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DO UNTO OTHERS

Updated: Dec 27, 2020

December 19, 2020


A WORD TO MY REPUBLICAN COUNTRYMEN


The President who called fallen American soldiers“losers” now gets to fully experience losing himself. And you, whose devotion to him has known no bounds, get to do it with him.



I’m sure you remember President Trump saying “Elections have consequences” in October when notifying us that yes, his party would be pushing through the nomination of a new Supreme Court justice, not only during an election year but even after voting had begun.


Democrats, he proclaimed, would do the same, but “without even thinking about it” and “faster.”


That tells us he knew it was unfair. Which all of you knew, too.


Now that the election is behind us, we know that some 70,000,000 of you agree with a President who believed the goal of his office was “Winning! We’re going to win so much we’ll get sick of winning!” But winning like that means someone else always has to lose.


Turns out the winning thing is only fun when “your side” does it.



This time you lost. And while we don’t expect you to be gracious in defeat when you were never gracious in victory, I do wonder how unpleasant you plan to be for the next four years.


The guy who did win in November immediately said to “your side,” “I understand your disappointment. I’ve lost a couple of elections myself.”


How gracious.


As 2020 draws to a close, while our outgoing President humiliates himself and all of you by refusing to accept defeat, our President-Elect will probably just keep doing what he did throughout his campaign: steer clear of the drama, be a decent human, and focus on his job.


Now it’s up to the citizens to decide how we will behave. In America, we don’t have to like our President. But we do have to decide if we’re going to respect the democratic process.


Have you decided yet?


Illustration: Pat Bagley

Let’s break it down into specifics. How will “your side” behave if “our side” wins in Georgia next month, giving “us” the majority in both houses of Congress with Kamala Harris as the deciding vote? Would you like VP Harris to behave as Mitch McConnell has done?


No?




What about when the next Presidential election comes around: will you object if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris promise to stay in office “12 more years,” as Trump taught his crowds to chant? Or will you want to hold onto the standard 4-year term limit?


What if, before the next election, we install a big Democratic donor to run the Post Office, someone who will throw away necessary equipment and remove mailboxes from street corners? What if we make sure there are too few voting machines and ballot boxes in white Republican districts, so your voters have to stand in 8-and 10-hour lines?


If Biden loses in 2024, will you expect him to accept the will of the American people?


… What do you mean, “that’s different!”?



For almost two months now, America has had to watch The Grand Tantrum go on and on. And on. One hundred twenty-six of your Congressional Representatives asked the Supreme Court to rule on a legal challenge to the election outcome, with no evidence. There have been mass protests and public displays of intimidation, including state election officials terrorized in their own homes by self-appointed militias. Fox broadcasters have had the gall to expressed astonishment that Trump wasn’t able to just sort of — you, know, force a win, since he couldn’t get one legitimately.


But now, tell the truth: you just love how he’s always forcing his will on our electorate, don’t you? How he’s spent the last year forcing the CDC to amend its public guidance about our health? How he fires people who contradict him and humiliates people who fail to kiss the ring? You’ve been loving his Twitter rants and his bare-faced lies all these years. You didn’t mind him helping himself to our relief aid this year, which consists of taxpayer revenue he hasn’t contributed to — because you even love the fact that he is, in his words, “too smart” to pay tax like you do.


So then I guess it’s OK if Joe does all that, too?


That would be fun, right?


See, we could get two guys to smile at the camera, ask one of them to point an index finger, and keep the headline "Election Fraud Updates" as well as the American flag and the "Stop the Steal" graphic (amended to show Joe's face). We'd only have to replace "New COVID Restrictions" with "JOE'S TURN NOW."



I can’t help noticing how, whenever “your side” has felt forced by the government — say, to protect other people’s health by wearing a mask — it really hasn’t been fun for you at all! In fact, it makes you run for your long guns and your trucks and flags and “liberate” signs. Doesn't it?


What if I were to tell you now, it’s our turn. We’d like to do to you exactly what you’ve done to us.


Now that the pandemic is raging out of control, in large part due to the defiance and belligerence in your party, do you think Joe Biden should refuse to help “the red states” when he gets into office? Let them go bankrupt? Should he make targets of Republican governors on social media and TV? Would you mind if domestic terrorists loyal to “our side” try to kidnap or kill them?


How far shall we take this, now that the shoe is on the other foot?


What I’m saying to the GOP today — your President, your Senate Leader, your Congress, and yes, all of you citizens out there who helped put and keep these mobsters in power — is that you’ve had four long years to be fair.


You’ve had four years to respect us, your fellow Americans, as people, whatever the difference between our views. You’ve had four years to honor our Constitution, our system of laws, and our commitments to our global allies. You’ve had four years to protect the dignity of our military when your President called them “suckers and losers” and ordered them to fire tear gas and rubber bullets at peaceful protestors.



You had four years to say, “In my opinion, we need immigration reform. But no way can I stand by while my government incarcerates innocent children and permanently separates them from their parents.”


You had the last few months to say, “I don’t like the social unrest in American today but I can see there’s no comparison between police murdering handcuffed black citizens and a governor asking me to practice health precautions in a pandemic.”


Instead you, the crowd that cries “No fair!” at the drop of a MAGA hat, always took every cheap shot you could. Every time you won, you gloated. “Your side” never reached across the aisle. You never “met us halfway.” When Democrats suffered under Trump’s brutal always-us-first rule, he never said, as Biden just did, “I understand your disappointment.” Not even that.


Today we have 32 days left till the Inauguration. The Trump “fraud” lawsuits have failed to turn up even a wisp of evidence. Nevertheless we hear some action is being planned for January 6, when VP Pence is expected to announce the electoral votes in Congress. More violence? Probably, after which we’ll get whatever Trump is planning from his “bunker” in the White House, surrounded by extreme conspiracy theorists who believe Democrats eat children. And also are molesters. Because that’s exactly the kind of rational thinking that’s gotten us where we are today.


But one fine day, Trump really will be gone. There will be a Democrat in the White House again, one who’s known on both sides of the aisle as a reasonable and fair person. One who has already pledged to help unite the country.


So we should be feeling better now as a nation. But “your side” seems to be angrier than ever. And that’s saying something since after all that “winning” you guys did, you’re more violent, more militant and armed with more and bigger guns now than you were four years ago.


The Photo Access / MediaPunch /IPX


So both winning and losing make you angry. Where does that leave America? Should we follow Joe’s lead and try to coax you back? Or should we now crow, “We own you” — your own gloat line?


I have days where I want to follow Joe. Most days, that’s what I want. And then there are the days when I want to slam all of your selfish, vicious faces against a wall. More than 325,000 of our citizens are now dead of coronavirus. The outgoing American President is plotting sedition. The economy is in shreds. Our government has been hollowed out, with whole agencies standing empty; the diplomatic corps has been decimated, our most sensitive bureaus hacked, and the population is still calling for relief aid with Christmas right around the corner.


How should we feel about you?


What should we do to you in exchange for what you’ve done to us?




Here in America, we try to keep moving forward politically. Our revenge, if we feel the need to exact it, is to vote each other out. That’s it. That’s the knockout punch. And four years later the other side gets to try to punch back.


I don’t want to change that system. I want to honor it. So I, as an individual, intend to keep channeling my anger into blogging, and conversation, and peaceful activism. If in the course of those activities someone says to me, “Trump is the greatest President who ever lived,” I’m not going to say, “You’re an ass.” Because if you said “You’re an ass” to me, I’d want to hit you. And where is the end to that chain?


I think when we say that we aspire to fairness in America, and hold it sacred, then we also have to practice it in our own lives. Of course it’s harder when you lose. I get it. In America, we all lose elections. But as I told myself when Trump won four years ago, if we don’t honor our system when we lose, it has no meaning when we win.


This time “we” won. Maybe, under Trump, all of us have spent the past four years thinking too much about winning. Maybe it’s time to think more like a team of scientists, working together to find a … vaccine! Or a cure for cancer, or whatever may be worth aiming for. Surely there’s a better use for our American spirit and energy than trying to win at the expense of our own countrymen. If we (all of us) really want America to be great again, maybe we start by being our greatest selves, instead of our smallest.








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