I used to write a blog for a "progressive" website known as The Smirking Chimp. I put the word "progressive" in quotes because so many "progressives" who began turning up there were people capable of getting pretty damn nasty and personal toward any blogger who didn't recite their idea of the catechism precisely as they understood it.
Though many of the writers who contributed to that site were much better known than I am, my pieces were almost always read by more people than most anyone else who blogged there. But the volume and viciousness of the hate mail I received from a handful of regulars grew in intensity until I was finally prompted to write a direct reply to those "progressives" who had begun to include my family in their hate screeds.
The volume and viciousness of the hate mail I received from a handful of regulars grew in intensity until I was finally prompted to write a direct reply to those "progressives" who had begun to include my family in their hate screeds.
Jeff Tiedrich, the guy who edits the site, refused to run my retort. So, quite naturally, I quit giving him free copy. Aside from the personal nastiness, the unpaid reward of being an undefended target for people I might have thought were united in opposition to the right just seemed like a waste of energies that could better be directed elsewhere.
So, my regular appearances at the Chimp ceased a little over a year ago. A few days ago, Mr. Tiedrich contacted me with a proposition. If I would return to the fold, he would run my long-withheld reply to the people who had been attacking me so personally. He hadn't run it because he thought the infighting was damaging his site. I thought so, too, though I found it rather disingenuous that he allowed so much hate to come my way on such personal terms, but only seemed to get concerned when I attempted to directly answer those who were assailing me with such neurotic and obsessive personal nastiness.
I suspect he feared that sustaining donations from them might dry up, an ever-present fear for those who exist on social media only by regularly rattling the cup while the organ grinder tries to keep the monkeys on a leash.
Nonetheless, I agreed to his entreaty and his offer to run my old retort as a way of rejoining the monkeys. I wrote a piece I intended as my initial re-entry to the Chimp cage with the expectation of writing many more to follow. He had told me that he would post an announcement of my return on the website on Monday of this week, along with that old piece from last year.
But he changed his mind, backing out of the proposition he had, himself, proposed.
That left me with the piece below, a piece I'd written saying something I'd wanted to say about the internecine war between progressives, our tendency to squabble with one another while the house we share is on fire, focusing our energies on doctrinal nitpicking while the right wingers are pillaging the place. The left has a long tradition of doing this. Homage to Catalonia, George Orwell's book about his experiences during the Spanish Civil War, demonstrates just how extreme doctrinal differences on the left can become. Even as they were fighting fascists, the factions on the left actually took to shooting at one another as Franco mustered a far more unified force against them.
And although the divisions among the right wingers in the here and now are beginning to show up rather dramatically, the Hannity hordes have always remained pretty tight, as have the Limbaugh Lizards, the Alex Jones jerks, the Breitbart baboons, and the Trump troglodytes, that "base" of deplorables so aptly called out by Hillary Clinton last year. Lefties, by contrast, can't even agree on where to hold the post-election wakes for the disasters we help create time and time again.
The column I'd intended as a return to the Chimp cage appears below. I wrote it even though I knew some of the monkeys would start flinging feces as soon as I showed up. What I say in the piece isn't just personal pique. The left has to get its act together lest we do again what we did last year, or in 2000, as we helped install some of the worst people to the highest offices in the land.
Look On the Bright Side: At Least Lesser Evil Was Defeated
by Jaime O'Neill
Ok, so, where were we? If memory serves, the last time I checked in at the Smirking Chimp was a little over a year ago. Hillary Clinton had won the Democratic Party primary despite my personal best efforts to get Bernie Sanders as the party's candidate. I had sent him money every month for the previous twelve months. I'd written several thousand words in support of his candidacy.
But, being a grown up and a realist, when Bernie didn't emerge victorious, for whatever reason, I "felt the Bern" and followed Bernie as he encouraged support for his former rival for the nomination. Among a coterie of Chimpsters, supporting Hillary had made me, ipso facto, a corporatist, a fascist, a war monger, a Zionist, and a target for a whole lot of nastiness that grew increasingly personal, even to the extent of pulling my wife and daughters into the range of insults.
Then, too, some of the commenters began to bash Bernie as a "sell out," or merely repeated stuff about Clinton I could just as readily have read or heard on right wing media outlets. She was variously called "Killary," Shill-ary," "untrustworthy," and "liar. It came to seem like a waste of energy to spend time in the company of so many people I would later come to suspect may have been Russian trolls, "independent" nitwits, or Jill Stein "spoilers" intent on creating a victory for Donald Trump. What else they might have thought they might have been doing sure beats the hell out of me.
Even those among them whose motives may have been pure surely did nothing at all to prevent the Trump ascension. Mostly they bruited their superiority as true "progressives," extolled their personal moral self-righteousness, and took pride in their inability to tell a particle of difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. They offered no alternative to the Democratic Party candidate except for pouting and finger pointing at fellow lefties who weren't as far left as they claimed or thought themselves to be.
That was then. This is now. Donald Trump is POTUS. Of course, that catastrophic outcome of last year's election had nothing to do with petulant "progressives." They had, or so they claimed, evaded any responsibility for a Trump victory when they chose to "follow their conscience" by not voting at all, or writing in Bernie's name, or checking the box next to Gary Johnson's or Jill Stein's name. It wasn't their fault if Trump was elected, even if some of them actually voted for him in a peevish fit. No, the devil made 'em do it, and that devil was the Democratic Party that had failed to give them a candidate worthy of their exalted goodness.
Besides, Hillary was "just a terrible candidate," and that was why she lost (though she didn't, at least not in the popular vote. And the "progressives" who pissed and moaned throughout last year weren't responsible for her losing, anyway. That was Comey, Russian meddling, massive amounts of free media for every Trump utterance, Facebook trolling by the aforementioned Russians, or any of a whole lot of other things that surely helped Trump win.
But it wasn't a a tiny bit the fault of "progressives" or third party spoilers. No way. Their consciences were clear because, as people of impeccable conscience, they never would have done a thing that had a bad or unintended consequence. Nothing in their hearts or minds would ever allow them to do anything whatsoever to facilitate evil in any way, shape, or form. And besides, Hillary would have surely been as bad as Trump. Hell, she might have maybe even worse than Donald & Co., though such an idea exceeds the imaginations of lesser liberals and "progressives" because such wimpy and compromised proto-fascists just couldn't and can't see things in the multi-dimensional way that Jill Stein voters could. Besides, it's all just a lot of very dirty water under a lot of crumbling bridges at this point in the game.
So here we are. Trump may be ginning up a nuclear war with North Korea, or Iran, or maybe even France or California, if he gets around to it on a day when his golf game gets rained out, but ol' Killary would have launched those missiles months ago, probably. She would have sabotaged the Iran Nuke deal because she wouldn't have wanted any reminders of Barack Obama left lying around. And ol' Shillary would have pulled us out of those Paris climate accords even sooner than Trump did, of course. And the KKK and American Nazis and swinish pussy grabbers would surely have been emboldened had she been elected, probably even more than they have been under Trump's misrule.
Her Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, would have helped Clinton, Wall Street's best friend, to even more goodies for the 1%ers, of course, and she would be pushing a big tax cut for the richest of the rich, along with an elimination of that unfair "death tax" that impoverishes so many powerless plutocrats. Her administration would also be promoting big hits to a range of government programs for poor kids. She would be working hard for the elimination of Planned Parenthood and other women's health efforts. She, along with the feckless Democratic Party, would be promoting selling off millions of acres of public land, overturning environmental regulations, and passing anti-union legislation. Her cabinet would have been little different than the cast of characters Trump chose. Rick Perry would surely have been chosen to be in charge of energy and, in the spirit of diversity, Dr. Ben Carson would almost certainly have been appointed to head up H.U.D. Betsy de Vos would have been chosen to fix American education, and once appointed, she and Hillary would surely have become besties because we all know how women stick together.
It's too terrible to imagine how badly she would have mishandled the natural disasters we've experienced over the last few months. Hell, people would probably still be without power in Puerto Rico. As for the mass shooting in Las Vegas, she almost certainly would have sent her thoughts and prayers, but from a godless woman like her, what could such prayers ever mean? Plus, as a decorous and ladylike woman (except for that bawdy house laugh of hers) she would surely have thought it disrespectful to talk about gun control even as people were still grieving or recovering from head wounds. That would have to wait.
Is there any doubt that Hillary wouldn't also have appointed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court for life, just as Trump did. Of course she would have. Or someone even worse. That's just the kind of gal she is.
There's little doubt that Hillary would have put her daughter, Chelsea, in charge of the State Department, and Bill would have been appointed to the Supreme Court, and Hillary's son-in-law would have been made White House Chief of Staff, or something equally grand. And the Clintons would have purchased a dozen or so vacation homes to which they could flee as an escape from that dumpy White House every weekend so they could play golf.
Nor could we have expected, had she become POTUS, that the former
Secretary of State would have known the names of all the countries in Africa, or that the "President of the Virgin Islands" was, in fact, her own damn self. The woman who spent a couple of years in the early '90s working on reform of our health care system would never have known that "healthcare was complicated." She wouldn't have been one bit better with the English language than Donald Trump has shown himself to be because, of course, even smart women aren't as smart as men, especially rich and successful Alpha male captains of business and industry. And isn't it likely that once freed from being a candidate, sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office, that the first female POTUS wouldn't, at long last, have come out, admitting her long-hidden lesbianism with an ugly past that included a significant amount of predatory pussy grabbing that went well beyond the vulgar but ultimately harmless locker room talk Donald Trump.
With the holiday season on the horizon, we must know that Hillary Clinton, good Catholic girl that she is, would be devoting lots of presidential energies to ensuring that every goddamned Christian in this great country of ours would be guaranteed the right to wish a "Merry Fucking Christmas" to every towel-headed Muslim asshole or yarmulke-wearing schmuck, whether they liked it or not, all in the spirit of peace on earth, and good will to men.
As for that dustup with the National Football League, Hillary would have cleaned up that mess right quick. Colin Kaepernick would not only be out of football, he'd be out of the damned country. NFL players who took a knee while the national anthem was playing could be dealt with in any way their owners could come up with, including water boarding.
In other words, there's little doubt that things would now be as crazy or maybe eve crazier if Hillary Clinton was now in the White House.
Obviously, the oh-so-progressive-left was probably right when they expressed their determination not to vote for the lesser of two evils, or to even admit that there was such a thing unless it was a Jewish messiah, sent by God, but spurned by morally ignorant liberals and progressives without souls or basic decency.
So, since we truly had no clear choice between candidates last year, or between political parties, it seems the obvious mission of some so-called progressives now is to start shitting on most any candidate for 2020 who isn't Bernie Sanders or a Green Party alternative to the elites and to the Democrats who are utterly and completely indistinguishable from Republicans, who take money from rich people, and have even been seen sharing space with ickies and pukies like Henry Kissinger, Harvey Weinstein, or Jamie Diamond. Real progressives, of course, know that real progressives would never, ever, ever, have any association whatsoever with rich and powerful people. Real progressives, like those tapping away at their keyboards expressing outrage and cosmic rebellion against the powers-that-be would never get near a rich prick, a sleazy crook, an avaricious oil man, or a tech scuzball. They would never venture out of their natural habitat in those areas of impoverishment and homelessness where true progressives dwell, expressing unflinching dedication to diversity, solidarity with wage slaves, common cause with the homeless, and unswerving empathy and pocket change for all living creatures for whom collection drives are being launched. For some, it's never too early to start losing elections.
And those same progressives will not stint in their efforts when 2020 rolls around. The usual suspects are already huffing and puffing about how Kamala Harris just won't do. Nor will Elizabeth Warren, Adam Schatz, Gavin Newsom, Sherrod Brown, Chris Murphy, or anyone else who has already been tainted and discredited by long association with the Democratic Party.
I first signed on with the Smirking Chimp during the Bush administration, back when Dubya's simian smirk was a fitting logo for a website dedicated to presenting a smorgasbord of anti-right wing commentary. As is common among the left, however, that unity of purpose began to fray almost before Barack Obama was sworn in. To mix metaphors, the circular firing squads began forming, and the bullets began to fly here and on other outlets for left wing disputation.
Perhaps now, with the Trump menace grown clear enough so that even "progressives" can see distinctions once invisible to them, we can once again focus on resisting the fascists and supporting politicians who may not be perfect or infallible, but are, nonetheless, worthy of supported from people who seem to think that they, themselves, are.