At today’s memorial service for the Obama legacy, the mourners had lots to say about the Great Orange Buffoon who will front for the GOP knife brigade while they slice up the corpse. A sampling:
On DailyKos an Obama Staffer offers this observation along with a spirited defense of the deceased, Obama’s many programs that benefited working people, along with advice about how to bring about its resurrection:
But part of progress is having to defend that progress, sooner or later, with your back against the wall. That time came sooner than expected, but it was always going to come. And reversing it is going to be a lot harder than Republicans advertised, because the benefits are just so damned real.
Eugene Robinson writes about the divisions in our society that are already exacerbated by Donald Trump, as well as all the ways that he falls short of the requirements for the job of leading our nation, his unprecedented dishonesty, his insecurity, his willful ignorance, his appalling opportunism, concluding that there may indeed be a second coming of progressive values if we just stand firm:
So I can’t pretend this is a normal inauguration. Of course I celebrate the peaceful and orderly transfer of power, but I also hope that Saturday’s protest march is big and loud and spirited — and that it represents the start, not the culmination, of something.
Trump’s power is not unchecked. We, the citizens, are the ultimate authority. We must let him know, through our elected officials and with our own rude voices, when he threatens to go too far.
Get ready. We have work to do.
Wajahat Ali at the New York Times was succinct in his response to Trump’s graveside remarks:
Listening to Mr. Trump’s speech today, I kept hoping, maybe, he would offer something unique and fresh, considering he said he had been preparing for three weeks. I’ve seen “Home Alone 2.” I know he can act. But despite his best efforts, he resorted to jingoism, fake patriotic populism, grandiose promises and an utter lack of self-awareness and irony as he promised to fight back against the very establishment he’s a part of. There was a predictable shout out to ending radical Islam forever, which is interesting considering the reports that the Islamic State has been actively celebrating his victory because of his divisive, anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies.
Also from the New York Times, Andrew Rosenthal, after initially declaring that in his speech today “Donald Trump gave us ‘American carnage’,”gets to the real essence of Trumpism:
But like everything the new president has ever said, the speech was as much about him as about anything else. He declared his Electoral College victory (which was not nearly matched by the popular vote) to have been a movement “the likes of which the world has never seen before.”
Greater, of course, than Christianity, or Islam, or Hinduism. Greater than the Renaissance or the Reformation. More powerful than the revolutions that created and destroyed Communism. Greater, of course, than the establishment of this very nation.
The best thing about the inaugural speech, in the end, is that it was short.
Josh Marshall at TPM describes Trump’s inauguration speech in terms of what it portends for American democracy:
This speech was about grievance and reclamation, reclaiming power, wealth from those who’ve stolen it. These themes can make sense and be salutary for countries which are weak, battered and poor. When they become the rallying cry for the strongest and wealthiest of countries, that is always dangerous. Our work is cut out for us.
Even conservatives were disgusted by Trump’s tone. Here’s some of what Jay Nordlinger had to say at the National Review:
–Trump’s inaugural address was boastful, huffy, ungracious, half cocked, and demagogic. It was almost certainly the most demagogic inaugural address in our history. […].
–There is a gap between those who think that Trump is fit for the presidency, in mind and character, and those who don’t. That gap is damn near unbridgeable.
–To my ears, Trump’s address was nasty and borderline un-American — for all its talk of patriotism and “America First.”
TPM also has photos showing how empty the National Mall was today compared to the last Obama inauguration. Looks like nobody but the deplorables came to the funeral today. And guess what? They really could fit into a basket.
On the topic of attendance Trump does what he does best – lie via twitter:
It’s even worse that his tweeted comment implies: according to Slate: ” Donald Trump’s new Twitter background is a photo from the inauguration of Barack Obama: http://slate.me/2jHrPia ‘”
Not everybody thinks funerals ought to be sad though. In Russia, wouldn’t you know, they were toasting the inauguration of the hand-picked-by-Putin President of the newly established United States of Corruption:
MOSCOW — In an upscale loft space in downtown Moscow’s Central Telegraph building, Russian politicians, political analysts, hangers-on and activists were toasting President Trump’s inauguration Friday evening, applauding as he took the oath of office to become the 45th president of the United States.
“It’s going to be a lot of action, drive, excitement,” said Dmitry Nosov, a sturdily built former member of parliament who wore a gray-checked blazer with a bear pin. “Not dull like it has been.”
What else is there to say.
By now almost everybody knows the story of Lacy Clay and the painting shown above – when there’s a story that involves conservative outrage, it gets around thanks to the first rate rightwing propaganda network. But just in case you don’t know why the image above is interesting for more than its aesthetic qualities, or if you’ve forgotten the details, here’s a quick summary of the events:
There’s something called the Congressional Art Competition for high school students in each congressional district. Each year, the most recent winner’s painting is hung in a tunnel passageway between the Longworth House Office Building and the Capitol. Over six months ago, Missouri Rep. Lacy Clay (D-1) hung the painting above, by the winner of the competition in his district, St. Louis high school student David Pulphus.
The Independent Journal Review, a right-leaning news site, noticed the painting recently and decided that its depiction of seemingly beastial police was worth a little outrage, which led Fox News to pick up the story. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) saw an opportunity to publicly flex his John Wayne muscles, grabbed the painting off the wall and deposited it in Rep. Clay’s office after lots of well-publicized posturing. Rep. Clay quickly flexed his muscles right back at Hunter and rehung the painting. Whereupon lots of other GOP representatives tried to get in on the show, publicly bloviating while shuttling the painting back and forth. Finally Republicans decided to call in a big gun and appealed to the Architect of the Capitol who ruled that “exhibits depicting subjects of contemporary political controversy or a sensationalistic or gruesome nature are not allowed.” So, now it looks like there’ll be a premature bye-bye to Pulphus’ painting.
Do you see anything funny (both ha-ha funny and otherwise) about this scenario? If not, let me lay it out for you:
- Isn’t it conservatives who are usually mouthing off about about political correctness? As Alex Nowrasteh recently wrote in the Washington Post, “conservative writers fill volumes complaining how political correctness stifles free expression” and yet here they are actively trying to stifle free expression in the name of that god of the blue-haired country-club matron, “good taste.” Something offends them and theirs, it’s got to go, but when it offends me and mine, we’ve got to shut up because political correctness.
- Speaking of PC, are policemen and women really so fragile that they can’t face up to the fact that there are whole segments of the population that don’t regard them as protectors? Why do Republicans want us to enforce “safe spaces” for cops, when they’re so disturbed by the same kind of “safe spaces” on campuses (and, for the record, I oppose controversy-free zones on campus too).
- How does it help police to deal with “wounds that we’re trying to heal,” in the words of the president of the St. Louis County Police Association, if we stifle any point of view that doesn’t flatter the police? Lots of us believe that a wound can’t heal until its existence is freely acknowledged. Why aren’t these congressmen more interested in finding out why an intelligent, talented young man depicts police with animal faces? (And, by the way, he also depicts a protester with a wolf face – there’s lots of diverse animal imagery in the picture.)
- Jonathan Adler argues that there are inconsistencies in the response of the Capital Architect: that the office did not object to the painting when it was first hung six months ago, and that other paintings with a political message have not been removed (he offers an example here), adding that “this painting was targeted because of its specific message, not because it is too political.” In other words, the criteria used to remove the painting is inspired more by the particular PC ox that is being gored than by an objective application of the rules.
- If I were a cynical type of person, I might think that Rep. Duncan Hunter’s embrace of the controversy – and he was the one who really got it going – might have had something to do with his desire to deflect attention from the ethics investigations into his campaign finances in which he was forced to reimburse $62,000 to his campaign for charges including “oral surgery, a garage door, video games, resort stays and a jewelry purchase in Italy.” But that’s just me. For purposes of discussion, I’m willing to accept that he and his very tasteful pals are just enslaved by conservative PC.
If Rep. Hunter and his GOP colleagues weren’t so politically correct, however, they might have been more willing to use the painting to encourage discussion of the questions that it raises. Adler notes:
On Thursday, someone placed a “Blue Lives Matter” flag on the wall above the painting. Whether or not such an impromptu display is allowed under the Capitol’s rules, this is a much more appropriate response than stealing the painting from the wall or otherwise seeking to have it removed. Displaying the Blue Lives Matter flag is a way to express disapproval of the painting’s message and endorse a counter-message. It is, in short, responding to potentially offensive speech with more speech. It is exactly what conservatives (and others) tell college students to do when they are confronted by speech that offends them, whether it’s an art installation or a speech by an Internet provocateur.
Of course, if there were to be a real discussion, folks like Hunter and the particular constituents he panders to might have to take into account the way their political correctness plays from an African-American perspective. As Etefia Umana writes in The Root:
These elected officials’ behavior is a clear display of privilege. African Americans get the message: Freedom of expression is only for police-worshipping, privileged citizens. The representatives will likely not be punished because law enforcement and elected officials have far more restraint for white “protesters” than for black resisters.