Roseanne and Right Wing Premature Excitation

Admittedly, I am still wary of trusting newly-awakened Republicans – those willing to stand up against the excesses of #Trump’s ignorance, bigotry and cruelty, and against the party they love dearly.   My wariness stems from the level of introspection the Republican party has failed to show in figuring out how Donald Trump could so easily take control of their party – beyond the absurdity of trying to blame President Obama or Democrats.  Even the newly-awakened are focused on “now” and not how they got here.  Some Republicans blame Trump’s prior identification as a Democrat (ignoring the fact that he has opportunistically joined several political parties before ravaging theirs). Trump clearly knew he could never successfully run bigoted messages through the Democratic Party, and that those same messages would be well-received by Republican voters.

Any time I tell myself to be more trusting of Republicans who have become Trump critics, I also remind myself to try to let go of old fears based on lingering cultural memories for the slightly milder Trump-esque messages the Republican party pushed prior to his election.  Rationality will win, in the end, yes?  I would say yes, but then there is the lesson of John Podhoretz,  a lesson I will let serve as my wake-up call.  This lesson is an easy one.  The moment there appears to be a “data driven” message that suggests that Trump’s ignorance, bigotry and cruelty are also mainstream, some will celebrate it and treat it as a warning that it is time for a change in the broader society – a change that should be more inclusive of Trump voters (and, implicitly, more inclusive of some of Trump’s messages). Data used as evidence for change can be as limited as viewer ratings for a single episode of a sitcom revival that may not be indicative of what follows.

To buy into Republican euphoria over Roseanne ratings, you must first cling to the, ridiculous, long-standing GOP argument that liberals do not watch programs or movies featuring conservative actors.  Pretend it is true despite the fact that several cities with the highest viewer rates were in states that have traditionally (pre-2016)  voted with the Democratic party and that several cities with the lowest ratings are in deep red states,   Assume, as Podhoretz seems to, that the ratings are primarily due to pro-Trump voters who tuned in to see their choices defended and the rehabilitation of the well-embraced, Clinton-generated, label: “Deplorables”.  I guess it is safe to ignore the viewers who are not Trump supporters, but who also remembered The Connors, fondly, before politics became so sadly acrimonious.  While it is clear that the “Deplorables” celebrated a successful Hollywood actress embracing their guy, the original show was comprised of fans of all political leanings.

More than excitation, there should be a growing concern facing those moved by this turn of events. Roseanne-the character is supposed to be modeled after Roseanne-the actress. How much blurring between the two will occur with the sitcom?  Roseanne – the character, will have to always remain the Roseanne-lite version of the actress.  What happens when Roseanne – the character, begins yukking it up over joining an attack on 17-year old David Hogg by tweeting the conspiratorial phrase “Nazi Salute”?  I can’t quite imagine playing a laugh track over this one:

Roseanne David Hogg Attack.png

Can Roseanne-the character talk about her penchant for conspiracy theories involving the deaths of   Seth-Rich, and the mind-numbingly stupid Pizzagate ?  It is difficult to fathom that Trump-conservatives really want to see themselves portrayed on TV, embracing the full Trump agenda.  It is even harder to believe that those defending Trump supporters, even while taking on Trump, want to see his supporters as they are, either.  Imagine what that reflection looks like on national television, in an attempt to normalize the worst pro-Trump excesses.  What Trump supporters seem to really want is a warmer, fuzzier, more rational portrayal of themselves, streaming into America’s living rooms.

I agree with Podhoretz that there is a wake-up call for Hollywood. I think that call is, “DON’T FALL FOR IT!”.  The other shoe has yet to drop.  Roseanne – the show has yet to deal with the reality of Roseanne-the actress.  There is also the discrepancy between the version of #Trumpism she portrays, and the reality of #Trumpism the rest of us live.  Beyond the white-working class, there are many more of us who are harmed, daily, by #Trump’s message. There are many of us whose children are at greater risk, whose sensibilities have been insulted and assaulted, who feel displaced by a nation and by people we were learning to trust and embrace.  At the risk of reminding my Republican friends of another failing that got us to this point, I am hesitant to use a well-worn phrase that fits, but I will.  Hold on to your hats:  You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.  Let’s wait to see where the show takes us before screaming “Victory!”.

My Republican friends, you may have to hold on to those premiere episode ratings.   Trumpism and reality will soon set in and if there is anything we have learned in our recent experience it is this,  that everything Trunp touches eventually becomes a rousing dumpster fire.  I expect the same outcome, here.

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March For Our Lives: Who ARE these kids?

 

MFOL SignWhile receiving overwhelmingly positive attention for their work in rallying teens nationwide to combat gun violence, the #Parkland teens are also the targets of random cranks and critics.  The silliest charge leveled against them is that they couldn’t possibly  comport themselves in the manner in which they have without coaching from liberal operatives.  What a sad way to devalue and dismiss America’s youth.

Who are these teens?

These are the same people whose academic standards have been set higher than almost any generation before it.

This generation has had to defend itself against exploitation from adults (some of whom run for office and support other predators who run for office).  Prior generations suffered in silence.  This generation no longer has to be silent, but still struggles to be believed. They have learned to find their voices, here, too.

This generation has fought to own their identities, values, and bodies – yet another fight which has taught them to find their voices.

This is the group of young people who communicate with their global peers on twitter, instagram, xbox, playstation, and a host of formats that most of us have not yet heard of or may ever know.  They communicate with global peers who are shocked at the levels of accepted gun violence directed at children and teens in America. They communicate with global peers, none of whom have ever had to practice “active shooter” safety drills in school.

They are the people who have been treated as acceptable collateral damage in our glorification of gun culture over the defense and care of our children.  They dare to refuse to become collateral damage.

At times by intent, often by sheer dumb luck, these are the young people we have created.  Instead of criticizing them, we should be grateful that they are our current justice leaders and future social and elected leaders.  I am confident in the bright future of this nation in the hands of the following leaders (and many others whose names and faces we still don’t know):

At age ll, Naomi Wadler is representing the girls whose stories don’t make the evening news:

 

“You can hear people in power shaking in their boots”

 

“… five years ago, this happened… five years ago and no change has come…”

 

“Bullets do not discriminate, so why should we?”

 

“We need to arm our teachers, with pencils, pens, paper, and the money they need to support their families and support themselves, before they can support the future…”

 

“Keep Screaming at your congressmen…”

 

“I learned to duck bullets before I learned to read:”

 

“6 minutes, 20 seconds….. fight for your life before it’s someone else’s job”

 

Jennifer Hudson voices the hope – and hard work- of this movement”

 

Support from Malala:

Trump’s extramarital affair payments are problematic because…

A – they are indicative of a lack of moral character that proves to the evangelical movement that he should not be permitted to serve in the nation’s highest office, nor as a role model for youth?

Doubtful.  They are no longer worried about “what to tell the children” as they claimed to be with Bill Clinton.  They are no longer worried that their children will ask them uncomfortable question about sex and sexuality as it relates to marriage.  Good luck in those discussions about Porn, Playboy, and the office of the Presidency,  evangelicals,  To be fair, I have a sneaking suspicion that you are not as “in the dark” on these discussions as some think.

B –  the payments may be tied to campaign law violations that could result in criminal charges against #Trump and members of his team?

Doubtful.  Even if those reports are to be believed,  Team Trump has never been held accountable by the cowardly #GOP majority – which would most assuredly fight any charges leveled against the man who signs their bills, no matter how awful those bills are for American families and workers. #GOPTaxScam.

C – the payments show his disregard for women and that he has no problem trying to silence women no matter his own complicity?

Doubtful.  I find it odd that a man who brags about his sexual prowess works to silence the women reportedly involved.

 

His base isn’t concerned about how he treats the women with whom he had affairs, nor the woman on whom he cheated.  If there are no tears for Melania, from the hypocritical right wing, fhe women Trump is alleged to have strong-armed into silence don’t stand a chance.

D – the payments show us just how little integrity and honesty he has?

Here is where I place my money.  Donald Trump stood before the American public, looked voters in the eye,  and lied about knowing nearly every woman who made a claim against him.  He positioned himself as a happily married man, of wealth, who is being extorted by liars and gold digging “tramps”.  He stood before the American public and defamed women whose only real “crime” was telling the truth about former relationships with a man whose loyalty to others is in short supply.

Voters have often assumed that a person who couldn’t be loyal to the people who loved  them most, couldn’t be trusted to care about the rest of us.  If you lie to a spouse, you will lie to anyone, the theory goes.  What do you make a of a person who is disloyal, who lies about it, who allows the public to believe that everyone who steps up to admit their role in an affair is lying?

Hopefully?  That individual will be remembered as a stain on history and a one-termer.

How troubling is this pattern of the use, discarding, denying and defaming of women?  None of us knows, just yet, but we will begin to find out on #StormySunday, as Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) tells part of her story on Anderson Cooper this Sunday on CBS’ 60 minutes.

Cambridge Analytica and Kompromat

TrumpCan we just stop ignoring the fact that human trafficking is a HUGE issue as part of the Channel 4 News expose on Cambridge Analytica?  Is it not equally as bad as the misuse of data belonging to 50 million people in this country?   How ironic that people who manage data seemingly didn’t investigate the client with whom they met to discuss ways of discrediting political rivals.  That new client was a Channel 4 undercover reporter.  Cambridge Analytica CEO, Alexander Nix, is recorded offering the new client the “service” of sending Ukrainian sex workers to rivals’ rooms to discredit the rival.  SEX WORKERS!  In most parts of the world, that sort of offer is referred to as engaging in sex trafficking – and yet the offer is barely mentioned.

How are the sex workers be hired?  What is the history of the exploitation of these women – are they in the work by choice or by force?  Who will be paid for their labor?  Do they receive direct payment or will a manager/pimp/human trafficker receive that payment on their behalf?  The introduction of the world “Kompromat” to the American English has, I’m afraid, lessened the impact of the reality of what the word means and its potential for harm to the worker on the more dehumanizing end of the bargain.  It is doubtful that we are talking about women (and men) who  decided to enter the sex trade of their own accord.  Self-selecting the field still holds risks and the potential for dehumanization, but individuals at least own their labor and have the right, and the ability, to decline work.

Have we accepted the practice of the exploitation of women for power as standard and, therefore, acceptable or predictable?  We know it is historical, but isn’t it time for that history to end?   Are we to conclude that individuals who hire sex workers to compromise others are simply business people, or political figures, who are using a means to reach an end?  What happens to those sex workers when the job is finished?  Are they compromised in a way that puts their lives at risk?  Even when the  target is exposed, he is rarely placed in a life-threatening situation, does the risk increase for the sex worker?

IF concern for the women who are trafficked as part of these seedy plots is, sadly, not enough, let’s really make it “sexy”.

— Did Team Trump receive the same offer as other potential new clients? When, and who would have been the identified targets of such offers?

— If the link between CA and #Trump extends as far back as is now alleged, was #Trump preparing the public for a CA hit on #TedCruz after Trump-friendly rags claimed that Cruz had a history of hiring sex workers?

—  Ted Cruz was also a client of CA, was the same Kompromat offer made to him regarding primary rivals?  How could he not know that CA operated this way?

— How could Kushner, Trump, Trump Jr., Conway, Bannon, Manafort, and the rest of the rogue’s gallery of individuals tightly connected to CA not know that this was part of the “services” the organization provided?

— What will be the reaction of an Evangelical movement that has made peace with #Trump’s infidelities and ill treatment of women?  They have already made peace with his relationship with porn star, Stephanie Clifford (#StormyDaniels).  Will they make peace with his relationship with a company that brags about trafficking women as a matter of routine?   A man with a “difficult” history with women hires a company with a “difficult” history with women.  How much more of their integrity are Evangelicals willing to sacrifice to defend this?

And now for the less “sexy” part:  Why are we not more concerned that trafficking and politics seem to go hand-in-hand?  Somewhere out there, at any given moment, human traffickers are profiting in ways we never expected, but that directly and indirectly touch our lives.  They are profiting by making us queasy and distrustful of any politician caught up in one of these plots.  They may even be profiting by putting elected officials in high offices, blackmailing them into making decisions favorable to traffickers, their bosses, their colleagues – all at our expense, in order to cover their secrets.

I am hoping that the U.S. Congress (read as: The Democrats), or some other international governing body, will research Nix’s offer.  If they find that there is even one scintilla of evidence pointing to this as a routine past practice, CA should be, in my opinion, charged with human trafficking in an international criminal court.