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When Trump goes down, what then?

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I ventured away from national politics yesterday, into the tall weeds of California politics, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t closely watching Trump-RussiaGate developments, as I’m sure you were. The Mueller indictments themselves were no surprise, although the Papadopoulos plea was; we’ll just have to see where that goes. Nor was the reaction by the tea party/Breitbart/white nationalist wing of the Republican Party particularly surprising. They’re furious, because they’ve been caught with their hands in the Russian cookie jar—co-conspirators with Trump.

Before I write any further, it occurs to me I ought to stop using the phrase “the tea party/Breitbart/white nationalist wing of the Republican Party” because the two things—the tea party/Breitbart/white nationalist volk and the Republican Party—are now one and the same. Once upon a time, and not too long ago, America had an official Republican Party, whose symbols might have been the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader. However right wing this official party might have become, it still was recognizable as the heir of the Republican Party of Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, of Richard Nixon, and, yes, even of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Those individuals, though conservative, never severed the ties with sanity. They never fell entirely into bed with Christian fanatics, although they had to pretend to like them; nor did they ever completely kowtow to the paranoid fringe on the right—the John Birch Society types, with their fearmongering of chlorination and Communists. Until the inauguration of 2017 and its subsequent developments, it was, therefore, possible to speak of a Republican Party whose outer edges included fanatics, but whose core remained rational.

Today, there is but a single Republican Party: the fringe has devoured the center; reason has been destroyed, replaced by something akin to psychosis. I know that it’s fashionable to portray the party as riven between the center and the extremists, but really, this is a false portrayal—a distinction without a difference. Paul Ryan is said to represent the “old” Republican Party; Breitbart has declared war on him, which leads to the appearance of a schism in the GOP.

But appearances are deceiving. In fact, there is no schism; or, more properly stated, it’s important not to let momentary shiny objects distract us from understanding precisely what this Republican Party has become. Put aside the Comments section on Breitbart; put aside who won the Georgia Senate primary; put aside Mueller; put aside Russian meddling in the election; put it all aside, and what remains is a Republican Party that has become as thorough an expression of clerical fascism as America has ever seen. Paul Ryan admitted as much yesterday; asked what he thought of the indictments, he replied, in a non sequitor, “Nothing is going to derail what we’re doing in Congress.”

In other words, for Ryan, the meltdown of the Trump regime is irrelevant. Tax breaks for billionaires, the continued dismantling of environmental protections, the assault on truth, the relentless incursions of radical Christian ideologues into the hallways of justice and power, the marginalizing of gay people, the stirring up of race hatred, the dividing of America—this is Ryan’s agenda. But it is also the agenda of the tea party/white nationalist/religious fanatics. The upshot is that there is no fundamental difference anymore between any “wings” within the organized Republican Party. There is a single party: clerical and fascist. That it will eventually will be condemned by historians is cold comfort. The dangers it poses today are existential.

Those dangers will continue to exist in the immediate future. Whether or not Trump goes down doesn’t matter. It will be fascinating to watch him fight back. He possesses formidable powers; his supporters are armed and stubborn; he can cause a lot of harm, perhaps even plunge the nation into civil conflict. But, as Speaker Ryan implied yesterday, it’s all irrelevant: the play of karma, the spinning of the wheel. Trumps come and go; when this one goes, the Republican Party will still have Pence. The only thing that can truly flush out the system—“drain the swamp,” as it were—will be total victory for Democrats in the 2018 elections and the elimination of all Republican influence. This is where we ought to be keeping our focus, even as we enjoy the spectacle of Trump and his cadre, circling the drain, flailing in outrage as they go down.


Gavin Newsom is the best candidate for California governor

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Politicians who are behind in the polls and in fundraising usually resort to hyperbolic accusations against their front-runner opponents, hoping that some of their allegations will stick. That’s what Antonio Villaraigosa is doing. The former L.A. mayor continues to trail Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom in the polls, and, in desperation, has begun throwing mud.

“[Villaraigosa] is going to paint Newsom as a Tesla-driving, elite ex-mayor of a wealthy city…”, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. “Villaraigosa will draw the contrast between Newsom, the privileged friend of the wealthy Getty family, and his own upbringing in…East Los Angeles,” the paper says. “[Villagairosa] will be talking about ‘the other California,’ away from the wealthy coast, the one where 20 percent of people live in poverty.”

As strategies go, it at least is one, but not very well thought-out. Somebody ought to remind Villaraigosa that he’s running for the Democratic nomination for Governor of California. His blasts against Newsom—as elite, privileged, and out of touch with working people—sound more like Tea Party smears from a Republican. This is not a strategy calculated to win the hearts and minds of Democratic voters. The “other California” he hopes to appeal to is the red-district Central Valley and Sierra Foothills. Those people are not going to vote for a Democrat, no matter how he portrays himself as a man of the people. They’re going to vote for the Republican. Villaraigosa is fishing for votes in barren waters.

Who cares how much money a candidate has? JFK was far richer than Gavin Newsom. FDR came from an old, privileged family of landed estates. On the other hand, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama came from ordinary roots. This suggests that personal wealth, or the lack of it, doesn’t matter to Democratic voters. They’re too smart to fall for that. They’re interested in a candidate’s positions on the vital issues of the day, not irrelevant things like personal wealth.

By the same token, Villaraigosa’s stressing of his poor East L.A. roots counts for nothing. Sure, it’s inspiring when a politician overcomes the barriers of race and poverty to rise to the top. But that’s not what people care about when they vote. They might admire a Horatio Alger story, but there’s never been a shred of evidence that it counts for anything in electoral politics.

I’ve known Gavin Newsom for nearly thirty years. He didn’t start rich. He envisioned everything he wanted, and then worked as hard as anyone I’ve ever known to make it happen. Granted, his family was friends with the billionaire Gettys, and I’m sure Newsom will explain that as the campaign unfolds. But so what? Gordon Getty’s reputation is spotless. He’s never been implicated in any political scandals. Indeed, the Getty family are backbones of San Francisco’s cultural institutions and charities. For Villaraigosa to imply any kind of impropriety in the Newsom-Getty relationship is an act of cynicism and opportunism. It plays to some imagined resentment on the part of Democratic voters of wealthy people. Perhaps there is some such resentment, but Gordon Getty has immunized himself by dint of the fact that he’s a Democrat. He’s probably lost track of all the Democratic fundraisers he’s held in his home. So Democrats are not going to rise to Villaraigosa’s bait.

Gavin Newsom has been thinking about the issues since the early 1990s. He’s never wavered. He’s always been visionary. As San Francisco’s mayor, he championed gay marriage when it was considered political suicide. Now, same-sex marriage is the law of the land. As Lieutenant-Governor, Newsom is entitled to use an office in the California State Building, in San Francisco, a sterile, ugly structure, filled with bureaucrats and lobbyists. Instead, he chose to work in The Founder’s Den, a shared workspace in the city’s high-tech South of Market district, where he works in the open alongside shirt-sleeved young entrepreneurs and their friends in a spacious environment. This is Newsom’s way of avoiding being in the bubble, of seeing and hearing and feeling young people, with their ideas, hopes and concerns.

Look, Antonio Villagairosa is a fine fellow and, by all accounts, was a good L.A. mayor. But it’s just not his time—and he really ought to figure out how to run an issue-oriented campaign, not just a negative one against the front-runner.


Trump’s plan to nullify Mueller

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Now we know whom Mueller indicted: Manafort.

Republicans are mad as hornets, frothing at the mouth, screaming for blood. Breitbarters are lighting up their torches and grabbing their pitchforks. It’s fun to watch them melt down!

But sane Republicans have long known this was coming. Last week, in anticipation, they launched their desperate counterattack on Mueller and, for good measure, they threw in Hillary Clinton on on some ridiculous uranium charge. The Breitbart-Tea Party misogynists will not rest content until she’s imprisoned or dead.

We know that Trump is fearful of Mueller and wants the probe stopped. We’ve heard the stories about him firing Mueller—something he obviously would very much like to do, but has not been able to, since doing so would almost guarantee an uproar in the Congress, mainly the Senate, even among his own Republicans. That uproar has been the one thing restraining an otherwise reckless Trump from saving his scalp by getting rid of the investigator who is closing in on him and his klepto family.

But for the time being, going after Mueller and Hillary are all Trump has left. His early morning tweets prove this: this is a man running scared, lashing out, hoping against hope that something will happen to rescue him.

Meanwhile, it’s not hard to imagine the behind-the-scenes meetings with Trump and his enablers.

“We can’t fire Mueller,” the rational ones, like Gen. Kelly and McMaster, argue.

“What else can we do?” someone asks.

General silence. Then, Trump: “If we can’t fire him, we make him quit.”

“How?” Someone asks. McConnell, who has been silent until then, chimes in. “We make life so hard for him, Mr. President, that he voluntarily steps aside.”

“How can we do that?” asks Gen Kelly. “He’s a strong guy, immune to pressure.”

Kellyanne Conway, who’s been patiently waiting, contributes her two cents. “Everybody has their breaking point,” she suggests, her blue eyeliner slightly smudged. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, picking up on her cue, grins. “Mr. President, a few of us have been quietly working on this for months. We just need the go-ahead from you.”

Trump: “What’s your plan?”

Kellyanne: “We go into total war against him. Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the radio shock jocks like Jones and Limbaugh, our friends in the House and Senate, the Justice Department—“

Don McGhan, the White House counsel: “Wait a minute, Kellyanne. The Justice Department is independent of the White House. You can’t involve them in politics.”

Trump looks around the room, grins and winks at Sessions. This breaks the tension: everybody bursts out laughing.

“Jeff?” Trump asks, looking meaningfully at his Attorney-General.

Sessions: “Count us in, Mr. President. We’ll make it happen.”

Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “Every day, we lob grenades at Mueller, gradually escalating. We drag his associates in. We drag his family in. We have Devin Nunes demand hearings on the House side”—

“Not just of Mueller,” Trump orders. “I want Crooked Hillary investigated too.”

“For what?” Gen. Kelly asks.

“That uranium thing,” Pence says.

“Mr. President, there’s nothing there,” Jared says. “We’ve looked into that four, five times. If there was anything, we would’ve had it by now.”

Kellyanne: “Doesn’t matter, Jared. It’ll be a bombshell because we say it’s a bombshell. Our people will believe it.”

Trump: “God bless our base. They believe anything I tell them.” He tugs on his red MAGA cap.

“The point is,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders continues, “We only have 35% of the American people, but they’re the loudest, most loyal political demographic in the country. They’ll stand with us to the bitter end.”

Kellyanne: “Right. If we just go into defensive mode, we’ll lose the battle of public opinion. We have to counter-attack.”

Suddenly, the speakerphone crackles into life. It’s Bannon, calling from offsite: the White House didn’t dare have him attend in person lest the media spot him. “We’ve got this one, Mr. President. We nuke Mueller; nothing will be left but crispy critters. We stir every Hillary pot. Our people—my people—will go bat shit. We can turn this thing around 150 percent, Mr. President, put them on the defensive. Even if Mueller doesn’t quit, we’ll make it impossible for his report to have any validity. Day after day, week after week of attacks, innuendos and smears—we can do it, Sir.”

Kellyanne: “And what about Manafort?”

Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “Pardon my French, but fuck him.” Everyone laughs.

Sllence. After a while, Gen Kelly: “Mr. President? You have to make a decision. You have the nuclear code in your hands. Do we launch the ultimate attack on Mueller?”

Trump: (thinking to himself. Gets up, paces around the Oval Office a few times. Then): “Go for it, ladies and gentlemen. Just one final request: When you do this, make it ugly. Really, really ugly. I don’t want just to destroy Mueller and Hillary. I want to completely demoralize the Democratic Party.”

Pence: “Will do, Mr. President. By the way, did I ever tell you that I love you?”

Bannon: “Put on your shit shields, people. We’re at war.”


Like father, like son

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You know how they say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree? Well, in the case of Donald Trump Jr., the old saying is right. This spoiled white boy is just like his father and his grandfather: a bully, a cad, a snot-nosed insult artist.

I happened across Junior’s Twitter page. Now, before I proceed, let me explain a little about presidential children. I’ve seen a lot of them, from John-John and Caroline through Nixon’s daughters, Ford’s model-handsome sons, Amy Carter, Reagan’s soap-operatically dysfunctional brood, George H.W.’s kids, Chelsea Clinton, George W. Bush’s daughters (who I kind of like) and Obama’s wonderful daughters. These White House children shared one thing in common: a sense of dignity and decorum. They were removed from the public sphere, and didn’t engage in partisan politics (except for the odious, ambitious Maureen Reagan). That is, I think, as it should be: leave the politicking to your father. Stay above the fray and set an example.

So when I saw Junior’s rantings, I was shocked. I never much liked the two elder Trump sons. They seemed like mean rich boys: spoiled, entitled brats, raised in the lap of luxury, with little knowledge or concern of the problems of Black people, poor people, gay people, immigrants, the handicapped, working women. When those notorious pictures of Trump’s sons on a wild animal-slaughtering safari were published, this one of Junior particularly galled me:

He has obviously murdered a great elephant and sliced off its tail, which he displays with a lewd, proud grin, as though he has just done something praiseworthy. What’s that all about? Why slice off its tail? Is that some kind of castration fantasy? I Googled “Why do hunters cut off the tails of elephants?” and learned that

(a) They take the hairs at the end of the tail and make a bracelet out of it

(b) it’s a longstanding tradition that the tail provides ownership

(c) it is a trophy! Tribal leaders/chiefs would have them as a sign of power & leadership

Well, isn’t that special? After taking the elephant’s life, Junior couldn’t even let it rest in peace. He had to further bully and mutilate it. Just like Daddy. Melania tells us that, when someone attacks Trump, “he will punch back 10 times harder.” In Junior’s case, when he kills something, he rekills it again afterwards—the ritual of a serial torturer who gets his rocks off by maiming.

I doubt whether the elephant “attacked” Junior. It was peacefully foraging in its home when Junior ambushed it. Junior wasn’t defending himself: he flew to Africa on a private jet with the intention of killing innocent great beasts and then bragging about it. This is just an insecure, callow young man, raised without moral scruples, acting out a Great White Hunter fantasy. Perhaps he was trying to compete with his father and show him what a strong, brave son he is. But all that this foul deed proves is that Donald Trump Junior is a smarmy bastard, with no respect for the rights of animals.

If a man doesn’t respect the right of a great innocent animal to live, he’s not likely to respect the rights of the humans around him. We know that the father is a bully whose favorite pastime is to insult his “enemies.” One might have wished that the son and namesake would decide to live in a more graceful, respectful manner, but no: On his Twitter feed, here’s Donald indulging in the same cheap, tawdry, immature name-calling as the father. Here are the same racist, misogynist insults of Hillary and Obama,

the implied death threats to liberals,

The gratuitous, childish insults of his father’s critics.

Jeff Flake? What’s in a name? #FLAKEnews

Here is the pathetic attempt to distract the nation’s attention from the Mueller investigation:

“Confession-I was wrong about the Russians messing w/ election. Looks like they did. Just that HRC and DNC paid to make it happen. Ruh Roh!”

Well, you can check out the page for yourself, if you can stand it. It’s really pathetic.

The irony of Trump and his family is that the very people who support him the most probably wouldn’t want him in their family (except for the money). They would never admit it, but even the vilest of the Breitbart white supremacists privately know that Trump, Senior is a bastard and that Trump, Junior is a schmuck. One of the things I’ve always liked about my Democratic Presidents is that their children were role models. I don’t think anyone would possibly say that about Donald Trump Jr.


Actors play to different audiences. So do politicians

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As an improvisational comedian, I have different audiences. One is during rehearsals with my troupe, when it’s my own colleagues—my peers and fellow actors—watching. This is a “tough house.” They know me, and they know the rules of improv. If I violate a rule, my fellow actors instantly see it. They add frisson to rehearsals. But their approval is also valued, even craved. The most satisfying hurrahs come from those who understand how hard you’re working.

My other audience consists of the public, the paying customers. On performance night, they file into the theatre to be entertained. Maybe it’s Friday night, maybe it’s a date; they just want to have fun. They don’t know the rules of the stage, nor do they care. They don’t know us personally: our anxieties, our habits, our strengths and weaknesses. When a player makes a technical mistake—the kind his peers would easily spot—the public audience doesn’t know. This makes them more fun to perform to. They’re forgiving.

Politicians, too, play to different audiences. In Trump’s case, he has many such, but two in particular stand out. One of his audiences, which is the equivalent of playing to his peers and colleagues, is the U.S. Congress: his fellow elected politicians, who under our Constitution are co-equal with the presidency. This week, with Corker’s and Flake’s incredible denunciations of Trump, the Senate has been a tough house for Trump to play. They know how an American president ought to act; they know Trump’s tricks, how he debases the office. They perceive every stunt, every incompetence, every insane tweet, every lie. Trump understands he’s being judged by them on a professional level, and he hates it. When he was a pussy-grabbing billionaire in New York City, he had no peers. This is why Trump’s doppelganger, Bannon, is out there targeting Senate Republicans. He wants to get rid of the tough crowd, the peers, and replace it with the political equivalent of the paying audience. Better a Roy Moore than a John McCain.

“They think you’re idiots,” Bannon told a crowd yesterday. In case the “they” of his scorn wasn’t apparent, Bannon made it crystal clear. “I’m talking about Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans.” Trump’s easiest house to play to is, of course, his base. They’re not there to judge or critique him. They want to be entertained. When you play to a supportive public, you can feel the waves of energy. It lifts you up on waves of love; it’s addictive. This is why politicians love to get out of harsh, judgmental Washington and back to their base. It’s why Trump craves his red state rallies. His supporters are not looking for intelligent analyses of complicated policy issues (although they should be). In the words of Republican congressman Thomas Massie, they’re looking for “the craziest son of a bitch,” and in Trump, they found it.

This is why Bannon got it right when he accuses Senate Republicans like McConnell, Corker and Flake of thinking that Trump supporters are “idiots.” Every sane Republican thinks Trump supporters are “idiots.” Because they are! As a wordsmith, I have to be careful how I use such terms. The word “idiot” can refer to what used to be called a “retarded” person, “mentally equal or inferior to a child two years old,” according to my Webster’s dictionary. That’s not how I mean it when applied to Trump supporters. I readily concede they are “mentally superior” to a two-year old. But another meaning of “idiot” is “ignorant person,” and that is what Trump supporters are. It’s how Republican Senators like McConnell, Flake and Corker see them, too, although they can’t come out and say so.

These Trump supporters know that many Americans view them as idiots, and they resent this. It’s a huge part of the reason why, in their pique, they voted for Trump in the first place: to stick their finger in the eye of the “elites.” When Trump shows up and encourages them in their resentments, they love it. He plays to them, they play to him.

As an improv performer, I understand Trump’s affection for his base. I too prefer to play to the public. It’s easier. But I know that playing to my peers, while harder, is healthier for me, professionally. They hold me to a higher standard. If I want to grow in my craft—which I do—then feedback from my peers is what I need.

Trump also is a performer. Like his authoritarian peers around the globe—Erdogan, Duterte, Putin–he isn’t interested in getting better at his job. He has no interest in policy issues, in history, in the moral impact of the presidency. He’s interested only in holding onto power. His two audiences—the base and the Congress—will never stand in his way, the first because they don’t want to, the second because they can’t. But there is an audience Trump can’t charm or browbeat: Robert Mueller.


Unraveling

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Sen. Corker’s and Sen. Flake’s statements yesterday were astonishing and historic. In all my years I’ve never seen a sitting U.S. Senator criticize a president from his own party, not on policy grounds, but on grounds of moral and mental unfitness. Now we have, on the same day, not one, but two.

“I’ve seen no evolution in an upward way. It appears to me it’s almost devolving,” Corker said of Trump. Watching him, I thought that Corker wouldn’t be doing this without some a priori approval from party leadership, i.e. McConnell, sending him there as a kind of canary in the coal mine. But then Corker proceeded to undermine the seriousness of his own statement by telling the reporters around him how “unique” his own situation is. “Everyone will see this in a different way,” he said, or words to that effect: so that he isolated himself as a contrarian and enabled his Republican colleagues to argue that, Hey, that’s just Bob being Bob, the way they say, Hey, that’s just Trump being Trump. One might as well say, Hey, that’s just Hitler being Hitler.

Then there was Sen. Flake’s speech on the Senate floor. Truly remarkable: A Republican Senator virtually accusing a Republican President of the United States of America of treason. But it’s sad that Flake, like Corker, undermined the gravity of his own words, by announcing he will not run again.

Are Corker and Flake rara aves in the Senate, the only ones upset and worried? Or are they the spear point of a growing sentiment? No one knows. Probably McConnell himself—the most craven politician of our day–doesn’t know. It would depend on individual Republican Senators themselves knowing which way they stand. Corker and Flake do; most of the others, probably, are in flux; and even if they took a stand today, it could change by this time tomorrow, given their moral turpitude in the ebb and flow of the political winds. Anyone who has had to make decisions as part of a group understands this dynamic. As with a jury, there are some with their minds made up, although they may be made up in opposite ways. There are some in the squishy middle. There is no way to compel someone in the middle to choose one side or the other, without the imposition of an arbitrary rule: a vote on impeachment, for example. Lacking that, the middle will go on being squishy for a long time; and, rather than squishiness being uncomfortable, it’s really the comfort zone for politicians, the default position where they can be dinged, but not savaged.

The balancing act for Republicans, then, has been, and continues to be, to weigh the balance between achieving their political agenda, on the one hand, and their discomfiture with Trump, on the other. The two are in rough equilibrium, for the moment: Republicans inch towards “victory” (whatever that means) in such areas as taxes, the Wall, Iran, judges, or whatever, even as they murmur in the cloakroom about an out-of-control man, possibly insane, in the Oval Office, and admit, in their private conversations, that he has debased the Constitution.

One looks for glimpses of an end-game; in vain, however. I have searched the political horizon high and low for more than a year waiting for something to tilt the balance. Nothing has. Every time I think the situation is leaning towards Republicans turning on Trump, I read through the Comments at Breitbart—such raw sewage–and my heart sinks. Those people are willfully, brazenly stupid—their statements so patently ridiculous (“Trump never groped anyone, it was all a setup”) that one concludes they either are insane, or Russian trolls. Perhaps I should, for my own mental health, stop reading Breitbart; but not being aware of the existence of evil doesn’t make evil go away. It is better to know what the enemy is plotting, than to let them spin in the darkness.

It’s gratifying, of course, for The Resistance to have Corker and Flake say what they said; but then, they both will be gone from the Senate in 14 months. Are Corker and Flake merely isolated voices in the wilderness, or are they John the Baptist, heralding voices to come?

 


#MeToo

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I was 25 years old when I became aware of the workplace sexual harassment of women and what a terrible problem it was.

I was working as a cook at a Howard Johnson’s restaurant in Brattleboro, Vermont, where a number of women friends of mine were waitresses, both on the floor and at the counter. We used to commute to and from work together. One night, on the drive home, the women were unusually silent. I tried, in my usual clumsy fashion, to lighten the atmosphere with wise cracks. One of my friends then explained to me that another of them had been mercilessly propositioned and insulted by a male customer. On our 30-minute drive home, the women proceeded to enlighten me about the extent of such sexual harassment. All of them were in tears, or close to it, as they told me how much it hurt—how powerless they felt—how there was no way I could understand it unless I’d gone through it myself.

Of course, as a man, I hadn’t. And as a gay man, I’d certainly never approached women sexually. Nor had I even been party to that “locker room talk” (as Trump called his pussy-grabbing braggadocio) that young men are said to engage in. Maybe my chums were raised better than Trump, but I never heard them talk about girls in crude, vulgar ways. So the reports from my women friends shocked me.

A few years later, I had my one and only experience of #MeToo. I’d moved to California and my first job was as a short-order cook in a greasy spoon restaurant. My boss, the owner, was a truly despicable man. About 60 years old, fat, and single, with the worst toupee I’d ever seen. We got paid once a week. Every time, he’d sneak up behind me and slide my paycheck into the breast pocket of my white cook’s blouse, always making sure to touch my nipple with his fat fingers. He asked me out to dinner with him all the time. I always declined, politely. Finally, things came to a head. He demanded I dine with him. I refused. He fired me.

Keep in mind, this was well before there were sexual harassment and anti-retaliation laws against this sort of misconduct. Before I was fired, while the harassment was going on, I used to come home after work and rant to my family about how sick and tired I was of getting felt up. But what could I do? I was broke and powerless. I needed that job. I had no choice but to let the sick situation continue.

My experience was nothing compared to what many women go through. It pissed me off, but I could handle it. But I can completely understand what the women who have been in the news lately are talking about. Whether they were harassed by Harvey Weinstein, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, Donald Trump or anyone else, they were treated inhumanely and disgustingly, and the men who so treated them ought not to be allowed to get away with it. Fox News’ rehiring of O’Reilly yesterday is especially egregious; at least the Weinstein Company fired Harvey, but Fox—the Catholic network, the family values network, the network that screams every time a Democrat is caught in scandal—didn’t have the decency to let O’Reilly go. He’s good for the ratings, I suppose, and decency be damned.

I don’t see why we can’t all agree that sexual harassment, particularly in the power-imbalance of the workplace, is wrong, whether it’s performed by Democrats or Republicans. Neither side ought to be finger-pointing since both are culpable. I do think, morally, that Democrats have the stronger argument. When Weinstein broke, the “liberal” media—New York Times, MSNBC—were all over it, and continue to be, with their female reporters in particular damning the practice. But when a Republican is busted for a sex scandal, you hardly even hear about it on Fox News or the Wall Street Journal. So I’m #MeToo, and if you’re a moral, ethical person with any human empathy, you should be too.


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