The point of the speeches at the Democratic National Convention last night was simple: Donald Trump is in way, way over his idiotically coiffed head. As the Republican nominee stumblefucks his way through the election, as he alienates our allies and gives comfort to those who want to drag this nation down, it is blatantly apparent that he doesn't know what the fuck to do with the job he pretends he wants.
Put it this way: if you were interviewing someone for the job of president, of Commander-in-Chief, you would have cut Trump solely on his resume'. But if he lucked into an interview because of all the bullshit and spin and outright lies on it, well, talking to him for two minutes would show that he hasn't spent a fucking second really studying what the job entails. Fuck that guy, you'd think, fuck him for wasting all of our time. And you'd kick his ass all the way back to his gaudy tower.
Or you could say, as Vice-President Joe Biden did last night, "This is a complicated and uncertain world we live in. The threats are too great, the times are too uncertain, to elect Donald Trump as president of the United States. Let me finish, no major party, no major party nominee in the history of the station has ever known less or been less prepared to deal with our national security." You think?
The repudiation of Trumpism was positively brutal at times last night. The strategy was almost Karl Rove-esque, going right at the very things that supposedly qualify him to be president, the business acumen and success. And it was cathartic for some of the speakers. Michael Bloomberg stuck a knife in Trump's back and then pulled it out and cut off his balls. "I’ve built a business, and I didn’t start it with a million-dollar check from my father," Bloomberg offered, undermining everything about the supposed toughness of Trump, this wannabe, this poseur, this fake badass. We know who you are, Bloomberg was saying, we rich fucks, and you have grown too big for your tailored britches.
And President Obama was even more savage, painting Trump as a goddamned prick, "He calls himself a business guy, which is true, but I have to say, I know plenty of businessmen and women who’ve achieved remarkable success without leaving a trail of lawsuits, and unpaid workers, and people feeling like they got cheated," Obama said. "Does anyone really believe that a guy who’s spent his 70 years on this Earth showing no regard for working people is suddenly going to be your champion? Your voice?"
Obama was also giving a version of the valedictory speech he will no doubt deliver in December or January. Here, though, instead of taking a victory lap, which he did a bit, he put to the voters a challenge, asking them if they trust him enough not to fuck up his legacy, and, if they trust him, trust in Hillary Clinton.
Goddamn, for all the criticism I've had about Obama, I'm gonna miss this president.
Ultimately, though, this was all just part of the team setting the volleyball up so Clinton herself can spike it. She has been described in the most glowing terms so far, as a champion of so many causes (and not because she called up some people when she decided to run for president like a certain Trump we all know). Obama was willing to grant that there are people who don't like her.
But, again and again, it comes back to a simple comparison: one candidate is so fucking unprepared that he doesn't even know who to ask to be his advisers, and one can stride into office and pick up where we left off.
You could see on Obama's face, as he described Trump, that he was stumped that the nation would even consider the former. As we all are, Mr. President.
Here is what former president Bill Clinton did last night. Without even saying his name, he shrunk Donald Trump to a size where he could be drowned in a tub. By both humanizing and superhumanizing Hillary Clinton, he wanted the nation to ask, simply, "What the fuck has the other guy done? Financed a few buildings and hosted a game show and said stupid shit?"
You can pretty much bet that Trump couldn't find Dothan, Alabama on a map with a giant arrow pointing at it and some assistant saying, "Sir, that's it, right there, where the arrow is pointing." But Hillary Clinton went there in the early 1970s, to one of the most racist places in the country, and went undercover to discover if schools were still segregated. People got killed for that kind of shit. Bill could have started his speech by saying, "Donald Trump isn't fit to clean the toilet the Secret Service uses at the White House."
But he didn't. Instead, he showed us Hillary Clinton as an entire person, including an object of desire, of his desire. How amazing is that? That was a huge "fuck you" to everyone who questions their marriage, who says that Hillary is a lesbian or too ugly to fuck or whatever bullshit the sexist right vomits out about her. Rachel Maddow found that part "creepy," and others commented, smugly, that Bill didn't bring up cheating on Hillary. Well, Melania didn't discuss how she was Donald Trump's fuck toy while he was still married to Marla Maples.
More clearly than anyone else, Bill described a Hillary who embodies the experiences of women, in terms you don't normally see with politicians. When he said, "Hillary's water broke and off we went to the hospital," he brought Hillary down to earth, a mortal, a fully-rounded individual who has had the life of a woman.
Bodies were the theme of the evening. The damaged body, in the 9/11 responders speaking about the illnesses they or their loved ones suffered, and the murdered black body, as the Mothers of the Movement showed that the meaning of Black Lives Matter isn't an assertion of superiority but of equal worth, all these bodies harmed by an America whose continuing greatness is stymied by the ignorant and the hateful. And not once did they specifically place blame at the feet of those who have harmed them. They merely said that there needs to be healing. Who has a better chance of doing that?
You can bet that if a Democrat had been in office on 9/11, every Republican convention since them would have been filled with speakers blaming that Democrat for everything bad in the world.
Hillary Clinton, in Bill's telling, is also a goddamned superhero. She has done work all over the nation, from Alaska (when is the last time you heard of a candidate having worked in Alaska?) to the Deep South. And then she expanded her range to the rest of the world. You might not agree with everything she's done. I sure don't. But she has walked so many walks that you have to honor her for deciding to not walk away.
Meanwhile, the Bernie Sanders supporters decided that they were no longer Sanders supporters because, if they were, they would be listening to him and voting for Hillary Clinton instead of trying to blow shit up at the convention. The roll call is over. Clinton is the nominee. You can keep yelling that the nomination was stolen (something Sanders says it wasn't). You can yell that the DNC leak shows bias (no shit, but so?). But there is nothing more you can do but yell. You can't change this. You can either accept it, be thrilled at the historic moment that has occurred, and move on. Or you can wallow in your anger and throw your vote away.
It's a free country. For now.
2. Before Michelle Obama pretty much made the rest of the convention unnecessary, there were other powerful speakers. Little Karla Ortiz put the most adorably human face on the immigration crisis facing families where the parents are undocumented with a child born in the United States. Sure, some dickhead Republicans would want to see them deported and then change birthright citizenship so they can get rid of Karla, but she was a dynamo, laying bare the emotional impact of how too many people who love this country are treated: "My parents came here, looking for a better life, for the American dream. But I don't feel brave every day. On most days I'm scared. I'm scared that at any moment, my mom and my dad will be forced to leave." I'd take a thousand Ortizes any day over one Donald Trump.
3. Disability rights advocate Anastasia Somoza, who is wheelchair bound and has cerebral palsy and spastic quadriplegia, punched Trump right in the taint with her remarks: "I fear the day we elect a president who defines being an American in the narrowest possible of terms, who shouts, bullies and profits off of the vulnerable Americans. Donald Trump has shown us who he really he is. I honestly feel bad for anyone with that much hate in their heart." One of the themes of the night was that the Americans that Republican policies harm are not abstractions. They are not "takers." They are, in fact, people who can articulate hopes, dreams, sorrows, and anger as clearly and compellingly as any politician. Ortiz and Somoza and others represented something other than a parade of victims, like the GOP offered. They demonstrated that, against terrible odds and terrible people who make terrible policies that actively harm them, you can still believe in this country. Unlike the cynical parade of Benghazi-affected anger and sorrow machines at the GOP, here you had optimism against sorrow and defeating rage.
4. This is not to say that the DNC is completely free of aggrieved parties. Tonight, the Mothers of the Movement, the moms of black men and women killed by police and police wannabes (like George Zimmerman), will speak. And last night, another African American woman, Cheryl Lankford, went right at Trump, and, unlike the Hillary-anger at the RNC, which was mostly hate-by-proxy, not because of any direct actions taken by Clinton, she was talking about something that Donald Trump did to her. Lankford is a widow of a soldier killed in Baghdad in 2007 who took money she received after her husband's death and sent it to Trump University, believing its namesake's promise that his lessons would make her wealthier. It didn't, of course, because it was a scam, with Trump as its chief con man. And Lankford drew a direct line between that con artist and his presidential campaign: "Donald Trump made big promises about Trump University, and I was fooled into believing him. Now, he’s making big promises about America. Please don’t make that same mistake."
5. But the night belonged to Michelle Obama. Yes, Cory Booker was good and Elizabeth Warren was great and Bernie Sanders couldn't have tried to change his most ardent (and loud) supporters' minds more if he had taken out a watch and hypnotized each and every one of them. However, Michelle Obama's speech was a series of gut-punches. She brilliantly framed everything as being about the future by making children the central focus of the speech. It was her children being raised in the glare of the spotlight and having to hear that their father was a Muslim Kenyan who hates America. Then she expanded it to how the election is about how all children will be influenced by whomever is put in the White House, with the clear implication that a preening buffoon ain't exactly a role model.
Even as she cut Donald Trump to pieces, even as she made a better case for Hillary Clinton than Clinton herself has ever made, she was telling the story of where this country really is and what it really is and was. The United States is not the violent wasteland of the RNC. No, it's a place where people struggle to make it better for the most people. The instantly quotable line of the night was "I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent, black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn." But before that, Obama had been talking about how Hillary Clinton has kept working no matter how many times she has been slapped down. Obama said, "That is the story of this country. The story that has brought me to this stage tonight. The story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done." And shortly after, she said, "Don't let anyone ever tell you that this country isn't great, that somehow we need to make it great again, because this right now is the greatest country on earth."
The message was clear. We know when the country wasn't great. We know that it can always be better, but it has nearly always gotten better. To deny that is to deny the incredible hard work done by those who came before, including the Obamas, including Hillary Clinton. But it doesn't deny that there is more work to do. There always is. There are always ones who will try to stop it, who will try to undo that work. At the end of the speech, Obama offered a simple plea: "So let's get to work."
And this gets us back to the first thing up there. Who should we be working to improve the country for? The Republican vision of whiteness superior once again? Or the Democratic vision of an inclusive nation?
The first part of the joke belongs to those of us old enough to remember the Evil Empire and those even older remembering how lives were ruined in backwards ass paranoia that the Soviet Union was going to take over America, that Russkie spies were everywhere and had to be rooted out and the worst thing you could be called was a commie or a Moscow sympathizer. For a long time the joke was that the whole thing was a fucking dumb show. Even as we were told to be terrified, the Soviet Union was imploding, and Mother Russia was teetering on the verge of economic and regional chaos. We were more likely to be killed by mistakes due to incompetence and corruption than from an intentional missile attack.
But now the joke is that, despite all the attacks on liberals in the United States or the red-baiting of anyone who said anything slightly socialistic, like "Medicare," the real infiltration and attempted take over would come in the form of a Russian oligarch attempting to get a sympathetic American oligarch elected president in order to bring Europe and elsewhere into Russia's capitalistic sphere of influence. That's fucking hilarious. And scary. Mostly scary, but still hilarious.
And what did the mighty hack show us? What horrors did it reveal? Was it that Hillary Clinton really is a lizard woman who threatened to unhinge her jaw and devour Bernie Sanders whole? From everything you can read so far, it seems like the big revelation is that...political operatives acted just like you'd expect political operatives to act. And, yeah, the Democratic National Committee was biased towards the lifelong Democrat who has worked tirelessly to get Democrats elected. To Sanders' supporters, this was confirmation of something that Sanders said in the campaign. To anyone who has ever paid attention to an election ever, the reaction was "Yeah, and?"
For instance, Wikileaks, an organization that has done amazing things for increasing our knowledge of how fucked up the world is, tweeted out breathlessly, "#DNCLeak: 'access' in exchange for 'donations' (another email explicitly uses 'pay to play')." This is followed by one of the stolen emails, one that shows a DNC official promising a potential donor more access to Clinton with more money donated. No shit. You heard of the Pioneers? These were people who donated the most money to the Bush/Cheney campaign. The Pioneers practically got blow jobs from the candidates (or at least until Cheney's hollow heart gave out). Money in politics sucks. We need to get it out. But, for fuck's sake, is this really so shocking?
No. What's shocking is that the fucking Russians are likely trying to get Trump elected. And that's where the second cosmic joke comes in, the kind where karma just takes a giant shit on all of us. We're still hearing endlessly about the Clinton email fake scandal, you know, with her home server that turns out to have been a fuck of a lot more secure than the State Department's or the DNC's. That was a bunch of political motivated malarkey that was an enormous waste of time and had as its only purpose to add to the air of Clinton as an untrustworthy figure (something I joined in on, to an extent, yes, mea fuckin' culpa). No classified information was leaked, and it's up for argument if any was even sent. And the rest was just an administrative issue, not a crime.
The joke part is that this Trump/Russian connection is a real email scandal. This is what it looks like. It looks like a dictatorial ruler of a country that is at odds with ours using hacked emails to get his hopeful stooge elected. The big investigation now should be if there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
Meanwhile, here, our stupid, stupid election continues, with Debbie Wasserman-Schultz thankfully being put out of her misery (someone's head had to roll for the anti-Bernie shit) and with Sanders getting booed for telling his supporters to vote for Clinton while screechy social media fucks and well-intentioned street protesters say that they will never, no-how, no way vote for Clinton because reasons.
To which one can only say: You know who will get hurt by a Trump presidency? Every fucking group you think you're defending with your purity. And don't fucking get upset when we say that not voting or voting for Stein or Johnson is as good as voting for Trump. It's as good as voting for Trump because Clinton is the only candidate who can beat him, and any vote not for her is a net gain for Trump, and that shit'll matter in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and elsewhere. And, yeah, fuck you if you think that voting for Clinton to stop Trump ain't enough of a reason. It is enough of a reason. It's always been, in every election, enough of a reason. Sorry, sunshine, that's the fuckery of democracy.
Fuck you for not knowing your history and not wanting to do everything you can to stop someone like Trump from ascending to the White House and appointing Supreme Court justices, which will fuck us all for the rest of our lives. You know who agrees with us and disagrees with you? Bernie Sanders. Elizabeth Warren. Michael Moore. President Obama. And a fuck-ton of liberal writers (and a shitload of conservative writers, but fuck them where they stand anyways).
Do you think we're all just lying to you? Do you think people across the left are liars or shills, including the dude you worshipped all this time? Or maybe, just maybe, we are sounding a warning bell, telling you that this shit is real. A Trump presidency is realer in its consequences than a Clinton one, however bad you think a Clinton presidency might be. Fuck, the Washington Post took the really unusual step to say, "Yeah, fuck this. Trump is a psychopath. Stop him." That's unheard of.
Don't damn us to be Cassandras. Don't let us stand there in 2017 and forward and say, "Told you so." Probably from our cells in the gulag.
At no point in the entire exhausting, tedious, repetitious series of barks and growls did Trump say he would go to Congress to ask for something. Not once did he even hint that he understood that he couldn't just clap his wee hands and make it so. In fact, everything in his acceptance speech was pointedly about how he and only he can solve the problems in the country. "I am your voice," he said, twice, along with "I will be your champion" and "I will restore law and order to our country." That last one was followed by an unscripted, emphatic "Believe me. Believe me." On it went: "I am going to bring jobs" to various states; "I am not going to let companies move to other countries;" and more. Even worse, "I alone can fix it." If Barack Obama had said that one night, he'd've been lynched before sunrise by conservatives for being a tyrant.
What is going to happen if Trump is elected and Democrats in the Senate block a bill to build the stupid border wall? Or a bill to change the Affordable Care Act? What is he going to do? Trump would say that he'll make deals with them, as if that never occurred to President Obama, who gave Republicans nearly everything they asked for in many negotiations while still getting stabbed in the gut by them when it was time to vote. Senators have a long memory, and Democrats will want payback. So what will Trump do? He'll do what his idiot hordes demand, up to and including violence. Because when you have a cult of personality, the leader of that is the only thing that matters. You have to believe whole-heartedly in him and support even his most heinous acts because that's easier than admitting you're wrong. You would rather pretend that a crass, bourgeois piglet is a man of the people than face the reality that he's just a puny, pampered pig.
You can find fact checks of all the lies in a speech that Trump promised would be filled with "facts." You could drive yourself mad trying to get your mind around so much of the shit he said. For instance, apparently, Hillary Clinton is the alpha and omega of all bad things going on in the world. Egypt turmoil? Hillary. Iraq? Hillary. Hot Lebanese dude didn't message you back on Grindr? Hillary. In fact, Clinton is such an evil genius and agent of destruction that we'd better elect her before she has us all killed.
And Trump went further than any of the fearmongers before him in portraying the United States as a nightmare, a lawless landscape of rampant crime (which is really down), cops being gunned down (fewer than ever), and undocumented immigrants murdering the fuck out of us (very rarely). The world itself is falling to pieces (despite it being one of the most peaceful periods in the planet's history). Every one of Trump's assertions is factually wrong. That's not just an opinion. Facts, actual numbers, something that Trump is very fond of mentioning, bear that out. But, no, the whole place is turning to shit, according to Trump. The only solution Trump offered is Trump. Trump will make it all better. All you gotta do is vote him in. Then America will be great again. He'll do it all by himself.
Or maybe, just maybe, this is the con: You make everyone believe that the world is turning to shit and then when you're elected, you just change the spin. "Oh, hey, look, crime is way down," you say, not even hinting that it was down before you were elected. "Oh, hey, look, my strategy on ISIS worked," you say, not mentioning that it was headed that way anyways. "Oh, hey, look, I've put into place a nearly two-year process for incoming refugees," you announce, leaving out that that's how it's been for a long time. See how easy it is to make America great again? You just start saying it is and then, racist blinders off, everyone looks around and says, "Well, shit, things really are pretty good." And for shit that wasn't getting done because Republicans wouldn't let it get done, like child care and infrastructure spending, hell, all of a sudden, the GOP will be the biggest fan of funding bridges and roads. And who gets all the credit? Not the nigger president who obviously fucked it all up because he's such a nigger. All accolades go to Trump.
Along those lines, I have a theory about how we got here. I call it the "Nigger Rejection Theory." See, lots of white people have staked a great deal of their identity and political beliefs on the notion that whiteness is superior to any other race. Niggers aren't good for anything other than basic shit. Sure, sure, black people could entertain them, in movies, music, and sports. Those niggers are fine because they exist only as images and they don't have a day-to-day effect on the lives of these white people. However, along comes Barack Obama, and he's not only president, but he's pretty good at it. In fact, the nigger president succeeded in making the lives of these white people better than they were under the last white president.
They simply couldn't reconcile that. These white people all of sudden found themselves with health insurance, many with jobs, most with lower taxes, and it all happened because of the nigger president. What can you do? You can either admit that your life-long, family-passed-down prejudices are completely wrong and that niggers can do lots of things, including leading the free world. Or you just go into complete denial because you just can't stand to give a nigger credit. Now, here is Trump, telling you that everything is wrecked and it's all turning to shit and, well, fuck, that sounds good because it makes the nigger and his cunt sidekick look bad.
Goddamn, it must feel good to have to give up on a challenging thought and just get your primal racism nerve massaged.
The greatest slap in Obama's face in the whole Nazi rally was when the idiot hordes started chanting, "Yes, you will" at Trump. It was the bizarro version of "Yes, we can," Obama's campaign rallying cry. Obama was saying that we all needed to work together and, even if you think, like I do, that he didn't ask us to do enough, at least he was including us. For Trump and the idiot hordes gazing up at his bloated visage, framed in gold, no such effort is needed beyond making sure that their godhead gets into office. All good things will pour from that. Trump is like the high school asshole guy who tells a girl that giving blow jobs will improve her complexion. No, it won't. All she'll end up with is a mouthful of jizz and a satisfied jerk going home.
Almost a year ago, I joked that "Kneel before Zod" was Trump's guiding principle. Now it appears that that will be his governing policy. If none of this scares you, then you are too fucking dumb to breathe, but you'll still vote. And if the media makes this into just another day at the races, then we should all invest in kneepads.
And then, last night, lo and behold, Cruz walked up to the snack table at the Republican's party and took a giant dump in the punch bowl while everyone screamed at him to stop.
Yeah, after a pretty boilerplate right-wing Republican speech - blah, blah, Hillary sucks, blah, blah, blah, Constitution, yadda, enemies, whatever - Cruz ended by exhorting the idiot hordes to "vote your conscience," which the delegates took not only as a non-endorsement of nominee Donald Trump but outright heresy, with screams of "Traitor" and "Honor the pledge" and "Fuck you." Trump himself appeared to gaze, like an angry toad, on the chaos as his minions egged it on and his horrible family looked on. Cruz's wife, Heidi, derided as ugly in something Trump retweeted, had to be escorted out lest the idiot hordes rip her limb from limb. Cruz wiped his ass on the tablecloth, perhaps while looking the toad straight in his eyes, and strode away. And nobody really gave a dry mouse shit about Newt Gingrich telling us about his night terrors or Mike Pence's lumbering monologue about how Trump will Trump you with his Trumpiness or that Scott Walker even exists.
This morning, Cruz met with the Texas delegation, most still wearing their dumbass cowboy hats. At first, Cruz tried to walk a line. He coyly asked why anyone would boo for him saying, "Vote your conscience" (a line that the Hillary Clinton campaign took and ran with). He said he wouldn't speak negatively about Trump, but that Trump hadn't earned his vote yet, and, oh, no, he won't vote for Hillary. But then the questions started and the smarmy, faux-chummy facade cracked. "I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father," Cruz said, and in that moment his heart grew three sizes and his spine unbent to make him completely upright. He would not be "a servile puppy dog" to Trump, he said. And when he asked, " Can anyone imagine our nominee standing in front of voters answering questions like this?" he wasn't talking about answering questions period. He meant answering them with forthrightness, clarity, and honesty.
For an example, look at Trump's interview in the New York Times about foreign policy, where he said, among other terrifying shit, that he would shitcan agreements with NATO if the other countries didn't pay protection money to the United States, as if somehow a stable Europe isn't in America's best interest. Here, though, is the exact quote from the transcript: "If we cannot be properly reimbursed for the tremendous cost of our military protecting other countries, and in many cases the countries I’m talking about are extremely rich. Then if we cannot make a deal, which I believe we will be able to, and which I would prefer being able to, but if we cannot make a deal, I would like you to say, I would prefer being able to, some people, the one thing they took out of your last story, you know, some people, the fools and the haters, they said, 'Oh, Trump doesn’t want to protect you.' I would prefer that we be able to continue, but if we are not going to be reasonably reimbursed for the tremendous cost of protecting these massive nations with tremendous wealth — you have the tape going on?"
That's some Mafia shit right there. "I would prefer to offer you my good graces, but you must be willing to pay what I ask and kiss my ring. And then my ass." And it's expressed in almost Palin-esque gibberish. Dumb fuck. And you're a dumber fuck if you support him after that. No, fuck that. You're a terrible human being if you support Donald Trump, and you deserve every bad thing that would happen to you if he's elected.
Not Ted Cruz, though. He stood there and taunted the idiot hordes. And it was a thing of beauty.
Now you, dear, dear liberal, may feel conflicted about feeling even an inkling of positivity towards Ted Cruz. After all, he is an asshole, a son of a bitch, a dick, a fart in human form, and lots of other things rolled into one odious, annoying package. He believes appalling things, about abortion, about voting rights, about LGBT rights, about...well, pretty much everything. But let's not care about that for a moment. Let's not care that Cruz might be positioning himself for 2020. Fuck 2020. And let's not care about any of the spin from the Trump campaign, which is trying to make itself seem so magnanimous by allowing Cruz to speak. Let's just not give a shit about that.
In this moment, Cruz is Cersei Lannister taking out the High Septon. He is William Munny gunning down Little Bill. He is Walter White rescuing Jesse. An awful person can rise to the moment to do something good, to do away with those worse than them. You don't have to like them. You don't have to get all warm and fuzzy.
You can sit back with a drink and say, "I'd rather have a narcissistic motherfucker working for me than against me, even if it's just this once."