It is time for a break.
The last four years have been as difficult, as taxing, as demanding, as infuriating, as exhausting as any I can remember — and I am old enough to have participated in the anti-Vietnam protests, Berkeley’s emotional People’s Park conflict and the National Guard’s occupation of the town, the angry marches following the bombings of Laos and Cambodia, and witnessed the horror and devastation of the race riots in Watts, Newark and Detroit. Yes, I’m that old.
All things considered, nothing in my lifetime compares to the angst, rage and division caused by the guy who lost the last presidential election — which is the only way I will refer to him, at least for the next four years. He has done more to poison and fracture the foundation of this country, to drive a cancerous wedge between us, than nearly anyone or anything in our long history, save for the Civil War and the ignominy of racism. To say nothing of his incredible mishandling of the pandemic, contributing to the deaths of nearly 500,000 Americans and, in the process, crushing the economy. And, as of this moment, he has, shockingly, gotten away with everything. Everything. Thanks to the majority of House and Senate Republicans, who somehow believe that taking steps to overturn an election and then inciting an insurrection, an attempted coup d’état, are acceptable behaviors. Such is his relentless iron grip on the soft, doughy necks of the Republican invertebrates in Congress.
These last four years have been a very rough ride.
Even so, it is time to turn our backs on him and the spineless who surround him and seek his praise. On a very personal note, it is time for me to move on — especially from the frustration, the anger, the futility and the powerlessness he and his sycophants engender. I am done obsessing, at least for the time being. I am done scouring news sources far and wide relentlessly for stories that help provide insights to the events of the day. Given the last four years, these stories are usually of wrongdoing, of the white powerful attempting to limit the influence of or fully disenfranchise those with darker skin, those with less money, those with fewer options, those who were not born here, those who pray to different gods.
To wit, at this very moment more than 100 bills are being proposed by Republicans in states across the country with only one intent: to make it significantly more difficult to vote for people of color and those with lower incomes.¹ This includes a concerted effort by Ron DeSantis, Republican governor of Florida, who is eager to limit dramatically voting by mail and the placement of ballot drop boxes.² Other overt anti-voting legislation campaigns are being waged by Republicans in 28 states, including Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania — states without a hint of voter fraud but critical to the recent presidential election. DeSantis and other Republicans claim that the new voting laws are needed to “restore voter confidence” only because the guy who lost the last presidential election ranted repeatedly on Fox News and tweeted for months that the election was “rigged” and “stolen” from him. In the process of telling what became known as ‘The Big Lie,’ he and Fox News convinced millions of Republicans that the election was fixed. Despite any evidence whatsoever. And despite going 1–60 in courts throughout the country, including the Supreme Court.
That said, let us not overlook the 70 million people who voted for him. While some undoubtedly lost affection for him following the events of January 6, when he incited his invited crowd to take the Capitol and capture the vice president, the vast majority remain devout. The guy is loved. I do not share this emotion, but I am insatiably curious about those who do believe in him with such passion. He is unlike any politician we have ever seen. That he lies as often, as boldly, and as blatantly as he does — without shame, apology or a shred of corroborating evidence — makes his followers’ commitment to him that much more compelling. The guy will be a force as long as he chooses to remain involved. Twitter account or no twitter account.
In his world, among his people, facts are simply unnecessary. Especially when the goal is worth lying for. Because make no mistake, the Republican effort to undermine voting rights is not an attempt to make the country great again. It is an attempt to keep it white. Which is one of the insidious purposes of The Big Lie. The other is fundraising.³
Despite these recent, blood-boiling developments, and the embarrassing fact that The Big Lie continues to be told, I am done expending any energy on the guy who lost the last presidential election and his ragtag band of hypocritical, self-serving, holier-than-thou seditionists. Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Josh Hawley, Kevin McCarthy, among many others. I am done with them and the guy whose ring they fly to Mar-A-Lago to kiss. They are not worth the effort and passion. They simply are not worth the attention. May they all be banned permanently from Twitter. May their constituents see them for what they are — seditionists — and vote them out of office. Remember, slime sometimes takes human form.
Forgive my anger. I need a vacation.
Which brings me to us. Beginning next Monday and lasting for at least several weeks, you will have a few more minutes to yourself. The Monday Minute (or two) will be taking a much-needed opportunity to recharge, refocus and turn our back on all those who promote conspiracy theories, those who choose the wrong side of history, and those who side with racists, anti-Semites, and white supremacists. While you are welcome to read any or all of the previous 229 editions of The Monday Minute (or two)⁴ ⁵ during our hiatus, I would urge, instead, that you do anything that fills your soul with peace, relaxation and/or pleasure. You will feel better, regardless of which side of the political fence you find yourself. I will leave the specifics to you.
We will be back. No promises as to when or in what form. But there are many more stories to tell, many more wonderfully uplifting examples of strangers coming to the aid of others in need, many more stories of inspiration, many more ways to make work and life fulfilling and ever more meaningful. As the vaccine finds its way into our arms, our future may be as bright as it has been in at least a year. There will be amazing, heartwarming stories of rebirth, of festivals, of music, of theater, of sports, of people enjoying each other — all of the things we have gone without these many months, all of the things we have a huge pent up need to experience again. Life is poised to return and, as it does, the stories will be wonderful. We will bring them to you, after a brief, calming, regenerative interlude.
In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy. Wear a mask. Get vaccinated. And be on the lookout for your elected officials — especially those who hope to kiss the ring of that guy in Mar-A-Lago — to attempt quietly — or in Ron DeSantis’ case, loudly — to make your next voting experience that much more challenging. The Republicans are decidedly not taking a break. They are working feverishly to continue to undermine all that we hold dear. A topic for another day.
See you on the other side.