Welcome to Rhapsody’s post-election and penultimate-to-the-first-anniversary-of-Rhapsody post. Yes, it’s been weeks and weeks since the last salon meeting, but we’ll talk about that later. Right now just grab an armchair, pour a drink and settle in.
I’m mixing a classic bourbon cocktail today, The Last Word because it goes so well with a blog, my favorite setting for conversation these days, that being a forum in which only I get to talk.
What I want to talk about today, kittens, is the distressing case of American political conservatives and what’s to be done about them.
Now, I know you didn’t come here looking for a left-leaning political rant (or maybe you did, in which case: “fist bump!” as the young folk say) but little else seems even worth thinking about when you consider how the earth is warming and growing more dangerous by the year, and even the words that I type right now are entering a bank of “cloud” computers, which are not, despite the wispy coolness of real clouds, a cloud at all but a hot, hot and ever hotter bank of metal processors humming away somewhere in the already drier-than-hell central valley of California—
I mean, I suppose it’s in California. I don’t know, actually, where the cloud lives. It could be in my garden shed for all I know, and probably is, since the more critical we are of something the more likely it is that we are seated directly on top of it.
But for now I don’t want to talk about how you and I are the problem. I want to stay on the much more riveting—if upsetting—subject of the faults of others. The people responsible for everything bad, everything mean and unreasonable and shockingly ill-informed.
By which I mean the right in American politics. (Not you. I mean the people to the right of you, obviously!)
That whirring noise you just heard was a whole lot of angry comments that are going to hit Rhapsody in Cool from all over the place. I won’t publish them, but I will keep them in a keepsake box so that we can open them up at the holidays and enjoy them, with cocoa before a roaring fire. They’re so fun! Did I tell you about the one that came in about my Ree Drummond screed? You’ll love it. Email me and I’ll send it right over.
Now, then. Shall we begin?
* * * *
If you are among the liberal friends still here in the salon, then you’ll be glad to know I’m just getting to the central point, right here, and that is the wild epiphany I had this morning, which offers us—much like climate science—a viable and supportable theory to explain a troubling phenomenon.
The question that led me to my visionary realization is this: Why do political conservatives on the far right seem so maddeningly stupid? I’m not an optimist, goodness knows, but even I find this fact hard to fathom: 58% of congressional Republicans do not accept climate change as an actual, human-driven reality.
Fifty. Eight. Percent. Have a big gulp of your cocktail and sit with that a moment.
As I tried to wrap my head around this one this morning, stomach acids burning a hole in my esophagus, it suddenly dawned on me—good gracious it’s simple when you finally see it—just why so many conservatives seem stupid.
You see, they’re not actually stupid, they’re simply spending 95% of their attention and will power doing battle with that inner voice (conscience? common sense?) which is whispering, “What you profess to believe—and are turning into policies and laws and systemic neglect that will waste us all—actually flies in the face of common sense.”
Just think of the hard work it is for them, day upon day, one Fox & Friends broadcast after another, to stuff down the buoyant forces of sense and fairness as they rise back to the surface.
Because they do that, our better instincts do. I believe this. Logic is a permanent resident in each of our brains, and you can only treat it like an illegal immigrant at your own peril. Logic lives patiently in the primeval caves, sharing camp with our own inner Selfishness, that little creep. Logic survives. It won’t go quietly into that good night unless you work really, really hard to muffle it. And that is why right-wing conservatives are tuckered out, all over this country, my friends.
They’re just plain fatigued.
I would compare these individuals—let’s take Bill O’Reilly as one blotchy and loud example—to an extremely worn out toddler. When a small child has stayed up past the hour of napping or bedtime, he doesn’t simply do what his body so clearly needs to do, by lying down and closing his eyes. No: he fights the need for rest with every fiber of his being. He fights it like it’s a matter of life and death.
If you’ve seen this you already know what I’m talking about: an exhausted toddler is the most wired, most viciously, most unreasonably awake creature on the face of this earth. The terrified parent must deploy all manner of soothing strategies to trick the child into obeying the instincts of his own body, like saying, “Shhhhhh, there there now, Rep. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), it’s all right, it’s just climate science and it doesn’t really want to hurt you, if you’ll just stop screaming for a minute you’ll see that it’s really all very clear and straightforward, just… ow! Why are you biting me?!”
That’s what’s wrong with all of these fuckwit conservatives (begging your pardon for the coarseness, but have you seen these shameful election results?). They aren’t stupid. They are scared, they are overtired, they are afraid of the arguments being proffered by their very own better selves and they need a nap.
No wonder they seem ready to take the head off of anyone speaking in plain facts. I look at them and—as frightening as they truly are because they are out to wreck the entire world with the help of their punch-drunk classmates in the GOP—part of me just wants to hand them a sippy cup and say, “That is enough. Time for nighty-nite.”
Just look at how silly Bill O’Reilly is here, while Alan Colmes tries to speak sense:
And poor Sarah hasn’t been able to string a coherent sentence together in her entire political life, it’s so far past her bedtime. Look!
I’m getting a bit fractious myself thinking about all this, so I’m going to turn it over to Bill Maher for a moment. Bill is never afraid to look the god-awful truth in the face (maybe because the whole “god” part of that doesn’t worry him, and that does help). Take a listen.
Do you find yourself just staring off into space, like Lisa Kudrow is doing in that clip? Well, that’s because being the parent of one of these tired toddlers is tiring in itself. You start to give up. You start agreeing with whatever the little bastard is saying because it’s hopeless to talk sense to someone who can’t even hear you anymore.
Yes, sweetie: climate change is just part of the ebb and flow of a God-directed ballet of nature. No, my love: human industry and cars and profligate consumption have nothing to do with it. Fine. You’re right. Have a cookie. Mommy’s going to lie down for a little bit and just close her eyes….
I think I’m done with this jag for today, and I’ve got a lot of notes and exciting tidbits for the Rhapsody 1st Birthday Bash, which is happening in just about a week or seven. Do drop by! We have a lot to talk about.
As always, gift giving is not discouraged.