So America is in the middle of a massive stomach churn of the body politic, heaving while half of it freezes and the other half burns (climate change is a myth, part of SoCal always slides into the ocean during January). The Evil Empire that Trump put into office is cancelling net neutrality, funding Big Coal, releasing the oceans to drilling, and trying to criminalize pot again. Also Trump is still President. So it’s bad.
But it’s not that bad, it may even be good, and I am not a glass-half-full kind of person. Why am I delusional about this? Here, have some random optimism:
The FCC under oafish bro Ajit Pai, decided to rescind the net neutrality rules because, hey, regulations are bad unless they’re about whether you can decided to smoke pot, have a baby, or marry the person you love because we gotta draw the line somewhere and it’s sure as hell not gonna be putting watchdogs on corporations because corporations are people and people are . . . not? Where was I? Oh, yeah, Ajit Pai gave the internet to Big Business instead of to the American people. Then he made fun of the people who said, “Whoa, there, One Percent, you can’t just steal the net.” So the people and some of their reps in Congress mobilized under the leadership of Edward J. Markey, whom I had not heard of before but whom I now kinda want to have his baby, and got enough signatures to send to the Senate floor a vote to overrule the FCC. Forty people have already signed on, and now the other sixty are going to have to go on record as to whether people have a right to an open internet. See that little spinning ball that makes you want to throw something at your screen? The Dems are going to put an elephant on that sucker if Congress doesn’t vote to overrule. So that vote’s going to be fun to watch.
Then Rick Perry, noted idiot (“Oops”), issued a proposal to fund America’s coal industry, which sounds like something Rick Perry would do, whereupon his Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) which is composed mainly of Republicans, said, “No.” Actually, they said, “This plan is dumb as snot” (I’m paraphrasing there), and Perry said, “Oh. Okay. Thanks.” God knows what he’ll do next, but it probably won’t be sending tax dollars to an industry that helped cause the godawful weather we’re having, not to mention black lung disease and the rape of the environment.
Then there’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke who just opened all of America’s coasts to drilling for oil because how could that possibly go wrong? How fast are Democratic candidates rushing to save the coasts while Republicans are stuck pointing out that BP disaster wasn’t THAT bad? Pretty damn fast. And what is the Trump administration getting in return? Lawsuits. Lots and lots of lawsuits because states have a great deal of say in what happens on their shores. Remember Trump’s “I think the states should decide” mantra whenever he wanted to avoid making a decision? Yeah, that’s coming back to bite him. Fun fact: you can’t run a pipeline to the shore of a state without that state’s permission. Another fun fact, most of those coastal states are blue, not red, so there really aren’t that many Republicans to fight for something that was abysmally stupid to begin with. Even Rick Scott, not a voice of liberalism, opposes drilling off the Atlantic shore.* The military opposes drilling off the Atlantic shore. Drilling in the Arctic region of Alaska is so iffy that other companies with permission gave up trying. Once again, the current administration has done something so unpopular and dumb that it’s galvanizing everybody else to fight back .
And then there’s Jeff Sessions, a fine nineteenth century Southerner mad as hell about being stuck in twenty-first century, so he’s decided to declare that marijuana is illegal everywhere before he re-institutes slavery and tells women to just take off their shoes, get back in the kitchen and have that baby. In fact, he’s telling law enforcement officers to crack down on weed because “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.” Swear to god, he said that. Of course he also apologized for supporting the KKK by saying that he thought they were okay before he found out they smoked pot. My fellow Americans, our attorney general. So how’s that going for him? Oh, badly, very badly. The states that have legalized pot are benefiting greatly from it because law enforcement can now focus on things like crime, not to mention it’s profitable as hell, popular as hell, and taxable. Lot of Republican congresspeople are not happy at a time when Sessions really needs Congress to like him a lot, since that’s all that standing between him and Trump’s wrath at his recusal from the Russian investigation. Also enforcement depends on the various state prosecutors, most of whom rolled their eyes and went back to work ignoring him. And of course, the states are talking about filing lawsuits. Best of all, this could very well push Congress to make pot legal nationally. You’re doin’ a heckuva job,
(Stop for a moment and consider that the Trump admin has tried to slow down the internet and take away pot . All it needs to do now is outlaw pizza, and it’ll have the Most-Unpopular-Administration-in-the-History-of-America Trifecta.)
I could go on–remember when Trump banned trans people in the military and the military said, “Uh, no,” protected their trans members, and announced they were accepting trans recruits? Good times–but the bottom line is that everything that’s happening reinforces an idea I wrote about in October of 2016: America is going through an Extinction Burst, the cataclysm of resistance against change that happens when the body (human or politic) realizes that Something Is Really Different and tries to drag things back to The Way They Were. If the body can power through the extinction burst, the new normal sets in and the resistance goes away. The old “This is the Way Things Should Be” becomes the new “This is the Way Things Should Be.” So “White Men Have Absolute Power” becomes “Me, Too.” The popular opinion that “The President Should Be White and Male” becomes the viral “Oprah 2020.” And (fingers crossed) “The Urban Coasts Have All The Power” becomes “Crap, The Flyover States Just Elected Somebody UnElectable, We’re Gonna Have to Pay Attention to Them.”
So if you look at this as an Extinction Burst, the Trump Presidency is essential to the health of America. An incompetent (thank god) who larded his administration with reactionaries has highlighted how harmful, cruel, and just plain dumb those old ideas were, and is slowly educating the country once again that our freedoms depend on us, not the President/Congress/Supreme Court. If we don’t want what we’re getting now, we have to change it, by staying informed and supporting the watchdog news industry, by sponsoring the organizations that are working to protect us, and by voting.
And the lovely thing is, we’re doing all of that. The Washington Post and New York Times are more profitable than ever before because we’re subscribing, Planned Parenthood and other liberal/progressive special interest groups are logging record membership and donation numbers, and the special elections have been a thumb in the eye to Trump-supporting Republicans, who have become endangered even in the safest of all of possible states (Welcome, Doug Jones!).
Here’s a good example of a reason to be optimistic: The ACLU has had an amazing year (thank you, President Trump, for that Muslim ban, that was a YUGE help) and whoa, baby, do they have big plans: “Soaring after a banner year — the ACLU raised $93 million online in the 12 months after Donald Trump was elected president, up from $5.5 million the year before, and its membership quadrupled to 1.6 million — the civil rights group is in the midst of a dramatic makeover. The group aims to rival the National Rifle Association as a force on the left and become a hub of the anti-Trump movement.” Think of that for a minute: The ACLU in a smackdown with the NRA. It’s like the nerdy kid spent the summer bulking up and is getting ready to kick bully butt. Meanwhile, Republican incumbents, the kind of congresspeople most likely to be re-elected, are retiring in droves, and the people who are lining up to run in their places would be giving the Republican Establishment heartburn if it had a heart. Joe Arpaio just declared for Jeff Flake’s Senate seat. Michelle Bachman is thinking seriously about running for Al Franken’s seat. It’s only a matter of time before Todd Akins decides that his rape comment wasn’t that bad. And there’s the ACLU, sitting on ninety-three mill. I’m telling you, the midterm elections are going to be interesting.
But why wait until then? Three news stories broke today (“Slow News Day” is another victim of the Trump Presidency):
• Robert Mueller has notified the Trump legal team that he wants to question the President. Since the President likes to talk, thinks he hasn’t done anything wrong, and has the impulse control of a two-year-old, the legal team would be smart to refuse because he will definitely tell them about how he and Putin planned the election (“We have the best brains”), following it up with “But you should really lock up Hillary, she’s the nasty woman here.” But if the Trump legal team refuses, Mueller can subpoena him, and then the lawyers can’t be in the court with him, intervening to protect him. So that would be worse. Maybe. You know, there’s just not a good scenario for the Trump people here.
• Diane Feinstein (I definitely want to have her baby) just released the transcripts from the Fusion GPS hearing, and it turns out that the reason the FBI believed the Steele dossier was that somebody inside the Trump campaign had already called them to report that there were a helluva lotta Russians talking to a lotta Trump people. So that idea that everybody in the Trump campaign was corrupt and stupid? Not true. One person saw the handwriting on the Kremlin and called in.
• Steve Bannon is out at Breitbart, climaxing his power castration at the tiny hands of Donald Trump.
Come on, people. The glass is definitely half full.
*Several hours after I published this, Scott got Zimke to back down on drilling off the Florida coast because it’s a special case because Florida relies on tourism. Countdown to when the other states point out that all coastal economies are based on tourism.
And then several hours after that, a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to begin accepting DACA applications again.
I can’t wait for tomorrow.