The Day the GOP Died

IMG_2862A long, long time ago, the Grand Old Party stood for family values, moral values, and apple pie. Now, with Trump as leader, it’s more like family torture, infidelity, and borscht.

Less long ago (Thursday, May 31, 2018), former House Speaker John Boehner quipped: “The Republican Party is kinda taking a nap somewhere.” Boehner was drinking a bloody Mary at the time, so maybe we shouldn’t blame him for not noticing that his former party’s nap has lasted nearly two years.

Given there’s no chance the GOP will get woke, it’s time to say, “Bye, bye American GOP.” See (or listen) at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAsV5-Hv-7U  

The GOP was mortally wounded on a Super Tuesday back in September, 2016. In seven states, the Party of Lincoln voted to nominate Donald Trump for President. Sure, “Lying Ted” won a couple states and a few #NeverTrump folks were hanging on, but the die was cast, probably in some Trump casino, where the GOP’s mortal soul was traded for unlimited gaming opportunities. No longer was the GOP about marriage, civility, and moral virtue. Instead, along with Trump, so-called Republicans were embracing race over rights, disrespecting gold star families, degrading and sexualizing women, and undermining family values. And there was that White Nationalism thing. His crown stolen, Lincoln would have been apoplectic.

Resuscitation attempts failed. The Access Hollywood recording created a ripple of discontent and the gnashing of a tooth or two. But hey, it was locker room talk, and everyone knew who had the votes and who had the money. Jeff Flake and “Liddle Bob Corker” gave us hope, but our hope quickly gave way to calling respectful Black football players sons of bitches and making parents cry and children scream. Opposing Trump was too costly. Not only would there be hate mail, hate email, hate instant messages, and hate signs posted on your lawn, there would also be death threats, lost fundraising revenue, and lost elections. Republicans like balanced budgets. Opposing Trump did not pencil. #NotWorthIt. DJT would refuse to yield.

Later, the GOP voted that a generation lost in debt was preferable to confronting their friendship with the devil. Obsequious coveting of the naked emperor became de rigueur. Satanity laughed at tweets about pig’s blood, shitholes, and witch hunts. Fox News had spoken.

Even later, or perhaps earlier, there was Russian meddling, references to Rocket Man, and about 50 departures from the White House staff or cabinet. Going along, the GOP normalized talk about sex, presidential lies, and fantasized audio recordings. There were payments to porn stars, pay to play with China and Indonesia, and open theft of our national morality, with Trump metaphorically riding away in a taxpayer paid for golden golf-cart. The evangelicals were copiously ignoring the growing cracks in their church bells.

Mostly the GOP lay in a Boehner-nap, awakening only briefly for intermittent nips of bloody Marys and rye. A few free market optimists imagined the GOP was saving its strength for one last-ditch effort to #DumpTrump. But, right about then, because the three politicians I admired most were already dead anyway, the rest of the GOP joined them. The Republican Party, upon whom we could formerly count for at least a façade of morality, had its thousand points of light torn away like a Puerto Rican roof. Final confirmation of the GOP’s death occurred in July with continuing news from the Mexico border that made us shiver. John McCain’s angel was in a body cast, because he was “Dying anyway.”

The GOP, having given away its moral authority to speechless speakers, vapid veeps, and the money man, is no longer grand, no longer old, and no longer alive. The Party of Lincoln is dead. Let’s drive our Harleys to the coast and pray that the Party of Trump is short-lived.

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John Sommers-Flanagan is a clinical psychologist, professor of counselor education at the University of Montana, and author of eight books. The views expressed here are solely the views of John Sommers-Flanagan, and not representative of the University of Montana or Don McLean.

Dear Mr. President

Forgive Him Jesus: He Really Doesn’t Know What He’s Doing

Dog Bunny

This Easter morning, Donald J. Trump fell to his knees.

“Dear Jesus,” he said. “I repent! Please forgive me my sins.”

“I’ve been selfish. I’ve fornicated with porn stars, been unfaithful to my wives, lashed out in judgment, and hurt many people. To preserve my ego, I’ve put myself first. I’ve told lies, huge lies, some of the best lies ever, all just so I can look good and have things my way. I’ve mocked the disabled, marginalized the sick, made life more difficult for disenfranchised immigrants, golfed more than I should (and sometimes lied about my score), served the rich and powerful over the poor and needy, and called countries with Black people ‘shit holes’ and then said I didn’t. Sometimes I’ve even humiliated people who get in my way, repeatedly calling them clever, but untruthful names, pointing out their weaknesses, and accusing them of fake news and low ratings. My behavior toward women has been so shocking that I’d rather only talk about it in locker rooms. But now that I’ve built up my self-esteem on the backs of others, I finally feel good enough about myself to come clean. I was too focused on winning. I forgot all about that thing in the Bible about the last being first, and that other thing in the Bible about the camel and the eye of a needle. In truth, and this is hard for me to say, but I’ve lived a life quite opposite of a true Christian. I’ve had it backward. Instead of doing unto others as I would have them do unto me, I’ve been doing unto others, as I feared or perceived them doing unto me.

For all this, and much more, I seek your forgiveness.”

Suddenly, Jesus appeared before Donald Trump saying,

“I’m not inclined to make personal appearances, but your case is special, so I’m making an exception. I want you to know, my son, my Donald, I forgive you. I forgive you your many, many, and very large sins. I have faith that from here on, you will live your life as an exemplary Christian.

Donald looked up in amazement.

Jesus was transfigured.

Wait.” Jesus said, smiling. “What day is today?”

Donald looked puzzled. “What do you mean my Lord? Surely you must remember, today is Easter! Of all holidays, this must be your favorite. I mean, you, rising from the dead. That was big. Never been seen before, or after. Biggest thing ever.”

“Yes, my Donald. You are correct. Today is my favorite holiday. And so let me offer you the appropriate greeting.”

Immediately, shimmering and giggling, Jesus said,

“April Fools!”

Then he, Elijah, and Mary Magdalen all had a very good laugh at the Donald.

Finally, after calming himself down, Jesus spoke again,

“Hey Donald. Seriously now. The joke is over. I’m not saying I’m NOT forgiving you. That was just me joking. Haha. Got you pretty good, huh? But here’s the deal. You need to know that good old Catholic doctrine, you know, the one about faith AND works; it applies here, especially to guys like you. After all the sinning you’ve just confessed to me, big and huge sinning, as you might say, it seems obvious, you’ve got work to do. Besides, when you first started your confession this morning, I was pretty sure you were doing an April Fool’s joke ON ME. And because you’ve grown so good at lying, I’m still not perfectly convinced you weren’t just dissembling. So hang in there my son: be honest, help the disenfranchised, treat women with respect, get some funding for the EPA and education, love the little children, make progress on gun safety, and give away all your money to the poor. Then, forgiveness for you will be just around the corner.”

Holy Saturday — Short visits with an honest God [from Rita’s blog]

“Sit down,” I said to God. “Please just sit down and be something. I can’t stand you floating, digging, running, flying, vibrating, dying, living, and sizzling around me all the time. You don’t play fair. You don’t listen well. Even when you tell the truth, no one understands, so what’s the point?” God’s eyes welled […]

via Holy Saturday — Short visits with an honest God

Bus 098 leaves Missoula at 1:45 p.m.

inside_bus-thumb_jpg

This is a short piece of creative fiction. It’s based on several of my recent bus rides back and forth from Missoula to Billings. It’s not exactly true; but it’s not exactly not.

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This not being my first bus riding rodeo, I arrived early and intentionally find a seat toward the front. Last time, I mistakenly sat too far back, where a sketchy guy with a Russian accent asked to borrow my phone. I was too nervous to refuse. Now I’m worried my phone number is on Robert Mueller’s list.

Today is a different day on a different bus in a different city. But, as I board, I still avoid eye contact with everyone sitting in the back.

Butte is our first stop. There are some tough ass dudes there, and although I have a Montana Handgunning Certificate of Achievement, I’m not packing. The driver, a wrinkled woman who looks older than Grandma Moses announces, “Federal law prohibits guns, knives, and weapons on the bus.” That’s the government for you; always taking away our freedoms.

A man across the aisle uses the word fuck so often that it blends in and hovers around with the bus buzz and body odor. “That fucking manager. He fucking won’t let me do fucking anything. So then when I got fucking sick I was fucked, but he don’t fucking care about shit.”

Judgment flows into my pores, through my thoughts, picking up speed like a downhill skier. He sounds like an angry asshole. I glance over. He looks like an angry asshole. That figures.

Later, as dusk softens the light in the bus, the angry asshole’s voice changes. “Hi Sis,” he says. “Thanks for calling me back.” The word fuck is absent. Instead, there’s sad talk of divorce. Anger surrenders to pain. I’m close enough to hear about his daughter, his dead-end job, and an upcoming birthday.

“Hey Sis,” he says. “Can I borrow 20 bucks to buy Clarice a birthday present?”

One problem with judgment is that it’s easy to lock it in, even when it’s wrong. Once locked in, it’s hard to revise. I’m a mental health professional. I get paid big bucks to make judgments about whether thoughts are rational, about mental health, and about mental fitness. It occurs to me that’s ass-backward; we should pay people like me to not make judgments.

In this moment, on this planet, how many annoying jerks are riding in buses on American freeways? How many are on a round trip from anger to pain, only to get re-routed to sadness and despair before arriving back where they started? Resentment is there too, sometimes it’s my seat-mate, except for when it’s not, because I’m cradling it in my lap.

I’m thankful for federal law. None of these difficult emotions have to go online to buy tickets; they ride for free.

Harsh judgments rode with me until we got to Livingston. They whispered sweet somethings in my ear, telling me I was better, than the smoking, swearing, smelly, rabble around me. Then, I found a twenty dollar bill and left it, along with my judgment, at the Livingston bus stop.

Not to be dismissed, judgment caught up with me in Billings, when the man in the front seat started sounding off about the bitches who were trying to take down the government. But boy-howdy, that 115 miles from Livingston to Billings, that was one nice fucking bus ride, even if I do say so myself.