse in Brooklyn. Who says crime doesn’t pay?)
After his election, Yanukovich implemented a number of Russia-friendly policies that were so unpopular the Ukrainian people rose up against him. Yanukovich fled to Russia, where he now lives. Ukraine now has a fairly and democratically elected president. And that has to both piss off and terrify Putin. So yeah, good reason to invade, right there.
But there’s also the water issue. Until a couple of days ago, I was unaware that Crimea (a part of Ukraine which Russia invaded and seized in 2014) was dependent on the North Crimean canal for irrigation and feedstock water. (Hell, I wasn’t even aware that the North Crimean canal even existed.) Not long after Russia seized Crimea, the government of Ukraine began to reduce and limit the flow of water to Crimea. Between that and a long period of drought, crops on which Russia relies have begun to fail.
So this is what we’ve got. Russia needs water, Ukraine has control of that water. Russia fears democracy, Ukraine is pro-democracy. Putin is an egomaniac wanting to restore the legacy of Mother Russia, Ukraine was part of that legacy. So yeah, an invasion isn’t all that surprising.
But here’s the problem: what do we do about it?
I have no idea. Sanctions against Russia and Russian oligarchs, obviously. Really harsh sanctions. Military and intelligence support for Ukraine, also obviously. Troops? I’d hate to see us in a shooting war with Russia; their military is second rate at best, but if you’re killed by a second rate military, you’re still dead.
I’m just glad we have President Uncle Joe running this show. If Comrade Trump were in charge, there’d be massive gobs of extra shit in this shitshow.
EDITORIAL NOTE: Yeah, NATO. I wasn’t ignoring the whole NATO thing. I just think Putin’s issue with NATO is a subset of his fear of democracy.
Okay, first let me say this: even Nazis have free speech rights. I absolutely defend their right to wear swastikas on their clothes and to wave swastika flags; I defend their right to gather and say ugly, despicable, hateful things. And to do all that in public.
Saturday, a couple dozen Nazis did just that in Orlando, Florida. Gathered, wore swastikas, waved flags, shouted ugly, despicable, hateful things.
Yay First Amendment and all, but Jeebus on toast this is disgusting. If it seems this sort of appalling bullshit is becoming more common, it’s because this sort of appalling bullshit IS becoming more common. The Overton Window has shifted so far to the right that…what?
You’re wondering, “Greg, old sock, what is this Overton Window of which you speak?” Again, stop calling me old sock. And it’s a concept created by a policy analyst named Joseph P. Overton. It refers to the ‘range of policies politically acceptable to the mainstream population at a given time.’ For example, there was time–and not that long ago–when it would have been unacceptable for a politician to publicly support violent insurrectionists attempting to overturn the result of a fair election. That would have been outside the Overton Window, outside the range of acceptable and tolerable positions for a politician to take. Now it’s horrifying common. The window has shifted.
It’s still outside the Overton Window for politicians to support Nazis. But now they can at least cast doubt on whether people wearing swastikas and waving Nazi flags and shouting “Jews rape children and drink their blood” are actual Nazis. A spokesperson for Florida governor Ron DeSantis actually did that. She tweeted (and later deleted) “Do we even know they’re Nazis? Or is this a stunt…?”
No, it’s not a stunt. It’s not like these folks just happen to have Nazi flags and swastika arm bands lying around the house and thought, ‘You know what would be funny? If we put on these armbands and the black uniforms that can be found in most Florida households and stood the street yelling that Jews rape kids…wouldn’t that be a hoot?‘ To even suggest it’s just a stunt expands the Overton Window by implying this sort of monstrous and reprehensible behavior is merely distasteful hijinks.
If you call yourself a Nazi, then you’re a fucking Nazi. If you act like a Nazi and talk like a Nazi and dress like a Nazi, then you’re a fucking Nazi. You don’t need to carry an official Nazi Party ID card. Don’t get distracted by some distinction between neo-Nazis and regular off-the-shelf Nazis; they all just fucking Nazis. This is pretty simple.
The question we have to answer is this: what’s the proper response to Nazis? Ignoring them doesn’t do any good; they’ll just get louder and more crude. What about punching them? I’ve written about this before; if you’re willing to accept the consequences of punching a Nazi, then punch away. I can’t–and won’t–actively advocate punching Nazis, but punching Nazis has real merit.
Probably the best thing to do about Nazis is to close the Overton Window on them. Right now, I’m 100% confident folks on the internet are looking at the photos of these Nazis, studying their faces, learning their identities, and contacting their employers. Very few employers–even those in Florida–are going to want to be associated with Nazis. Make it less acceptable to be a Nazi.
And always remember this: Nazis are like cockroaches. If you see one, you know there are more of the creepy little fuckers hiding in the cracks. They have the right to exist. But we don’t have to make it easy for them.
Mitt Romney was angry. Very angry. His anger burned as hot as a thousand blazing suns. Well, okay, maybe a thousand cheap birthday candles. Well, maybe a couple dozen cheap birthday candles. But still, Mitt was ever so angry. You could tell he was angry because he frowned. Not the frown he gets when the époisses de bourgogne has been served before it reached room temperature, but still it was clearly a frown.
Why was Mitt so very angry? Because he felt President Uncle Joe had been mean to Republicans. Mitt said Biden had “accused a number of my good and principled colleagues in the Senate of having sinister, even racist inclinations.” (NOTE: there are “good and principled” Republicans?) He said Biden had “charged that voting against his bill allies us with Bull Connor, George Wallace and Jefferson Davis.” (NOTE: voting against even debating the voting rights bill allies the GOP with Bull Connor and George Wallace, but maybe not Jefferson Davis.)
And then Mitt paused dramatically before delivering a crushing, devastating, soul-crushing blow to Uncle Joe. He said, “So much for unifying the country and working across the aisle.” (NOTE: the GOP has dug a moat between the aisles and filled it with meth-addicted Florida alligators.) And he said it with a sneer.
It seems unlikely the Biden administration will ever fully recover from the room temperature ire of Mitt Romney. There’s a reason Romney is known far and wide as ‘Mitt Vicious’. (NOTE: Romney isn’t known far and wide as anything, let alone ‘Mitt Vicious’. He IS known close and narrow as ‘Mittens the Peevish’.)
Pundits have declared the Biden administration–and Uncle Joe his ownself–a colossal failure based on his inability in his first year in office to get the GOP, whose political survival depends on their ability to shred voting rights, to support voting rights. It seems clear to the pundits that President Uncle Joe’s ONLY hope for a successful administration is to stop suggesting that the GOP’s racist policies are based on racism; he MUST begin to foster cooperation and compromise with the GOP by accepting the god-given right of the minority to rule.
And if Biden refuses, he’ll have to face the ire of Mitt, the Towering Pale Blancmange of the Senate.
You’ve watched this scene on television and in the movies — the bad guy, confronted with their criminal activities, says, “I never meant for this to happen, nobody was supposed to get hurt, it wasn’t supposed to turn out this way, I just wanted to scare people.”
I think that’s what happened with the Republican Party. A few days ago I wrote that the news media was far too generous when they suggest the response of Republican governors to the covid pandemic was due to incompetence. It’s not; it’s part of a deliberate systematic political strategy intended to make every facet of the Biden administration fail. I think they were (are) willing to sacrifice some lives — including the lives of their own supporters — in an effort to undermine any policy success Uncle Joe might achieve.
I don’t think they meant for this (last year in the State of Alabama, for the first time in its recorded history, more people died than were born) to happen. I think they just wanted to scare people so they’d mistrust Uncle Joe and Democrats. But it went too far, and now it’s too late to change course without admitting they’re at fault.
And they’re getting a lucky break. Some Trump/GOP supporters are beginning to realize they’ve been lied to. Some of them are starting to understand that NOT getting vaxxed was a mistake. How is that a lucky break for the GOP? The people promoting this are drawing the wrong conclusion. They’re not blaming the GOP politicians who’ve minimized the threat of Covid; they’re blaming Democrats and progressives for (and I swear, I am NOT making this up) for tricking Trump supporters into not getting vaxxed. How? By suggesting they should get vaxxed. A friend brought this to my attention:
I really thought this had to be a joke. I mean, it’s that stupid. I thought somebody digitally faked an insane Breitbart-looking screenshot to mock conservatives. But no. It turns out Breitbart writer John Nolte really truly actually wrote that (here’s the piece, if you can stomach it).
Not all of Nolte’s readers agree with him. For example, this guy:
If the vax works, then a mandate isnt necessary…If the vax doesnt work, then a mandate isnt necessary….its called science.
That is so far from anything remotely resembling science that there’s no existing term to describe it. We’d have to invent an entirely new word to describe how wrong it is. How could anybody possibly convince the person capable of writing that indescribably stupid sentence to get vaxxed? Nolte apparently thinks the only way to convince him to is by suggesting he’s the victim of a left-wing conspiracy to prevent him from getting vaxxed.
“No one wants to cave to a piece of shit like [Howard Stern], or a scumbag like Fauci, or any of the scumbags at CNNLOL, so we don’t. And what’s the result? They’re all vaccinated, and we’re not! … The push for mandates is another ploy to get us to dig in and not do what’s best for ourselves because no one wants to feel like they’re caving to a mandate.”
This ridiculous ‘revelation’ might be enough to convince some anti-vax Trumpists to get vaxxed just to piss off liberals — and while that’s stupid, I’m okay with it. I’ve stopped feeling sorry for anti-vaxxers who die from Covid (and those who survive but will go bankrupt trying to pay for their enormous medical bills). I don’t feel sorry for them, but I’d be happy to see that happen a lot less often.
Speaking of revelations (and we kinda were), let me carom off-topic and bang into the Christian New Testament Book of Revelation. The text was written on the Greek island of Patmos sometime around the year 96. You may be wondering, “Greg, old sock, why are you nattering on about the obscure island on which a Biblical text was written?” I’m glad you asked. I’m nattering on about it because the book was written in Greek. And because the ancient Greek term for revelation — for the experience of discovering, especially in a striking way, something previously unknown or unexpected — is apokálypsis. Apocalypse.
It would be weirdly fitting if a right-wing nutjob writer could inspire a revelation among right-wing nutjob anti-vaxxers to mitigate a medical apocalypse.
At the beginning of August I wrote a post about the response of the patriots at FreeRepublic to all those anti-vax fuckwits who, as they’re about to die a preventable death from Covid, suddenly see the benefits of being vaxxed. I titled the post Asshole Culture.
A few days later somebody asked me, “Greg, old Sock, this ‘Asshole Culture’ of which you speak, qu’est-ce que c’est?” Which is a good question. For those of us who spent too much time hanging out in grad school Sociology coffee shops, ‘culture’ is an overarching term to describe the social behaviors and norms of groups, grounded in the shared knowledge, beliefs, customs of the individual members of those groups. So Asshole Culture is basically the associated social behaviors of assholes.
Back in 2015 I began calling certain members of the Republican Party the Fuckwit Collective. I did that because they were, you know, a collection of fuckwits. Seemed pretty obvious. It was pretty obvious. But it was also naive.
See, I thought the Fuckwit Collective was doing cruel stupid shit because they were just too stupid to understand that what they were doing was cruel. Silly rabbit, that was naive. It’s become clear to me now that a LOT of conservatives are doing cruel stupid shit NOT because they’re stupid, but because they’re cruel. Either the Fuckwit Collective has evolved into full blown Asshole Culture, or they were always assholes and I failed to give them credit for it.
Let me simplify it even more. This is the mantra of Asshole Culture:
I do/do not want to do this thing. I don’t care if it helps other people. You can’t make me do or not do this thing. I will go way the fuck out of my way to create a disturbance sufficient to make others miserable in order to do/not do/stop other people from doing this thing. I am Asshole, hear me roar.
Examples? You want examples? Dude. Obviously, the anti-vax assholes. It’s not just that they don’t want to be vaxxed, they don’t want other folks to be vaxxed. Why? Because it makes them feel bad, it makes them feel weak and vulnerable. So they act like assholes. They disrupt free vaccination sites to prevent other folks who WANT to be vaxxed from getting the vaccinations. They not only refuse to wear masks themselves, they don’t want others to be masked. They will disrupt school board meetings that want to keep kids safe by enforcing mask mandates. They will threaten school board members at their homes.
Another example? Open carry assholes. The assholes who want to be openly armed in line at the Dunkin Donuts. Others (and I’ve done this my ownself) will mock them for being timid, afraid to stand in line at Dunkin Donuts without their guns, but that’s not true. They’re not afraid; they’re just assholes. Their intent isn’t self protection; their intent is to intimidate others, to make other people uncomfortable.
Another example? Aggressively Christian assholes. The assholes who insist on putting Christian religious symbols in public non-religious venues. Like the Christian cross recently placed at the entrance of the Mission Command Complex at Fort Dix. That wasn’t an assertion of religious belief; it was just some asshole trying to provoke a response which will allow them to claim to be persecuted. The intent wasn’t to promote Christianity; the intent was to piss off non-Christians.
Still more examples? Defending the 1/6 insurrectionists as ‘tourists’. Calling for Biden to be impeached for withdrawing from Afghanistan. Performing fake audits on the 2020 election results. Claiming there’s a war on Christmas. Protesting at citizenship ceremonies. Insisting on ‘patriotic’ fireworks displays during a drought. Scaring people about trans folks using public toilets. None of these behaviors are sincere expressions of belief; they’re all examples of assholes being assholes.
Asshole Culture is nothing more than performative indignation intended to insult or outrage or intimidate others. It’s now the dominant culture in the modern Republican Party. How did that happen? Why did it happen?
My assumption is it happened because there’s almost zero consequences for being an asshole if you’re white.