Trump Rally, Ft Lauderdale, October 8, 2020

But I said to our First Lady, “Watch this tonight, Darling, it’s going to be.” And I turn to Lester Holt, number two show. I turn to Lester Holt, and one story was saying the games I play are stupid, another was about the environment, another was about something else, my stupid games, it was a bad hit on me, another one, something else. Now they went to the longest commercial I’ve ever seen.

COUGH cough

And then they went onto the second half again and again and again, she looked at me, “Darling, they say you play stupid games,” I said, “It’s impossible. The games I play are very smart. All the best senators tell me so. It’s impossible.”

SSSSNNNNNiff

The China Virus? I played a game all year long. The Economy, Dow Jones, I score great in those games. You know it. America sees it.

COUGH

We’re doing very well, and I am here to say after all these games: look at the prizes we won. Tremendous, really great prizes. Don’t we love the prizes, folks? Joe Biden hates prizes. He’s sleepy with prizes. We’re standing here with them, strongly. It’s the best warmth filling me, climbing like 401(k).

wheeze WHEEZE

I’m feeling better today than I did 20 days from now, and so are you, so am I, it’s what the doctors tell me. I’m so glad to see my friend Herman could make it to the rally today, they said the covid flu got him. But he is. There he is back there, everybody wave. But I’m at this tunnel, in this tunnel, heading towards a light. Small light to big! It’s really light, everyone’s saying it.

Remember when The Onion made Biden look cool? Just do that instead

Please no more “ah, yeah, I know it sucks, but you just gotta vote Biden. Just look at Trump! Gotta punch that card. Pull that lever. Nothing but to go for Joe.”

I feel rage tingling behind my eyes after typing that, it’s like fight-or-flight has kicked in even though I’m just re-reading my own sentence. A statement so loaded that it’s got a hotkey next to autosave.

Think about what it presupposes: even though I am a person with thoughts and feelings–who also loves to make decisions–you bundled up all that and threw it away because “just look at Trump!” You won’t engage with me because “just look at Trump!” It’s hard work to listen to me jabber on about all these stupid reasons and considerations I possess, sure, but convincing another person of anything is one of the most difficult things to do. So do the work or don’t even try.

If you are out there selling people on Biden in the awkward office conversations and the distressed Instagram stories and the Facebook comment threads: please champion the dude. Act like you love him. I’m begging you.

“You just gotta vote Joe because the alternative is worse” is lazy. And lazy loses elections. Sell the goddamn candidate or we’re fucked. christ

A Vote For Biden is a Vote for Spite

There are many people who feel like our political system has failed them. “A vote for Biden and a vote for Trump are both votes for America’s status quo, and I refuse to endorse America.”

If you’ve accepted the idea that the act of voting supports the system that brought us to this brink, then you believe that voting is bad. But on the flip side, abstaining from a vote isn’t a tactic. It’s nothing. (I wrote about that angle four years ago if you feel like taking a long scroll.) Can we improve those outcomes beyond “bad” and “nothing?”

I’d like to think so! There may be other value to voting that appeals to you, one that gives you a “good” reason to vote that outweighs your guilt for doing the “bad” thing of voting.

One fun suggestion– SPITE!

Across the ideological spectrum, people hate Trump. I’m certain there are avowed neo-Nazis who say they love what he’s doing but they can tell he’s a loutish, pathetic asshole. You’d leave any conversation with him feeling bored or attacked; supporters who enjoy “him” are enjoying what he represents, Trump the Man is not enjoyable. He’s living evidence of where cruelty and money can get you. America allows a man like him to succeed, and America sucks for that, no doubt! But if we agree to handle that elsewhere, we can focus on what still feels good about voting.

Voting against Trump is the best chance you’ve got to be a dick to him. He doesn’t read Twitter replies, he doesn’t pound his fist at spying a witty protest sign on the news, you can’t get within a slap’s reach. He’s inoculated from us rando Americans saying “hey buddy fuck you.”

My voting history is all over the place– no need to delve into it here, rest assured I made brilliant decisions you’d have no choice but to respect. One of several reasons (again, all genius) that I’m voting for Biden is that I really love the idea of Trump losing!

Election Night 2020: Trump is down by 15% on what polls suggested, and that gap is expanding. The writing is on the wall. New York prosecutors are going to drop indictments on his entire family on January 21. He’s the biggest loser in world history, and his failure will be remembered for centuries (if we make it that far). This grand failure will be the worst thing that happens to everyone in the Trump administration, and it will stain their interpersonal relationships (it may cause bankruptcies and end marriages!), and they will never forget it. Your ICE-loving, Hannity-hooting step-father is weeping, and this is funny and pleasant.

For Trump, the plan all along was to claim the election was rigged and seize control of the country. He’s ready to announce as much to the nation. But the shame and humiliation of the night, peaking in that moment, leads to a greater stress than he’s ever experienced: he has to run the country knowing that even with all his cheating and rancor, 70% of America hates him. Anticipating his next four days, four weeks, four years, raises his heart rate. His blood pressure spikes, neurons are demanded to fire faster than his atrophied brain will allow; from his election war room, following in the esteemed Dr. Ron Paul’s footsteps, he strokes out on live Fox News. Dead within minutes.

It’s fantastical, but it’s one outcome on an infinite scale that is made ever more possible by your vote. This scenario can happen, the numbers for a 70/30 win are there, just turn out enough “fuck you” votes and suppress enough “I love race war” votes. And then we can all agree that Trump’s body is one mistimed hiccup from shutting down.

If you’re blackpilled, a doomer, if you don’t see how we make it through climate change regardless of this November: you can still make the people who did this to us feel bad. You can punish your enemies. How often do you get that opportunity?

Kneel Gorsuch

I’ve seen some acquiescence surrounding our pending Supreme Court Justice, Neil Gorsuch. For the Left-inclined folks out there that watch his nomination process, shrug, and say “Well, Gorsuch ain’t so bad,” I have some strategy for you. It shouldn’t be beyond comprehension for anyone who thinks themselves House-of-Cardsian enough to vote strategically for Clinton (rather than voting for what they believe in ahahahahah sorry i merely wish that argument wasn’t past its prime because it was so fun and never tired or old hat anyways moving on–please don’t stop reading):

It’s not our responsibility to let anyone off the hook in the name of civility. In fact, it’s harmful to our goal of progressive utopia. If we’re thinking strategically, as our fellow Leftists demand of us so often, then the only people who should consider civility are our politicians. Since they’re playing a game that they’re practiced in, and the country’s not on the verge of a military coup or something, ᵒʳ ᵃʳᵉ ʷᵉ maybe there’s no need for them to stonewall the hell outta Gorsuch and stage hunger strikes and lay their bodies behind his car’s rear tires so that he’s stuck in his driveway like a total putz. I do not know what’s best in politics, I’m not a politician. Unless you’ve been a politician your whole life, I’m also skeptical on whether you know what’s best.

But that takes a weight off our shoulders.

Besides direct action like voting, or being elected, or storming the Bastille to hang the plutocrats, there is only the discussion. We get to dissect and antagonize and rant as much as we please. Political discourse is discourse. It’s the talking. And as private citizens, that’s all we’ve got.

But that’s valuable when the core of this conflict between the Left and the Right–as far as I can tell, given that this is a huge sweeping statement with no particular evidence, only what I’ve gathered and coalesced over my lifetime, so here’s where some trust comes in– is: Nature vs. Nurture. “Everyone is capable of anything with effort” insists Conservative thought, to be countered perpetually by the Liberal “not until they encounter the roadblock that is the biological function of their own brains.” This is THE Gordian Knot. I’d love exceptions, but it def feels like any field of study can be reduced to puzzling over this humdinger. Religion grasps at it too, when circling around free will and divine intervention.

We’ve been dancing around it for centuries, and no point of datum, no thousands of data sets, can resolve it. There’s too much evidence for either side, and too much room in the middle. You can hold the simultaneous beliefs that people can teach themselves valuable skills and someday exchange the performance of those skills for money… But also that the same people do not deserve to die of an infection at age 25 because a cat scratched them and “with all these bootstrappy classes i’m paying to take, who can afford gauze these days? oh no im bleeding out.”

So this conflict between America’s two political forces can’t be won by science. This is a battle of hearts, not minds. Like we aren’t going to whip up an irrefutable equation that the Left is better than the Right. “Errm according to my calculations, Democrats average a 258 Pure Soul score, while Republicans only manage 207.” Nope, not happening.

Though we do have to use science to prove what works at changing hearts! Well… Coercing hearts. torturing the hearts into doing our bidding

We know advertising, as a concept, works. Anything you would call propaganda is advertising, and vice-versa. There is a social aversion to both that keep them in check (see Tim Wu’s The Attention Merchants on that), so it’s not like a single entity can just bombard populations with a message over and over until they’re forced to accept it. ᵒʳ ᶜᵃⁿ ʸᵒᵘ

BUT when was the last time you saw an advertisement that gave an inch?
“Come on down to Comfy Jim’s Mattress Shoppe! Since 1983, we’ve lived by our slogan: ‘I only have two mattresses for sale!'”

When was the last time propaganda hedged its message?
“Join The Army: The Medics Are Really Well-Trained”

Want the best example ever? Remember the ads for the Marines where the soldier fought a (presumably-Afghani) lava colossus? And not with a gun, but with a sword? Regular TV ads are required to feature small print or a manic recitation of side effects; no such restriction here, it might as well have featured screen-length font reading “KILLING SHIT IN REAL LIFE? IT’S ACTUALLY A VIDEO GAME. NOBODY SUFFERS, ESPECIALLY NOT YOU.” (I’m not linking the video because subjecting you to propaganda is the Marines’ job.) And this worked, or they wouldn’t have run the ad. It worked to convince young men and women to sign up en masse to put their lives on the line.

So if we want to warm someone’s heart into beating the same rhythm as ours regarding healthcare, the environment, welfare, equality, needs & wants and what’s deserved & what’s earned, we have to stick to what works: absolute unbending pressure behind our message.

You can even imagine it, a conversation stripped of all intellectual pretense.

Roger says “I like the Republicans.” Danny says “Shut up, you’re wrong.” Roger: “No, you shut up, you’re wrong.” Okay— impasse. How does anyone come out on top? A teammate arrives.

Roger: “Shut up, you’re wrong.”
Danny & Dolores: “Shut up, you’re wrong”
Roger: “Shut up, you’re wr-“
Danny & Dolores & Derrick & Debbie: “Shut up, you’re wrong.”
Roger: “sh. . sh”
A ton of D: “Shut up, you’re wrong.”
[Exeunt Roger to woods, where he lives alone, ashamed, forever]

Shame is so powerful! Feeling as though he’s being kicked tf out of society is gonna either make Roger change his mind or get kicked tf out.

But maybe Roger’s squad shows up. And they have their own #squadgoals. The opposing sides build and build in number until they consist of the entire population of these United States. With such an overwhelming hypothesis, which team wins? How can we possibly figure out which unified voice ends up drowning out the other at the grand conclusion of this all-consuming screambattl—

Image.png

We have a message and it needs to be the loudest. I’m uncertain of the best way to convey the message. The scale ranges from “kys trump and kin and all trumpkins” to “I have sixteen sourced research studies, each conducted impeccably. Read them all and you’ll be convinced.” You do you.

But if the goal of those actions and any in between is empowering our message until it seems as inevitable as tablets carried down the mountain, the only possible silencing or refutation of that message comes from internal naysayers.

Which brings us back to Gorsuch, and the moderates’ points in his “favor,” which can be reviewed with fresh eyes from the position I’ve described.

“Reagan named a supreme court justice and he didn’t turn out so awful!” First off: it was awful considering the alternative is anyone you can imagine who would be better. It’s awful to not get what you want from the world you live in when we have the capability and resources to make it any measure easier. It’s fucking awful and unfair and there’s no reason life should be like this. Don’t talk down to yourself. (I’ll do it for you, obvs.) Secondst off, who cares? I will remember your advice when I next stumble down a timetube into the 1980s. (no i won’t, like they didn’t even have spotify or cars back then, i would throw myself in front of a horse-and-buggy if that happened)

“He will probably have rulings I disagree with, but that’s okay.” Why not disagree with all of them? They will never be perfect. Ginsberg and Sotomayor ain’t perfect (though they’re closer). Until our world is perfect, disagree with every ruling that doesn’t elevate us, and demand more from the ones that do. Why not? What do you stand to lose by demanding the things you want? At worst, you don’t yet get the things you want. What do you stand to gain? … The things you want.

“He’s intelligent and civil. There’s no denying he’s fit for the job.” Sociopaths can be intelligent and civil. These are not hallmarks of any sort of moral or character or soul. He is not fit for the job because he is not perfect. Find me perfection and I’ll quit whining; until then, we have rhetorical work to do and the sleeves remain rolled up. Oh, and Gorsuch is neither intelligent or civil. He stands behind corporations over people (the opposite of civil) and he made the decision to do so (the opposite of intelligent).

“Save your energy for the next round of protesting!” What?? you don’t need to tell people to save their energy. When people run out of energy, they stop without your say-so. No one feels proud of it, so they do it in private, watching TV or whatever, so you can’t prove that folks are even capable of running out of energy. We may all have massive energy reserves that we still don’t tap because maybe every single human is a lazy bag of meatslush & dreams & shame (as if their inherent nature is in conflict with their lifelong nurture? huh). Who knows? So just never say this again, the advice has no positive effect and may have a negative one.

All of the quoted comments above strengthen the opposition’s message. Fuck that! Don’t stop being an advertisement for what you believe in. You’re Coke and they’re Pepsi. Why say anything that could give them market share? Especially when our drink tastes like grape socialism and theirs tastes like the icy runoff from the corpses of the poor thawing out on the sidewalks as winter snowbanks finally melt into spring a.k.a. LaCroix.

I get that what I’m suggesting is unnatural behavior. These tactics don’t lend themselves to friendly conversation. People might accuse you of an intellectual blind spot. Good. They’ve already lost. We’re going to win. ᵒʳ ʷⁱˡˡ ʷYES. WE’RE GOING TO WIN

tl;dr You can only bring people to your cause with individual communication and understanding of others’ humanity plus the unceasing support from and collaboration with your community. Everything I’ve described above is rooted in empathy and non-violence. Namaste.

Each scandal of the Trump presidency is crystallizing what it takes to oust him.

Once more, Trump tells us that what could very well be an act of malfeasance is actually a silly mistake— Sessions “could have stated his response more accurately, but it was clearly not intentional.” Whoopsie-daisy, Baby Jeffy did an uh-oh!

It’s the same timbre of a friend of yours asking you for the benefit of the doubt. And it works for his constituents. If your friend admits to human error, you typically let it slide, right? “Ah, sorry, forgot that I owe you $20. I’ll have it next time!” Sure, okay. The fact that we bro down will probably always be worth more than that $20. It’s important to have friends, and so they get leeway. Authority figures, like cops, schoolteachers, politicians— they get (and obviously deserve!) less.

But if George W. Bush was the president you could drink a beer with, Trump is the president you get drunk with. His fans have already done just that, weekly, seasonally, on their sofas in front of The Apprentice. He’s their friend, the same way we watch the Kardashians and insist we’d be instant bffs upon meeting (I’m def changing my name to “Krian”), the same way I watch Parks and Recreation with the assurance the ensemble would hate me (no wait i should probably go with “Crian”)— we get really personal with the characters we enjoy, and never has a president held such a “personal” connection with his intended audience and key demos. And how do they take it?

Mr. Sessions forgot TWO meetings with a single Russian? That’s nothin. Hell I’ve forgotten at least three job interviews this year!
*wedges chaw in gumline*
Sometimes I even “forget” to pay my tab at the Waffle House!
*guffaws, shoves chaw nugget in nostril*
Them boys’re just doing the best they can up there in the White House. Lord knows I’d have a tough time of it, and I’m the smartest one in this whole holler!
*stores a loaded handgun within easy reach of his twin toddlers: Jenkem Jr. and Big Pup*
Yep us three are the only ones who ain’t trickled away yet after the perpetual coalfire kicked off in the mine 60 years ago. The last’a Centralia!
*tear ducts leak a dipspit & Dew slurry*
anyway i’m unemployed because Obummer executive ordered it. rail me trump-daddy

I’m not sure how this relationship lends itself to new strategy for the opposition. I just think we’ll see, again and again, requests for us to forgive the Trump administration for human error, even though we really really really really need our president to be better than all of us. Our president should be inhuman in her perfection.

It’s great that Sessions recused himself, I didn’t expect anything to come of his Russia revelation.
But in order to be convincing and not just an obstruction, we gotta prove willful malevolence. Anything else looks like drama-fueled nitpicking from another clique across the lunchroom, an attack on semantics meant to be heard by people who are more likely to make a joke about semen-tics than listen to you. We need to find Trump’s secret Burn Book and then paste photocopies up and down the hallway lockers for all the rubes to see. Nothing else will drive a wedge into the bonhomie between prom king and pals.

until they begin dying off in droves without healthcare or money or food or compassion and get a lot less Mean Girls and a lot more Carrie 😈