I’m not the only one, apparently, who believes that sometimes the headlines are enough:
I’m not the only one, apparently, who believes that sometimes the headlines are enough:
In my most recent post, I criticized Madison Cawthorn severely. I said, and I quote:
Madison Cawthorn is a jerk
Cawthorn’s behavior is gross
His behavior is atrocious,
The prejudiced behavior of his peers can never justify his own bad choices,
I encourage everyone to strongly condemn his assaultive behavior, loudly and often. There’s no excuse for it.
among other things. Yet I was accused of making excuses for Cawthorn’s behavior.
Most of y’all are missing the point. When people have criticized Cawthorn lately, in the specific context I made the subject of the last post, people have been asserting this his behavior is the result of being secretly gay, or not so secretly impotent, and thus entirely unmasculine, a failure as a man.
I was trying to articulate a wish that our entire community would do better than that, and so I did not point out any one particular person or comment, but I originally wrote a version of this over one Wonkette where these types of comments were being made:
There were more, including quite a few focussing on his supposed secret gayness and not so secretly flaccid penis.
The point here is intersectionality, people. Just because he’s a white, rich boy doesn’t mean he’s immune to ableism. And even if you don’t give a fuck about Cawthorn, there’s the splash damage you cause by assuming people wouldn’t be acting badly if they were straight, or were more masculine, or could get laid.
I said repeatedly that Cawthorn’s behavior has no excuses and should be criticized. I also said I would focus my criticism away from one single aspect of his bad behavior, his tendency to talk about sex a little too much, a little too loud, a little too publicly. This smacks of defensiveness, yes, but to be perfectly frank, I don’t expect people to have this conversation competently or appropriately, so I don’t want to have that conversation anymore. Too many people have used this as an excuse to call him sexually incompetent or gay, and there are more harmful choices to critique anyway.
There are many problems with Madison Cawthorn, but I don’t give a fuck whether or not he’s gay, and I don’t give a fuck whether his dick gets hard. Not only that, but when people focus on these things they only make ableism worse.
It’s not me making excuses for Cawthorn’s bad behavior. It’s the people who are saying it’s all because he’s a limp dick, cowardly faggot, whether they put it that bluntly or put effort into trying to be clever while saying it. I have said over and over, including in my last post, that there’s no excuse for his bad behavior and that we should criticize it. Criticize away. But the people who think that it’s okay to call him a sexually incompetent nancy boy are also causing problems here, and those problems must also be addressed.
People on Wonkette understood what I was talking about just fine, but maybe that’s because instead of me mentioning the sexual criticisms of Cawthorn (which I did, but which people seemed not to read) they actually saw the toxic crap that was being written. Even if no one spoke up against it, maybe there was already a question in the back of their minds that made the more gentle approach I used in my last post more effective in that context.
This is an intersectional world, and Cawthorn, like all of us, is an intersectional person. As I said, he’s a jerk, but he’s a complicated jerk. Blame the fuck out of Cawthorn for his bad behavior, but if you can’t do that without being homophobic, sex phobic, and ableist, maybe just shut the fuck up until you can learn to do better because spreading that shit on the walls isn’t actually helping.
Imagine, just now, that you are smiling your day away in Seattle and happen to come upon a bronze statue while meandering the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Not just any statue, but a statue festooned with markers of love, one that quite obviously serves as a memorial to a cherished persona. The afro’d subject may have a tie, an actual, silk tie, around its neck. Or perhaps it has been knit-bombed and is somehow wearing a panel sweater somehow attached to its torso in ways that you, not a fiber artist yourself, find disconcertingly impossible unless someone had literally stood on this sidewalk for day after day knitting the sweater directly onto the bronze. Votive candles and tea lights may be scattered round of course, though only lit for a few hours each evening. Though other times the mementoes and scattered tchotchkes are cleared away, treated as clutter, garbage to be removed by the nearby businesses who prefer a clean aesthetic. One can never be quite sure how one will encounter it.
As both of my readers know, I am fond, on occasion, of rewriting the lyrics of my artistic betters. I do not usually rewrite them in timely or topical ways, but on this evening, in the space below a Wonkette article where no comments exist, some non-comments encouraged me to have a go at Ted Cruz to the tune of a largely forgotten 80s song from the musical Chess. Given it’s topical nature, if anyone who knows how to Twitter or Instabook wants to send this out, please tag Beto O’Rourke & Ted himself. I’d just be tickled to see what Beto’s reaction is, if any. Ted will ignore it publicly, of course, but I won’t mind pondering his displeasure in the absence of any overt response.
The original is “One Night in Bangkok,” but obviously that must change. (I will post a youtube link to the original for those unfamiliar with it, but it will follow my corrupted lyrics.)
And so to Harris County where we lay our scene…
What sucks is when you’ve lived more than 70 years, and not for one day have you known what accountability looks like, not for one day have you understood justice.
For you have known you were doing things for which others were punished, but celebrated your impunity, cursed accountability, fled justice.
For you have only known law, but never justice, and therefore mistook justice for the slow, institutionalized revenge your own wealth bought you in the courts of the United States.
Mike Pence has ruled out invocation of the 25th Amendment. I could try to analyze his entire statement, and I’ll post it below, but right now I just want to focus on one sentence:
Invoking the 25th Amendment in such a manner would set a terrible precedent.
Let’s be clear here, Pence is claiming that it would be wrong to communicate to future presidents who aspire to tyranny and the violent overthrow of our constitutional order that such a betrayal of our nation and our constitution renders one, by definition, unfit to hold the power of the presidency.
So I had thought a bit about self-pardons and Trump, as you might have read. I had also thought of civil cases being brought against Trump. But the last week has been so hectic I didn’t even stop to think about the tradeoffs between self-pardons and civil cases. (To be fair, the consequences for the country are more important to me than the consequences for Trump.)
But ABCNews has a piece up that directly addresses civil liability and briefly raises the fact that a pardon of any kind (issued by Trump to himself or issued by any subsequent president to Trump) is terrible for Trump’s ability to defend against a civil suit.
Seth Abramson analyzes Trump’s January 6th rhetoric in a thread that deserves wider exposure. As does his subsequent thread analyzing the speeches at Trump’s rally that immediately preceded his. Here’s the link to his analysis of Trump’s own words:
(THREAD) Media has yet to do a deep dive on precisely what Trump *said* in his January 6 speech in DC—a speech now called an "incitement to insurrection," and the basis for an article of impeachment coming Monday. This thread unpacks the speech. I hope you'll read on and RETWEET. pic.twitter.com/ba6eaNScNW
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) January 9, 2021
And here’s the link to the analysis of the speakers before him and the context that they create for understanding Trump’s speech:
1/ If you haven't yet seen my analysis of Trump's January 6 "incitement to insurrection" speech, you can find it at the link below. This thread will look at four shorter—but deeply consequential—speeches just before Trump's, all by Trump allies or family. https://t.co/qdRpGXjFB4
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) January 10, 2021
This next quote is a particularly telling bit, but all of it is worthwhile. (I just wish he’d written the thing outside of twitter & linked it.) Read this:
There’s lots more. I’m not sure that 100k people actually attended the rally (others put the number at 30k or thereabouts), but besides using the larger end of crowd estimates, what he’s saying makes a reasonable case that this was knowing, willful incitement on the part of multiple speakers, including both Trump and is son.
Republicans are, predictably, screaming that impeaching Trump is a Bad Idea™ because excuses go here. Pence literally left Pelosi on hold for 25 minutes before having an aide say that he wouldn’t talk to her. He knew she wanted to talk about the 25th. Not only had he decided he did not want to invoke the 25th, but he didn’t want to talk to anyone about invoking the 25th. Commentators, of course, are complaining that the country doesn’t need the divisiveness of removing Trump from office before his term expires.
But here’s the thing: there’s nothing Trump (or any President that aspires to dictatorship) could do that would be worse, or more desperately requiring impeachment or punishment, that could ever result in impeachment or punishment.
Think it through: Trump has engaged in a failed, violent coup. The only thing “worse” is a successful, violent coup – and that’s not worse because of presidential behavior. It’s only worse in terms of its impact on us. But in a successful coup, impeachment or arrest would (by definition) be unavailable as remedies.
So this is it: Trump conspires with a mob to kill a cop and nullify democracy itself so that he can hold executive power for (at least) four more years. Why would the Republicans & commentators be against using impeachment or the 25th for literally the worst presidential conduct that could possibly be available as a basis for impeachment or removal?
It comes down to what I have said many times. I honestly can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that this isn’t a well known aphorism invented 200 years ago, but it seems to still be something that only I say. So at the risk of self-aggrandizement I’m gonna scream it out loud yet again:
The ONLY radical idea is accountability for people with power. All else is mere reform.
Impunity is a core value of rulers and people who think of themselves as the ruling class. But we must reject this. If we must wait until a president launches a successful coup before impeachment becomes available as a remedy, then we have, with invisible but indelible ink, rewritten the constitution to erase all possibility of presidential impeachment, now and in the future. If we do that, the doctrine of impunity has won. The details of dictatorship may change in the following years or decades, but having relinquished the possibility of accountability for those with power, we relegate all future efforts to nothing more than reform.
We must, in this moment, demand accountability, or we have lost ourselves and the republic of the United States of America.
25th THE FUCKER NOW. IMPEACH THE FUCKER MONDAY. JAIL THE FUCKER WITHOUT BAIL.
Liberals & progressives & general lefties have been screaming for years that Trump is unfit for office and that he has openly said and done things for years that should have disqualified him from serious consideration in 2016, much less the presidency over the last 4 years. Sometimes we feel like Cassandras, doomed to be disbelieved even as we tell the truth about our country’s inevitable fate.
But Republicans, too, warned the country. Nearly unanimously when Trump first entered the race the people in power in the GOP denounced him. They even compared Trump and his base to the No-Nothings of the 1850s who rioted in the capital and destroyed marble meant to finish the Washington Monument. Lindsey Graham famously declared that the GOP “will be destroyed” if they nominated Trump. “And we will deserve it,” he concluded.