The 2012 first episode of “The Newsroom” opens with the most amazing eight minutes of television I’d ever seen.
Watch it. I mean it. Click the link. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
You’ll hear the immortal question, “If liberals are so fucking smart, how come they lose so goddamn always?”
We saw the answer on Dec. 7, 2017, when Al Franken resigned.
We lose because we eat our own. We lose because we play by Queen’s Rules, and they bring bazookas to knife fights. We lose because we back down, roll over, and slice our own bellies for them. We lose because we insist on being ethical while they’re out for blood.
We didn’t win World War II by being the nicest country on the planet. We were fighting fascists who murdered millions of people in death camps, eliminated the free press, invented the Big Lie, and slaughtered their own dissidents.
The current GOP cabal is their apt pupil. Republicans won in 2010 by hammering home a consistent message of lies, hate, and fear. They won by relying on a propaganda media decades in the making. They won by targeting individual precincts that would give them majorities in state legislatures.
Racism is still anchored deeply in the American psyche. GOP won in 2010, as they always do, with lies and hate and fear. They won with a consistent and unwavering message of lies about Obamacare and thinly-veiled bigotry directed at the first black president.
Their racist lies and unrestrained bigotry were piped 24/7 into homes and airports and shopping malls and doctors’ waiting rooms all over America. Not being constrained by any considerations of honesty or morality, their lies were ever-present and inescapable.
Controlling state legislatures let Republicans draw legislative boundaries after the 2010 census. Then, because Republicans have no shame, no scruples, no morals or ethics, they gerrymandered the shit out of every state they could, increasing and cementing their gains.
All the while, as they’ve been doing for decades, they bullied and pummeled the press, frightening them into “presenting both sides” rather than calling lies what they were. Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom” made this point repeatedly:
News is no longer news.
News has become newsertainment.
In a pitiful attempt at “objectivity”, they report, not the facts, but the spin. Afraid to seem “biased,” newsrooms no longer call lies for what they are, but give equal time to, for instance, climate scientists and oil lobbyists.
“The sky is green!” say Republicans. The media reports, not “Republicans are fucking liars,” but “Controvery Erupts Over Sky Color.”
This, despite Reagan having killed, in the 1980s, the requirement for news media to give equal time for opposing veiws. And despite FOX, which doesn’t bother with even a whiff of equal time to balance its unceasing and constant barrage of unrelenting propaganda.
Once GOPhascists seized state houses, they proceeded to enact a series of vote suppression laws — such things as Crosscheck (which alone disinfranchased at least three million minority voters), changing and closing polling places, restricting voting hours, allowing poll workers to lie to voters, poll taxes in the form of voter ID laws, and various ways to purge registered voters from the rolls without telling them and without allowing them time or methods to re-register.
In other words, they fucking cheated.
This accounted for Republican gains in 2014. And then in 2016, on top of all that, the barrage of psyops, partly coordinated and funded by Russia, targeting individual voters with carefully-constructed lies, hate and fear, that did the trick.
Berners are fond of asking how Republicans managed to gain a thousand seats in Congress and state legislatures between 2009 and 2017. That’s how.
Well, it’s half the story: Republicans are fascists, who oppose the very idea of democracy and freedom. That’s half of it.
The other half is that Democrats let them do it. We wilt and wither at the first hint of foul play. We cower at adversity. We refuse to get dirty. We tell the truth, which is always clumsier and less effective than a sharp and pointed lie.
What, of all this, did we see on December 7. 2017? There was no election that day!
No, there’s an election the following Tuesday, Dec 12. We saw Republicans mounting a weeks-long campaign to save Roy Moore by bringing down Al Franken.
And it worked.
It worked because Democrats are wimps.
We’re so fucking smart, but we lose so goddamn always, because Republicans bring bazookas and we have nothing but kind language. Roy Moore is a serial child molester, a vile man so contrary to Christian values as to be a parody of an evil villain from Left Behind.
The testimony and evidence against Roy Moore is enormous and convincing. So the Republican strategy to get him elected is to divide and distract the opposition, neuter the outrage, by pretending a respected and powerful Democratic senator Is Just As Bad.
But there is no one Just As Bad as Roy Moore, except possibly the Pussygrabber-In-Chief, who has been accused of brutally raping a child at a gathering of fellow feudalists. Having no one to actually compare Roy Moore to, Republicans invented Leeann Tweeden.
Roger Stone (of Richard Nixon “Ratfucker” fame) hatched a plot with Sean Hannity, a plot so profane and obscene as to be worthy of Goebbels or Himmler.
Despite having been debunked, the damage was done, and the plan unrolled, unstoppable. A series of further charges were made, most of them anonymous, all of them playing on and ridiculing the #MeToo movement and the insistence we must believe the victim. None of these accusations are credible or corroborated, but Democrats now must accept them, and act on them, or be accused by the media of rancid hypocrisy.
And the only acceptable action is political execution.
Off his his head! Sentence now, it relieves us of the need for a trial.
Pure Gestapo tactics.
Make no mistake: the assault on Al Franken is a cynical assault on women’s rights, a vicious defense of rape culture, a devastating attack on the credibility of all assault victims everywhere. Besides making us believe that an unprovable rumor of touching a butt is somehow comparable to raping children(?!), Democrats have been manipulated into insisting on destroying the career of a Senator who’s been spectacularly effective not only at defending women, but at chasing down and revealing the lies that the Trump Administration and the GOP are using to cover up their conspiracy with Russia to destroy American democracy.
His effectiveness in these areas made him not only a good target to distract from Roy Moore, but a necessary target for retaining Republican power.
And we let them do it. We played into their hands. Does anyone believe, for a moment, that the Party of Fox “News”, of gerrymandering, of ratfucking, of Crosscheck and vote suppression and Obamacare riots, the party that elected President Pussygrabber and that screams lies every moment of every day, does any sane person believe the political death of Al Franken will shame any of these shameless, soulless bastards into taking any action against Senator Roy “Hand Me Your Daugher” Moore?
No, they laugh at our wimpishness. We entrap ourselves with our uncompromising morals. We collapse and show our bellies. We cower in a corner and whimper, “Please. Don’t. Hurt. Me.” (←click that link, too.)
Count on it. Republicans will, in every election they think they can win next year, and many they can’t, everywhere there’s a male Democratic candidate — and probably not a mere few women — find every woman he was ever alone with in a room, and bribe her to invent a story of molestation. Count on it.
I’m sick of it.
If we don’t learn to fight back, democracy will die.
America did not beat the Nazis in World War II by being nice guys. We didn’t win by refusing to engage in real war. We can’t defeat fascism by keeping our hands clean.
Yes, God damn it, this was political. Even if some accusation or other against Franken was true (and we’ll never know, will we?), we needed him in the Senate, and we needed to stop this Republican assault on democracy.
Yes, for the love of all that’s holy, we must begin defending our own.
No. Matter. What.
We can’t govern if we don’t win. We can’t win if we leave the fucking field at the slightest whiff.
We have to stop killing our best and brightest simply because Republicans tell us to. We can’t be afraid of Fox propaganda. We can’t tolerate division. We can’t let this happen again.
If liberals are so fucking smart, how come they lose so goddamn always?
Because we surrender.