We Get What We Deserve
One often hears or reads of an everyday American who is frustrated with the antics, words, or performance of a politician (or politicians in general), who says something like “we deserve better.” The plain truth is that the list of things Americans “deserve” is quite short, and good politicians/better politics is surely not among them. No, we have the politics we deserve, and we vote for it year after year.
Let’s take the case of soon to be Republican Representative George Santos of New York’s third Congressional district. Readers are certainly aware of this serial fabulist by now, but a few quotes from the previous link are worthwhile:
He said he is part Black. He said he is the grandson of Holocaust survivors. He claimed he helped develop “carbon capture technology.” He claimed to have worked at companies that never employed him. He claimed to be a graduate of two universities, only to admit that he has no college degree at all. He even said his parents’ financial hardship forced him to leave the prestigious Horace Mann School in the Bronx “months” before he could graduate. But that claim and numerous others have either been shown to be false or lacking evidence by The Washington Post and other news organizations.
This is not normal stuff, and the degree to which even hostile stories attempt to offer a little way out is notable:
Even by the low standards for truth-telling in politics, the scope of Santos’s falsehoods has been breathtaking.
This seems to be part of the response. “Politicians all lie, so this guy’s lying is just a little out of bounds.” And the one I love the most is “who hasn’t fudged his resume?” (which is pretty much what Santos has said).
No friends, we (and by we, I mean people who have to be governed by the federal legislature into which this execrable fellow will soon matriculate) are stuck with Mr. Santos because our own standards for honesty aren’t very high. We elected a serial liar President, a man who took the practice to new heights of perfidy, and then his supporters spent years trying to tell us those lies weren’t lies, or if they were—they weren’t very big ones, or if they were big ones—they were in service to big goals, or if they weren’t in service to big goals—they owned the libs. Mr. Santos is the product of the banal acceptance of dishonesty, and the people of the 3rd District of NY who voted for him ought to be ashamed.
One thing I haven’t seen is anything resembling a grass-roots effort among local Republicans to repudiate this man. I don’t know what NY law says about whether reps can be recalled, or even if NY law is germane. Maybe he cannot be recalled—but a NY Republican party with even a shred of principle would instruct the would-be Speaker of the House not to assign him to any committees and to provide him with no staff. They will have an opportunity to remove him in two years, or they will be able to validate their own dishonor by returning him—but in the meantime, he should be thoroughly “othered”.
But we won’t see this. We’ll see nary a peep out of them, or we’ll see grandees telling us that he has owned up to his dishonesty and that it is time to “move on”.
What KILLS me about this clown is the degree to which Republican voters in his district bought into the kind of identity politics that Republicans used to (like, yesterday) excoriate. They just couldn’t WAIT to vote for a young, gay, Jewish, Hispanic guy to show how hip they were, and how they aren’t prejudiced. Screw ‘em.
The House GOP is already a Grand Old Poopshow, with its would be Speaker probably as likely to not become Speaker as he is to become so, and the chaos in this unmoored political party will continue. The 3rd District in NY got what it deserved, and not a bit better. Until we Americans demand accountability and then exercise it, we’ll continue to have to put up with institutional dishonesty.
Abandonment Progress Report
Last night was my fifth night of female abandonment, as the Kitten and Kittens are frolicking in the Caribbean with friends of longstanding. Within hours of their departure (and while I was running an errand for one of them who could not be bothered to get to the Post Office to mail her returns), my 13 year-old, 278,000 mile car died. In front of the Post Office. This is the car that I earlier in the year replaced its transmission, and them replaced an entire bottom panel, and have recently been fighting battery/possible alternator problems. The good thing is that I have a really “can-do” local garage, and they sent a guy over to jump my battery so that I could drive it back to them to continue to troubleshoot this recurring electrical problem. But the car died before the mechanic drove away. So he drove me home and the garage towed the car. Great start to my solitude.
I set up a computer in the main house at the kitchen table, and it is where I’ve been working, with snoring dogs and a cat to keep me company. After a while, I’ll move to the bedroom and watch a little TV there with the two cats who occupy that space. When Catherine is here, I love the animals, but I’m not terribly concerned with their need for human contact. When she is gone, I am obsessed with it. I am a slave to my pets.
Some milestones this week: I fixed a clogged shower drain, I got a new CPAP machine, I closed out the financial year (including paying estimated taxes—always fun) and started the new one, I roasted a chicken in my Dutch Oven, I binged “Jack Ryan”, I watched the final “Slow Horses”, a bit of football, and some college hoops. I worked out each day, and I took the dogs on walks each day (they usually just get let out into the yard to do their doggy thing). After years (11) of operating my convection microwave solely in microwave mode, I convection roasted some chicken thighs quite satisfactorily. There are four automobiles here that my recent experience with battery failure convinces me need driving, so I take a different one out each time I run a different errand. I had New Years Eve breakfast yesterday with a buddy who just retired from the Coast Guard, and I was asleep by 11PM on New Years Eve. I also got a book to read based on a recommendation from a vicar I “e”know called “The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism” — he made the recommendation after my post recently on The Messiah and my ramblings on faith.
New Years Video Message to Myself
I have older parents—Dad is 91 and Mom is 87—and they are in decline. Got some disquieting news from one of my brothers who had been to see them last week, while catching up on New Years Day. Doing so reminded me of something I almost forgot.
Last year I made a New Years video message to myself, in which I—of sound mind and body—talk to a future Bryan who may not be as sound—and tell him that if he is in physical and/or mental decline, the compos mentis version of himself absolutely does NOT want to be a burden to anyone. I watched last year’s video (hair is more grey now, and I am 10 lbs heavier) today and made another, as it is my desire to do this on New Years day every year (or as close to the New Year as possible if I’m on some fabulous trip somewhere).
Obviously—if I decline, I might not remember these videos are even there. Or, I might decide that I—in my dotage—am in a better position to make these determinations than 57 year old Bryan was. We’ll see. I just want to have a layered defense against myself.