Some days, no amount of narrative can sum up how mind-boggling and disturbingly awful the news is, and only a list will do. And the “awful” I’m describing is awful less from a partisan perspective and more from the perspective of “everything that I believe to be good about America’s values and potential appears to be under attack, and it just keeps happening.”
With that …
Behold! An incomplete (there isn’t enough space in the whole of a newspaper) overview of some of the more egregious things that have happened since we were last in touch.
“Another Kent State might be the only solution …” While some liberals were reminiscing about made-up histories in which all protest was tidy and beautiful, Marquette County (Michigan) Republican Party Secretary Dan Adamini accurately recalled what the “good old days” actually looked like. This was, of course, when governments and federal would murder and maim protesters with no recourse. Even though that time never actually went away, he wants to bring it back; Adamini indicated in a Facebook post that another Kent State-like situation would put protests in our place. “[P]rotest stopped after only one death,” he wrote.
Administration gives white, right-wing terrorists a pass. A right-wing, white man was charged with shooting and killing six Muslims at a mosque in Quebec. While President Donald Trump’s administration has not yet acknowledged this, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the U.S. president, made up a Muslim-perpetrated massacre (the “Bowling Green Massacre”) in order to defend the administration’s constitutionally contested, de-facto Muslim ban. Perhaps the president didn’t acknowledge the attack in Quebec because he doesn’t have enough time for everything. You know, being president is demanding.
Still, the president managed this week to tweet — when he was scheduled to be in an intelligence briefing — about his frustration with Nordstrom for dropping his daughter Ivanka Trump’s clothing line. Kellyanne “Bowling Green Massacre” Conway followed suit by using an interview to promote the younger Trump’s clothing line.
President + Putin = BFF Forever. Despite all evidence to the contrary, the president continues to claim that Vladimir Putin is awesome. When challenged by Bill O’Reilly on Putin being “a killer,” the president responded, “You think our country’s so innocent?”
It could have been an interesting self-critique regarding the complexity of American foreign policy, but that’s not where it was coming from. And it remains perplexing that, despite having sour words for Russia a handful of years ago, literally the only thing the president has remained consistent on since his campaign began is his admiration for a cold-blooded former KGB operative known for blackmailing and threatening potential allies alike into compliance.
Maine GOP “attacks” “fake news.” The Maine GOP, the party responsible for Gov. Paul “I want to find the Press Herald building and blow it up” LePage, has announced that it will be debunking of what it deems “fake news.” Never mind that “fake news” has gone from an imperfect label for a phenomenon of political news hoaxes to the label the president slaps onto news that does not appreciate his brilliance.
Sen. Collins is praised for nothing. Speaking of fake news, editorial boards have been celebrating Sen. Susan Collins for taking a stand against the nomination of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Of course, Devos — a billionaire ideologue and GOP donor — is radically underprepared for the job to which she has been appointed and now confirmed. The point that is missed in this praise of Collins, though, is that had she not voted to advance DeVos beyond committee hearings, where she performed terribly, appearing mind-bogglingly unprepared, there would not have been a full Senate vote on her in the first place. According to Politico, Collins announced that she’d vote against DeVos only after it had become apparent that she would secure enough votes to proceed.
And this, as you know, is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to egregious news over the past two weeks.
There is still the Muslim ban itself, the president’s handling of judges who have challenged the ban, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s acknowledgement that he worked with the president to make something inherently unconstitutional appear to be otherwise through tactics and phrasing, and more.
Get out there, people, and organize. Give to the groups who are helping to oppose this movement toward the undoing of the aspirational values we hold dear — the ones that we must fight to keep alive while sitting in the eye of this storm.
Alex Steed has written about and engaged in politics since he was a teenager. He’s an owner-partner of a Portland-based content production company and lives with his family, dogs and garden in Cornish.