While much of the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day will take the form of readings and re-publishings of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, The Root chooses to celebrate his acknowledgement of the reality as well as the dream, and of the ongoing fight necessary to turn the one into the other. While many supposedly concerned commentators are quick to invoke the name of MLK as a way of scolding black people to behave themselves, he was actually a radical who wasn’t nearly as lauded by the establishment as he is today.
Last night, under cover of darkness, Senate Republicans bypassed “roll back and revise” and “repeal and replace” with a third option for addressing the Affordable Care Act: “repeal and go fuck yourself,” wherein they repeal the current ACA and replace with jack shit. At 1:00 this morning, following a charmingly named all-night “Vote-a-Rama,” the Senate voted 51-48 along party lines to pass a budget measure that’s the first step in demolishing the ACA.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about dialogue and understanding. Liberals just need to try to understand conservatives, They say. People get defensive when you call them (or, more often, even just imply that they might be) bigots, They say. If we want to get anything accomplished, we need to meet conservatives halfway, (in which “halfway” is usually defined as “on their side”), They say. Generally, the response from the liberal camp is, “Fuck that shit.” You can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into. It’s hard and unsatisfying, and maybe the New York Times needs to do a Dialogue and Understanding piece about people who are being asked to take on that struggle. That said, dialogue can happen. Here’s how.
After four days of deliberation, the judge declared a mistrial in the case of Michael Slager, a white Charleston police officer who is accused of murder in the death of unarmed black man Walter Scott. Cell phone video shows Slager shooting eight times at Scott as he ran away after a traffic stop for a broken tail light, hitting him in the back three times, killing him. Slager’s attorney called upon the Big Black Monster defense to argue that Scott was “out of control” and fought Slager with “unusual strength.”
Lately, I’ve found myself dissociating just a little bit from time to time. Not in a scary way — just a noticeable one. The first time, I was driving, and someone on the radio said the words “President Elect Donald Trump,” and my brain stepped back a little bit and said, “No, that doesn’t sound like a real thing. It actually sounds like something out of some weird movie, so we’ll go with that,” and suddenly I was a character driving in a car, listening to the radio, in a movie wherein Donald Trump was the president elect. Pretty disconcerting, really. More recently, it happened when Mother Jones referred to Richard B. Spencer as a “dapper white nationalist.”
It’s almost over, y’all. It’s. Almost. Over.
A lot of attention has been paid to the mystery of why, God, why, and how, and why again, any marginally intelligent person could support. How has a man who is completely unsuited, in character, temperament, knowledge base, intellect, and home training, to be the president of the United States make it as far as he’s made it? The obvious answer is that there are a lot more bigoted, closed-minded, hateful, ignorant people in the electorate than we’d originally thought possible. But we, as a society, don’t generally like to think of people that way — for all the whining about “PC culture,” we give a lot of passes to be people who absolutely don’t deserve them — and so we’ve sought out other options.
That’s where we’ve gotten “>so many articles profiling the “real” Trump base — salt-of-the-earth, working-class white voters who are stumbling into a new world of multiculturalism, who are suffering from economic woes, and who just want some support for their very real problems. And yet, for all of that, I haven’t been able to escape the feeling that they need to cry themselves a river and canoe on home.
[Content note for… racism. Pretty much any kind.]
You could be Deadpool. You could go with a classic witch or cat or Spider-Man or the dude from Scream. You could be Glenn from The Walking Dead. (Skip the yellowface; the dripping blood and gore is the most part anyway.) Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are topical this year. You could go as Wednesday Addams going as a serial killer — they look just like everyone else.
But dammit, you wanted to be Kanye West, and it’s a free country, and nobody’s going to stop you from covering yourself with brown makeup and exercising your right to show the Internet that you’re a racist idiot.
Since the release of a video featuring Donald Trump unwittingly speaking into a hot mic about how great it is that his celebrity allows him to nonconsensually grab women’s genitals without consequence, Trump has thrice dismissed the celebration of sexual assault as “locker room banter” or “locker room talk.” Pro athletes across the U.S. have united to say that, in fact, such banter is not acceptable in any of the locker rooms they frequent. (You can take that with as many grains of salt as you choose.) But it raises the question: If that banter isn’t happening in the locker rooms of the Dodgers or the Falcons or the Clippers, in which locker rooms is it taking place?
There is still one more chilling but less-discussed aspect of the Trump video. Yes, his language is vulgar, and yes, his casual discussion of sexual assault is horrifying. But two reporters, in separate pieces, point out that there’s something even more disturbing about the video: the way they talked about actress Arianne Zucker, Trump’s costar-to-be, as she waited, unsuspecting, at the end of their bus trip.
[Content note for sexual assault]
On Friday, the Washington Post published a heretofore unseen video from 2005 in which Donald Trump, in the Access Hollywood bus on the way to a cameo on “Days of Our Lives,” gives us a good look at how much he really respects women. Talking with Billy Bush, into a mic that he didn’t know was hot (Donald, are you sure that a malfunctioning microphone isn’t the best thing for you at this point?), he makes it clear that no, women aren’t more than objects to be evaluated, disparaged, and abused at his whim.