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The Game

One of my favorite movies from David Fincher, but that’s not what I’m writing about. I’ve been stewing on something for a week now, and I’ve finally processed all of the layers of bitchy that the issue has evoked in me so I’m ready to write about it. Last week Ken Mehlman, the gay former chairman of the RNC, apologized for his part in advancing the (then) particularly vitriolic attack on gays in America. Here’s what he said,

As I’ve been involved in the fight for marriage equality, one of the things I’ve learned is how many people were harmed by the campaigns in which I was involved. I apologize to them and tell them I am sorry. While there have been recent victories, this could still be a long struggle in which there will be setbacks, and I’ll do my part to be helpful.

To which I immediately said, “Fuck you, asshole. It’s too late”. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that my loathing for Ken Mehlman and his apology are much more nuanced than a simple “fuck you” can convey. His apology actually pisses me off in eighteen different ways. Let me just illustrate a few.

Let’s begin with the fact that I believe his apology is fundamentally rooted in his desire to live a happy life as an openly gay man. It’s hard to do that when you’re reviled by the gay community. If you want to be more open minded than I by giving him the benefit on that one, go ahead. My other reasons are far more damning.

The next thing that makes me want to rip his miserable fucking head off, is his anemic ability to empathize with people unless he finally experiences the cause of their pain firsthand. Better late than never, I guess but this makes me want to do a number of things to him.

I want to send him to Baghdad to chat with a few hundred thousand Iraqi families so that he can empathize with them by fully appreciating how badly we decimated their country. I want him to experience the tears of a person who lost their entire family for no goddamned good reason.

Then I want him to spend a couple of years at Walter Reed talking to horribly injured soldiers returning from the wars that his party started for no fucking good reason. I’m hoping that will impart some empathy for them in him. He’ll also have to visit with families of dead soldiers, in an effort to eventually garner some empathy for the state of their lives for the past ten years.

After that, I want him to stay with our returning soldiers until they’re able to find a job in this shitty economy that his president created. I want him to go with them when they apply for food stamps, unemployment insurance, medicaid, and whatever else they need to apply for in order to survive. Maybe then, he will develop some empathy for people that have to swallow their pride resorting to turning to the government for help. This will be awesome, since it’s a twofer. He might develop some empathy for the soldiers we throw away after we’re done with them, and for hard working Americans that have been reduced to depending on government help. Maybe he, unlike his fellow republican brethren, will finally understand that they’re not lazy parasites.

If Ken Mehlman is the type of person that needs to see suffering firsthand in order to feel anything for the sufferers, then I hope that my plan for him will eventually turn him into a decent human being.

The next thing that  really pissed me off about his apology is that I realized that for him, politics is just a game to be won. A game in which actual people don’t suffer consequences as a result of what their government is doing to them. It seriously takes a special kind of asshole to live life in this way. Let me clarify what I mean when I say special. I mean special, in relative proportion to most humans on this planet. I don’t believe that most of us are special in this way. I don’t mean special in relative proportion to politicians. Because among politicians, viewing politics this way is probably pretty normal. My theory is that a good portion of the special assholes among us are drawn to politics like moths to a flame. It takes a special kind of psychopathy to shut the victims of one’s actions out of one’s mind. Ken Mehlman is definitely that kind of special psychopath.

That brings me to my hopes and dreams for Ken Mehlman. I hope that Ken Mehlman dies alone in a cold, sterile hospital room knowing that his partner is a few hundred feet away from him, but can’t be with him to hold his hand in his final moments because his partner isn’t considered a family member. Yes, I want Ken Mehlman to experience what so many gay people have had to experience, as a result of Ken Mehlman’s victory in the game. I want Ken Mehlman to die childless because he couldn’t adopt any kids. And I want him to anguish over his loneliness in his final moments of life in that hospital room. I want Ken Mehlman to soak up as much empathy as humanly possible.

Let me add that I’m not gay. I’m just not special in that way that Ken Mehlman is. I have the capacity for empathy toward groups to which I don’t belong. I think I despise Ken more than anything, for evoking so much hate for him from me. It is not in my nature to despise people in the way that I despise Ken Mehlman. But every once in a while, someone is so completely loathsome, that I just want them to get what they deserve from the universe.

We are ultimately going to win the game that Ken Mehlman played. It makes me sick to my stomach to know that he’s going to benefit from our victory. Die alone, Ken. It’s the least you can do to even the score.


Cowardly Bullies

Turns out that high school is an excellent place to learn about how the world works. For example, most of us learned that the school bully is really just a big coward by the time we got to our senior year. Either that, or we learned it in a John Hughes film but regardless, we learned it.

Why am I thinking about bullies? Because of Ken Mehlman, of course. How did you not make that connection?

In case you hadn’t heard, Ken Mehlman (W’s campaign manager in 2004 and head of the RNC from 2005 – 2007) came out of the closet this week. Yup, much to no one’s surprise, Ken is gay. He’s 43 years old, and finally out of the closet. Why now? Because he’s not working as a republican operative anymore, stupid! He doesn’t have to fall in line anymore, so he gets to spend that last half (or third) of his life keeping it real.

What a fucking coward, seriously. Now, I can understand the appeal of conservative rhetoric (you know, the horseshit about small government and fiscal conservatism) 25 years ago when Ken was deciding on which political ideology suited him better. But by the mid 90s, the Pandora’s box that Reagan opened up in trying to appeal to evangelicals and religious zealots had started to move the party in a very ugly direction. The right wing rhetoric during the making of don’t-ask-don’t-tell was appalling. Why didn’t all of the gay republicans stand up then? Why did they choose fear and shame over courage?

I’m not suggesting that they should have abandoned their party. I understand that liberalism isn’t for everyone. Although it should be said that the last liberal president we had was Jimmy Carter. The last two have been decidedly right of center but okay, no one knew it was going to turn out that way and the next Jimmy Carter could have been lurking in the democratic party. What I’m suggesting is that they should have stood up, come out, and changed the course that the republican party was taking. But no, they instead chose to shut the fuck up and tow the party line. Worse than that, they helped in the suppression of their own civil rights. Fucking cowards.

Gay republicans aren’t the only cowards. Sane republicans are cowardly in their own right (how’d that double entendre work out for you?). Yes, I said sane republicans. There are some. You just don’t know about them because they’re in the sane closet. Lindsey Graham (I have no idea why Ken Mehlman makes me think of Lindsey Graham!) is not a whack-a-doodle. John McCain isn’t a whack-a-doodle. Dick Luger and Orin Hatch aren’t whack-a-doodles. Scott Brown is a dim bulb, but he’s not a whack-a-doodle.

Why aren’t they standing up for sanity? Why aren’t they appropriating funds for the jobs bill, stimulus, and the extension of unemployment benefits when they know that these bills are helping their states? Make no mistake, they do know. CBO (the congressional budget office) just came out with a report that says that the stimulus has helped to create between 1.4 and 3.3 million jobs. That 3.3 million figure means that the number of jobs created solely because of the stimulus package have surpassed the number of jobs created during the whole, miserable George W Bush nightmare. Sane republican senators know this. I don’t have some magical mechanism that gives me access to information that they don’t have. And yet, they’re shutting down efforts to help their constituents at every turn in order to tow the party line.

Where the fuck were the sane ones to reign in Bush when he was spending us into oblivion? Not one of them stood up and suggested that it might be a good idea to budget for the war and the occupation. Not one. None of them stood up and said that the Bush tax cuts were a bad idea. They knew what the impact of those tax cuts were going to be. They had to pass those tax cuts through reconciliation. According to the rules of reconciliation, congress can’t pass anything that way if it will have a negative effect on the deficit for over ten years. So they passed it through reconciliation with a nine year and three hundred and sixty-four day sunset. They knew they were burying our economy. They fucking knew it and said nothing. God damned cowards.

They are aiding and abetting the nuttyfication of the republican party because they’re fucking cowards.

How different would the republican party be today if their members weren’t cowards? They might actually practice some fiscal conservatism. They might have some diversity of thought. Democrats have anti-choice members serving in congress and in the senate. It’s inconceivable to me that 100% of republicans are anti-choice. It’s inconceivable to me that 100% of republicans are so rabidly pro-gun, that they don’t think that banning people on the terrorist watch list from buying a gun is a good idea.

It’s inconceivable to me that republicans aren’t a bunch of cowards. They band together to bully the pussies in the democratic party because they’re fundamentally a bunch of scared little girls. And I don’t understand what they’re so afraid of. Are they worried that if John Boehner pays them a visit to give them a good talking to for not towing the party line, that his skin condition will be contagious?

I honestly don’t understand this level of cowardliness. I’m used to spineless democrats, but at least they’re not actively participating in the ruination of their constituents, or the suppression of their own civil rights.