Saturday, September 29, 2018

Citizenship 101

One of the few non-batshit things coming out of the White House is an acknowledgment that the media is thriving. Crooked Media produces a number of podcasts. I never miss an episode of Pod Save America. I read every pertinent article in the NY & LA Times and Washington Post. Add Politico, Daily Beast, Reuters, Huff Post and a couple of others. Up until recently I have never consumed television news. Now it plays endlessly, with only an occasional switch from CNN to MSNBC. And there's news satire from Samantha Bee, John Oliver and Bill Maher. Plus almost all of the non-fiction best sellers pertain to the Commander and Chief. This is just a sampling of media that's going gangbusters.What will happen to this industry if we survive long enough for another, less horrifying, presidency? How will we function without our indignation?

Preaching to the choir here, as I do most Saturdays, even if Cavanaugh never swilled a “'ski” or only exchanged a chaste kiss with Renate, he does not demonstrate the character, temperament or judgement that would qualify him for a lifetime position on the Supreme Court. He brags about his admission to Yale, “with no connections,” despite having attended an elite prep school and the fact that his dad was an attorney and his mom a judge. Even before the sexual abuse allegations arose, Cavanaugh is guilty of an enormous amount of dissembling with regard to his function at the Bush White House and service on the Whitewater trial. Finally, he seems not to grasp that the court is ostensibly an apolitical body, although this is often not true of its actual function. To blame his current cloud on “Clinton retaliation,” is fool-hearty on a number of levels.

I commend Jeff Flake for his efforts to reach across the aisle. I'm sure however that he's had an epiphany. Take the stairs. Watch though. Flake is not a moderate. While not a total wingnut he is a very far to the right conservative. I believe that he sees the writing on the wall with Trump. It will end badly. I assume he intends to emerge, the “I told you so” phoenix who will rise from the dust to “heal” the Republican party. I do commend him for supporting an FBI investigation of Cavanaugh, but keep an eye on him. I imagine he's very shrewdly playing a long game.

I head down to Seal Beach to canvas for Harley Rouda, the opponent of absentee Representative Dana Rohrbacher, who even Paul Ryan admits is a total Russian tool. We install software on our phones that has a map of the area we're assigned. The names, addresses, ages and party affiliation of all of the registered voters appear on the app. It's a cul de sac neighborhood with streets named after colleges. Princeton. Harvard. Stanford. Yale. Most of the front yards are neatly tended. Our software directs us to the homes of Democrats, who we are to remind to vote, particularly for Harley Rouda. The responses are recorded on our phone app. The objective is that every Democrat in the district receive a personal visit. Many of the neighbors we greet indicate that a canvasser has already visited. Unless a canvaser has spoken to every Democrat voter in the household, the house will remain designated for a visit.

I dread canvassing. This is because I have never been warm nor fuzzy with anyone with the temerity to knock on my own door. Well, it seems, I'm the only asshole in the universe. Every person who opens a door is cordial and polite. We happen upon a Trumpy lady, while trying to track down her Democrat husband. Her head is full of Fox News propaganda about Lisa Page and a plethora of deep state conspirators but she also thanks us for going out and pounding pavement for something that we believe in.

I note that a number of Democrats express being turned off by Diane Feinstein holding on to Dr. Blasey Ford's letter. Despite the protestations about the victim's reticence, I hope I'm wrong, but the whole chain of events doesn't pass the sniff test. I guess, particularly remembering the Merrick Garland shenanigans, the ends justify the means, and perhaps this isn't the time to dig our heels in about dirty politics. Sigh.

Walking a Seal Beach neighborhood or watching Jeff Flake summon Chris Coons out the meeting for some bipartisanship, there is one thing that I am sure of. Most of us are ready for a return to decency. I spy a man in Silver Lake with “Fuck Trump” embroidered on his jacket. What does this ultimately accomplish?

I hope that the result of this awful horrifying time is that people will just start talking to each other. And here's the gauntlet. Do the binge watching, gym going, restaurant dining that you deserve but remember that doing nothing other than making financial contributions, brands you as complacent. It is proven that human contact is more effective than television advertisements or campaign mailers. If you want information about canvassing, I can provide it. For those who find knocking on doors too daunting I can let you know about phone banks. You can even send handwritten postcards to voters or make calls in your pajamas, from your home. The election is five weeks away. Whatever the results, you will feel better knowing that you did what you could.