workin’ in the house of maga

It’s the fourth day of the new Republican-controlled House of Representatives, and it’s astonishing to witness just how much stupid, horrific shit they’ve managed to spread in that short time. There’s the big, obvious stupid, horrific shit–like the stupid, horrific new House Committee on the Weaponization of Government, or the stupid, horrific way they’ve gutted the Office of Congressional Ethics just as they’re examining the Members of Congress who refused to honor the subpoenas issued by the Jan. 6 committee. But the House of MAGA has also given some attention to smaller and less obvious stupid, horrific shit.

For example, they went to the bother of changing the name of the House Committee on Education and Labor. It’s now called the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Why, you ask, would they change ‘labor’ to ‘workforce’? Because changing the name complies with the House of MAGA’s prime directive: piss off the libs.

“Hey, good news! We’re no longer laborers! Now we’re part of a workforce!”

The Chair of the new House Committee on Education & the Workforce is Virginia Foxx of North Carolina. Rep. Foxx has a long Congressional history of being stupid and horrific. Back in 2005, she voted against the aid package for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. She claimed the murder of Matthew Shepard was “a very unfortunate incident” but not a hate crime (“We know that that young man was killed in the commitment of a robbery. It wasn’t because he was gay“). She opposed Obamacare, saying “We have more to fear from the potential of the Affordable Health Care Act passing than we do from any terrorist right now in any country.” She voted against Comrade Trump’s impeachment twice. She was one of the Members of Congress who opposed the certification of the 2020 vote. And she opposes all abortion, even in the case of rape, incest, or the health of the mother.

The House of MAGA; The Intersection of Stupid and Horrific.

Rep. Foxx, in her role as Chair of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, offered an explanation for the change in name.

“‘Labor’ is an antiquated term that excludes individuals who contribute to the American workforce but aren’t classified as conventional employees. ‘Labor’ also carries a negative connotation that ignores the dignity of work; the term is something out of a Marxist textbook…. The Left prefers the term labor because it creates a sense of enmity between employees and employers which union bosses and left-wing activists seek to stoke for political gain…. Though the Left likes to treat employers like predators, we know that most job creators have their employees’ best interests in mind”

See, the ‘Left’ is only interested in workers the workforce for political gain, which is unAmerican and unpatriotic and therefore wrong. Employers, on the other hand, are only interested in financial gain, which is very American and patriotic and therefore right. Okay, maybe worker productivity rose more than 60% over the last forty years while worker workforce pay rose less than 18% (after adjusting for inflation). But hey, they’ve still got plenty of that ‘dignity of work’ to keep them happy, right? Where’s the dignity in ‘labor‘?

Also? Workforce sounds like they could be a team of Marvel superheroes. Isn’t that as good as money? Would Workforce America! ™ ask for safe working conditions? Hah!

Over the next two years we can expect to see much more stupid, horrific stuff across every scale of government. They hope we will be numbed by the barrage of stupid, horrific stuff. There’s a danger they could be right.

it’s a wonderful communist life

Here are some True Things about people who are frightened. 1) They see threats everywhere. 2) They see threats even if they don’t exist. 3) They prefer imaginary threats over actual threats, 4) They will ignore actual threats in order to focus on imaginary ones. 5) They will take dramatic steps to defend themselves against imaginary threats, while avoiding taking sensible steps to defend against actual threats. 6) Their fears make them vulnerable to authoritarian leaders.

In the mid-to-late 1940s, Americans were frightened by communism. They weren’t scared of actual communism, which is a socio-economic philosophy grounded in the idea that the people who actually produce stuff should have reasonable access to the tools they use to produce that stuff and a fair share in the stuff they’ve produced. They were scared of the Soviet Union (and to a lesser extent, communist China), which presented an interpretation of communism as a single-party authoritarian government ruled by ideologues instead of elected leaders.

This was the political equivalent of assuming the Spanish Inquisition represented all of Christianity. There’s good reason to be afraid of the Spanish Inquisition; Christianity as it was originally created is pretty harmless.

“Daddy, teacher says every time a bell rings a communist gets to steal a banker’s wings.”
“That’s right, Zuzu, that’s right. Attaboy, Karl Marx!”

But back in the 1940s and 50s, a LOT of people were scared of what they believed was communism. They saw communists everywhere; they saw the supposed influence of communism everywhere; they were told that a cadre of dedicated communists were actively infiltrating every aspect of American life in a wily attempt to destroy everything decent. Including movies.

In 1947, the FBI produced a massive 13,000-page report (no, that’s not a typo, it was seriously more than thirteen thousand pages long) called Communist Infiltration of the Motion Picture Industry. It included this:

The purpose of the Communists in Hollywood is not the production of political movies openly advocating Communism. Their purpose is to corrupt non-political movies — by introducing small, casual bits of propaganda into innocent stories and to make people absorb the basic principles of Collectivism by indirection and implication. Few people would take Communism straight, but a constant stream of hints, lines, touches and suggestions battering the public from the screen will act like drops of water that split a rock if continued long enough. The rock that they are trying to split is Americanism.

One example of communist infiltration provided by the FBI provided was the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. The screenwriters (Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett), according to the FBI

“were very close to known Communists and on occasion in the recent past while these two writers were doing a picture for MGM, Goodrich and Hackett practically lived with known Communists and were observed eating luncheon daily with such Communists as Lester Cole and Earl Robinson.
With regard to the picture, “It’s a Wonderful Life”, [name redacted] stated in substance that the film represented a rather obvious attempt to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a “scrooge-type” so that he would be the most hated man in the picture. This, according to these sources, is a common trick used by Communists.
In addition, [name redacted] stated that, in his opinion, this picture deliberately maligned the upper class, attempting to show the people who had money were mean and despicable characters. [name redacted] related that if he had made this picture portraying the banker, he would have shown this individual to have been following the rules as laid down by the State Bank Examiners in connection making loans. Further, [name redacted] stated that the scene wouldn’t have “suffered at all” in portraying the banker as a man who was protecting funds put in his care by private individuals and adhering to the rules governing the loan of that money rather than portraying the part as it was shown.
In summary, [name redacted] stated it was not necessary to make the banker such a mean character and “I would never have done it that way.”

So, It’s a Wonderful Life was seen by some people as communist propaganda because it was mean to bankers. It’s an incredibly twisted way to view that movie.

“What does that get us? A discontented, lazy rabble instead of a thrifty, working class. And all because a few starry-eyed dreamers like Peter Bailey stir them up and fill their heads with a lot of impossible ideas.”

But we can apply that same anxious, apprehensive worldview to almost anything modern conservatives fear. Firearm safety, drag queens, Ukraine independence, people of color, COVID regulations, trans kids in high school sports, Hunter Biden, immigrants, independent women. They’re not really afraid of the reality of these things; they’re afraid of some weird, twisted interpretation of these things. They see any depiction of these things in popular media as an attempt to destroy the American Way of Life.

In reality, these things actually represent the American Way of Life. They’re a big part of what makes life wonderful.

Let me return to my original point. People who are afraid see threats everywhere, even if they don’t exist; they prefer these imaginary threats over actual threats, which they’ll ignore in order to focus on the imaginary ones; they’ll take dramatic steps to defend themselves against imaginary threats but avoid taking sensible steps to defend against actual threats. This makes them vulnerable to authoritarian leaders. This is the MAGA-verse in a nutshell.

Let’s listen to that glorious commie, George Bailey, refute that perspective.

“Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you’re talking about…they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath?”

You want a wonderful life? Stand up to Mr. Potter. Every time a bell rings, a drag queen sings a show tune. A person of color is elected. A firearm safety law is enacted. A trans kid in high school competes in a swim meet. Ukraine gets heat. A person with a compromised immune system can go shopping. An immigrant gets a green card. An editor ignores a Hunter Biden conspiracy theory. A woman can walk home at night in safety (with her hands in the pockets of her pants).

little trumper boy

Yesterday Comrade Trump announced he would make a MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT today (he’s exactly the kind of massive asshole who’d announce he was going to make an announcement). And he did.

This…and I have to announce that I am NOT MAKING THIS UP…is Trump’s announcement:

That’s right, trading cards. Digital trading cards. Not even actual physical cards. Digital ones. For ‘only’ US$99 each. For Christmas. Trading cards of Trump depicted in various ‘heroic’ outfits. Trump as an astronaut, Trump as a Texas Ranger, Trump as a NASCAR driver, Trump as…well, I don’t know…an NFL owner? In all these images Trump looks fit and thin and naturally tan.

Like any rational person, I thought this was a joke. THIS WAS NOT A JOKE. I should say this was not an intentional joke, because it most definitely IS a joke. This bonehead is actually attempting to market himself using trading cards. Who is the target audience for this bullshit? What kind of moron would think this would make a good Christmas gift? Who is stupid and gullible enough to buy th…oh. right, FreeRepublic.

So, of course, I held my nose and jumped into the Freeperverse. And yes, sure enough, there were some True Believers who saw the obvious genius of this venture.

Love it, Never-Trumpers and Democrats will go crazy.. Ultimate Troll.
10:20:22 AM by DEPcom

I think he is just messing around with the criminal deep state. They know some big bad news is coming, but have no idea about how and when it will drop. Announcing a major announcement was just Trump’s way of increasing the anxiety.
10:22:01 AM by TBall

Q: How do you communicate when everything you do and say is surveilled?
A: Obscurely.
If that’s what Trump is doing…
Works for me.
10:42:54 AM by mewzilla

But there were many more…and I mean many more…Freepers who weren’t quite sold by this scheme.

This is just so f…..g dumb. Really? This is his big announcement?
You know what. I’m done. Walking away.
10:12:28 AM by Sirius Lee

Is this supposed to be a joke? The country is falling apart, desperate for some good news, and the major announcement is trading cards? I love Trump, but this is really causing me to wonder what he’s thinking.
10:15:14 AM by JudyinCanada

Cringe worthy.
10:18:45 AM by Rurudyne

Embarrassing
10:22:53 AM by clintonh8r

Pathetic.
His ego is bigger than Obama’s.
what a loser.
10:27:41 AM by wny

I am at a loss of whether I should laugh or cry
10:34:34 AM by dsrtsage

This is a former president of the United States who wants another term to help save our nation, which is fast going down the drain. WHY is he doing this?! I’m sorry, but the ‘optics’ here are terrible. Who’s advising him??
That being said, I’d continue to vote for him if he’s on the ballot. I’m just mystified…
10:38:10 AM by Deo volente

It’s as if he is announcing to the world that he thinks we are suckers. It’s as if he was sitting around saying, “I could get them to buy anything.”
This is beyond sad.
10:45:53 AM by Vermont Lt

Trump has gone full retard. This kind of chit is not helpful. Honestly I just don’t get it. Tone deaf is not Trump’s normal behavior.
10:53:41 AM by Georgia Girl 2

I’m legitimately having a problem digesting this as reality.
11:04:45 AM by EEGator

In the interest of fairness, I only read about half of the 300+ responses to Trump’s announcement. It’s possible that the remaining 150 or so responses were overwhelmingly favorable to the TrumpCard scam ploy venture. It’s possible.

I tend to think of FreeRepublic as a bellwether for ultra right-wing conservative thought. They celebrated Trump early in the 2016 primary season. They were fully behind his blustery faux patriotism and blatantly ridiculous claim that he, personally, had saved Christmas. They completely believed him every time he shouted about rigged elections.

And he’s losing them. Losing them to DeSantis. True, they’re just trading one huckster for another, but just a few months ago this was unthinkable. Comrade Trump shouldn’t expect a Christmas miracle. In fact, it seems clear to me that Trump is bleeding and there are sharks in the water. (Holiday sharks, you know.)

Pa rum pum pum pum.

don’t shit in the swimming pool

Okay, here’s an analogy. Twitter is a swimming pool. A large pool, an Olympic-sized pool. It’s privately owned, but open to the public.

People come. Some just want to splash around, some want to swim laps, some just want to hang out poolside, some want to train for a swim meet, some want to cannonball into the pool and make a big splash, some want to practice diving. It’s a big pool, so even if some jackass is playing Nickleback on a bluetooth speaker instead of using headphones, you can move to the other end where it’s less annoying. It’s far from perfect, but you still come because it’s the biggest pool around and all your friends hang out there.

The pool has a few loose rules. You break the rules, you can get your ass booted out of the pool. One of the fundamental rules: Keep Litter Out of the Pool. Nobody wants to swim in a pool that has old candy wrappers and cigarette butts floating around in it.

That’s Old Twitter. New Twitter is different.

New Twitter is owned by a rich, arrogant, bone-ignorant narcissist who thought it would be fun to own his own swimming pool. To save money, he’s fired the concession stand workers, the maintenance workers, and the lifeguards. He also feels some folks who’ve been evicted for littering were treated unfairly. He feels they contribute to the swimming pool community, that perhaps the litter makes swimming more challenging and immediately vital.

So he’s re-invited them back.

Now, feeling vindicated for littering, they’re gleefully shitting in the pool.

And the new owner suggests folks who are reluctant to swim in the pool now aren’t really committed to swimming.

a horrible experience of unbearable length

A month ago I made the argument that Comrade Trump doesn’t have many actual supporters; instead, he has fans. I wrote:

Trump fans aren’t supporters of Trump’s beliefs (if he has any) or his political or religious ideology (if he has any) or his policies (if he has any); they’re fans of Trump his ownself. They want Trump to win, of course, but the thing about fan loyalty is that it doesn’t require winning.

It’s just a coincidence that I recently stumbled upon a 2009 article by Roger Ebert, the late and much-missed film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times. Ebert had written a scathing review of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, which apparently upset Transformer fans (or maybe Transformer movie fans or fans of somebody in the movie–I don’t know and can’t bring myself to care enough to check). The thing about fans, of course, is that they will immediately go to war with anybody who questions their fandom. And they went to war with Ebert.

The thing about Ebert, on the other hand, is he was always rational, analytical, and really fucking smart. He starting rationally analyzing fandom. He wrote this:

A lot of fans are basically fans of fandom itself. It’s all about them. They have mastered the ‘Star Wars’ or ‘Star Trek’ universes or whatever, but their objects of veneration are useful mainly as a backdrop to their own devotion. Anyone who would camp out in a tent on the sidewalk in order to be the first in line for a movie is more into camping on the sidewalk than movies.

Extreme fandom may serve as a security blanket for the socially inept, who use its extreme structure as a substitute for social skills. If you are Luke Skywalker and she is Princess Leia, you already know what to say to each other, which is so much safer than having to ad-lib it. Your fannish obsession is your beard. If you know absolutely all the triviea about your cubbyhole of pop culture, it save you from having to know anything about anything else. That’s why it’s excruciatingly boring to talk to such people: They’re always asking you questions they know the answer to.

And yeah, that’s spot on. It applies perfectly to Trump fans (who, come to think of it, aren’t that different from Transformer fans — they’re both devoted to something fundamentally ridiculous and tacky). Trump’s fans tend to be not just socially inept, but aggressively and proudly so. Believing in Trump saves them from having to know anything about anything, or from having to retain internally consistent views. If Trump, on a Monday, says Candidate A is a genius but on Wednesday describes him as an idiot, then Candidate A is a genius until, through the power of Trump, he becomes an idiot. It’s that simple.

The difference, of course, between Transformer fans and Trump fans is Trump fans are more willing — even eager, at times — to turn violent against critics of their fandom. I’m talking about violence ranging in scale from a recent incident in which a Trump fan hurled a can of beer at a comedian because she voted for Biden to a few thousand people violently assaulting the Capitol Building in an effort to overturn a legit election.

The risk posed by Transformer fans is that they increase the odds that more shitty movies will get made and inflicted on the public. The risk posed by Trump fans is sporadic irrational large scale violence, the occasional attack on FBI buildings, possible assassination of Trump ‘enemies’, and the potential destruction of representative democracy.

Ebert described Transformers as “a horrible experience of unbearable length, briefly punctuated by three or four amusing moments. One of these involves a dog-like robot humping the leg of the heroine.” The four years of the Trump administration could be described in much the same way, only with Trump humping the leg of Vlad Putin.

the power to kill conversation

— So, did you see where Trump tweeted that the Queen had knighted him in secret and he didn’t tell anybody?
— Fake.
— Well, yeah, of course it is. Wait, hold on…
— What?
— Are you saying it’s fake that Trump was knighted in secret? Or that the tweet itself is fake?
— See, this is what Trump has done. He’s fucked with the entire notion of capital T Truth. Now we can’t even have a conversation because we have to stop and do reality checks on stuff that ought to be obvious, but isn’t anymore. Because everything is nuts.
— Well, yeah, but…wait, what?
— The tweet is…and, I mean it’s not even a ‘tweet’ is it, since the fucker got himself kicked off Twitter.
— Yeah, but calling it a ‘Truth’ is so fuckin’ stupid that I can’t bring myself to do it.
— Agreed, so okay, we’ll call it a tweet even though it’s not.
— Okay, good. Where were we?
— We were at ‘what’s fake’.
— Right. Continue.


— The tweet itself is fake. And the fake tweet’s claim is fake as well.
— It’s a lie in a lie, yeah. But it’s also the sort of boneheaded stupid lie that Trump might actually make in the hope that somebody might think it’s true. I mean, it’s possible to believe it would be true for Trump to make that sort of lie.
— Yes. Maybe? I think you’re right, if I understood what you said.
— I’m saying ‘The Queen made me a knight in secret and I didn’t tell anybody’ is sort of believable as a lie that Trump would tell.
— …
— Right?
— I’m still working through that.
— …
— Yeah, okay. Yes. I’m pretty sure I agree with that. What was the original question?
— Fuck if I can remember.
— You wanted to know if I saw that Tweet?
— Did you?
— I did. Why?
— …
— …
— I don’t remember. I think I was trying to make a point. About…something.
— Fuckin’ Trump…
— …
— You want to talk about the new Game of Throne thing?
— …
— I haven’t seen it.
— Nor have I.
— Maybe we should just sit here and drink quietly for a bit.
— There’s a new Lord of the Rings thing too.
— …
— …
— Didn’t we used to have actual conversations about, you know…stuff?
— …
— …
— Fuckin’ Trump. The very mention of his name has the power to kill conversation.

it’s not rocket science

It’s been a while since I’ve dipped my toes in the fetid fever swamp of FreeRepublic. I was curious to see how they were responding to the FBI executing a search warrant on Comrade Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort/home while Trump his ownself was up in Communist NYC taking the Fifth Amendment in a civil fraud suit.

There were a few surprises. For example, I expected to see a lot of posts claiming the FBI had ‘planted’ incriminating documents in Mar-a-Lago. That’s been a common theme on FOX News, after all. But there was very little of that. I was also surprised to see a small but persistent group of Freepers who were seriously concerned about the gravity of the situation. They supported Trump, of course, but were disturbed by the accusations that he’d taken and kept classified documents in his golf club. They felt it was irresponsible. The Freepers in this group were always accused by the majority of being ‘woke leftists’ who were, deliberately or not, undermining Trump.

Many Freepers simply dismissed the entire matter, either as ‘fake news’ or political theater by Democrats meant to disrupt the mid-term elections.

“Given the FISA fraud, 2 nonsense impeachments, and the blind eye given leftists, I consider any charge against Trump to be baseless and solely politically motivated.”
by fruser1

Other Freepers found the matter confusing–not the claims made by the FBI and the DOJ, but the motivations of Trump opponents. They could NOT understand why anybody would deliberately want to oppose President Donald J. Trump. It just didn’t make sense to them.

“At least they unsealed the warrant so Trump knows what he’s up against. It’s still weird that they’re coming after Trump before he’s even announced his 2024 run, before he’s any kind of threat to their agenda. Generally law enforcement only spends this kind of effort on career criminals. That obviously isn’t the case with Trump so I don’t know what they’re playing at.”
by FormerFRLurker

Who can possibly understand why the FBI would even consider searching Trump’s home for classified documents? It’s ridiculous. It’s crazyworld.

It’s just the FBI; it’s not rocket science.

But most Freepers clearly believed the ‘raid’ on Mar-a-Lago was an attack directed at Trump his ownself. Why? Because 1) the work left hates him and/or 2) they’re terrified he’s about to expose them for what they ‘really’ are. (SPOILER: what they are, apparently, is evil pedophile god-hating communists.)

“It doesn’t make sense why they are so obsessed with destroying him unless he himself presented a huge threat to them BEYOND being elected POTUS again.
Think about it, when he was in office he didn’t go after them, he even let Hillary walk after the collusion hoax. So why are they still after him? Because they are terrified of something he has! A list, and I think it involves kids, pedophilia.”
by GrandJediMasterYoda (As long as Hillary Clinton remains free, the USA will never have equal justice under the law).

“Gore, Biden, Garland, Obama, both Clintons – they’re all in this together. The thought of targeting a political opponent with imprisonment is pure evil.”
by Observator

“The Left MUST STOP him BEFORE he announces….there must be an INDICTMENT…..they KNOW he’s totally innocent, but they DESPISE him because they are EVIL, VILE, LYING DESTROYERS of GOOD PEOPLE and GOOD THINGS!”
by Ann Archy (Abortion……. The HUMAN Sacrifice to the god of Convenience.)

Evil, vile, lying destroyers of good people and things always go after innocent people like D.J. Trump. It’s not clear to me why, if Trump has information proving so many woke leftists are evil pedophile god-hating communists, he hasn’t published it, but apparently he’s waiting for the right moment. (Tangent: another Freeper explained that the hate of these wicked Leftists is exactly why there hasn’t been anything good on television since Gunsmoke was canceled in 1975.)

There was also a large contingent of Freepers with a vast knowledge of the nuances and subtleties involved in of the process of classifying and declassifying sensitive documents, knowledge they’d gained through intensive study over the last day or so. Having familiarized themselves with these nuances and subtleties, they universally agreed the nuances and subtleties weren’t that important, and could just fuck right off.

“The president doesn’t have to write up anything. He can wave his hands over the documents and say, ‘Presto! Declassified.’ Why is that so hard to grasp? The president is the ultimate consumer of all the classified information, and as the head of the executive answers to no one else within the executive. This is not rocket science.”
by curious7

It’s hard to argue with that. Waving presidential hands over documents is deffo NOT rocket science. I mean, you know, there might be some top secret, compartmentalized documents that involve science–and maybe even rockets–but overall, it’s not even remotely rocket science. So the opinions of FBI rocket scientists can be dismissed out of hand.

Rocket science has no place in FreeRepublic.

more about assholes and libraries

In my last post, I wrote about assholes and Carnegie libraries. I didn’t expect this to be a theme. But this is the United States in 2022, and Comrade Trump has turned the Republican Party into a smug nationwide collective of aggressively stupid, hate-fueled, authoritarian bullies.

So, there’s a Carnegie library in the small Iowa town of Vinton, population of about 5000. Dedicated in 1908, it’s one of the smallest Carnegie libraries in the US. It operated to the benefit of the community for over a century.

That pretty much ended last week, when the library was closed. Why?

Because of assholes.

It began in May of 2020 when, Virginia Holsten, the Director of the Vinton Public Library for 35 years, resigned. She was replaced by Janette McMahon, who’d been a librarian in both Iowa and Wyoming.

You may remember that 2020 was an election year. Some library patrons complained about books written by Kamala Harris (who, by the way, had visited the Vinton Library and read from her children’s book) and Dr. Jill Biden being on display. They also complained that there weren’t enough books about Comrade Donald Trump. McMahon explained the rigorous process by which books are selected for the library. She said, “I can’t buy what doesn’t exist, and there weren’t quality books about Trump. We pay attention to reviews and publishers and our collection needs as a whole. We don’t just say what looks good on Amazon.”

Library patrons who objected to the Biden and Harris books began checking them out, then refusing to return them. In effect, they stole the books.

Eventually the attacks against the library became personal attacks against McMahon. She resigned.

In November 2021, Renee Greenlee was hired as Director. She had a long, respected career as a librarian in Iowa. She was one of the librarians given the 2022 I Love My Librarian award, which is bestowed by the American Library Association. Only ten librarians in the country win the award each year.

Vinton library patrons objected to the fact that she hired some LGBTQ staff and that there were book dealing with LGBTQ topics on display in the library. At a library board meeting, one of the patrons read a statement, saying:

It appears that there is a slow, quiet agenda moving into our local library culture through the staff hiring decisions and the books that have crept in our children’s section of the library. I don’t believe the library is representing our town well with hiring a majority of staff who are openly a part of the LGBTQ community.

Another said,

We would like to see more balance in the offerings of books for children. For each book promoting the LGBTQ lifestyle, there should be a book on display that discusses how God created and designed people as either male or female from birth, for life.

Greenlee reported that of the 5,779 children’s materials the library holds, only three books had a subject heading of ‘LGBT’, only two books had a heading of ‘Gay’ and only two books referenced ‘transgender’ issues. In addition, there were 173 books in the library collection that were based on Christian life.

Following the next library board meeting, which was apparently a repetition of the previous one, Greenlee resigned. The interim Director, a gay man, resigned shortly afterward, leaving the Vinton Public Library without any full-time staff.

This is NOT to say that Vinton, Iowa is a town full of assholes. It’s to say that the people of Vinton allowed their local assholes to disrupt a public service that’s been supporting their community for over a century. They’ve turned a lovely gift–a Carnegie library–into an open, festering wound of resentment and hate.

This is happening all over the United States. It happens because the assholes show up while decent people stay home and watch television. In small towns throughout the nation, a minority of bitter, ignorant, self-righteous religious bigots terrified of imaginary enemies have begun to impose their mean-spirited agenda on the rest of us.

And we’ve let them do it. We can’t expect them to be better. We have to DO better ourselves.