The Golden Gavel

The most talked about show this week was the one where a group of adult politicians squirmed in desperation, objected in glee and eventually screamed with pride as they finally, after 15 torturous televised parliamentary procedure-moderated votes, managed to elect a new Speaker of the 2023 U.S. House of Representatives.

Well whoop de doo

And yet no single image summed up the marathon. multi-day event better than this behind-the-scenes photo snapped of Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA), she of handy-dandy, I will school you, portable white board fame, as she sat patiently waiting for the just barely-in-the-majority opposing party to get it together enough to agree on some one to take possession of that much hallowed Speaker’s gavel.

We stan

When Holly, our beloved NFAC executive editor, private messaged me the photo of our beloved Katie reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck amid all the chaos on the House Floor my first thought was:

 OMG, I bet that’s exactly what she’d say after a glass a wine and exactly what she’d do, née read publicly, if she WASN’T a politician.

I also thought. What a f’n great title for a book!  Someone should write that rather than just spend time merely reproducing it for some snide meme people like me would like.

Well, never let it be said that I don’t tell tales on myself out of school and don’t appreciate former college professor Katie (Note: And current one, Holly) for both their nerve AND for schooling me once more.

As it turns out, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, written by blogger Mark Manson, is indeed a REAL BOOK.  In fact, it’s a N.Y. Times bestseller that to date has sold 20 million copies and has been translated into 65 different languages. 

And it has a sequel!

Not only that, but he’s the subject of a 2023 documentary feature now playing in movie theatres, entitled….well, figure it out.

I’m so out of it. 

But, well, at least I know it.  And clearly I DON’T give a f*ck.   Nothing subtle about that.

Cheers to you Chairy!

But let’s get back to Katie and Mark and how together they’ve captured the national zeitgeist, as far as public reaction goes, to the Speaker of the House election.

“F” bombs flew, fingers wagged, and a fistfight nearly broke out among that very special group of political, ahem, elites, by the time a razor thin majority of Republicans dragged their new leader, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), across the finish line. 

The final vote had McCarthy with 50.5% of the chamber, excluding six members of his own party that could only bring themselves to vote present (Note: A House version of abstaining) rather than granting their candidate a full-on endorsement.

Press it again!

This, of course, was nowhere near the spectacle of the Jan. 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol Building that ironically occurred exactly two years ago to the day in exactly the same place  and in front of many of the same people that this final vote was taking place.

Way back on Jan. 6, 2021  there was a storming of the entire Capitol Building to stop the count of a free and fair PRESIDENTIAL election.  And on that day many, many dozens of people were actually physically injured, including 140 members of law enforcement.   Windows and doors were broken, offices were defaced and feces were spread all over the walls.

Oh and also, five people died.

Never forget

A number of politicians who supported that insurrection, attempted coup or patriotic peaceful protest of the Republican base of disgruntled and suspicious voters – depending on how you want it referred to and whether you believe in fact or fiction – were, in fact, actually among those whose votes, or votes of PRESENT, granted Rep. McCarthy his….victory two years later.

People like Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), the subject of an extensive federal probe of sex-trafficking/having sex with a 17-year-old girl; and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), a twice arrested gun enthusiast and anti-gay marriage crusader who believes the church is supposed to direct the (U.S.) government.

This this this

Not to mention several more we won’t name who were in on the planning of Jan. 6 2021, along with POTUS #45.

Speaking of #45, another McCarthy voter, Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-GA), she of the Jewish space lasers, gleefully approached one of the McCarthy PRESENT holdouts with her cell phone at the 11th hour and urged him to take the call of D.T. (aka #45), which he promptly refused.  (Note: Okay, twist my arm, it was Rep. Matt Rosendale (R-CO)).

But, as the reporting goes, #45 did manage to reach Rep. Gaetz and urged him to wrap things up and get the vote done.

Which, miraculously, he did at the eleventh and a half hour.

But not before Rep. Greene was then caught by intrepid C-SPAN cameras yucking it up with about to be newly minted, lair, liar pants on fire Congressman George Santos (R-NY).

Where’s my cringe button?

In case you don’t remember, that’s the guy who lied about everything on his resume, including his college degree, work history in finance, and mysterious million dollar plus increase in annual income in 2021 and 2022 (Note: From $50,000 the year prior), that became one of the chief funding mechanisms that enabled his campaign win.

Like Gaetz,  #45 and a bunch of other Congressional McCarthy voters, he is also currently the subject of multiple investigations.

I guess this isn’t funny.  Or maybe it is.   We’ll know in a few months. 

But how many of us will give a you know what about it, or much of anything, by then?

“The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” Trailer

We Need a Hero

Omicron sounds like a Marvel villain, doesn’t it?  Something like:

INT. HILLTOP HIDEAWAY – NIGHT

OMICRON, ageless, sits on a chair at a glass desk faced away from us, staring straight through a wall of windows at the luxurious skyline.   Then suddenly —

He swings around.  A tightly fitted black synthetic fabric covers his face and entire body, except for a pair of shiny white leather gloves on his hands petting a white cat sitting on his lap.

Twist mustache, purrrrfect

His hands slide up and down the cat almost seductively until he slowly rises, raising the cat high in the air in a moment of victory.

Then he brings it down to his shoulders, where it wraps itself around his neck and rests comfortably, like the powerful and immovable amulet of horror it will soon turn out to be.

Okay, maybe that was more 1960s Bond than Marvel but you get the idea. 

And, sorry to demonize the cat.

Of course, you can demonize anyone and anything these days and get away with it.  Ask Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-CO). 

This is a good start

In the last few years she’s gone to fundraisers around the country with some D-list shtick about hijab-wearing, Somalian born Rep. Ilhan Omhar (D- Minn) being a terrorist, joking she feels safe in an airport or elevator or wherever else she slithers as long as her fellow congresswoman is not there wearing a backpack.

There was a time when this kind of thing would have ended your career instead of making you a headliner.  But there’s an old expression a lobbyist ex-boyfriend once shared with me about this:  Bedfellows make strange politics.

Meaning if you lay down with pigs long enough, before long you’ll grow to love the mud, muck and manure.  In fact, it might even turn into your life’s blood.

Nope, never

Ask aspiring Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).  He sees Rep. B’s Islamaphobic remarks, as well as the hard right wing racist taunts from the likes of Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-GA) and Madison Cawthorne (R-NC) as merely a messaging problem rather than the unearthing of a gaggle of mice and cockroaches bent on eating their way through the support beam barely holding up what little structural foundation remains of his party. (Note:  That would be the Republican party, or as he likes to sometimes refer to it, the party of Lincoln.  The latter would be the man who freed the Civil War slaves, the same one that several noted psychics claim to have literally seen turning over in his grave in the last few years)

Not that I’m partial or anything. 

Reality check

But once we get into people like Rep. Cawthorn, who says his trip to the Fuhrer’s vacation home (Note: That would be Hitler’s pied-a-terre) was a memorable sojourn that was on his bucket list, all bets are off.

I mean, there is no prose purple enough you can use to describe that.  Hence, the Omicron excerpt above.  With more than 100,000 new coronavirus cases and 1000 plus deaths in the U.S. daily, the latter stat almost solely among the unvaccinated despite a vast surplus of vaccine, the rest of us have now become the unwitting cast, crew and extras of a new, live and ongoing superhero film missing one basic and very crucial element – a superhero.

All bat signal, no bat

Which brings us to the Supreme Court.  That once hallowed last chance savior body has this week taken up an anti-woman’s right to choose case from Mississippi that will likely end the landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that gives all women the blanket federal right to seek an abortion up to 24 weeks into their pregnancy.

But in her questioning, Justice Amy Coney Barrett (Note: Whose confirmation in the during the last days of the Trump presidency was celebrated in a massive COVID-19 virus super spreader event at the White House) reasoned that pregnancy and parenthood are not part of the same burden.  In fact, she posed the idea that as long as women could give their babies up to the state for adoption, the right to terminate a pregnancy could at least be almost cut in half, or curtailed even further.

Because why shouldn’t an underage girl raped by a family member who is too scared to come forward in her first trimester be forced to have her baby?  Can’t she, like, just leave it at the firehouse as girls used to do in the old days?

It literally takes your breath away

Granted, this is my incendiary language and not hers.  But it’s essentially accurate when you read through her questioning.  See, Justice Barrett, 49, has seven children, two of whom are adopted, and a fundamentalist’s view of religious doctrine.  So much so that she once held the title of handmaiden at a small and very conservative Christian group called People of Praise. 

Not a fount of choice to be had there. 

Nope. That’s it. Moving to Canada.

Now, far be it for me to take away anyone’s freedom to live their life in their own kind of personal hell, I mean, dogma.  They are free to think of me as a sinner and try to own me as the self-admitted lib that I am, just as I am free to think of them as the misguided, willfully ignorant idiots that I know them to be.

But I’m just at the point of proclaiming what they are all NOT free to do is to refuse a vaccine against a disease that threatens the survival of life as we know it.  If you can drink a Coke, eat fast food, get your kid a small pox and polio vaccine before they enter school, you can sure as f-k be required to get this f-kin shot. 

I mean, I’ve gotten THREE so far and listen to me here.  Don’t I sound normal???

And I’d get three more shots if I had to!

Not to mention, shouldn’t there be at least an intelligence test you have to take before you get to serve in Congress or the executive branch?  (Note: Can you imagine who wouldn’t make the cut?).  How about a few geniuses get together and concoct a 2020 plus racism test that disqualifies you from serving if you score below a certain number?  The same for the basic tents of democracy (Note: Freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly) with essay questions on each so you can’t just pass by memorizing a bunch of laws.

I’d volunteer to grade them because…who else could I trust?

Red pens are ready!

Now I’m just joking, but only barely.  More than ever, this feels like the part of the film where either a hero or extraordinary power swoops in and saves us or we decide to save ourselves by standing up to the likes of the Omicrons.

Whether they’re wearing robes or abusing their elected offices with stupidity.

I’m by no means suggesting storming the Capitol.   Rather, spending some more time standing up to them in strategic discourse and civil disobedience.

As well as crawling through broken glass to cast your vote and make yourself heard.

Bonnie Tyler – “Holding Out for a Hero”