Naked Liberalism

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It begins in the morning, my desire to be more conservative. Not because I admire conservative ideology, I do not. But merely for the convenience of it. Being a liberal is just so much harder.

In the morning shower there is always a spider awaiting me. I don’t know why my shower has so damned many spiders and I want to ask everyone I know if there’s a spider in their shower every morning but you don’t dare ask people about their showers nowadays. My first instinct, although I’m a liberal, is always quite conservative; KILL IT. It’s an instinct clearly born out of fear of things that are different than me. A liberal form of insect racism. Even before I turn the water on it to wash it down the drain, my liberal moral dilemma has already begun.

Any conservative in my spider-shower would’ve already washed it down the drain and finished his shower by now, while the liberal stands frozen in a naked tableau wondering if the spider has any children. And if so, are they waiting back in the nest or web or wherever baby spiders wait for mom to bring them food, if it even works that way for spiders. Maybe it’s only birds. Who knows? Not a liberal. But still we worry about these things.

The conservative is out of the shower by now and is enjoying toweling off a little too much, while the liberal has realized that he’s late for work and capitulates to the Darwinian pressures of the real world and while saying aloud “I am a terrible person” he turns the water on the spider. But the struggle of that little thing as it fights for its life is too much and the liberal burns his hand on the hot shower nozzle as he turns it away to save the spider. Is it a she, like Charlotte, in Charlotte’s Web? The liberal stands with his red ankles, red because they are being scalded as he tries to shield the spider from the hot water while using the shampoo bottle as a medi-vac flight, to hoist the half-smashed little guy up and take it to safety. The liberal is admitting to himself that he has a shameful killer instinct, probably stemming from his ancestors in Arkansas, but by trying to rescue the spider he is proving to himself that he can overcome it and be a better human.

The Conservative is by now ordering steak and eggs, because that is the kind of heart-attack food conservatives eat for breakfast, and why not since you can’t hurt what you don’t have. He is on his third cup of joe with breakfast at his favorite coffee shop where in 2019 they still call the waitresses Hon and tip them with coins.

The red-ankled liberal is now talking aloud to God, if only there were one, saying things like, Who am I to decide that another living thing doesn’t matter? and How arrogant am I? And by the time the liberal accidentally squashes the already dead spider by trying to use the conditioner bottle to scoop it onto the shampoo bottle in order to save it, the liberal has assigned it a personal gender pronoun and is giving Them (that the spider’s pgp) a eulogy.

The conservative is driving alongside the crystal blue ocean in a red convertible now, his hair blowing in the wind. The liberal in the shower faces the truth, swallows hard, and washes the dead bug down the drain, with the heaviest of hearts. He tries to wash his hair but can’t bear to pick up that shampoo bottle again, the one that tore the spider in half during the botched rescue. He thinks how Jimmy Carter must’ve felt.

The conservative now lies in a hammock looking out at the green Caribbean Sea over his bare feet while he sells stocks on his cell phone worth two point five zillion dollars. The liberal stands numb, choking on the water running into his nose and mouth, struggling to breathe and to get that violent image out of his head of the innocent spider kicking all its little legs trying to save herself from certain death. Why did he decide to wipe out all that that spider had learned in its short life, like how to spin webs and hunt flies and write Some Pig in its web?

The conservative is now running the world and dismantling democracy while the liberal has managed to get himself out of the shower, away from the scene of the crime. He wonders if there is a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for spider murderers like him. There should be, he thinks. There should be. He wipes the steam off the mirror with his shriveled hand only to see the guilty face of a killer who is no better than a chanting Republican. A water-wasting murderer no less, who has just wasted enough water to fill Lake Tahoe. He stares at himself in the foggy mirror and then splashes cold water on his face to wash that violent image of the poor struggling spider out of his mind. Another liberal with PTSD, and he hasn’t even had his coffee yet.

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To The Moon

On this 50th anniversary of mankind’s greatest achievement, I have been quite moved by the treasure trove of excellent footage of the moon walk, of the launch, of the cheering scientists at mission control, and of a speechless and giddy Cronkite. I have wept more than once this week while reminiscing with the footage of ordinary citizens from 1969 showing wide-eyed wonder and pride at what we had accomplished. I’ve been crying for that lost innocence.

While everything is Apollo 11 on this momentous anniversary, as it should be, the moon walk has been on my mind for several months now, since I overheard a group of teenagers from an elite charter high school in the lobby of our theatre talking about what was true and what they knew to be internet hoaxes. I confess to rolling my eyes at how little they seemed to actually understand, but I kept my superior attitude to myself. Until, that is, one of them steps into the middle of their huddle, looks up from his smartphone and says “And that they walked on the moon… that’s a big conspiracy.” I froze. Is he serious?

Then his younger brother pushes his glasses up on his nose and chimes in. “Yeah, that’s a total hoax. Never happened.”  They all laugh.  

That puts me over the edge and I do what only an old man would do.  I step into their circle of disinformation and offer my unsolicited sage counsel, my expansive middle-aged perspective, you know, to enlighten these kids.

“I was 5…” I interrupted, “when we first landed on the moon, and I remember it like it was yesterday.”  They stopped talking and looked respectfully at me, as if they knew they had to allow me to finish my words before they could tell me how stupid I was. I could see they didn’t care. They had been talking about the internet, after all, and about how smart they were, not about the truth or about “the olden days”.  But I thought they needed to know the difference between reality and internet hoaxes. I couldn’t retreat or these kids would go to college in denial of man’s greatest accomplishment ever. So naturally, I went on to tell them every painstaking detail I could remember about my own experience of the moon landing in order to make it seem real to them. I lived it after all. It was real! And if I could convince them of my reality, then they’d believe the truth. Simple. All I had to do was lead my young friends to the truth, which would then cure them of their J.I.I. (Juvenile Internet Ignorance).

So I tell them how I sat on the floor as a 5-year old tow-headed boy in front of my next door neighbor’s bulky black and white TV eating dry Froot Loops out of a plastic cup, while my mom and Betty Patterson drank coffee and watched from Betty’s kitchen table just a few feet away. “I remember knowing even at 5 the context of what was going on.” I tell them.  “Even kindergarteners knew what a big deal this was to all of mankind.”  They stare blankly.

“I remember how Walter Cronkite talked about it with such amazement and I understood very clearly the danger in it.” I tell them.  “This was grown up stuff and I was proud to be watching it, and felt like I was part of it.” 

The tall handsome boy had heard enough and he threw his long hair back and looked down and started scrolling on his phone.  I upped the ante. “It was the first time I remember feeling proud of anything.”

“But they’ve looked on the moon and there is no flag there.”, says a senior with her fingernails painted black. “There’s nothing there. It never happened.”

“There is too a flag up there!” I snap.  “And there’s a dune buggy too.”

“Whaaaa?” says the short sophomore while tilting his nearly shaved head in slow motion.

“You mean a 4-wheeler?” adds the little conspiracy theorist who started all this.

“The moon rover!”, I say emphatically. “Haven’t you seen the footage of them driving it over the craters?” Silence. “The IMAX movie?” Silence. “Trust me, it’s up there.”

“Then why haven’t they found it?” asks the most bored of them all, not looking up from his phone

I explode. “What do you mean found it? It’s not lost!” 

“Then where is it?”

“What do you mean where is it?  It’s on the moon!” I say pointing to the daytime sky.  “Parked … somewhere … wherever they left it … up there … on the moon!” I could feel myself unraveling and knew that although my answers were correct, I wasn’t convincing them of anything except that old people are crazy.

What upset me most was that these high schoolers, some of whom will be going to college in just a few weeks, not only don’t believe that one of the most pivotal achievements of humanity ever even happened, but worse they don’t understand the ramifications either way. They don’t think it matters one way or another.  To them it’s a binary choice. They don’t understand what it would mean if the entire country had indeed been fooled by our government for the past half century. Nor do they grasp the inspiration of what man really did a half century ago.  Don’t know don’t care. They shrug and move their conversation to another internet hoax.  Just like that.

I stand there, failed, old, and disappointed in myself for not being able to convince them of something so basic. I feel frustrated at the world that has led us to this point. Reflexively I did what I’ve learned to do in moments when I feel self-conscious, I pull my phone out of my pocket looking for validation. Just like them. I stared at the blank screen in my hand and thought for an instant about throwing it against the brick lobby wall. But instead I gripped it tighter. I know that I couldn’t live without my instant connection to disinformation any more than they could. I too am a digital captive.

So while I have reveled this week in the glorious anniversary footage of Armstrong’s first steps on the moon, it has been bittersweet because I can’t get those teens and their internet conspiracy theories out of my mind. I look at the footage of innocent kids from my generation watching in awe as people did the undoable and I’m sad for the kids of today who seem to know less about the world than a kindergartener knew in 1969. That word hoax is back again, confusing the confused. Technology has moved us forward since the 60’s, to be sure.  But in some ways, technology has walked us back from the greatest leap we’ve ever taken.

Democrats Getting Ready to Get Tough

Washington DC —  May 22, 10:15am EST        “House Democrats have finally had enough!” said a leading Democratic congressman, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he entered a closed-door meeting of the House Democratic caucus Wednesday morning to discuss impeachment of the president. Democrats are newly emboldened about the prospect of starting impeachment proceedings after the Trump administration has refused to honor all congressional subpoenas.

Even Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who until now has tried to quell impeachment talk among Democrats, is speaking tough. “The president is involved in a cover-up! And we will not be pushed around any longer.”  When asked by reporters what Democrats would do if former presidential advisor Hope Hicks ignores her subpoena as former White House Counsel Don McGahn did yesterday, Pelosi said, “We’ll see to it that we get her swift attention. We will hit her where it hurts.” While Pelosi refused to state what specific punishment Hicks might face, Pelosi’s deputy did not deny the rumor that House Democrats are prepared to have Hicks banned from all “cosmetics stores” in the DC area.

And if that isn’t tough enough, presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) went even further. “We are prepared to order Don McGahn’s mother to testify on Capitol Hill if he keeps stonewalling. Nobody wants to see their mother dragged in front of the cameras.” 

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) threatened to have the gym memberships revoked of all Trump administration officials who ignore subpoenas. “We’re taking off the kid gloves and hitting them where it hurts!” Nadler said.

While no reporters were allowed in the closed-door meeting, it was leaked that Democratic caucus members overwhelmingly supported ordering the House sergeant-at-arms to have “the boot” put on the cars of all those administration officials who put themselves above the law and ignore subpoenas. “This is it. We’re fed up and we’re taking action!” said Pelosi as she exited the meeting. “We’re praying and we’re taking action. We’re all in agreement that the time has come to put an end to this flouting of the law.” Pelosi added. “When their cable is shut off, they’ll know we mean business.”

DHS Sends TSA to the Border

Why Stephen Miller Loves Blue Gloves

Washington, DC,  Friday May 17, 2019 – The Department of Homeland Security confirmed this week that they have ordered nearly two hundred TSA personnel to the southwestern border to “assist in the humanitarian and security crisis at the US/Mexican border.” DHS refused to say specifically what role TSA personnel would play at the border.

While this move surprised many, some members of the Trump administration have been expecting TSA’s role to increase at the border for nearly a month. It has been rumored for weeks that presidential advisor Stephen Miller became infatuated with a male TSA agent after being patted down before a recent flight at Reagan International airport. White House staffers say they first became aware of Miller’s crush when he showed up for work the following Monday wearing blue rubber gloves. “I first thought it was a joke, until he tried to look inside my briefcase and told me to throw away my bottled water.” said a perplexed west wing staffer on background. “And he’s been wearing them every day since.”

TSA officials at Reagan International airport confirmed that after Miller was hand-searched by an unidentified male TSA screener in early April, and that he returned to the metal detector for additional screening 7 times before his flight. “He kept requesting another search by the same male agent.” said a TSA manager, “and when nothing was found he’d smile and say, ‘Well, maybe next time.’ Then he’d walk back around and get in line again.”

DHS officials in Washington denied that the deployment of TSA personnel at the border has anything to do with Miller’s personal life. “We simply needed our best trained people at the border, and nobody is as sharp as our TSA screeners.” said Asst. DHS Secretary Ima White.  When asked about the high percentage of guns and bombs that TSA screeners have failed to detect in numerous security tests nationwide, White said, “Yes, but how many illegal bottles of Evian have been confiscated by TSA in every airport nationwide? Nobody ever gives us credit when the system works.”

Reporters shouted questions to Miller Thursday night as he left the White House, which prompted him to raise his blue-gloved hand as if to stop them. “Nobody suggested that Michael Jackson was in love with a gorgeous TSA guy when he wore a glove, did they? But why is it when a white guy wears a glove to express himself it’s suddenly suspicious?” Miller continued to deny that he is gay when asked by reporters, and accused them of being homophobic. “If you think somebody is gay just because they know a good search when they feel one, then you’re the crazy one. Then you’re a liberal!” 

Nearly an hour later Miller was reported to have been shouted out of Pepitos, a nearby D.C. Mexican restaurant, after being recognized because of his blue gloves while sipping a mango margarita in the bar.

Trump: Rename Notre Dame

Washington, D.C. Wed April 17, 2019.    Less than 48 hours after the world watched in tears as the famed Notre Dame Cathedral burned in Paris, U.S. President Donald Trump has offered to personally pay to rebuild the beloved global monument, on one condition. That is the problem, according to French Interior Minister, Christophe Cantaner. “His offer depends upon the renaming of Notre Dame. It’s conceited. It’s impossible.  It’s gauche.  It’s beyond stupid.” said Cantaner Wednesday morning when asked about the offer after touring the iconic Cathedral’s damage.

Just hours earlier Trump had told reporters at the White House… “Look, I myself will pay for the rebuilding of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, and maybe if I did that, my friend Macron, he’s little but he’s smart, so smart he married his teacher, a cougar, much older than he is. He’s my friend, admires me very much. He gives a great parade. Military parade.  Maybe if I pay to rebuild it, maybe Macron will name it after me. That’d be nice, don’t ya think?  Trump Towers Paris, because there are still several towers left.  More than one.  So it’s gotta be Towers with an S.” 

French President Emmanuel Macron smiled when asked if he was taking Trump’s offer seriously, saying “Notre Dame will be rebuilt by the French.  It belongs to France, and only we can rebuild it.” When pressed by reporters for further comment the French President replied, “There will be no renaming of Notre Dame. Not on my watch. Not ever.”

Trump said in an Oval Office press gaggle that he’d pay for the new Notre Dame walls… “if they’d make the new walls out of see-thru steel slats. We’ve already got bids on those from San Diego and I can make that happen so fast, walls even Californians would love. We need to make sure no immigrants get in there and start more fires. Here it’s the Mexicans we worry about, there it’s the Syrians and Africans. But they really should put my name on it too, if I were going to pay for it, don’t ya think?”

DHS Secretary Nielsen Quits to Become CEO of Los Cojones!™

WASHINGTON DC – Mon April 8, 2019        Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, abruptly resigned on Sunday, after months under fire from democrats and even President Trump, who appointed her. Liberals had been battling Nielsen over her many controversial policies, including the separation of thousands of immigrant children from their parents as they attempted to apply for asylum at the US/Mexican border.

Last week President Trump increased his attacks on Nielsen, saying “She lost her nerve but she needs to find it again and refill those cages.” Trump was referring to the fenced holding cells that have been used to incarcerate the Central American refugee children apprehended at the border.  The tactic of taking the children away from their parents at the border was an effort of the Trump administration to intimidate immigrants, which backfired when public rage about locking up children in fenced cages swelled and DHS reversed the policy. DHS has been unable to reunite thousands of children, according to DHS statistics as recently as last week.

Nielsen announced Sunday that she is resigning from government to accept the position of CEO of the beleaguered Mexican restaurant chain, Los Cojones!™  “It’s no secret that I love Mexican food, and have really missed it.”, said Nielsen, referring to the public shouting down she received in a Mexican restaurant after the child separation began in June of 2018. Video of protestors shouting SHAME while Nielsen dined in a DC-area Mexican restaurant went viral and forced Nielsen to leave the restaurant giving up her favorite three-cheese enchiladas in tomatillo sauce.

“I’ve had to do without chimichangas for too long now.” Nielsen said Sunday.  “I’ve always loved Los Cojones!™” Nielsen acknowledged on Sunday, so I’m very excited about making many positive changes as I did in my tenure at DHS.”

The bankrupt national Mexican restaurant chain is in 22 red states and California. “The famous Los Cojones!™ Wet Bars, for instance, will soon be called Los Cojones!™ Wet Backs!”, Nielsen said.  “We’ve got to have a sense of humor about these things.” 

Nielsen is also planning to add new menu items including the Trump Tostada, a tostada shell full of nothing but red meat, except in the California stores where Nielsen admitted, ” we’ll have to throw in some salad.” 

Nielsen also plans to add children’s sections in all Los Cojones!™ restaurants. “No parents will be allowed in those sections so that they can enjoy a nice quiet dinner with a Margarita while their children will be treated to free kid’s meals and crayons. But don’t worry.” Nielsen added. “All of those children will be reunited with their parents… after they pay, and even given free Los Cojones!™ Pralines™.”

Stephen Miller Prepares to Close the Border

After a week of threatening to close the U.S./Mexican border, President Trump’s immigration advisor Stephen Miller ordered Sorry, We’re Closed signs for all official border crossings between the U.S. and Mexico on Sunday.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed early Wednesday that Miller ordered the signs from Vistaprint® over the weekend after watching Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke stand on the Meet the Press desk during his interview with Chuck Todd. Sunday afternoon Miller ordered more plastic signs in Spanish, which read Lo Sentimos, Está Cerrado. Vistaprint® confirmed that they honored their 50 Signs for 50 Bucks deal on the second order, at Miller’s insistence, even though technically the fine print of the deal reads Only one special order per customer.

Vistaprint® also confirmed that Miller on Monday called to make a phone order for 50 4x8ft banners that read Management Reserves the Right to Refuse Service and another 50 banners in Spanish, La Gerencia se Reserva el Derecho de Rechazar el Servicio. But those banners were never printed, according to Vistaprint® sales manager Olivia Gonzalez. “Mr. Miller got pretty upset and yelled at me when I told him that the 50 for $50 deal only applied to signs, and not banners.” said Gonzalez. “He said it was false advertising and that he could get them printed for cheaper in Mexico. He said he was going to give us a 1-Star Yelp review and then he hung up.”