And the Librarians Shall Lead Us

I recently listened to a fabulous (albeit, disturbing) podcast on the most recent, and most virulent form of all of “cancel culture” currently being waged by the conservative wing of the United States of Our Kind of America – Moms for Liberty, book banning, and the whole-sale closure of public lending libraries.

That a group that seeks to define what the entire community may read can, with a straight face, call itself the “Moms for Liberty” begs the question – does this gang of self-righteous women who know better than everyone else (and have zero respect or tolerance for values that don’t line up with their own) actually have a sense of humor?

While it’s discouraging in the extreme to hear that a coalition that represents perhaps 30% of the American public has been surgically successful at removing books like “Gender Queer” and “Not All Boys Are Blue” – perhaps the only texts available to young people questioning their own gender identity – I look back at the arc of American history and the efforts of the haves to oppress the have-nots.

It is undoubtedly true that we still live in a country plagued by systemic racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, misogyny, and xenophobia -we can thank the flatulating water buffalo who likes to call himself 45 that most of the country now mostly understands what those last two words mean. Add to them transphobia, body dysmorphia, gender reassignment surgery, and perhaps we are even richer in our vocabulary.

To be a person of color in America today remains dangerous. To be a woman is to see years of progress tossed into the trash like yesterdays’s lunch.

To be gay is to continue to fear rejection by one’s family and community, be fired from one’s job (even though that’s illegal), and yes, even 25 years after Matthew Shepard was tied to a fence and beaten until he died for the sin of being gay, be killed for it.

To be a member of transgendered community, though…that’s the new precipice. If you really want to show what you’re made of. I currently know 2 whom I count to be adored, adopted sons, and their honesty, courage, and determination to live authentically is of the kind we should be lauding the way we do Ivy League admissions, NCAA championships, and Silicon Valley IPOs.

I’m not going to go long or deep on the bravery it takes to set aside all everyone has ever know about you and say, “that’s not who I am, it’s never who I was,” and know that even the most loving and supportive people in your life may have to take a deep breath and sit with it for a while, not because they don’t love ever particle of your being, but because it just never entered their mind that you weren’t who they thought you were, and that is an adjustment.

Others are far less understanding, kind, supportive, or aware that your decision is not a statement about them, their values, their sexuality, or their god, because it doesn’t, and if they’d met you after, as you are and we’re meant to be, they’d never think twice about who you are.

It’s appalling, and wholly unconscionable, and unconstitutional, and contrary to the principles upon which this country was established by founding fathers who could not have fathomed hypocrisy the size of mega-churches, or the Moms for Liberty who recruit women who have never read the books they believe are intended to indoctrinate the precious children they have no problem exposing to violent and oversexualized media from a very young age (Toddlers and Tiaras, anyone? Seen a pageant where 6 year old girls shake their booties, have you? Watched the kind of videos your kids are playing by the age of 10?)

A thoughtful liabrary in Ferndale, MI got smart and organized with the same Union as the Detroit Free Press, then implemented a book challenge protocol that puts the burden of proof on the challenger – not the library – and requires the challenger to write a three-page report setting forth specific complaints as to why the book is not of value to the collection or the community and requires the challenger to certify that they have actually read the book. The challenger must also include reviews of the book, pro and con, as to why the book does, or does not, deserve a read.

Brilliant, and something librarians in Florida might want to think about adopting, lest that state be slow-walked to the swamp of defiant ignorance into which some seem so determined to lead it.

Right now, the focus is on drag queens and the transgendered, and I will admit, with some degree of embarrassment, that drag queens make me very uncomfortable. I don’t know why, but I do know that it’s NOT because a drag Queen ever followed me into a restroom and tried to assault me, or ever did anything to me, because I’ve never actually met a drag queen in person. Whatever the reason, (1) that’s for ME to work out; and (2) it’s NOT a reason to limit what drag queens can and can’t do as drag queens.

But here’s the good news (though it might not sound so great right now, and it’s spoken by a straight white woman):

The “haves,” however you define them (white, male, straight, Christian, cis) have always tried to keep the “have-nots” down.

Things are not perfect. Problems remain. There is so much work to be done.

But the ”haves” trying to keep the “have nots” down?

It hasn’t worked.

Barack Obama. It took too long. It’s not enough. But it happened.

Four women on the Supreme Court (okay, one’s a bot). It took too long. It’s not enough. But it happened.

25% of the 118th Congress is made up of POC, and 44% is female. 13 members are members of the LGBTQ Community. It took too long. It’s not enough. But it happened.

And so on, and so on, and so on.

In fifty years, “white” will be a minority race in the country. Women will far outnumber men in the C-suite. And it will be Dobbs that gets tossed out like yesterday’s lunch.

It’s coming, because it always does. The human heart is born understanding that it is meant to be just, and fair, and helpful whenever possible. As Rogers and Hammerstein put it so well, “You Have to Be Carefully Taught.”

Given a normal person a neutral situation, and they will act justly. There is still evil and injustice and always will be, but for the last 3,000, we have mostly, eventually, gotten it right.

We just have to do it better, and faster.

So, Moms For Liberty, you can try to take our books. Go ahead. You aren’t going to stop people from reading, or trans people from living their life authentically, or librarians from fighting back, because as between a Mom for Liberty with a printed set of talking points downloaded from the internet and a librarian, I’ll bet on the librarian every time.

When I used to go to church, the service would end with the celebrant saying, “now, go in peace, to love and serve the lord.” I’m pretty sure the lord would consider it a better use of my time to read to my grandchild, walk my dog, visit my mom, work in my garden, put new books in my little free library, take a little snooze, text with Hanna, or snuggle with my kitty, than exert myself trying to get books banned, which was something Adolph Hitler did, and while the lord may have loved Adolph Hitler because I guess that’s the lord’s thing (love the sinner, hate the sin), you can see how this could be a hot button issue for the lord, because burning books is in oh so many instances the first of many steps towards the formation of a totalitarian regime that singled out the “have nots,” and, well, you know what happens then…

Don’t be a dick and make sure everyone gets fed.

Support your local library.

Trans people really just want to live their lives without having to answer the questions no polite (or even borderline rude person) would ever ask someone else. Yes, they pee and poop, too, the end, infinity.

Have a great day.

It’s My Christianity, and You Can’t Have Any

So, this football player, Demar Hamilton, got really banged up during a game and had to be taken off the field in an ambulance, and people were praying that he would be okay, because he coded, like, seventeen times (that’s not true, but it was a grave situation), and although Demar ended up being okay, and was gracious in his recovery in thanking all the right people (but unfortunately, wore a jacket to the Super Bowl a few weeks later that stirred up controversy, although I can’t recall why), and although the whole incident brought much-deserved attention to the often-overlooked heroism of EMT workers, you just KNEW some Bible-thumper was going to have to get her pussy all wet over something.

In this case, it was Laura Baker-Cain Wright, who posted a photograph of Tim Tebow, formerly of college football and well-know for praying a lot. I don’t really know anything else about him except that he prays a lot and didn’t do much in the NFL except pray.  As for what he’s doing now (except for, presumably, praying), who knows.  Anyway, Ms. Baker-Cain, who is more saved and loved by God than you, said this:

Now that Demar Hamlin is breathing on his own and talking to his family and doctors, I’m going to finally say what’s been on my mind….

ESPN, NFL and the Sportswriters owe Tim Tebow an apology.  Don’t shun and mock Tebow for kneeling to pray, and then find yourself or one of your own in a crisis and it suddenly become acceptable.  Suddenly God and prayer is allowed in your arena? 

Rev 3:16 “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue [?] thee out of my mouth.”

Be for Him or against Him.  You can’t pick and choose when you want God in your life.  I appreciate Tim Tebow for always being a Christian man and leading with love and Christ in the forefront of everything he does.  I am thankful Hamlin is alive and maybe this scary situation led others to find prayer and Christ.  Accept faith and prayer and don’t ridicule those who do it.

Well, I have to say, Laura Baker-Cain, your post is among the stupidest, and most mean-spirited things I have ever read.

First, I’m not familiar with the comments ESPN, the NFL, or the unnamed “Sportswriters” made about Tim Tebow praying before, during or after a game (although I am very well-acquainted with what was said about NFL players who took a knee to protest institutionalized racism – are they owed an apology?) As I recall, if anyone had a problem with Tebow, it was that he wasn’t a very good player – at least, not good enough for the NFL.

More to the point, this post seems to drag out that old Fox News trope that there is some kind of war on Christianity in this country, but let’s face it: When 64% of the population of the US identify as practicing Christians, when every president of our country has been a Christian, and when 88% of the new Congress is Christian, when 92% of the Supreme Court Justices since its inception have been Christian; well, it’s hard to say you live in a country where the people who make the rules have a problem with Christianity.

I also have to ask if the point of this post is to argue that if you aren’t a devout Christian, you don’t get to share in any expression of gratitude that Demar Hamlin isn’t dead, or any offering of hope – religious or not – that he continues to get better? Is it now the rule that if your aren’t a church-going Christian, you don’t get to care about what happens when an NFL player gets hurt on the field? That’s messed up.

I am not a perfect person, and I am not a religious person, and I get pretty tired of people who aren’t Jesus telling me what he does and does not approve of.

For one, it’s pretty presumptuous for those people to assume I care. For another, if I want to know what Jesus wants me to, I’ll pick up the Gospel and read it for myself. You know. Like an educated person.

And since I’ve read it before, I can tell you one thing it DOESN’T say, which is, “If thou hast mocked Tim Tebow for his prayer (assuming for the moment that Tim Tebow prayeth not like a Pharisee but with a servant’s humility), then thou shouldst not then pray for Demar Hamlin lest ye contract a nasty genital rash.”

This post is further idiotic in that the only person to whom it could ever appropriately apply would be Demar Hamlin himself, IF he had mocked Tim Tebow, and IF he then appeared on television yesterday to pray for himself – which he didn’t. Also, that would be HARSH, dude.

Also, I doubt there is anyone out there aside from Hamlin’s family who considered his cardiac arrest and hospitalization a personal crisis (unless it’s a gambling addict that bet his mortgage on the game), so, once again, to whom is this post even directed?

Oh, right. People like me. People who don’t go to church. People who don’t pray and fall into line like good church-going Christians. People who lack the certitude of their rightness – about Jesus, about God, about sin, and about who is most definitely going straight to hell, with no bathroom breaks.

In addition to pointing out that this is most certainly NOT the first time prayer has been allowed in an NFL arena, I’d like to ask that the woman who wrote this post show the same respect for people who aren’t religious as she reserves for those who are. I have no complaint with those who wish to worship – but I don’t want to be forced to do it with you, or else be condemned as “bad” because I don’t.

Finally, a true Christian who rejoices in the love of God and all mankind and should delight in ANY opportunity to reach new souls. This woman should be thrilled out of her mind at the idea that prayer of any kind – even a moment of silence – is being televised!

But is she? NO! And damn you if you come to Jesus in a CRISIS – which is exactly the time many people do. According to Ms. Baker-Cain, Jesus doesn’t want you then! He only wants you if you’ve been coming to church every week, not just on Christmas and Easter, and god help you if you don’t use your envelopes! Jesus only wants the non-sinners, and don’t you forget it when you are on your knees with nothing left to hold on to, sitting in the hotel room holding Gideon’s Bible and a gun and trying to decide which one you’re going to put into your brain. That’s Jesus for you.

Instead of clutching Jesus and God to her chest like a bag of candy no one else gets to have (because they’re not worthy!) the writer should be rejoicing at the chance for millions of Americans to experience the potential to feel God’s great healing presence and love for his people, as manifested in the goodwill demonstrated by so many that expressed their concern for Demar yesterday. That concern was truly the best of us – call it Christ, or karma, or whatever – in action.

Anytime someone uses religion as a way to keep people out, one has to ask oneself – is this what my spiritual higher power teaches me?

I don’t believe Jesus asks us to exclude people because of their past deeds. I mean, Mary Magdalene already.

Laura Baker-Cain Wright, may you be filled with the joy of Jesus’ love for his people, and moved to tears with gratitude for the life He has given you. Go out and be nice to people. Buy someone a coffee. Be kind. Life is hard enough.


Abusers Sometimes Wear Crowns

So I finally sat down to watch “Harry and Meghan,” and it was with a cynical smirk that I pressed “play” to begin the six-episode documentary.

I’m no longer cynical, or smirking.

Disclosures: I’m American. I’m liberal. I’m a feminist. I hate gossip. I believe in education. I think mental health, communication, and real engagement is critical to healthy relationships.

And this is why I now despise the British Royal Family.

My bud, Audrey Campbell, has been poking me about this for years. America’s love affair with all things British, including this in-bred group of idiots, is really pretty astounding when you think of how many men died in the Revolutionary War, and in the War of 1812, to be free of a monarch’s tyranny.

Lest you believe I’m suggesting our country is superior to the United Kingdom, I’m not. No way, no how. America is neither morally superior, nor superior in any other way except, perhaps, in per Capita consumption of McDonalds hamburgers. The UK has much to be proud of, has been a strong ally to America pretty much since the moment we broke up, and if it weren’t for Britain, we might all be speaking German. England, I love you (even though I know almost nothing about you except that there is a large clock tower in London, a monster in a loch in Scotland, and that we speak mostly the same language).

But your Royal Family? That has got to go.

Let’s start with this idea that the monarch was anointed by or descended from God.

I don’t even believe in God, but no, no, he/she isn’t. Even if the first ancestor of the current royal family (don’t care who it is, not gonna even bother to google it) were indeed divine, his or her progeny were still born of mortal man and woman, and whatever divinity might have at one time been present has been so diluted as to be akin to me being related to King Tutankhamen, which I am, on my mother’s side. (You can’t prove I’m not).

But this “ordained by God” nonsense is laughable, when the future King of England – who had to marry a virgin – was permitted later to divorce and subsequently remarry a divorced woman after committing adultery. You know, like it says in the Church of England’s Book of Shit it’s Okay to Do Even if the Commandments Say Otherwise.

So no, Royal Family, you are NOT touched by God.

You are also not worth the money the taxpayers pay to support your ridiculously luxurious lifestyle. Sure, it’s important for morale to have ribbon cuttings at municipal water treatment facilities and openings of meat packing plants, and royal weddings and Trooping of the Turnips, or whatever it is they do when everyone in the family puts on their fake military medals and marches around like they single-handedly took out Mussolini.

And don’t you feel better knowing that Princess Catherine of Wales (or Princess of Cambridge or Princess of Uptight Asstown) is now the Honorary Colonel of the Irish Guards? You know she’s going to be up every morning at 4:00 a.m. with her soldiers, doing CrossFit and SEAL training and special ops simulations right alongside them. Who are the Irish Guards? you may ask, and why do they need an Honorary Colonel?


But the real problem with the Royal Family is that they are a f***ed up family, like so many other families, and also, they are not well-educated, or, if they are, have never had to live or work in a world where people do not immediately bend to their will and blow smoke up their butt, no matter how ridiculous or outrageous their behavior.

Which means they do not know how to communicate, or compromise, or consider that they may be wrong. Because their entire existence depends upon the perpetuation of an obsolete and unnecessary institution that has no real value. They cling to it for all the are worth, for if the Royal Family were to cease to exist in its current state, William would have to get a job selling insurance (something he has probably never heard of), and Sophie of Wessex would divorce Edward so quickly, all you would see would be a blond blur as she and the gardener jumped into his Citroen and gunned it for Surrey.

The Harry and Meghan documentary makes very clear – and whether you believe them or not about anything else, on this all people must agree – that the British tabloid press is the main reason they ended up leaving England. Whether you also believe that the Royal Family was behind most of what appeared therein about Meghan, as she and Harry do, is up to you. Harry explains that the British public have always had an unspoken contract with the Royals: We pay your salary, so we’re entitled to invade your privacy. And that’s why the tabloids exist.

It’s a little more complicated than that. Each Royal has their own communications, or “comms” office, and some of those offices have official contacts at the tabloids to whom they feed juicy tidbits – especially if there has been negative press about their principal, and they want the heat off their boss.

So when Harry and Meghan returned from a wildly successful trip to Australia, H & M posit, someone was angry about being the less popular prince, and that person started an anti-Meghan campaign that never stopped. (HINT: IT WAS WILLIAM). For the next two years, Meghan couldn’t poop right for the Royal Family.

And then there was the issue of race.

When things got bad enough, Meghan and Harry decided to take a hiatus and spent Christmas 2019 in Vancouver. During that time, they tried to figure out a way to leave to England without leaving Royal Family so they could get away from the tabloid press. Prior attempts to serve the Royals from a household in New Zealand or South Africa had failed. This time, they proposed to do so from Canada.

So Harry and Meghan flew back to London in early 2020 so Harry could meet with his grandmother to discuss his future. Moments before he landed at Heathrow, however, Harry learned that the appointment had been cancelled, and that he would not be allowed to meet with his grandmother alone.

Instead, Harry was required to attend a meeting with his brother, father, grandmother, and their many advisors, and was told he was either “all in” or “all out.” There would be no halfway measures, no “you can still be a Royal, and serve Her Majesty, while living within the Commonwealth in Canada.” It was their way or the highway. Stay in London, and allow your wife to be ripped limb by limb by the tabloids with material WE will personally furnish to them, or get the F*** out.

They chose to get the F*** out.

After returning to Canada, with paparazzi breaking through the fence that surrounded their rented home, paparazzi in boats gunning past the shore in front of their cottage, paparazzi in helicopters buzzing in the skies. Harry received news that the Royal Family intended to cut off their security detail. ”They would never do that,” he thought.

They did.

It was at about this point that contact with the Royal Family stopped, too. Meghan called Tyler Perry, who had sent her a note of support during some of the roughest times in England, and he offered his home high in the Los Angeles hills until they could make other plans. Harry and Meghan ended up staying for six weeks, until paparazzi found them, at which point the peaceful canyon turned into a battle ground of dueling paparazzi.

Harry and Meghan eventually relocated to Santa Barbara, and after a miscarriage, had a second child. They made a final trip to London to cap off their official Sussex duties, pack up their home, and end their lives as Royals.

They now seem to have a fairly quiet life in California, although they appear to be devoted to aiding humanitarian causes. They have a multi-media deal that includes the Netflix documentary, Harry’s upcoming bio, “Spare,” and other projects.

Some have called them opportunists. Meghan has been labeled a gold digger, a woman who went into her marriage with Prince Harry eyes wide open, but couldn’t stand the heat. People have said she was subjected to no worse than any other person who has married into the Royal Family, but one need only compare how Meghan and William’s wife, Catherine, were covered, during their pregnancies to see that this is plainly untrue. The British Press argued she was bossy, a diva, a bully…descriptions of her that no one who ever knew or worked with her before could square with the Meghan they knew.

The truth – to the extent one can find any here? Someone in the Royal Family didn’t like that Meghan was biracial (I suspect Camilla); someone didn’t like her more casual American way, her warmth, and her desire to fit in (I suspect Kate); someone has always been a little bit jealous of Harry (William); and someone has been waiting WAY to long to be king (Charles).

Harry and William probably both resent their father (and the Royal Family) for what happened to they mother), but William, who has to stay in line, because he IS next in line, seethes with anger at what he can’t say and can’t walk away from. And NO ONE EVER TALKS TO ANYONE ABOUT ANYTHING.

In the documentary, it’s Tyler Perry who makes the most profound observation of the entire Harry and Meghan saga – one I am surprised more have not leapt upon:

What the Royal Family did to Meghan Markle (and to Diana before her), was nothing short of spousal abuse. She married the Royal Family, and the Royal Family beat the shit out of her until she almost killed herself.

When she tried to leave, it tried to isolate her, then withdrew all forms of support (in this case, much-needed security). It fed gossip about her to the tabloids, knowing exactly what that would mean, it gaslighted her, it demeaned her, and when she tried to get help, the Palace told her she wasn’t an employee and was not eligible for health care coverage.

That is the Royal Family. It’s an angry, impotent, irrelevant spouse, intimidated by a strong, beautiful person who knows her worth and had already been a voice for equality and justice in her pre-Royal life.

She had an education, she had worked her way up from modest beginnings to make her own money and earn her place in the world based upon her accomplishments well before she ever met a British prince. Meghan Markle is surely smarter than every member of the Royal Family combined, and she tried to do the job she was asked to do, even though no one would tell her what that was, and made sure she knew that they despised everything about her that was American.

Royal Family, America got rid of you once pretty decisively, but then we made up and decided to be friends. We have been friends for a long time, and the part of your country that isn’t you, I like just fine.

But you need to go. You need to step down. The Queen is dead, we all watched the non-stop coverage of her funeral for days, out of respect for you, and we get it. We were really sad, too, when they stopped making the McRib sandwich.

But enough, already. Charles is a petulant dick, and William is a bully who cares more about being king (because what else is he qualified to do, he and his 78 pound Stepford wife?) than he does about maintaining a relationship with his brother, who appears to be a fairly insightful guy (but I guess that’s what happens when you move to California).

Jealousy moves people to the worst behavior. Charles allowed it to kill his wife. Harry saw the future and got the hell out.

Kate Middleton probably sits at home and wishes she were Meghan.

And Meghan, I hope, is now free to be Meghan.

What Privilege Really Looks Like

In November 2015, Annabella Rockwell, Mount Holyoke College Class of 2015 was interviewed by Tucker Carlson to discuss her “brainwashing” at my alma mater, and how before she entered those hallowed halls, she had never experienced misogyny, sexism, or any “isms”. Ms. Rockwell also talked about how her very wealthy mother hired “cult specialists” as well as Ms. Rockwell’s former tennis coach to deprogram her after she graduated and began a life as a campaign staffer for liberal dem candidates. Now a social events coordinator for Prager University, a Christan Values organization, Ms. Rockwell chastised pretty much everything she says Mount Holyoke stands for,

Here’s my response.

I, and two of my daughters attended Mount Holyoke, and I know many other women who attended women’s colleges. None of us are alcoholic man-haters, none of us have ever had to be deprogrammed, all of us have good, well-paying jobs (except for my daughter who is in graduate school and plans to attend medical school), and none of us have ever chopped our hair off in order to make a statement about men. Most of us do not hail from wealthy families (although some of us have earned our own wealth), all of us who have kids have strong, healthy relationships with them, although they don’t always agree with us, know more about computers than we do, and think we are dinosaurs because at one time we did not have smartphones.

My experience, and that of my daughters, was that Mount Holyoke, like most colleges, was a place where freedom of speech was the norm. Yes, it is a liberal environment where great thought is put into making sure all are treated with respect – a fact I do not consider a negative. We live in a global community where a person’s culture may inform their acts and perspective. Is it too much to ask us to consider how a person may be different in ways that might impact how they communicate, what they eat, or what is sacred to them, knowing that the same respect will be shown to us? It seems to me that having an understanding of these things can go a long way towards creating understanding and avoiding conflict.

Liberal arts colleges always have been bastions of high-minded ideals that rarely make it onto Main Street – reality and practicality quickly set in for most young people once they have to pay taxes and live on a budget. Perhaps the greatest gift of a liberal arts education – aside from creating formidable bar trivia competitors – is that, at its best, it encourages its graduates to approach life in general with a broader perspective and an open mind. With most “real world” issues that arise at work or in family life, we do not have the luxury of lengthy philosophical debates that creep into the wee hours of the morning, during which we can flex our academic muscles and cite liberally from our most recent deep dives into de Tocqueville, Schopenhauer, or Adam Smith, but at the very least, we have HAD these discussions, or something like them, and we have internalized the critical thinking that such brain-fests, along with rigorous classroom debate, has instilled in us.

For all her newfound awareness of the evils of a school like Mount Holyoke, I suspect the real turning point for Ms. Rockwell was not so much a “come to Jesus” moment or a heartfelt belief that she had been brainwashed at Mount Holyoke; rather, I suspect that at some point, her family cut off all financial support, and Ms. Rockwell determined (as so many children of wealth have before her) that her principles were less important that her fondness for nice things. The Fox article accompanying the video clip of the interview mentions that Ms. Rockwell worked on the 2016 Hilary for President Campaign and that if she had not seen the error of her ways, she would probably be working for another liberal democrat and spending time with people she had “nothing in common with except drinking.” It isn’t difficult to imagine that most people working for Democratic candidates for office probably don’t come from the sort of privilege that begat Ms. Rockwell, or that their respective upbringings, family values, and bedrock principles were likely quite different.

That Ms. Rockwell’s decision to return to kith and kin was not so much the result of an “aha” moment as the desire to protect her inheritance – not to mention the heavy hand of a mother prone to throwing lead-crystal vases when confronted with the newfangled ideas of a daughter whose conscience had been awakened at college – is readily apparent in photographs that pop up on a Google search of her name, which show Ms. Rockwell attending posh New York and Palm Beach society events with other Rockwell analogs of East Coast heiress privilege – tanned, leggy blondes with blindingly white smiles and clad in figure-hugging mini-dresses. She claims that it was only after sobering up that she realized that she had been brainwashed by Mount Holyoke’s “all men are pigs, all Whites are racists, and all women are victims” dogma.

During her interview with Tucker Carlson, who resembles nothing so much as a brown-sugar-basted ham, so fatuous in his delight at taking down a school like Mount Holyoke (he also mentions Duke University in the introduction to his piece), some of the holes in Ms. Rockwell’s story were evident: Her examples of “indoctrination”?

At Mount Holyoke, first-year students are called “firsties” instead of “freshmen,” because they are women, and students are asked to identify their pronouns – something most people in business have been doing for a few years now. She also explained how in classes, women are challenged to consider how, throughout history, White men have controlled virtually every aspect of life (government, business, theology, medicine, law, etc.), and how this has impacted women and minorities. Ms. Rockwell then responded that she had never experienced either sexism or racism (thus implicitly suggesting that these evils must not actually exist), and that she was forced to reconsider the lies she was taught at Mount Holyoke during protests during the summer of 2020 following the death of George Floyd, when she saw people of color damaging and looting local businesses because this, she felt, was not how an oppressed person should act.

Spoken like a rich White girl.

Finally, Ms. Rockwell relates that she was counseled by professors to detach from her parents and to spend holidays with them during school breaks, rather than going home to her family. While I know many Mount Holyoke professors who opened their homes to students who were unable to leave campus during academic recess, none of the students I have talked to, and neither of my daughters or their friends have ever heard of a professor actively advocating that a student break from their parents. Most of the professors I knew were so busy teaching, grading, conducting office hours, doing their own research, attending conferences, and overseeing independent study (not to mention taking care of their own families and trying to carve out a private life of their own) to engage in such nonsense, and all of them understood how outrageously inappropriate such behavior would have been.

Tucker, giddy with the joy of a White fraternity boy at his first gang rape, could not contain his glee as he talked about the excesses of New England Liberal Arts Colleges (you know – like the one HE went to – Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut) that teach students to hate their parents and fill their heads with nonsense (unless you’re an heir to the Swanson frozen food fortune and your parents had the good sense to raise you Republican and send you to an exclusive Episcopalian boarding school).

Tucker, that paragon of good sense, the man who stands on the pinnacle of the moral high ground, warned all parents to be sure not to fall for this trap! After all, poor Ms. Rockwell’s parents had to hire both a deprogrammer, at $300/day, AND her former tennis coach, to force her to atone for her sins and admit she was wrong, wrong, WRONG for all the things she had thought and and to re-teach her how to think the RIGHT THINGS. That doesn’t sound at all like indoctrination or brainwashing to me.

Ms. Rockwell now works for Prager U, a Christian organization the peddles videos that teach kids to “man up,” not be such woke sissies, and to ignore the culture of victimhood because Black people got three square meals a day, guaranteed lifetime employment, and free housing. She’s an events coordinator and spends a lot of time posting on Insta, looking great in white jeans and high-heeled sandals and in shots with her mother, the formidable Melinda Rockwell, to whom Ms. Rockwell once attempted to explain the concept of “oppression,” only to be shouted down by a mother who admits that she refused to even listen to her daughter’s new ideas and opinions. Sounds like the Rockwell home was the kind of place where one felt free to express one’s thoughts and opinions, without fear of reproach (or being hit with a lead-crystal vase).

Ms. Rockwell believes she was badly done by Mount Holyoke, and that’s a shame, because most Mount Holyoke alumnae are overwhelmingly loyal to their alma mater and consider their time there to be among the most valuable of their lives. Perhaps their parents were less threatened by any new perspectives they brought home from college with them – my conservative Army colonel father could have not disagreed more with my bleeding heart liberal views formed and nurtured at Mount Holyoke, but it was in fact he who encouraged me to go there in the first place, even though he knew precisely what he was in for. He knew Mount Holyoke would challenge me, and teach me how to think. We argued loud and long over Iran-Contra and Ronald Reagan and trickle-down economics and Margaret Thatcher, and we NEVER ONCE agreed – but he respected that I had become a critical thinker who had learned to make a strong, coherent argument (even if, in his opinion, I was wrong).

Teaching women to be rigorous, independent thinkers and to pursue excellence in all aspects of their lives, has always been the primary goal of Mount Holyoke and other women’s colleges, which were founded because there were no institutions of higher learning for women. What Tucker Carlson, and men of his ilk, don’t tell women like Ms. Rockwell, is that if they had their way, colleges like Mount Holyoke would never have been founded, and wouldn’t exist. They pay lip service to inclusivity and will applaud the achievements of women – as long as those women stay in their lane, don’t strive for too much power or control, and for God’s sake, retain their femininity (in other words – stay fuckable).

Women should be allowed to work outside the home – as long as they know their place, and that place is in support of men, or at home raising their children. When women do venture into the workplace, that’s okay, as long as they know that they are also there to satisfy whatever sexual whims they may stir in the loins of the men with whom they work. You certainly can’t ask men like Roger Ailes to be surrounded by the hotness of Kimberly Guilfoyle and not need a blow job from an admin once in a while. As long as the women understand that, then they can stay.

Liberal arts colleges scare people like Tucker Carlson and Fox Nation, because they produce graduates who tend to speak up when they see racism, sexism, or oppression of any kind – you know, the way Ms. Rockwell did until her inheritance looked like it was in jeopardy. They don’t vote for misogynists or bigots or xenophobes. They think people who send asylum seekers to Martha’s Vineyard, with no notice to anyone on that tiny island that they are coming, are dog-shit eating pus-fucks.

Graduates of liberal arts colleges may be artsy and pretentious, but they also know how to spell and use grammar, and they often have credentials and economic power that enable them greater opportunities to fight oppression in the workplace, demand equality, and use their voice (and income) to support initiatives aimed at protecting the weakest among us. Translation: Liberal arts college graduates are a threat to racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, anti-LGBTQism…any –ism that threatens a minority because it isn’t White, male, straight, and Christian.

Places like Mount Holyoke are even more of a threat, because there is nothing that scares a straight White Christian man like Tucker Carlson more than a lesbian – and not the ones in a porn flick. Nothing shrivels up a chubby faster than someone like Rachel Maddow – because guys like Tucker know that someone like Rachel Maddow can smell his bullshit wrapped 15 layers of 5” foam, stuffed in a cargo hold, on board a freighter, 1,500 miles out at sea. Someone like Rachel Maddow knows that Tucker Carlson has three “hilarious stories,” all of which involve his fraternity brothers and large quantities of alcohol, which he has refined over the years, and she isn’t going to giggle along with him and encourage him in his certitude that she – like all women – want to sleep with him. Women like Ms. Rockwell giggle. Mount Holyoke graduates who haven’t renounced their education, don’t.

Melinda Rockwell, and Tucker Carlson, have gotten Ms. Rockwell to reject all she learned at Mount Holyoke (where, like my daughter Caitlin, she played on the women’s ice hockey team), and one imagines that her life, at least for the next twenty years, will be one long parade of charity luncheons, society balls, and museum fundraisers. She will be photographed in beautiful dresses, designer gowns, fabulous jewelry, clutching Hermes handbags; standing on the steps of the Met, or on the ski slopes of Gstaad, or in Milan or Paris or really, anywhere exotic enough to warrant her presence. She may never again think about the things she learned in college and, careful not to repeat the mistakes of her mother, will insist that her own progeny attend Liberty University or Ave Maria University of Rich White Republican University (No POC Need Apply). There’s a Mount Holyoke education inside Ms. Rockwell, however, and I’m hoping it will come out someday. Just you wait, Tucker, and see what happens if it does.

Us v. Them

Perhaps it’s the rainy weather, or the inevitable march towards Winter (my least favorite season), but I have been feeling of late quite discouraged about the future.

I firmly believe the Trump Presidency – and the pandemic – has created a nation divided as irrevocably as it was prior to the Civil War. The issues that separate us are not as neatly confined to “states’ rights versus federal governmental control,” or ”slavery versus abolition,” although these refrains underpin many of the issues that continue to be the source of conflict.

One factor, of course, is social media. It’s allowed all of us to become far more strident, and far less civil, in virtually every aspect of our life, than most of us would ever be if we were actually forced to speak those words in public, to the faces of the people to whom they were intended. Many of us, myself included, have said things that have ended relationships (not always a bad thing, but probably not something that should be done digitally). It has made it easier for us to become “us” and to cast those who don’t agree with us as “them.”

And a lot of “them” have given “us” plenty of reason to demonize “them.” They take absurd, stringent, cruel positions, in some cases, seemingly for the sole purpose of “owning the libs.” Every position is an absolute – there is no grey area, ever.

There appears, as well, to be an utter dearth of compassion from a group that counts among its members an overwhelming number who self-identify as “Christian,” whatever that means anymore; based upon the words and actions of so many, however, it would seem that this moniker includes supporting a man who has repeatedly cheated on his wife, his creditors, his own charitable foundation, and countless others.

It means a 10 year old girl should be forced to carry and give birth to the child conceived as the result of a horrible rape. It means referring to all Muslims as terrorists, all in the LGBTQ community as pedophiles, all those who seek to emigrate to the US through the Southern Border as criminals, all feminists as shrill, and vehemently deny that people of color (particularly Black people) continue to be subject to systemic racism, going so far as to erase any mention of the word “slavery” from school textbooks, and trying to whitewash to wholesale subjugation and enslavement of a race of people for 300 years by reframing it as “forced relocation.”

In the last 6 years, it’s become okay to be a bigot. There’s no shame in it anymore. It’s also okay not to care about those who are struggling – those who are economically disadvantaged, those who have no access to health care, or good schools, or social services, or reasonably-priced day care, or viable public transportation, or food security, or affordable housing…it’s okay to just not give a crap about anyone other than Number 1 anymore. It’s now perfectly acceptable to say, as Craig T. Nelson – irony free – once did, “ when I was on food stamps, no one helped me!”

It’s okay to reject science in favor of “Something I Read” on the Internet. Sure, we trust science when it comes to getting in a big shiny tube that hurtles through the air at 500 mph, sometimes over the ocean, even though most people (myself included) do not understand the concept of lift or Bernoulli’s equation.

The same people who are the first to demand antibiotics for a virus, undergo experimental cancer treatment, or allow a doctor to stick a needle into their spine during childbirth just so it doesn’t hurt (an epidural can, in rare instances, cause permanent paralysis) will refuse the COVID vaccine because someone told them their daughter was at a slumber party where the mom had gotten “the jab,” and ALL THE GIRLS’ PERIODS GOT MESSED UP!

This is the kind of thinking that now seems to represent the GOP. That is not to say that all people who identify as Republican think this way – because I don’t think they actually do. Most Republicans I know are fiscal conservatives who would like to see less governmental involvement in most matters, and are appalled by much of what has been going on in their party of late. The problem is, the last president their party elected seems to wield enormous power over certain key demographics which many GOP leaders believe they need to win over in order to be elected and re-elected, so they WILL NOT call him out on anything. He could, as he has said, shoot someone on Fifth Avenue in broad daylight, and still, they would support him. Turns out if Trump was right about anything, it was that.

And he told them – he told them how stupid and gullible and easily led they were. He told them he could manipulate them into doing his bidding, no matter how heinous. They proved him right.

I believe there are many people who voted for That Man because they identify as Republican, or they hated Hillary (and doubled down in 2020), or are single-issue (anti-abortion) voters, or they are “MAGA-Lite,” meaning they think Trump may be sort of repulsive and goes too far, but perhaps they wouldn’t mind if things were a little bit more like they were in the 1950’s (they don’t mean any harm, of course, and they know lots of nice Black people…you know…the ones who don’t wear dreds and don’t get all angry and riled up and speak like White people do, not all Ghetto and everything…) because they don’t stop to think about what the 1950’s were like for people who weren’t straight, White, and Christian.

Someone I love very much gets VERY uncomfortable if anyone even says the name of our last president (or our current president, for that matter), because they worry it will lead to a discussion on politics. Everyone who knows this person is aware that they “don’t like to talk about politics,” and and we love this person enough that no one ever does talk about politics in their company. I can’t help but think, however, (1) how nice it must be for you to lead such a privileged and sheltered life that you don’t ever have to worry about the ramifications of your vote; and (2) people like you are exactly the reason Adolph Hitler was able to rise to power in the first place.

I firmly believe the United States, in 2022, is the equivalent of pre-World War II Nazi Germany, not because I think there is going to be a genocide (although it certainly seems a distinct possibility). I think we are on the brink of electing, in 2024 or 2028, a Ron DeSantis, or someone of his ilk who, with a 6-3 super majority on the Supreme Court and an eventual Red Congress, is going to turn our country into a cross between Gilead, the antebellum South, and, okay, Germany in the 1930’s.

It’s not because half the country hates Muslims and foreigners and are evangelical Christians (or orthodox Catholics like Sam Alito who isn’t going to stop until the entire nation is attending Sunday mass and knows the Stations of the Cross by heart).

It’s not because half the country is made up of the morons you see on the Daily Show attending Trump rallies being interviewed by Jordan Klepper, entirely unaware of how truly warthog-level stupid they are.

It’s not because half the country believes Donald Trump is a humble, god-fearing, church-going Christian who believes in the sanctity of life, respects women, and cares deeply about doing what is best for the country, regardless of how it impacts him personally.


It’s because too many people in this country – GOP and Dem – are naive, smug, and have become complacent.

They assume that nothing like Nazi Germany could ever happen in this country because nothing like that ever has.

Our country is better than that! they might say. But we aren’t anymore. Not by a long shot.

Our country has too many checks and balances – we don’t elect dictators! they might say. But when a president holds the legislature in a grip of fear, and has seated a Supreme Court that perfectly reflects his agenda, what checks and balances are left?

The grownups in the room would never let that happen! they might say.

Folks, there aren’t any grownups left. This is it. This is what we are now.

Is it too late?

Yeah, it probably is. Every time there’s a health issue like COVID, from now on, it’s going to be political, and rather than working together – people versus disease – it’s going to be morons versus science.

Every time there’s an issue where the “Christian” camp thinks there’s a moral component, they’ll weaponize their mindless flock to vote for wolves in sheep’s clothing so they can try make everyone follow the rules they’ve set for themselves, because they know better.

And if you don’t think they’re coming for you, your freedoms, your rights, your faith, your strongly held beliefs, think again. There are a lot of people who are willing to overlook many things as long as their pocketbooks are full.

It can happen again. It will happen again. Because no one is speaking up.

“First they came for the Communists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me

And there was no one left

To speak out for me”

Pastor Martin Niemoller

August 1979

A few days ago, Allie shows us lesions that can only be ringworm; Michael gives her some prescription cortisone cream and we leave it at that, but this morning, I wake up and find a lesion on my torso, where the shingles rash is still clearing up. Later, in the afternoon, napping (which is all I seem to be interested in doing these days), I think back to a summer forty years ago spent with my aunt and uncle and their young sons in their home near Rochester, New York. It had become a much-anticipated part of our summer that my older sister, Susan, and I spent a few weeks each summer with aunt and uncle, although this year (I think I was about fifteen), Susan hadn’t come alone.  My aunt and uncle had a pool, and we spent a lot of time in it, and whether that was the cause, or something else, I developed some sort of a rash on my butt and groin area, but I didn’t tell anyone about it because, like any respectable fifteen-year-old girl, I was embarrassed.

When my parents and Susan arrived to spend a few days before picking me up to take me home, Susan and I shared a room, and of course she saw the rash and immediately freaked out. That would have been okay, and perhaps evident of sisterly love, but I begged her not to say anything to our mom, at least not until we got home, which she promised to do, but five minutes later, she ratted me out to my mom, who, with my aunt, came tearing into the room and demanded to see my rash. What I mostly recall about the entire incident (besides the fact that the rash eventually went away without medical intervention), is my mother lecturing me about how I should have reported the whole thing to my aunt immediately because I could have spread the infection to her family. No, “I’m so sorry you have been dealing with this.” No, “I wish you had called me to tell me!” No apparent concern that I didn’t feel comfortable telling anyone about it or understanding that maybe I didn’t tell anyone about it because I was afraid I was going to have to show a male doctor my butt.


Here are some of the lessons Wendy learned, or had reinforced, from this episode. 

  • Your needs and feelings are not, and never will be, as important as those of someone or everyone else.
  • Whatever your fears or concerns, keep them to yourself, because you can’t trust anyone.
  • Even when the person you trust most makes promises, you can’t trust them, and shouldn’t.

Pay Your Bills, Part II

Recently, President Joe Biden and Congress enacted legislation forgiving $10,000 of student loans for certain individuals under certain circumstances.  I’ve paid off all my loans (and wouldn’t qualify anyway, for myriad reasons), but I do have two kids who have grad school loans and who may benefit from this new law.  As usual, there’s been a lot of self-righteous indignation by Republicans (all of whom claim to have pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, paid their own way, having been born in a log cabin they themselves built).  They cry, “this only benefits the rich who take out loans!” (maybe – but not at interest rates that would make doing so advantageous).  The yell, “why should Joe Sixpack be paying off the loans of some loser who majored in Lesbian Dance Theory, who can’t get a job and is living in their parents’ basement?” (even though there are a lot of unemployed kids living in their parents’ basements, some of whom have college degrees and some who don’t).  They yell, “people should pay off their loans, no matter what!” (even though every other kind of debt a person can incur in the US but student loans can be discharged in bankruptcy).

This first argument – that the rich are taking out student loans – is a fallacy that may have had some truth back in the 1980’s, when students could take out nearly limitless amounts of low-interest government loans (as could their parents), making it attractive for the wealthy to apply for such loans at 5% and invest them in financial vehicles making three times that.  These days, there’s a limit to how much students and parents can borrow, and the interest rates aren’t nearly as favorable.  The grad school loans my daughter took out this year are somewhere around 7% (far higher the the current WSJ prime rate).  Not much incentive to take out that kind of debt in the hopes of making a profit in this economy.

Also interesting is the fallacy that people taking out student loans exclusively major in obscure, “worthless” fields, all of which fall within the umbrella of women’s studies (because what value could there possibly be in such work?) and literature (less obviously a waste of time, but still, of no real use in today’s world).

This assumption – which allows naysayers of any discipline not included in the 1963 Penn State Course Catalogue to create ever more silly fields of study they imagine might be offered at those ivy-covered walls of academia where they assume all of those student loan dollars are going – does not withstand the reality that the most popular majors for graduating seniors over the last five years have been business, health professions, social sciences /humanities, engineering, and biology. While the second most popular major (social sciences/humanities) would encompass the ridiculous made up majors that these loan-takers are apparently all studying, most of their peers are obtaining degrees in areas I think we can all agree would have meaningful applications in today’s world.

I don’t think it much matters what people major in, and it is inaccurate to suggest that one’s undergraduate major is determinative of whether or not they will be a productive member of society able to obtain a job with sufficient income to repay their student loans. The larger and more important questions are (1) whether or not everyone needs to or should go to college in the first place, and (2) whether or not college tuition is overpriced – it is.

One can debate whether student loan debt should be repaid by taxpayers. My opinion? Not if the money could have been used to fund universal preschool, after school programs, hot breakfast/lunch programs, after school programs, college counseling programs in underserved school districts, or any other program that would have benefitted the most needy communities’ children in getting a better head start. Will a $10k break make much of a difference for a med school graduate with $300k in loans? Nope. That’s 4 months of loan payments. Drop in the bucket.

Higher education needs to cost less, period. Predatory “for profit” schools (one big reason for high loan balances) need to be better regulated. Kids need to be directed to community college or trade schools instead of college unless they really want or need a four year degree.

But there is a way to avoid taking on too much debt in the first place.  Many schools offer work study and aid, and there are literally thousands of scholarships that go unawarded year after year because no one applies for them. For the neediest students, most schools offer a “sliding scale” based upon the “expected contribution,” which is based upon the family’s economic picture.  Thus, a student accepted to a school that costs $70,000 may only be expected to contribute a fraction of that ($20,000, say, that can be financed by work study, scholarships, and loans).

Students should also consider public universities, which are a much better bargain that private colleges.  Many brilliant young men and women have eschewed the Ivies and places like Stanford or Duke because a public university offered a full ride – and I’m not so sure that the quality of education is any different.  Unless you’ve got your heart set on the Supreme Court (and these days, who would want to be in that club?), it doesn’t matter where you go to college – it matters what you do once you get there.

Life isn’t fair. It would be nice if we were all rich and could have whatever we wanted whenever we wanted it. When our kids were little, everyone we knew had bigger houses and went to Disney ever year. We didn’t. Someone told me I must have a lot of debt because I lived in such a modest house – the same house I still live in. We weren’t poor, we just had different priorities (and $125k in student loans that we paid back). We wanted to be able to pay for our kids to go to college. When they went to college, we were. That was our gift to them. Graduate school is on them.

There has to be a point where you man up and pay your way. The system isn’t, and never has been fair, and the cost of tuition is way out of proportion with other big-ticket items. The result isn’t going to be fewer college graduates, but fewer colleges, as those colleges that really aren’t very special and aren’t offering a quality product for a good price fall by the wayside. And, public universities are always a strong bet.

But if you do take on that debt, it is YOUR debt – and no one else’s, and the only person who should be paying it off is YOU, and here’s why:  The reason most people go to college (or grad school) is because they hope, at least in part, to earn more than they would if they only had a high school diploma, and in most cases, they do – 84% more, in fact, according to recent data.  The cost to earn that college degree, the cost to have an 84% greater earning potential – is an investment in oneself, and I can think of no good reason why, as a general principle, the citizenry as a whole should underwrite the cost of that investment.  It’s true that higher earnings mean higher income taxes, and thus more money flowing back into the public coffers for the benefit of all (hence, the cost of loan forgiveness ultimately inures to the benefit of those who funded loan forgiveness).  It’s also true that taxes are used every day to fund some college tuition for some students – usually those who are economically needy.

But those who take out student loans responsibly – and who are also responsible with their finances in general – will eventually find a way to pay them back, even if it takes time, and even if the interest that accrues on those loans ends up costing as much (if not more) that the principle. The problem is that in today’s society, we have been trained to believe that we deserve to have everything we want – whether we can afford it or not – NOW.  We spend money we don’t have on things we don’t need, or take out other loans for the things we think we’ve “earned” – a new home, a new car – because we have a DEGREE! We’ve made it! We DESERVE to have nice things, and we’re making more money than we ever did before.  Getting a college degree is hard work! We ought to be able to have some nice things! Isn’t that the point of it all?

Maybe, but not if it means begrudging a student loan payment, much in the same way we resent having to pay for a new water heater – and absolute necessity unless you really love cold showers, but not nearly as much fun as buying a new sofa. 

You may be saying to me, Wendy, have you not read about all the college graduates who can’t find jobs in their chosen fields, or who can find jobs, but can’t find affordable housing and pay off their student loans? Yes, reader, I have.  What I have also read is that many of those people are looking for jobs in fields that are already overcrowded, or that they are looking for jobs in areas where housing is notoriously expensive.

And once again, we come back to the idea of sacrifice, which means that sometimes you have to take a job you don’t want in order to pay your rent, or you have to compromise about where you’re going to live in order to work in the field of your dreams.  It’s unusual for all but the all-stars to graduate with the perfect job in the perfect city or town with the perfect paycheck – that’s what your twenties are all about:  Living in a crappy apartment eating ramen noodles, working in a job you hate, shopping at H&M, and figuring out what to do with the rest of your life.

Student loans are the ticket to a better life, and it is fitting that the cost of this ticket be paid by the person taking the journey.

If You Can’t Say Something Nice (RIP QEII)

Some have used the passing of Queen Elizabeth II to point out all the things that England should apologize for – its history of colonialism, its role in the slave trade, Camilla Parker Bowles…

Many of these same people have attempted to thread the needle by suggesting they aren’t necessarily throwing shade on the Queen (a woman most acknowledge as having done as much as she probably could have to drag a tradition steeped in moth balls and absurd ceremony out of the Middle Ages).

Rather, they say, it’s important not to forget all the evil perpetrated by the English government (over whom the Queen wields zero power), and not to be distracted by such nonsense as royal weddings, adorable royal babies, royal spats, and, of courts royal fashion – what’s Kate wearing today? Why, look at that hat! That tiara! That brooch!

Which, I suppose is a good point. Except, if that sentiment is coming out of the mouth of a white American, I’m gonna have to say….bullshit. Or, maybe, “Hey, Kettle! What a lovely shade of black you are!”

Because England certainly has some excellent company in the Doing Shitty Things Department.

Slave Trade? We did that – for a lot longer, on a much broader scale, and we even had a Chief Justice (Roger Taney) who wrote in the Dred Scott opinion that black people were chattel – you know, like a teapot. You read that right. For hundreds of years in this country, a black person had no more rights that a f***ing teapot.

Even after Congress said, “Yeah…no,” the Supreme Court was still all Plessy v. Ferguson and was like, “okay, you can go to school, black kids, just not OUR schools,” and you know who had the nicer schools, and it wasn’t the black kids.

Also, the white people who came to this country in the 1500’s and thereafter took away 99% of the land on which the indigenous people already living here inhabited. They killed a lot of those people, either by actually shooting them, or by infecting them with disease, or sending them on death marches from their homes to some remote location that white people hadn’t yet decided they wanted.

And then we kept treating black people and people of color like sh**.  We did the same thing to people who are in the LGBTQ community, and to immigrants from countries that don’t have socialized medicine and really good maternity leave programs, and people who are Muslim.

Oh, and we hate women.

So, all you super-woke Americans looking to poke at the English for their history of Things They Shouldn’t Have Done, I don’t know what moral soapbox you think you’ve got a right to stand on.

I love my country, and it has done great things, but it also has a long history of some pretty horrific behavior – which would be understandable and simply part of our country’s growing pains if we had actually learned anything from our worst mistakes (we haven’t).

So, England, this is my message to you, from one American who finds the royal family somewhat dubious but also realizes she isn’t British and didn’t live through a war where her country was bombed every night for years by freaking Nazis and where the presence of the King and his family may have brought comfort to those who did.

I say to a nation who now mourns a woman who seems to have represented a sense of constancy and determination to keep going, with dignity and purpose, despite the turmoil and increasing chaos of this world:

Please accept my most sincere condolences at the loss of your Queen.

Now, was that so hard?

What’s Wrong with the GOP

Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, a three-term Congresswoman who won her primary 2 years ago by over 70%, lost her primary tonight to Trump’s choice – a woman who supported Cheney in her 2020 run.

Why the flip flop?

Because Rep. Cheney had the audacity to suggest that Trump should be held accountable for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection – a view pretty much every member of Congress shared on January 7.

But then, many of those same members started worrying about what might happen to them if they publicly stuck by their convictions that maybe Trump should not have riled up his blindly loyal base, the throngs of which have reliably demonstrated that they would lick dog shit off the sidewalk if he asked them to.

Those same members of Congress knew in their hearts – and know it still – that only a narcissistic tyrant would ever suggest that his base march to the Capitol, stomp over police and Capitol security, break down doors and smash in windows, attempt to take over the seat of the federal government, and try to lynch his own Vice President.

But they quickly learned that saying so might end up enraging the former Toddler in Chief, and that might cause him to campaign for someone else come election time, and if we have learned nothing else about most politicians, it is that the only thing they seem to care about more than PAC money and lobbyist donations is getting re-elected.

Imagine caring so much about keeping your seat that you are willing to take your principles, your integrity, and your values, put them in a bag with a nice red bow, and hand it over to Donald J. Trump, the world’s most vile, noxious sack of monkey pox exudate. 

But there are plenty of them – plenty. And one by one, those Congressmen and women got very quiet. They found a way to be okay with the outrageous behavior our country was forced to endure for four years, culminating in something very close to treason, all because this man cannot tolerate losing.

Not Liz. She held Trump’s feet to the fire and suggested – hold onto your underpants – that he should not be permitted to get away with attempting to subvert the Constitution. Crazy, I know! Ten years ago – even FIVE years ago – this would have elicited a big “duh!” from the GOP. Now, it appears to be anathema, and Cheney became a pariah, even though her father is a former Vice President so coated in GOP Super-Strength Teflon that he once shot someone in the face, and everyone kind of laughed and then went back to watching “Friends.”

In the not so distant future, however, this country will universally recognize Trump as the staggeringly dishonest, mentally unstable, serial sexual predator most of us already know him to be. Unfortunately, his base knows virtually nothing about him aside from what they have been spoon-fed by Fox and OAN, and they treat and hint of negativity as a fodder for yet another conspiracy theory. These people can rationalize anything – I once said he could be videotaped sodomizing a toddler, and his base would either create a conspiracy theory or else normalize the behavior, which is what they do every time he engages in conduct which, were it ANYONE ELSE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD, they would condemn.

Trump will go down as history as not quite as evil as Adolph Hitler or Josef Stalin (which I guess is something), but don’t think for one minute that the articles that will be written about him will fail to mention those who worshiped at his shrine, but if the do, we’ll, there’s always Twitter to remind the world who proclaimed Trump the Second Coming and who saw a bloviating box of farts with the IQ of a Nerf football.

Until he does, morons like Josh Hawley and Jim Jordan and Lauren Boebert will continue to make headlines as Trump’s cadre of toadies trying to curry favor so he will haul his hairy girth to perform a rally on their behalf where some of the attendees think JFK, Jr. is actually alive and conspiring with the Illuminati to run the world along with George Soros and the Rothschild family.

I don’t like Liz Cheney’s politics. I wouldn’t vote for her over a Dem with good qualifications and a good platform. But doing what she did shouldn’t be an exception – it should be the norm. It used to be.

It’s not anymore, because the party who was supposed to make sure Trump never made it past the primaries couldn’t get its shit together. People like Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush stayed in the race way too long and fought amongst themselves. Rather than having an early pow-wow the minute Trump rode downstairs on his stupid escalator and insulted Mexicans, all of those GOP senators and governors stayed in the race with the arrogance only a man in government can summon, certain HE would be the last man standing.

The GOP failed, and then the public got silly and had one of those Boaty McBoatface moments when the public, given an awesome responsibility, fails to appreciate the gravity of the moment and says, “Fuck it! It might be fun to have a reality TV show host for president! What’s the worst that could happen?”

And you would have thought that Mitch “Let’s make Obama a one-term president” O’Connell, what with that level of focus and determination, could have made SURE Trump didn’t mess it up too badly.

Except McConnell didn’t care.

And that’s why we’re where we are at.

We need people to care about more than their election war chest, their sound bites or how many of the Sunday morning shows want them on as guests. We need our pols to actually WORK FOR US. We need people like Liz Cheney to say, “Not on my watch, and by the way, Jim Jordan, get your fucking hands off me. You started this riot!” (Which she did).

Be like Liz. She’s not a dick.

Don’t be like Trump. He is.