Birds of a feather

Apparently, it is just now that devout Trumpsters are beginning to realize that most of us believe their enthusiasm for The Donald says something about their own character, and they’re going to be held accountable for it.

It was well-known before the 2016 election that Trump is a philanderer, that he is a racist, that he is dishonest in business, that he has gone bankrupt six times, that he knows next to nothing of his own country’s history and ideals, that he channels Joseph Goebbels and routinely tells Big Lies, that he has nothing on offer but validation of a long train of inchoate resentments — and if somebody has no problem with those things, it goes to that person’s character. Always, the truth about people is what they do, not what they say, because behavior is the manifestation of character; those things don’t occupy separate partitions.

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YAY!! for the Outsiders

It has always — always — been the outsiders who have forced America to live-up to its ideals.

Once upon a time, because they considered the Pledge of Allegiance a form of idolatry, Jehovah’s Witnesses were set upon by mobs in the public streets, beaten, arrested for disturbing the peace, and then jailed awaiting trial without benefit of medical care — in this country. It was Jewish lawyers who went to the courthouses to defend them, and much modern First Amendment jurisprudence flows from those cases.

It wasn’t smug Southern Baptists who supported the civil rights movement of the 1960s. No. They fired the rare brave pastor who expressed support for blacks, and on a few occasions hung them in effigy.

It isn’t wealthy Republicans — who routinely visit clubs, restaurants, and golf courses where costs are held down by using illegal labor — who are defending the targets of Trump’s inapt Twitter attack — Go home? Here is home, you pathetic idiot. — on the four Congresswomen.

Indeed, FOX News happily piled-on by dishonestly characterizing Ilhan Omar’s defense of herself as ‘profanity-laced’ — though the profanity arose by quoting Trump’s own words.

Ilhan Omar delivers heated, profanity-laced attack on President Trump

Watch it yourself; I thought it was firm, as tasteful as circumstances permit, and a credit to her.

I’m not much of a fan of the four Congresswomen Trump attacked. Ocasio-Cortez has charisma and guts but, so far, looks like a flyweight in the brains department; Omar has said things that can reasonably be construed as bigoted against Jews; and I don’t know much about the others. Even so, I applaud them for today’s press conference: They looked a cheap demagogue in the face and said … No more. Right. No more. And it’s a sad ol’ day when four minority women, outsiders, show more backbone and love for their country’s ideals than the whole Republican Party does.

Which is why we need the outsiders and the out-of-step; they are the ones who make America great by holding the country to its ideals.

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Tweet for the day

Right. Trump’s squalid behavior is enabled by the silence of Republican leadership cowed by the Deplorable One-third; they know exactly what he is … and say nothing. So my question to Lindsey Graham et. al. is this: Why do you cling so desperately to a job that demands constant self-abasement? A job that makes it impossible for you to live as a man?

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Pete’s “coming out”

The New York Times publishes today a lengthy profile of Pete Buttigieg’s struggle with accepting that he is gay, and his eventual “coming out:”

Mr. Buttigieg, now the mayor of South Bend, Ind., struggled for a decade after leaving Harvard to overcome the fear that being gay was “a career death sentence,” as he put it in his memoir.

Mr. Buttigieg spent those years trying to reconcile his private life with his aspirations for a high-profile career in public service.

Attitudes toward gay rights changed immensely during that period, though he acknowledges that he was not always able or willing to see what broader social and legal shifts meant for him personally.

“Because I was wrestling with this, I’m not sure I fully processed the idea that it related to me,” he said in an interview.

More than most people his age — even more than most of the ambitious young men and women he competed against at Harvard — he possessed a remarkably strong drive for perfection. He went on to become a Rhodes scholar, work on a presidential campaign, join the military and be elected mayor all before he turned 30. After being deployed with the Navy to Afghanistan in 2014, he said he realized he could die having never been in love, and he resolved to change that. He finally came out in 2015, when he was 33.

I use scare-quotes around ‘coming out’ because I believe everybody’s sex life belongs in the closet. I wouldn’t presume to ask the (presumably) straight couple next door if they’re into bondage/latex/threesomes/whatever, and I don’t think that what the gentlemen bachelors down the street get up to is any of my business, either.

I do think it’s a good thing that a prominent figure like Buttigieg is willing to speak frankly about the difficulty of not being a standard-issue male; it’s a hard row to hoe, and it’s good that young men wrestling with those difficulties have before them the example of an accomplished man living openly and successfully on the other side of those hard decisions. One hopes the day is coming — and sooner, rather than later — when nobody pays attention.

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A healthy development

Friedrich Nietzsche once made a memorable complaint about the ubiquity of clergy:

What happened? Simply this: the priest had formulated, once and for all time and with the strictest meticulousness, what tithes were to be paid to him, from the largest to the smallest (–not forgetting the most appetizing cuts of meat, for the priest is a great consumer of beefsteaks); in brief, he let it be known just what he wanted, what “the will of God” was…. From this time forward things were so arranged that the priest became indispensable everywhere; at all the great natural events of life, at birth, at marriage, in sickness, at death, not to say at the “sacrifice” (that is, at meal-times), the holy parasite put in his appearance, and proceeded to denaturize it — in his own phrase, to “sanctify” it…. For this should be noted: that every natural habit, every natural institution (the state, the administration of justice, marriage, the care of the sick and of the poor), everything demanded by the life-instinct, in short, everything that has any value in itself, is reduced to absolute worthlessness and even made the reverse of valuable by the parasitism of priests. [emphases in original]

The Antichrist, §26

I was reminded of that passage by this story, which I consider a healthy development.

Bovarnick and Convery, who live in the District, opted for what is known as a “self-uniting marriage”: a ceremony in which one member of the couple getting married acts as the officiant. In their case, it was Bovarnick, meaning he signed the light-blue piece of paper provided by D.C. Superior Court. (He has “a much better signature,” Convery explained.)

This kind of wedding is legal in a handful of states, including Colorado and Pennsylvania, and the marriages are legally recognized everywhere.

The District began allowing self-uniting marriages in 2014. Although the D.C. Marriage Bureau said it does not track the number of self-uniting marriages performed in the District, wedding planner Starlene Joyner Burns said they have risen in popularity.

Good. Clergy contribute nothing to marriage but their insistence that marriage is about growing their ridiculous club, which is why evangelicals have the highest divorce rate in society.

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