In this illustration by John Tenniel (1820-1914) for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice encounters the Duchess and a squalling baby, as well as a cook and the Cheshire-Cat.
In a speech on January 15, President-elect Joe Biden condemned Republican members of Congress who refused to wear masks while locked down in close quarters during the insurrection by dangerous right wing loonies at the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. on January 6. Biden praised Delaware Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester, a Democrat, for offering masks to her colleagues, and he then commented on the Republicans who refused masks, among whom was macho man Representative Markwayne Mullin from Oklahoma, saying, “What the hell is the matter with them? It’s time to grow up!”
Indeed it is long past time for anti-maskers, QAnon conspiracy nuts, and all the other right wing loonies to grow up. Sane people have run out of tolerance for their antics and ravings. The refusal by some Republican members of Congress to wear masks in one part of the Capitol building while the rest of it was being overrun by seditious rioters may seem like a small thing, but the two actions are nevertheless equivalent in their reckless disregard for others. Since the wing nuts will most likely refuse to grow up just as they refuse masks, then perhaps after Inauguration Day on Wednesday the rest of the country can ignore them more easily once their cult leader is out of power.
Demonstrators at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. on January 21, 2017 wear Pussy Hats. Photo by Liz Lemon.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi thanks men and women of the National Guard protecting the Capitol during the second impeachment of the outgoing president on January 13, 2021. Photo from the Office of Nancy Pelosi.
Maybe after four long, horrible years of darkness, relations of all kinds will have an opportunity to breathe and become vital again once all the available oxygen isn’t being sucked up by a malignant narcissist in the White House and his vicious, tantrum-prone followers. Maybe soon we can get back to working on the real problems which bedevil us, undistracted by the cries for attention of whiny, overgrown toddlers.
An effigy of the Pussy Grabber-in-Chief gagged by what appears to be a Pussy Hat during the D.C. Women’s March on January 21, 2017. Photo by Lorie Shaull.
On Wednesday, Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate for Montana’s lone seat in the United States House of Representatives, allegedly body-slammed and then punched a reporter for The Guardian newspaper, Ben Jacobs. Listening to the audio of the encounter, however, and reading the eyewitness reports of others who were present, there really was no “allegedly’ about it. Gianforte was supposedly upset with Jacobs over a question he asked and maybe how he asked it. As much as the Gianforte campaign tries to spin it, all that really doesn’t matter except to the true believers for whom he can do no wrong. Gianforte assaulted another man who was simply doing his job, and whether Gianforte and his supporters agree with the reporter’s politics or his methodology matters not one whit and is no excuse for Gianforte’s actions or reactions. Gianforte is in the rough and tumble of politics now, and he’s no longer the big shot in charge of his own business empire who dare not be questioned by the hoi polloi: grow a thicker skin or stay out of politics, Gianforte, a lesson you could learn alongside your colleague, Markwayne Mullin (R-OK).
World Wrestling Entertainment superstars Chris Masters (left) and MVP (right) perform for the troops on December 4, 2009, in Holt Stadium at Joint Base Balad, Iraq; photo by US Army Sgt. Ryan Twist.
Not to excuse Gianforte in the least, but this kind of incident has been in the works for the past year or more, and the mainstream media has been complicit in its development. The Thug-in-Chief, when he was on the campaign trail in 2016, routinely ostracized the media at his rallies and encouraged his supporters to berate them to the point of violence. Mainstream media outlets walked a tightrope regarding this behavior, because while it demeaned their efforts and made life harder for individual reporters, ratings were great and ad revenue was way up. Viewers and readers appeared to want some Jerry Springer style mayhem in their political reporting, and the media executives were prepared to give it to them and count the dollars rolling in, never mind that there would be a reckoning some day. The reckoning is now, but holding it in check may be too late for all of us. We were the ones who tuned in for this ugly, violent show, after all, and blaming the media does not get us off the hook. There’s no denying the television remote control comes with a channel changer and an off button, and there are other news outlets, particularly online, that do not cater to the basest urges of the voting public.
Greg Gianforte, now the Republican Congressman from Montana after his win on Thursday, has his own hypocritical tendencies to wrestle with after his assault on Wednesday, if in fact he is capable of that much introspection. Probably not. It wouldn’t be in character, given his background and proclivities. Public apology aside, he nonetheless probably feels entirely justified in his actions and recognizes no hypocrisy in them whatsoever. His supporters certainly don’t. The more important question that needs answering is how we the public will ultimately react to the ongoing freak show of thugs seeking political office, or already in office, who have been encouraged to let loose their worst behavior by the signals they are getting from the top. Do we reject them and say we will tolerate no more like them? Or do we continue to watch passively and ghoulishly like rubberneckers at a traffic accident, or the even more base viewers of the trashy Jerry Springer show? Don’t count on media executives to elevate the tone of civil discourse. They’re interested only in profits, make no mistake about that, and pay no attention to anything they say in contradiction to that imperative. In a democracy, what’s left of it at least, we get the government we deserve. Looking around at our politicians now, that doesn’t speak very well of us, does it?
“This is a service. No one here pays me to go.”
― Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) speaking to constituents in 2017.
Earlier this week a congressman from Oklahoma, Markwayne Mullin, told his constituents at a town hall gathering that their notion that they paid his salary was “bullcrap” and that he alone had paid his own way through taxes over the years as a businessman. Hallelujah! Congressman Mullin further elaborated that his tenure should be considered a “service” from him to his constituents, and damn glad of it! This is truly a man who is God’s gift! If he took a side job at a convenience store rather than in Congress, those of us buying lotto tickets and fast food from him would feel blessed to have him deign to notice our proffered treasury bills. Glory!
From the founding of the nation, there have been calls from some to withhold all payment to those who selflessly serve in our nation’s deliberative bodies. Honor itself is its own reward, they argued, and no doubt Markwayne Mullin, selfless civil servant, would have been right there with them, refusing his congressional salary and cushy benefits, along with the extremely lucrative possibility of reaping even greater rewards from private sector lobbying once he left office. Not for Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma, who proclaims loudly for all to hear “Bullcrap!”
Markwayne Mullin, whose daddy left him a profitable business at the age of 20, and who lined up for government largesse while decrying the distribution of the same, we thank you for telling it like it is. That’s what’s important these days! BULLCRAP, in belligerent all caps, that’ll set those lib’ruls back on their Birkenstock heels. Markwayne Mullin, according to your bio on Wikipedia you are a Cherokee Indian, and naturally that leads to considerable cognitive dissonance for the lib’ruls when they try to reconcile your heritage with your arrogant, bellicose ignorance in relating to your constituents. All the better for you, because you are in your own dickish way standing up for what you believe in, which apparently is tone-deaf entitlement and your own testosterone-addled studliness, and how many Indians can lay claim to that after 500 years of bloody history of white folks pushing them around?
― Vitawayne – Booyah!