Circa 1978, on Sesame Street: Grover and Susan look at a set of four circles that Bob has just drawn on the wall. Bob starts to sing a familiar Sesame Street song “one of these things is not like the other” pointing to the set of circles. Clearly one is much smaller. After careful consideration, Grover figures out that the one in the upper right quadrant is definitely the odd man out. What have we learned? That there are differences and similarities and as five year olds, we are 100 percent able to grasp the concept.
Fast forward 2018: Sen. Mitch McConnell, pale and waxy, shoves food into his gob at a restaurant. He is approached by angry constituents calling him out on his horrible bullshit: Kavanaugh’s push-through versus the Garland obstructionism, for example. There’s also his batches and heaps of lies, his supporting a racist, nationalist president and being a racist himself. These people whom he was elected to represent and from whom he draws a salary á la taxpayer dollars have a constitutional right to hold Mitch’s (probably) waxy and pale feet to the fire.
Sarah Sanders, who couldn’t tell the truth if it was run through a teleprompter, also had her casual dining experience (Cracker Barrel? Chick-Fil-A?) interrupted by some insensitive people who called her out for her stream of fabrications and support of President Trump’s harmful policies. Other Republicans and right wingers (like Tomi Lahren who perhaps suffered the most by having a glass of water chucked at her in Minneapolis) have been really put out by having their dining experiences interrupted. Those mean, mean Democrats!
Yesterday, New York City and my phone are buzzing like mad. It is an emergency alert calling on people in the vicinity of 58th and 8th Avenue to “shelter in place.” Turns out the Time Warner Center had been evacuated. Since journalists run toward fires I threw on my kicks and headed down Broadway to Columbus Circle where the Time Warner building is located.
GOP congressmen were all over their tried and true false equivalency game—the mobs of angry diners wagging fingers at senators are no better than those responsible for the pipe bombs. It is like none of these fools watched Sesame Street. Pipe bombs aren’t the same as a cup full of Minnesota tap water in the face.
This is all on you, GOP. You own this president, you own your cowardice, and I hope your book sales suffer accordingly (I am looking at you kum-bay-ah Sens. Ben Sasse and Jeff Flake). The patriarchy, comprised of white menfolk (enabled by delusional white suburban women and a peppering of minorities), are terrified. Their god is Donald Trump, and as a “blue wave” threatens that god, they are getting restless.
Do not mistake Michelle Obama’s “when they go low we go high” statement to mean that we do nothing but watch Trump and right-wing GOPers dismantle our republic.
At about 72nd street—around the Trader Joes, a Bloomingdale outlet store and Grey’s Papaya—I am waiting for the light to change. No real police activity yet. People running into and out of the 1/2/3 subway station, tourists, shoppers, commuters, just another day in NYC. I look down at the sidewalk. Written on the pavement is the web address for Infowars. I have never seen sidewalk chalk promoting Alex Jones and his herbal remedy/conspiracy theory website before. Here? In New York? The “liberal elite” capital of the universe? It was weird to say the least.
As I walked on I couldn’t wait to hear what Trump had to say about all this. His comments came during an afternoon bill signing. On script and surprisingly lucid, Trump denounced the domestic terrorism (my words—certainly not his) and said Americans need to come together. Then he urged “unity” with as much conviction as Jeffery Dahmer urging conversion to vegetarianism. Then he doddered off almost forgetting to sign the bill.
Later, at yet another political rally, Trump fell back into his routine. He blamed the media and “fake news” that he warned everyone about since forever for tearing apart the country by focusing on these bombing threats. Chants of “lock her up” soon followed.
As I continue on down Broadway approaching Columbus Circle, the usual suspects—Ann Coulter, Candace Owens, Mike “Pizzagate” Cernovich, Lou Dobbs—are false flagging it all over Twitter and Facebook. Here is one of my faves from the peanut gallery:
“Oh please....these bombs (not actually bombs since they were intentional built to be inert) were sent to Hillary, CNN, Obama and Holder by the Democrat National Committee. This is a transparent False Flag operation, orchestrated by the Democrats, to deflect from all their violent actions, assassination attempts and hateful rhetoric.” – Self-Appointed Inert Bomb Expert
By the time I get to Columbus Circle the police tape is coming down, employees are getting ready to head back to work and scores of news people are calling it a wrap. My friend Rohan’s wife is a local news anchor and in light of all of these conspiracy theories and false equivalencies he posted this on his FB page:
Today’s bomb scare was real. My (very pregnant) wife was covering it live at the Time Warner Building. This is not a hoax, it’s not a conspiracy….please understand that people’s lives were very much at risk today.
And then as if on cue two people question Rehan’s assertion. Why? Because there were no postmarks on the 10 (and counting) packages.
One of these things isn’t like the other. There is truth and there are lies. The truth is pipe bombs and white powder are being sent to those attacked repeatedly by Trump. He doesn’t mislead, he lies as a craven GOP stands by letting him get away with murder.
Do not mistake Michelle Obama’s “when they go low we go high” statement to mean that we do nothing but watch Trump and right-wing GOPers dismantle our republic. Democrats, right-thinking Americans, and news outlets: the hour is late. They will keep bringing pipe bombs to a finger-wagging fight. But we get to come at them with our vote and a metric shit ton of truth.