From Charles P. Pierce, on Esquire:
I’m 73 and had been a widow for just a year and a half when the pandemic further upended everything. I’ve lived the life of a hermit (although a hermit with curbside grocery pickup) for the last 6+ months.
The intertoobs have been great for maintaining some semblance of human contact, but the flip side is I’m constantly exposed to the rantings of the sweaty, orange-faced current occupant of what used to be The People’s House and the complicity of what used to be the Republican party, which now resembles a cult of personality.
In the year leading up to the 2016 election, I was equally glued to the computer screen and angsted about every little fluctuation in Hillary’s poll numbers, etc. My husband warned me not to get consumed by it all because “What can you do about it? You can cast your vote and the rest is out of your hands.” He was right. As we all know, the unthinkable happened and there went a year of my life down the crapper.
If there’s one thing I hope I’ve learned from this time of reflection following the death of my husband and my self-imposed withdrawal from what used to be polite society it’s what I found on a small bumper sticker in my husband’s desk drawer: “Life is too short to argue with stupid people.”
I’m convinced Trump will win the election by hook or by crook. We already know about the voter suppression and the shenanigans at the USPS. I hope I’m wrong, but as Trump himself says, it is what it is. If the people of this country choose him again as our president, then I guess we deserve the president we get. Nothing I can do about that.
So, I’m backing off from my avid following of politics. I don’t want to spend whatever amount of time I have left on this planet in a constant state of outrage and despair. I’m only one vote, which I will gladly cast and hope it counts.
But I’m tired.
My thoughts on the final night of the Republican national convention:
So. Last night President Trump held a super-spreader event in front of the White House.
Emerging from it like a monarch, he slowly made his way down the stairs with Melania to the stage, much like he descended that golden escalator at Trump Tower four years ago when he declared his candidacy for presidency of the United States. This time it was at The People’s House. Our house, which has always been considered sacrosanct and not to be used as a backdrop for a political campaign. But, as with everything about this administration, that’s for chumps and losers.
The White House stood illuminated behind Trump’s Big Beautiful Wall of American flags. It felt like “In your face, Libs.” Which is pretty much what the message was meant to be. And of course, at the end of his 71 minute speech, he removed any doubt by saying “We’re here and they’re not.”
There was a giant TV screen so the closely packed unmasked faithful in the audience could see their Supreme Leader and there was campaign signage on the White House grounds. Again, something not seen before in past presidential elections. But this administration doesn’t follow the rules like all its predecessors. (See: Ukraine, V. Zelensky; Russia, V. Putin; Manafort, P.; Stone, R.; Flynn, M.; Cohen, M.; et. al.)
The White House had been taken hostage and forced to appear in a ransom video. It looked beautiful, but it was crying on the inside for what it had become at the hands of this narcissistic oaf. To me, it will never be the same. It was as if he had grabbed it by the pussy and it had to let him do it because he’s “a star.”
And if this man is given another four years in office, our very democracy is sure to follow the same fate.
“No, I don’t think he’s racist,” Graham said on the Snapchat show “Good Luck America.” “Here’s what I think: You can be black as coal, and if you like him, he likes you. You can be albino, and if he doesn’t like you, he doesn’t like you. He’s about him. If you like him, he probably likes you. There’s a flaw there, but no, I don’t think he hates people because of the color of their skin. I think he reacts to people as how they react to him. I really believe that.”
“It is what it is.”
From Esquire, by Charles P. Pierce:
A good friend and mentor of mine once wrote that the only true blasphemy is that which attempts to make the profane sacred. He was talking about the deleterious, ego-boosting ceremonial aspects of the presidency of the United States, which served, he believed, to imbue whoever the president was with quasi-mystical qualities that prove extremely useful in the grubby political parts of the president’s job. I wish he’d lived long enough to watch the second night of the Republican National Telethon. He would have seen El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago demonstrate vividly what he’d written decades before. He would have seen a grifting, heathen president* garishly—and not entirely legally—use all the ceremony and trappings of the office as though they were the gold leaf in which he encrusted his commode.
He treated the pardon power as though he were a cut-rate game-show host bestowing the Grand Prize (“A complete living room suite!”) on the contestant who’d remembered the name of Lake Titicaca. He turned a citizenship ceremony, one of the few truly uplifting things government does anymore, into what Norman Mailer would have called an advertisement for himself. He arranged to have his Secretary of State deliver a psalm of praise over the darkened streets of Jerusalem, thereby profaning the entire American diplomatic corps, even those members of it untouched by his personal corruption. (Hi there, Woody Johnson!).
And he treated the White House worse than anyone has since the Royal Marines torched the joint in 1814. He turned it into his personal soundstage, and then handed it over to his wife, who delivered an overripe speech about nothing while dressed like Fidel Castro. [TTPT: My thought exactly!] Back before he became a threat to American democracy, the president* was notable for the baroquely bad taste with which he accessorized his various properties. Now that he has become a threat to American democracy, he’s still the same nouveau riche clown who believed that you class up the joint by dropping a white grand piano down in the lobby.
That was the only real impression worth having on Tuesday night. Oh, there was bullshit a’plenty, even without the Protocols of the Elders of Zion lady whom they cancelled at the last minute after she’d gone all Henry Ford that afternoon. Eric Trump, last seen taking the Fifth in front of New York prosecutors, lied three times before he got to his first punctuation mark, and wrapped it up by giving us a dinner-theater rendition of the “Papa, Can You Hear Me?” scene from Yentl. Tiffany Trump expressed solidarity with her fellow kidz in their struggle to find work.
In an act of pure chutzpah of a sort one thought the human mind incapable of, Pam Bondi, once the attorney general of Florida, gave a fantastical account of the Biden family’s corruption that came straight off the factory floor in the St. Petersburg that isn’t in Florida. This one had some extra tang to it because it was Bondi, during her time as Florida AG, who declined to pursue a state fraud case against Trump University, an action that coincided with a $25,000 contribution to her campaign from the Trump Foundation. Even the hypocrisy was in bad taste. Even the lies were tacky. The Golden Commode Era of American Decline is upon us.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows acknowledged Monday that White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s upcoming departure from the administration represented a “big blow” to President Donald Trump’s team.
“It’ll be a big hole, a big blow to us,” Meadows said in an interview on “CBS This Morning.”
“This is the perfect encapsulation of the Trump era. From beginning to end, the wall was a nonstop scam. Trump scammed his supporters by telling them Mexico would pay for it, then we ended up paying for it. Then this baked-potato Fabio over here said he’d raise money for it, then scammed everyone again by allegedly skimming money from it. It’s a Russian nesting doll of fraud. I can’t wait until Bannon raises money for his legal defense fund and we find out he lost it all on the racetrack.” — SETH MEYERS