The other day, while proofreading the teenager’s essay on The Crucible, i counseled her to choose another adjective instead of ‘evil’ to describe the ringleader of the witchcraft hysteria. There had to be room for interpretation, i argued, some nuance to the description—she wasn’t wholly evil, surely. She was immature, lovelorn, made bad decisions when confronted with big trouble, and even though she doubled down when real people started paying the price, ‘evil’ remained an oversimplification. Didn’t it?
Then again, this week’s news (and all the ones before it) makes me doubt my certainty about overstrong adjectives.
We’ve got Republican politicians and Alabama voters supporting a pedophile. A guy who was already shown unqualified in multiple objective settings, before being outed as a serial harasser of 14-year-olds and a fugitive from a 1980s shopping mall (and i don’t mean in some cool John Hughes kind of way). But the Red Team is so hopped up on needing to win at everything, on #librultears, on their bloody tax cuts, that they need him. Better a known pedophile than a Democrat.
And about those tax cuts. The ones that turn grad students, especially ones in the hard sciences into paupers, or, as likely, into an endangered species. The ones that take away the little bit of their own pocket money school teachers could deduct. The ones that annihilate people’s healthcare as an oh-by-the-way, a measure that people describe as a ‘sweetener’ or a concession, to the legislators who don’t feel it’s awful enough. Journalists say that with a straight face now. Thank goodness they’ve got the votes of Senator Vader, Congressman Skeksis, and the Death Eater Caucus. Hell, going back to the theming element of my little rant here, the teenager’s also been studying the battle over taxes, the budget, and deficits from Bush I to now; a former religion of the GOP badly in need of a thesis or ninety-six. There’s no high-minded consideration of the size of government here, this is a 1. a reward for not the rich, but the filthy rich, and 1a. a full-throated ‘fuck you’ to blue states and everything they like, chiefly education and the educated.
Let’s not forget some of the source of my renewed interest in blogging, the imminent demise of net neutrality; corollary: the certainty that neither of my two readers will pay their ISPs an extra $6.99 a month to read this website. The non-Nazi part of the internet truly despises Republicans and Trump, so it’s ominous that he’s basically going to just end it. When users have to start paying for Twitter and Facebook, these services are going to wither. When ‘fake news’ can get shunted to the toll roads by administration-friendly ISPs, it becomes more and more of a prophetic lie/insult. When poor people are functionally walled off from parts of the story, or from their means of telling their own stories (I would’ve uploaded that video of the cop shooting that innocent man, except it’s not on my plan), the promise of the internet will be dead and buried.
Not to say that old-school news is faring any better. Monday, the toddler-in-chief called them to a meeting to berate them, not for the first time in person, never mind the hundreds of times in press conferences, rallies, and on Twitter. The laws are clearing the way for the dreaded Sinclair to own more and more stations and funnel actual propaganda into the homes of people like my mom and dad. And they’re working to engineer the conditions of the Time Warner/AT&T merger to take revenge on CNN, a network he hates as being mean to him (if only they were, and if only they were, sooner).
These are policies designed to protect the abusive. To hurt the innocent. To advantage the powerful and take from the average American. These are policies to cement power and control information, to wage war on truth.
These are evil policies. The Republicans are an evil party. And America has an evil President.