Friday, January 25, 2019

Of Pricks And Red Hats

My next newspaper column:
Injecting local anesthetics, qua surgeon, I’ve used the term “here comes a little prick” without being accused of language unfit for publication. Would that I could employ it to describe that smug, entitled, MAGA-hatted, religious-schooled, self-satisfied, overindulged white kid and his pals, recorded mocking a dignified Native-American tribal elder who spends his time advocating for people in need. How I wish someone had asked those smegmatic anatomic analogies what “MAGA” means to them, and in what way they thought they were accomplishing it.  
After seeing video of the encounter, I wrote the preceding paragraph, and several less-deferential ones. Later, I read other accounts, including one attributed to the central kid in the video, and began to reassess my initial reaction. The man says he stepped in to defuse a situation. The boy, in a statement crafted by RunSwitch, a PR agency with roots in the Bush administration and ties to Mitch McConnell, claims he was the defuser. There’d been prior provocations by nutty “Black Hebrew Israelites.” Right-wingers unfurled their “paid-actor” flag. Left-wingers uncovered prior transgressions at the boys’ school. Other contemporaneous videos show those same boys harassing passing girls. They were, or weren’t, chanting “Build the wall.”  
Like many people on either side of America’s political chasm, I live in a sine-wave of outrage; but I should know to take a breath before wording off. Had this column included my entire jeremiad and nothing else, I’d have embarrassed myself. But I also know that no matter what or how I write, I’ll hear from people denying facts presented, asserting falsehoods, calling me a lying communist, and changing the subject. Because that’s what we’ve become: a country irreparably fissured.  
Whatever else is true, those boys wore their MAGA hats proudly, and one wonders what defines the greatness they espouse. The only measures by which we’re “greater” now than when Trump took office are the stock market and unemployment, neither of which represents a change in the direction they were heading, breaking records monthly, under the stewardship of President Barack Obama. Otherwise, we’re deeper in debt, more polluted, more divided; fewer Americans have health insurance, carcinogens are deregulated, the Senate is more dysfunctional, middle class people are falling behind even as the rich get richer. Putin is rising, Kim is cheating, allies distrust us. Even Ann Coulter is discovering nothing Trump says is believable, including when he denies suborning perjury. So it’s easy to decode the secret of “MAGA.” It’s not really a “G.”  
My fuse was easily lit; but if each side is capable of misconstruing the intentions of the other, it doesn’t mean blame is equally shared. Trump does lie, several times daily. Democrats do want border security. And capitalism. Climate change is real, and entering a dangerous positive-feedback loop. Putin did interfere on Trump’s behalf. Tax cuts don’t pay for themselves. Most illegal immigrants are decent people. Walls don’t stop smuggled drugs. And yes, coming here illegally is illegal.  
When Trump teased his speech on the wall and the shutdown, leaking that he’d offer to support DACA and TPS in return for receiving ransom for his wall, I thought, okay, that’s what compromise is, and I hope Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will accept it. Maybe it can be the beginning of the end of perilous impasse. Good for Trump. 
Then we learned the plan was concocted with McConnell, Miller, Pence, and Kushner, without input from Democrats; at which point we knew it’d be more of their usual cynical politics, crafted for rejection, purposed to shift blame to where it isn’t. Which it was. 
Of all his unfulfilled, preposterous-yet-believed campaign promises, Trump is going to the mat for a wall. Not something that would help millions of Americans, like replacing the Affordable Care Act with something “cheaper, with better coverage for everyone.” Not raising taxes on the wealthy to fix infrastructure. That beautiful wall, Trump’s favorite lie and base-distractor. 
Post-confrontation dudgeon remains high. The right is up-armed about liberals being mean; liberals, as expected, are falling upon themselves. But, under settling dust, I’ve circled back. Even if having an exemplar in the Offal Office explains their behavior, it doesn’t excuse it. Those leering boys, now heroes of the right, wore the hats of a liar, and, fair or not, it impacts their believability. Which shows why, if they’re to restore lost credibility, adult Republicans must spurn their pathologically dishonest “president.” 
And tell their kids.
[Image source]


  1. Bravo, Sidney. I too, remain in high dudgeon. Dudgeon, high or not, exasperation with the unthinking masses, fed up with straight, white male priviledge I am in one sense glad to be nearly 75. The end is in sight. I won’t have to worry much longer. Remember when our parents and grandparents lamented that life is changing for the worst (usually during some strife).
    I feel that I would like to strike our. I have some understanding and sympathy for the Columbine nurderers. Perhaps this is all too tied up in human nature to be changed.
    Wow, I am cynical this am.

  2. I share the rage and pessimism, John, as I, too, am in my 75th year. But sympathizing with the Columbine killers is a bridge too far for me.

  3. Thanks for 'Offal Office."I've been waiting 2 years for someone with a platform to use that.

  4. Well said, Doctor. I recently got into an online convo with some conservative friends about those MAGA kids and made the statement that the red MAGA hat will soon enter the historical pantheon of racist iconography like the white KKK hood, the 'whites only' sign and the randomly-placed noose. Their outraged response was amazing, and they claimed the hat merely stated their patriotic intent to (seriously!) 'make this country great again', it meant nothing more. They simply didn't have the depth of self-examination or weren't willing to comprehend why that hat is an indicator of a lesser understanding of the world, of a closed mind, of a cognitive dissonance regarding facts and reason. It leaves me gobsmacked.

  5. Oblio, I was just excoriated for the same comment on the Herald comment section. I have grown weary of that group. I appreciate Dr. Schwab's columns but I can no longer tolerate the dense and thoughtless Drumpf groupies and their inanity.

  6. Yes, the online comments are predictable every week, and predictably pathetic. And, in your case, "Unknown," I found it interesting how quickly a certain other lady turned on you, after her weekly encouragement for you to take over my column.

    Week after week the assert the disproven, ignore substance, pretend (can they actually believe?) Trump never lies, is sacrificing himself (Jesus!) for the sake of average Americans. They'll never change, no matter what you, or I, or anyone writes or speaks, and no matter how many facts are presented to disprove their ignorance.

    Happily, it seems that whereas they're in it forever, they are, at best, no more than about a third of voters. Which is pretty depressing, even still.

  7. I am with y'all...The comment section at the paper is less than ideal for any real discussion to take place for long. Any thoughtful discussion gets shut down immediately. If only "Harry" is around, he'll spam the thread. Answering/responding to one comment with 2-4 comments RE: The very same constructive and usually damning comment. This is a tactic to build your comments made numbers. Some idiots think if you have 20k comments that you must be a well informed genius. It's certainly not a Russian Army soldier spamming. A useful idiot spamming or sock puppets etc. No no no...The spammers are crowned "well informed" by the uniformed.

    I barely comment at all anymore there. It's not worth the time and effort. That kinda bullshit I could do w/o. I don't want to talk about God. Yet every week, regardless of topic, the first comments are about God and how Sid "hates". They have figured out that, that kind of trolling in that style is an effective method at shutting down the comments.

    I have comments removed for seemingly no reason. It's a message. My hours are better spent elsewhere. My comments are not wanted on their pages. That's the message I've gotten whether that's the intent or not.

  8. Bravo, as usual Sid. I'm one cynical mf'er with a big mouth and happen to believe our grand "constitutional republic", you know, the one that's supposed to be a form of democracy, has now completely failed. It was a nice idea while it lasted. I particularly like the part where we are supposed to have three separate but coequal branches government, you know, that part that McConnell gleefully as a turtle, flushed down the toilet where he resides other similar turds. I particularly enjoy the part where the US is no longer in the top 20 least corrupt governments. Hmmm... does anyone question why? When a fella searches for the countries with the best quality of living, he might find the top countries are "socialist" in nature. Not one MAGAt would believe that for a second. I also like the part about a free press... you know the one that exists solely reliant on corporate sponsorship. The truth ain't free, and most of us can't afford it. I think the idea once existed that government was supposed to be for the people. But thanks to the SCOTUS, who has backed business every time, there is no longer a chance in hell that government and business will ever be separate entities. They're one in the same, always has been, always will be. Only thing different today is that it's openly acknowledged and rubbed in the little guys face. No hiding the truth, because truth no longer matters.

  9. I apologize for the rant. Shouldn't of let that one fly. I don't know what came over me.

  10. I'd say you hit the nail on the red hat, Cory.

  11. Yeah Cory, get on your soapbox and let your freak flag fly. Be a "cynical mf'er". America was founded by cynics. They certainly weren't pure as the driven snow. They weren't Godless, they just decided it best to not mix religion and politics. They decided to put it in the foundation of the laws by which this county was founded. The civil rights red team loves to crow about after the 2nd amendment. Gun are always ahead of free speech.

    So the MAGA thinking in a nutshell is that there's no free speech etc. w/o guns and self proclaimed "well regulated militia" enthusiasts, everything vaporizes and we become a Communist country, a southern border invasion, a Shia caliphate or something else that's ludicrous...If you got a MAGA hat on you are owning it. Every single bit of it. If hypocrisy is all you got as an argument? You got no argument. Two wrongs don't make a right and oh yeah, the "If someones comin' after you? Pick a guy and go after them." is stupid ass advice.

    I wonder what the "MAGA life" excuses will be when the economy hits the ground like a dart and crashes the world economy in the process under GOP control, again. You can be sure the #1 "MAGA life" excuse will be it's all the Democrats fault.


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