COVID-19 Pandemic and Racism Endemic Have Fucked the Funny Out of Me

Save me from myself, please! As I descend into a possibly terminal state of Toxic Earnestness



Hello. My Name is David and I’m—earnest.

Thanks, David! booms the twelve-step Greek chorus.

I’m an earnest, virtue-signalling piece of old jute carpet woven by cheerful, appreciative, highly-skilled and adequately-paid native workers in a tropical paradise that hasn’t been invaded by white, oil-industry-beholden kakistocrats.

Yet.

I can’t remember the last time I fulfilled my self-mandated mandate for this blog, viz: make shallow, no-effort fun about stuff no one gives a flying frig about, starting with, and possibly limiting itself to, my personal life.

As I write this, a mouse scurries from underneath the shoe rack and across the multicolored painted floor of the entrance to my apartment. I shout OH!, which is my older-gent version of a schoolgirl shriek, and the mouse, I assume as shocked to see me as I am him, scurries back to its lair, or whatever mission control is called in the mouse plan for human gaslighting and assimilation.

I don’t know if it’s worse to spot him or to realize that he’s probably been scurrying about every day for fourteen years without my spotting. Either way I will soon be camping out on the balcony, eating vegan food cooked over a tea light and seasoned with my tears of self-pity while I encase my body in black electrical tape.

And when I head to the kitchen to bake oatmeal cookies—which is the beginner version of take my book to Glad Day Books, the only remaining gay bookstore in possibly the world, which I am lucky enough to live two streets away from but haven’t approached with my book in two years—I interrupt a pair of cockroaches rehearsing their tight-rope walking act on the edge of the counter.

One of them, Gaston, for they have recently auditioned for Cirque du soleil, sports a handlebar moustache and is riding a unicycle, rather skillfully I have to admit; while his partner, Fifi, navigates the zucchini peelings and garlic skins with heel-to-toe poise and even a sexy sway of her thorax, while brandishing a parasol worthy of anything no longer permissible by Colette.

But enough of this frivolité, this flânnerie! Soon you will judge me shallow, too good-time-Charlie, when in fact I’m at the nadir of the scale that goes from Ooh! lala! at the top to Lacan deconstructs Crime and Punishment at approaching zero.

I’m newly-qualified Mister Suck Out All the Fun, garnished with stale, hard-as-stone glacé cherries. But who will believe me, who drags around a glee-filled menagerie; me, the Doctor Dolittle of diatomaceous earth?

To prove my earnest chops, I just published an eggshell -walking discussion of racism on Medium; a ramped-up but still hedged about with possibly and I suspect, weasel-worded version of the rant on this blog.

Now, please be aware that it’s quite possible no one will ever see it. This is the downside to posting anything on Medium that’s not a Pulitzer Prize-winning piece of investigative journalism from The Atlantic, or a raucous discussion of how Liz Warren is actually Lizard Warmonger, an alien tasked by her overlords to make sure millennials have something to whinge about that’s not just another version of they had to push the button on the microwave themselves. Anything between those two poles is either too good or not good enough.

Damn! And just when I’d settled on a lifetime of mediocrity!

To date, my piece has received one clap. Claps are the currency on Medium and they are not “likes.” Either the person doesn’t realize that you can give up to fifty claps if you like a piece, and can any of you take a hint, or they do realize and their one clap is like when you give a nickel to the server as a tip: just rubbing the poor schmuck’s face in the fact of her indifferent service.

Her indifferent service that is probably the result of her poor pay and working conditions so the chef-owner can drive his Aston Martin from Prospect Park back to his condo on the Upper East Side.

And you dare to give her a nickel? You probably masturbate while reading Mein Kampf under the glow of a Nazi lampshade, you hooligan!

To further promulgate my earnestness, I should also do a reading from my book on Facebook live. I could do a reading of my Canada Day ode, now that Canada Day is like a distant memory, and to up the stakes I could announce the reading with ten minutes’ notice so no one attends.

Honestly, I don’t know why I’m not Head of PR for the Decorative Gourds Panel or the Small Mammalian Pest Board. I probably just missed their frantic, competitive calls while my phone was accidentally set to “airplane mode” for six months.

Or should I go to Home Hardware and buy roach powder and steel wool so the roaches will dry up and be cut to smithereens inside and the mouse will die a similarly agonized, undeserved death when all he was trying to do was live his ordinary mouse life?

Eat random food, scurry, leave droppings, make rustling sounds inside the radiators, terrorize the big mouse who shouts OH. That is the typical mouse day-planner but I can’t just let him be.

And I know what you’re thinking: I cannot possibly fill my jug of altruism from this rusty, dribbling spigot of random wokeness. To gift my circle of influence with the full litre of feces-tainted run-off, I have taken on the education of my fellow white people, who I don’t even really like very much anymore.

In fact, after an eternity of Covid-19 seclusion watching white Americans declaring their freedom to be imbeciles, churning out the coronavirus and infecting all the smart people, plus a month of race riots while the same white Americans run over protestors with their Sherman tanks, I hate white people.

I hate white people.


White people look funny. All of their skin is blue and transparent, like foreskin, except when they “tan,” when it looks like pork cracklings that have been irradiated in a particle accelerator.

They put raisins in the potato salad, their children weigh seven hundred pounds by the time they achieve puberty and they wouldn’t know an opera by Richard Strauss from a pair of stone-washed denim pants that they iron. White people ruin everything they touch, starting with Arctic ice caps and ending up somewhere around dwindling zebra herds.

White people think they own the planet and they decide who’s human, which is white people. They deep fry their hair and put conditioner on the chicken, they say “y’all” in public like it’s a real word, until you want to projectile vomit onto their Pillsbury dinner rolls.

White people make anemic art that’s all about white Jesus. Who wouldn’t want to crucify white Jesus? Gimme some wood and some nails! Look out, white Jesus! King of the White People, you bloodless, welfare-grabbing hippy, you fragile, babbling white-tard! I will cheerfully pound the nails through your delicate white hands while whistling Dixie!

White people can’t see anything but white people so they bulldoze through life, theirs and yours, casting off candy bar wrappers that smother the rain forests; and when that’s accomplished they tunnel right through the Earth to the other side out of nothing more than hunger and boredom. The Earth is in danger of snapping in half and all just so white people can pollute the oceans, then farm fish.

It would hurt white people’s feelings to be honest and rip a fish off a hook, but they’ll hang a black man up on a hook and peel his black skin off, one inch at a time.

White people are liars who celebrate their lies. They tell you their shit smells like hybrid tea roses, so they can smear it over whatever they want you to read from the Book of the Month Club. Their sweat glands have atrophied, because for generations they have had others do their filthy work, and they lie when they profess their innocence.

White people’s hands are soft as newly-butchered veal and exude the sickly-sweet odor of indigenous corpses; their breath puffs out of their mouths in stale, harsh puffs redolent of the rum they traded for slaves.

White men have hairy, disordered scrotums and, hidden somewhere in their beer bellies, tiny dicks for producing brainless white babies they can ignore, and white women’s vaginas are like swollen toothpaste tubes squeezing out blue-eyed, mint-flavored white babies that don’t even deserve to be skewered on a pike-staff. I wouldn’t even offer them as hors d’oeuvres, three white babies on a plate with peanut sauce.

That’s what I think about white people these days.


Maybe it’s the Karens who did it to me. You know, entitled white ladies from the suburbs, the ones that sprang up after the war, exclusively for white people. Black people were specifically excluded. However, the Karens are not satisfied with that full, three-course meal, plus dessert and valet parking, of exclusivity. No. They need to know that the child’s plate with the fish fingers, and the gluten-free options, and the pizza with pineapple and a dipping sauce, that they have first dibs on all of those as well.

So they pack their fat asses into their Gap jeans and stick a hand-embroidered sign over their tits that reads, “Don’t Bust My Freedom” or “It’s the Chinese Whom Did It,” because the Chinese people are the same as the Chinese government, just like Trump’s imbecility and lack of empathy is every single last American, right?

They appropriate the right not only to celebrate their tacky taste in architecture, thankfully hidden behind a concrete barrier, but their self-imposed idiocy. They reserve the right to catch the virus, and to spread it, and do you know why?

Karen lives close to a hospital, Karen has a car. Karen has someone to help with her kids were she to get sick. Karen has a big house that’s not crowded. Karen lives near a park, in a safe area. Karen has private healthcare. Karen is healthier generally. She eats well. She doesn’t worry about being hungry, she doesn’t go to a food bank.

Black people are the anti-Karens: frontliners in many essential jobs, having on average lower income, on average more likely to be unemployed and therefore with no health care. They do not have choices. Black people cannot make themselves into idiots in a game of one-upmanship. Compared to Karen, their lives are about surviving.

They are what the Karens need to measure themselves against. Karen can flaunt the fact that she has the “right,” that is to say, the choice, to decide her own level of risk. And she can reassure herself that, whatever else happens in her life, she is not black. The planets are in the correct orbits.

And they take their matching children on a walk. If the kids are lucky they’ll get to carry the assault weapon, an absolute necessity in case a mob of two black people walks by, paying no attention to them and singing Amazing Grace.

Don’t rain on Karen’s parade, because her common sense dried up with her ovaries, so now she’s just a tomatillo husk of hard, sour resentment. There isn’t enough shark collagen on the planet to plaster over those worry lines caused by black people existing.

Do you worry that there are women called Karen who aren’t useless wastes of white skin in a Range Rover? Here’s the deal:

  • Karen: if you’re a Karen who doesn’t match the characteristics of Karen, we’re confident you’ll survive.
  • Karen: If you’re a white woman calling someone Karen, look in the mirror.
  • Karen: If you’re a black person calling someone Karen, you will probably help someone, just not Karen.
  • Karen: Fun fact: Men can be Karen!

Male Karens are the guys who want Straight Pride, crave pity as murderous incels, or scorn the idea of gender non-conformity when they hang around locker rooms.

Which makes it all the more puzzling when he sneaks out of the house every Friday night while his wife is at Waxing Academy so he can get pegged by, in his sad but revealing terminology, a “chick-with-a-dick.” The heart wants what it wants, and it shall have….!

I want to go to Medium and see if anyone has commented on my piece about racism. But I so very much want to be the perfect ally that I’m stressed that I got the tone wrong, or that I’m patently virtue signaling. A black person could justifiably take me to task on my white privilege in grandstanding about racism when I haven’t had the experience.

I have had the experience of being called fag, but that is not the equivalent of being murdered in the streets. Though some gay people have been murdered in the streets.

(To be honest, I’m terrified that I will discover, to my permanent disgrace and permanent banishment, that I entered a hypnagogic state and sleep-wrote something salacious about “BBC” just before I face-planted on my keyboard.

(This is not something white guys get to say about black guys, if there was any doubt in your mind while cruising on Grindr. Something to do with, I dunno, reducing black men to a racist-sexual stereotype? Who knew!)

And I’m dreading some emotional exchange with white guys who are livid that I would presume to educate them, a challenge I have yet to really come to grips with, because angry white men already know everything, and never shut the fuck up about it in case they lose the focus for ten seconds.

But surely it’s possible to win hearts and minds with the truth? And if it’s not possible, what are we doing this for?

You see what I mean: I make a perfectly valid point, I sense your sympathetic response, then—I end a sentence with a preposition!

My piece on Medium, maybe even this blog, is like farting in an elevator, then running out. It’s a futile prank, because the elevator’s empty.

But I, at least, will have a bloody good white-guy laugh about it.

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Fear of Queer

Don’t overreach with the equality nonsense, girlfriend.



Funny thing about Pete Buttigieg. People, especially Young People, don’t like him. I mean they really don’t like him.

The just-hatched harpies of the intolerant left speak of Pete’s falling fortunes as though they occurred in a vacuum and based solely on his merits, but one look at Elizabeth Warren’s nose-dive suggests that this race will not be rewarding the most-deserving, the hardest working or the most intelligent; the US electorate is too packed up in demographic boxes — elites, millennials, boomers, the black vote, educated white women, evangelicals — each one with contradictory demands and tastes, contemptuous of all the others, and self-serving to perfection.

And we know, because they’ve told us, that there are decisions being made by oligarchs and enemies, agendas over which the candidates have no control.

In fact Warren has stated that she was told on entering the race that there were “two tracks: a progressive one with Sanders and a moderate one with Biden, and there was no room for anyone else.” This doesn’t encourage me to look on her or Pete’s or anyone’s dropping out as necessarily reflecting on either their ideas or their management of their campaign.

So the characterizing of Pete as incompetent is not insightful or true, just convenient. Whether or not any candidate has been able to resonate with any particular demographic or minority, this is an undecipherable mix of media attention and spin, whatever Putin’s henchmen are doing at the troll farm, personal charisma and zeitgeist.

Proof that Sanders can be just as polarizing and shouty as Trump? Sander-nistas, with that authentic authoritarian distrust of high-falutin’ book learnin’ and shifty elitism, (probably because the intelligentsia are intelligentsia enough to see through your propaganda) disdain Pete’s Harvard degree, polylinguistic talents (they say he can tie a shoelace with his tongue, yes, I’m kidding but made ya look!) and “flowery language.”

Me, I tend to get all hot and bothered for a man with intelligence, education and a grown-up’s vocabulary, call me old-fashioned. But I suppose it was inevitable that aw-shucks, proletarian hand-painted folksy would be the order of the day when Bernie’s in the ascent. Honestly. They sound like the devil-children of the Politburo practising their critiques of “formalism” in case an American Shostakovich or Akhmatova starts tormenting the rosy-cheeked proles with clashy chords or words of three syllables.

He was reviled, not least by the narrow-minded gatekeepers of the gay community, for fundraising for the poor alongside the Salvation Army during the holidays, as though it was more important to make a sulky point than to help the disadvantaged; he was called a hypocrite and corporate shill for wine cellar fundraising, in a country where a billion dollars is considered a reasonable target for a campaign.

These are embarrassingly empty criticisms, desperate deployments of fluff from die-hard Sanders supporters who are willing to tank the election rather than not get their way (they said so).

So let’s talk “vapid,” one of the mysterious criticisms aimed at Pete. Nothing there? Let’s have a look at his platform (from Vox):

Quadrupling the earned income tax credit for single adults

A $15-an-hour minimum wage

Affordable, universal full-day child care and pre-K for all children from infancy to age 5”

A path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants

A Medicare buy-in open to all meant to “create a natural glide-path to Medicare for All”

A cap on all student loan payments as a share of income, forgiven in full after 20 years

But that’s not all. Buttigieg has devoted attention to big structural problems that afflict our democracy, and has proposed solutions that are genuinely radical.

DC/Puerto Rico statehood, banning gerrymandering, ending the Electoral College, and ending the filibuster

Expanding and reforming the Supreme Court to curb partisan rulings

Sectoral union bargaining where agreements apply to whole industries, not just individual companies

A carbon tax rebated to taxpayers in cash, plus a quadrupling of research and development funding for clean energy

This was the platform of a “moderate” only in comparison to Sanders’ and Warren’s.

I know that universal health care is the key concern this time round. I understand — I’m a Canadian who enjoys this benefit, and I agree that if the US can crack this one, which surely it must, it will be a radical change not only for the uninsured but in the American “anti-socialist” mindset.

Buttigieg’s plan for “Medicare for all who want it” was a workable compromise and a way forward for this radical change. The reality is that both a Warren and a Sanders presidency would likely involve some form of deal-making resulting in this very compromise. Warren’s gone, but, in the event of Sanders ending up in the Oval Office, watch what happens to M4A.

If you’re going to do a hatchet job, at least address his policies, instead of relying on fatuous ad hominem attacks. If Pete’s stock went down, it wasn’t due to his personality, his platform or his electability, least of all due to a spectacularly well-run campaign in which he went from unknown to serious contender.

In many ways Pete, youthful, charismatic, liberal to the core but reading as “centrist,” would have been just the right person for the job, where he would have been positioned to achieve many of the left’s goals without frightening the horses either before or after election.

Yet—from the youth Bernie demographic, revulsion which, despite my initial reluctance to do so, I finally read the right way: The usual Bernie hagiography with a swirl of blatant homophobia, all the nastier for the “I just can’t put my finger on it” faux-naif pose, and all the more insidious for their covert style, in the manner of my mother saying, “He’s one of those…”

Thus he was called “droid-like,” “inhuman,” “weird,” “vacant,” obsessed with the Presidency from an early age, as though the fantasies of a young boy were somehow sinister and pathological (didn’t Hillary want to be an astronaut?).

Isn’t that supposed to be “the American Dream,” that you can aim high, and through hard work, and possessing the right talents for the job, achieve your dream? Not if you’re queer, apparently. We’re just too inexplicably icky.

Underlying all of the negative descriptions I read online about Pete — an odor of smelling salts, a nudge and a wink, a grimace of distaste, a hold your nose disgust that the writers’ attempts at arguments did not even acknowledge, let alone explain, and, significantly, always the wish that he’d “go away” or disappear for good, hinting at a visceral reaction akin to nausea.

Because they couldn’t just come right out and say it, could they? Not without losing that wokeness badge. They had to hint and hope we get the message.

Oh, we get the message, honey. We get it. Because “just go away,” “don’t ask, don’t tell,” “save the children,” “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” they all come from the same place and have one goal: To patronize, nullify, infantilize, humiliate, emasculate; to make gay men invisible again.

To make all of us queer folk — “just go away.”

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What’s More Shameful Than Nude Photos of a Member of Congress?

thinking that they’re shameful.



LET ME STATE THIS RIGHT OFF THE BAT: Revenge porn is sexual assault. And Katie Hill, the thirty-two-year-old Democratic representative for California’s 25th District who has resigned over nude photos of her leaked by her ex, has been violated as completely as if she’d been raped.

Though you be in sunny Des Moines and I in Toronto, I can hear you think, “Nonsense. Katie Hill suffered embarrassment, but not the physical horror of rape.” And I agree with you.

Nonetheless, psychological horror is as real as physical, and can scar someone irrevocably. Violation is not confined to the physical. Assault is legally described as “the least of touching without consent,” and can also include a threat, if the person under threat believes that the threat is real and imminent. This removes any mitigating idea of degree, that below a certain threshold it’s not assault.

What is being defended here is the integrity of body and mind. To rape is to annihilate a woman’s ownership and control of their own body, to render them powerless, to break them. Rape is negation.

Rape means a woman having to process the contradictory ideas that she is both a victim (weak), but in ways subtle and overt, also the perpetrator, because she “brought it on herself.” In rape, a woman becomes the specific target of generalized male powerlessness turned to rage.

Women enrage men, because heterosexual men are eternally in competition with each other on every level; sexual conquest is a primary way for a man to “win” the competition. In the sexual realm it appears at first that women call the shots, picking and choosing from the roster of strutting competitors.

But male identity is a fragile construct that needs constant shoring up. Men live in a constant state of sexual anxiety, and as they jockey for their place in the pecking order, humiliation is a constant threat. One humiliation too many, and a poorly socialized male with a wounded ego can react with aggression against its perceived cause.

A humiliated male is a dangerous beast.

Don’t try to win this one. Either she was too sexual and therefore an irresistable temptation (a whore), or she was not sexual enough and therefore distant and cold, a rejection ( a bitch). There is no change of women’s behavior that will create safety for women because women aren’t the problem and never have been, except in men’s minds.

Katie Hill, in other words, was asking for it.

It boggles my mind, already heavily into boggled mode as the impeachment circus enters the Big Top, that nude pictures of Katie Hill should even be an issue, especially when there is a US President who enumerates his nauseating sexual “conquests” with nothing less than full macho (insecure) locker-room pride and whose advice to “grab ’em by the pussy” remains his most eloquent, or at least most famous, contribution to modern political discourse.

This gives an extra edge to that bitter joke:
“What’s the definition of a slut?
A woman with the morals of man.”

Women are still judged by a supposedly exalted standard based on the assumption that men get to control, in fact, own, women. They’re judged on virginal innocence and “purity,” especially in North America, where Puritan mores are deeply embedded in our culture.

You must forgive a man his little dalliances (abuse, rape?), goes the idea, because that’s just the way men are; but the unavoidable conclusion is that women are still men’s property, and who wants damaged, or even used, goods?

Women are pilloried when they presume to enter public life. The trope of the dumb blonde emphasizes the role of women as decorative, not useful. You can be pretty or smart, preferably the former, and never both. Incompetence, acceptable if feigned but preferably real, removes any threat a woman might pose to a man’s fragile ego; it’s another infantilizing way to be innocent.

When women refuse to stay in their place, they’re swiftly punished. They’re told to keep their mouths shut, for the sound of a woman’s public voice is always deemed to be intolerable: “strident,” “shrill;” always piercing and unpleasant when she is usurping public space. It’s too much like a harping mother, that original castrator.

Women who insist on being competent pay for that trespass. They’re ugly, they’re lesbian, or, for example, in Michelle Obama’s or Amal Clooney’s case, the rumor begins to circulate online that they’re actually men who’ve had sex reassignment surgery, and their husbands gay, because how could a real woman be so strong ,confident, intelligent and successful? How could a real man tolerate being married to such a woman? (Apparently, not at all, though the assessment ‘real man’ is entirely in the mind of the troll.)

I never stop mentioning, so I might as well continue, my shock at seeing a particular meme of Hilary Clinton prior to the 2016 election. It had been posted by a young male Sanders supporter and pictured her speaking into a cell phone, with the caption, “Shut the bitch up.”

It doesn’t matter what you think of Clinton’s campaign or policies, because obviously that’s not what shut the bitch up is about. It’s about the outrage of a man that arises from the idea of a woman occupying a man’s rightful place.

Forty years of feminism, I thought, seem to have been for nothing. Powerful women are still “bitches” (a female dog, literally; compare “subhuman” and “infestation”) and that imperative to shut them up carried a not-so-subtle undercurrent of violence, because how, exactly, does one shut the bitch up when apparently she has no interest in doing so of her own accord?

I see this happening right now, all over again, with Elizabeth Warren. The Twitter and YouTube trolls are lined up at their computer keyboards like the elves in Santa’s workshop, chipping away at her credibility and character. Who’s she compared to? Narcissistic, unelectable Bernie Sanders, another old white entitled male, because anyone but a woman, although it’s framed as “there’s no money for her policies” i.e. “socialist.” And Bernie isn’t?

She stands head and shoulders above the other Democratic candidates (and I’m gay, if I thought Pete was better I’d damn well want to say so), she’s done her time in the trenches and she’s fierce in speaking truth to power.

That’s the problem.

In a just world, Katie Hill’s ex-husband would be charged for the vicious act of sending these images without her consent, the public would be outraged by his violation of her privacy, and a woman would enter relationships with the same freedom as a man, without it affecting her career prospects or being judged “sinful.”

For make no mistake, workplace ethics and power differentials be damned: this is about sin, and Katie Hill is wearing the scarlet letter with more eyes fixed upon her than Hawthorne could ever have imagined possible. Mike Pence must be singing hallelujah.

In a just world, consensual sex between adults would be seen as natural, normal and good, and unworthy of comment, so that the very idea of shame in this context wouldn’t even arise. Ditto our frail, marvelous, imperfect human bodies. We’d have nothing to hide.

But maybe I meant to say in a perfect world.

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Only an Appointed Senate Can Be a “House of Sober Second Thought”

and Jagmeet Singh’s NDP just doesn’t get it


We’re now fairly skidding along the reinforced cotton gusset of life, aiming straight for Monday the 21st October, when the citizens of the People’s Republic of Libtardia head to the polls.

Ugh. I get sooooo tense about the “wrong” person getting into power, only made more tense by remembering that Canada has NO TERM LIMITS—that’s right. Andrew Scheer could be crowned PM, serve four years, be reinstated again, and again, and again, until we all died of Scheer tedium, while all the womenfolk were barefoot and pregnant, head to toe in cheerful yet modest calico, baking up huckleberry pies and taking axes to abortion clinics and the menfolk, in full garden gnome facial hair, fracked for oil and studied the prehistoric social code of their choice.

And it’s not just the Conservative Party that gives me what my fantasy step-mom, Dorothy Parker, would have called “the yips.” Yesterday I found out that Jagmeet Singh, NDP leader, has pledged to abolish the Senate if elected, calling it “undemocratic.”

Why do people miss the point about the Senate, every time? Our Senators are appointed, not elected, and now I’m going to do my annoying Socratic bit. Why is it important they are not elected? Correct, because then they have no electorate they are beholden to.

And why is that NOT undemocratic? Because the Senate is the “house of sober second thought.” The Senators—none of them career politicians, but all recommended and appointed as outstanding Canadians who have contributed in significant ways to the community in their respective fields of expertise—give second, non-partisan, readings to legislation, and they have the power to send that legislation back to the House of Commons if they see fit.

Which they did during the reign of terror of Stephen Harper, whose secretiveness and impatience had him trying to bypass even the Commons with his sinister, autocratic agenda. Trust me that the Senate saved us from the worst excesses of that awful, dispiriting regime.

Also, they are allocated proportionally:

The Senate of Canada (FrenchSénat du Canada) is the upper house of the Parliament of Canada, along with the House of Commons and the monarch (represented by the governor general). The Senate is modelled after the British House of Lords and consists of 105 members appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister.[1] Seats are assigned on a regional basis: four regions—defined as OntarioQuebec, the Maritime provinces, and the Western provinces—each receives 24 seats, with the last nine seats allocated to the remaining portions of the country: six to Newfoundland and Labrador and one each to the three northern territories. Senators may serve until they reach the age of 75.

Wikipedia contributors. (2019, October 18). Senate of Canada. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:04, October 19, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Senate_of_Canada&oldid=921902174

That’s two very good reasons, life-or-death reasons, not to abolish the Senate. Democracy is not just a numbers game; it is about human rights and ensuring that minorities are afforded the same protections as the majority.

Jagmeet, your Sikh headgear is to me as beautiful as the gold lamé turban Joan Crawford wore while scrubbing the bathroom tiles, it is the official beanie of multiculturalism, but your policy of abolishing the Senate has filled me with doubt about your judgment and made me tense.

And I’m fed up with all the tension, you know? So I’m going to relax about a lot of things this election. I mean, ever since that morning way back in 2016 when I awoke to people on the street screaming, “Holy fuck, Trump!” I’ve discovered that the worst can happen and we don’t implode. Things are, in fact, working as they should, down in the ol’ United States of Meltdownia.

Common sense is waking up from its gee-d out trance, weeping a little bit with the memory of what it got up to when it was high—how it got hate-banged by Mendacity even though it kept murmuring, “Stop!” and “Why would they make up a story like that?” and Mendacity just kept banging away, banging away, until common sense was lying unconscious in a pool of its own body fluids.

Please. Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about.

The Trump thing has become so bad, even Republicans, die-hard Republicans, like Lindsey Graham, have censured him for withdrawing American troops from North Syria without warning, leaving their Kurdish allies at the mercy of Turkish forces. So even Republicans have come to their senses. They’ve had to.

Well, when I say “come to their senses,” I don’t mean actually come to their senses in the sense of caring about economic inequality, or racism, or women having access to effective birth control or safe abortion, or anyone having any sort of affordable healthcare, or anything that would indicate they had, you know, come to their senses.

They just got interrupted as they were preparing to make themselves look all butch in northern Syria, then remembered that Trump has the current events knowledge of a grade-school student who’s been in a vegetative state for the past eight years and yelled at him for making them look bad in front of the Ukraine.

That kind of coming to your senses.

Anyway, if Scheer is elected, it will be bad, but probably not nearly as bad as down south. And if it’s really bad, we’ll get rid of him. Chillax, Canadians!

I’ve grown tired of acting like everyone who votes for the PC’s is a piece of ignorant trash and their vote doesn’t count, almost that they’re not “real Canadians.”

Andrew Scheer is the legitimate idiot leader of a legitimate irrelevant political party run by racist, homophobic old white guys, and if you want to vote for him, you have every right to.

Really! You do!

This is a free country and a democracy and you get to vote for anyone you want. Go ahead! Throw away everything we’ve gained in the past four years, including the envy of most of the world because we are the only remaining unashamedly progressive nation, anywhere!

Go ahead! Make their envious heads shake, just because you can’t stand that Justin is from our most famous political dynasty, that his father was Pierre and he’s already in the history books, whereas Scheer and Jason Kenney and Faith Goldy are just sad losers, blinded by bigotry and incapable of coherent thinking, who will just be footnotes, if that.

You’re pissed off that Justin is getting accolades from the United States, whose butt cheeks now have Scheer-shaped indentations, and you’re extra jealous that Justin is prettier than all of you put together, even in blackface, though we do wish he would cool it with the costume parties.

So there, fellow progressives! What are you scared of? That you’ll have to do a little participating? Protest a bit? Make your voice heard?

Thing is, just between you and me, it goes in cycles, if you haven’t noticed. We’re probably due for a change for the worse, now that the Atlantic Monthly has called us “the most successful progressive government in the world,” now that child poverty is lower than it has ever been, economic growth is up and, well, Trudeau has Canadian values, and kept ninety-five percent of his promises.

So naturally we’ll throw him out and vote in the doltish, aww-shucks, thin-lipped Christian who wants a tax rebate in every pot and a finger in every womb.

He’ll slash the services we want, we’ll go, “Oh my GOODNESS, but I didn’t think you meant THAT!” and we’ll protest and complain and rail against the stupid PC’s that we voted for when we could have continued to be the envy of the world and continued the progress. There’s a concept!

But no. We’ll buy the stupid rhetoric of the old disgruntled white guys, a.k.a. str8-tards, and for some reason we’ll forget that being Prime Minister is not like being the CEO of a company: In fact, it is a public office where you’re supposed to make decisions in the public interest, not for profit. You’re supposed to listen to the people who elected you, but also listen to the people who didn’t elect you, because you’re PM of everyone.

Balance the budget! Of course, but at the expense of…? It’s a fake goal, a chimera. It SOUNDS good, like something you should do. But it’s not the only thing you should do, and it’s ultimately not the purpose of government. Sure, be responsible, be prudent, be transparent…but if that’s the limit of your vision, go be an accountant. What kind of society do you want to grow? What future do you want for the next generation? Will pinching pennies now achieve that future?

Don’t take a rebate cheque for a couple hundred bucks that will evaporate from your hands over the course of a weekend, and lose child care, or reduced waiting times at the hospital, or pharmacare or decent roads, or decent schools. Real long-lasting change for the public good—that is the real purpose of government.

Don’t be short-sighted, think what you’re doing. And in the end, if you vote for Scheer? All power to you. I’m not the guy who gets to say you’re wrong.

Now, Maxime Bernier, that’s another story. If you vote for Maxime Bernier, you’re a bona fide piece of shit on a stick, you pathetic, white supremacist, Canada-hating moron.

Seriously. You have to draw the line somewhere.


Someone in the NDP said something stupid in 2012, and I say: “Fiddlesticks and fuddle-duddle! Who gives a flying Tesla!”

The rest of the world gets its fifteen minutes of fame; Canadian party leaders, in the run up to the election, have to have their fifteen minutes of shame. Racist shame, or misogynist shame or sex shame.

I’m not down with racism or misogyny or abuse, but honestly, Murgatroyd! I don’t think I would exactly come off as Saint Esther of Blodgett were my every word and every act to be examined from my teen years to now.

I think I might have had a few moments, or even months, of shame and I would be apologizing so much my eyes would be bulging out of my head on stalks, like a praying mantis in her startle pose, so grievously necessary would my apologizing be.

I would have to scare off reporters from The Sun by opening my moth wings whose markings look like the head of Kathleen Wynne. And I can only do that once, right after I emerge from my chrysalis, so I honestly would prefer to save it up for real emergencies.

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh—they’ve all had their moment in the shadow. Can we just agree that everyone says shit sometimes, especially politicians, accept their apologies and move on?

The sneering gotcha-goons of the right would have us believe that perfection is a requirement for public office. And admittedly the gaffes one commits, depending on their magnitude, nature, timing, intent, context, and degree of harm caused to others and to our trust in the government, do tell us a lot about character.

Complicating our attempts to assess the nature of someone’s wrongdoing is the death of nuance and shades of grey. Sometimes there are mitigating circumstances, sometimes there are degrees of harm.

Wearing blackface when you’re in your teens at a party where others are also doing so is—however you approach it, a nasty expression of smug colonialism and racial stereotyping, for sure. It’s an embarrassment. It merits a big apology.

This would include a sincere acknowledgment of error, a commitment to self-examine, and a promise never again to be the cause of such an egregious insult.

But it’s not a lynching. It’s not policy. It doesn’t come from a place of intentional hatred.

How does wearing blackface twenty years ago compare to, say, a statement made a month ago that POC are planning a genocide against whites?

Do I really need to elaborate?

We watch very closely how the perpetrator handles the revelation of his past sins. If he has contempt for the public, considers that his only mistake is getting caught, he will make excuses. If we’re all in this together, she shows humility and follows through on her promise to improve so trust can be rebuilt.

Because at a level where redemption is even possible it’s not about your mistake, it’s how you acknowledge and handle your mistake, and this is what the right cannot, will not, admit. Gotcha! What about—?!

Now, if you’re Trump, you write a letter to the Turkish President that is so bizarre, the White House staff think it’s a spoof.

That is how Trump handles mistakes: by committing an even bigger and more juicy mistake to attempt to draw focus away from the original mistake.

Which, of course, is nonsense. Trump is blithely unaware of having made any mistakes, ever. Even his telephone call to the President of Ukraine was “perfect;” he really has no concept of good and bad, right or wrong. He is entirely without moral direction. If he did it, it’s OK.

Good and evil, right and wrong, just and unjust: These are concepts that have no meaning for a sociopath or even a narcissistic personality, because they require an awareness of how our actions might affect others.

Meaningful work, priorities, duties, happiness, success, even our life’s purpose: Once you start thinking about other people, everything unravels.

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Conservatives finally broke the world…

… with help from my mom’s new sofa



SO I’M SITTING ON MY BALCONY WITH A friend of my friend. The friend of my friend is black, and as we small-talk each other he tells me that he’s Canadian, having been born here of parents who emigrated here from Jamaica. This seems totally right and logical, hardly worth even articulating, despite the new Trumpian standard of “we’ll be the judge of who’s a citizen or not, bright eyes, so better not get too uppity.”

Nope, born here is all you need. In fact, I’ll make a stab at it and say his parents are Canadian, too. Mr. All-Embracing PC Snowflake, that’s me!

It’s an uncomfortably muggy July evening and we’re eating chickpea stew over couscous from white Dollarama bowls. (I made the stew and steamed the couscous myself. I needed you to know that.) Our thoughts turn, don’t ask me how or why, to immigration, and this guy, Joe, which is absolutely not his name, says to me:

“The refugees get all these beautiful town houses, for free. They get more than you get on benefits.”

He says to me:

“I think Air Canada should stop hiring all these foreigners, because of security. They should hire only Canadians.”

He says to me:

“It’s black people who are always rude to me. White people are fine. It’s the black people I always have a problem with.”

And after I mentally rehearse the vomiting up of a full bowl of couscous and chickpeas in spicy tomato sauce then the post-puke dabbing of my lips accompanied by a final, raucous belch, my heart seizes up and falls out of my shirt like a lump of concrete.

I’m thinking, I’m a sixty-three-year-old—no I don’t, do I?— white guy and I have to explain to a gay black guy that refugees do not get all these beautiful town houses for free.

I have to explain to a gay black guy that many people would look at him and automatically assume that he’s “a foreigner,” and “not Canadian” just because of the color of his skin.

I have to explain to a gay black guy that it’s not about individuals of any race, it’s about how racism is systemic, built into the mechanisms of everyday life.

It’s not whether another individual black guy or white guy is rude to you about a parking spot. It’s about what happens when you go for a job, what happens when you apply for an apartment, what happens when you’re minding your business in Starbucks or getting into your car that someone has decided a black person would not own or walking down the street and a cop sees you?

It’s about what happens when you’re arrested and go to court and what kind of sentence, if any, do you get? And what happens to a white person in that same situation?

I have to explain to a gay black guy that he’s repeating fake news stories and urban myths and being racist.

And I can’t cope. I spend most of my online, and increasingly, offline, interactions pushing back at other white people when they make similar comments; when they say white people aren’t the only ones who had slaves, you know even though the discussion is about America, in which context white people are the only people who had slaves; when they say I’m color blind or claim that any grievance voiced by people of color is white racism.

I can barely cope with the onslaught of racism burbling out of white people now that Trump and his autocratic buddies worldwide have made racism a popular choice once again, I can barely deal with that. I am at a loss for dealing with a gay black guy who says this shit.

So that’s why I jumped off my eighth-floor balcony and landed on my feet, scrunching my legs right up into my pelvis, which has meant having all my trousers re-hemmed, an extra expense that I could ill afford.

You have to weigh the pro’s and the con’s. Tying my shoes is easier, but my knuckles drag along the sidewalk. People admire my integrity, but they preface their admiration with, “Hey down there—little guy!” Maybe I could have made the same statement in a more constructive, less dramatic fashion.

Oh, well. Too late now!


I grew up, like any mid-range Boomer, inside a normal, white racist household, with a normal, white racist mom and dad. My mother, who did the talking for both of them, cleaned up nice and, when meeting a new department store charge card, would skip the introductions and press it tearfully to her bosom like Dorothy hugging Toto after his escape from Elvira Gulch’s basket.

Anyone who wasn’t WASP, white Anglo-Saxon Protestant—this is not something you could aspire to, you either are or you aren’t—was obviously just not trying hard enough, even though, as I just said, trying is irrelevant. With me so far?

Skin color barely entered into it. Just strike off one of those attributes, say, “Protestant,” and it’s game over. Disparaging remarks about non-WASPs were acceptable WASP conversation. For some reason, probably because I’m gay, the one I remember most clearly is: “Barbra Streisand just opens her big Jewish mouth and screams”, an example of antisemitic WASP musical criticism that would have made Richard Wagner’s nasty little eyes bug out with pride, or is it envy.

My mother probably made that remark after a rousing game of bridge, while passing around wobbling platefuls of “Charlotte Russe” (which contained lime Jell-O, as did everything my mother cooked, probably even the pot roast contained lime Jell-O), and cups of Red Rose tea, served in hand-painted china cups. This was a genteel remark, if a bit obvious, yet god forbid there should be a lull in the conversation.

I mean, what could you say in response? “Fascinating, and exactly how big is her big Jewish mouth and how loudly does she scream?” Of course Barbra did that! Why not start the conversation with, “I noticed the sun rose in the East this morning,” for heaven’s sake! Lame!

This remark dates from Barbra’s early appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, a variety show. Variety shows were an extension of vaudeville, stage entertainments for all the family, so on a variety show you’d see singers (or “screamers”, if Barbra) and an act with a dog, and maybe a puppeteer and a comedian and some acrobats. So Barbra wasn’t yet a mega-star, at which point she could graduate from “big-mouthed screamer” and join the ranks of, take your pick, “bitch” (a woman with power), or “anti-Christ,” which is all the Jews who were controlling the media and just in it for the money.

Money! Power! Talent! The holy Trinity, unless you’re not WASP, heterosexual and male, when they become the Golden Calf. Anti-Christ Bitch Barbra, she’s got it all!

Moving along.

Jews, and Italians (who were also Catholics, which was kind of like when you get the letters for “syzygy” in Scrabble, a satisfying double-whammy of prejudice), got lumped together. These people, not being WASPs, were not strictly “white” because, you know.

Ethnic.

Ethnic meant colorful, so Gary and Adelina, the only Italians in Whitby, served as, you might say, the honorary town throw cushions who lived three blocks down the street, throw cushions in black velvet and gold braiding and “Souvenir of Niagara Falls” stitched on the front. Their house had figurines of the Virgin Mary, and what looked like actual photographs of Jesus, and Gary, a tailor by trade, smelled like sweat and warm bread and red wine, wine which he made at home in his basement. They used olive oil instead of butter.

WASPs do not smell. Dirty ethnics! WASPs do not use oil. Greasy ethnics!

But that was OK. Ethnics were not expected to have or to represent good taste, which for WASPs means how many shades of beige and cream can you deploy in one room and under how much plastic. Good taste means everything matching, because that’s what you saw in a magazine.

You’ll never go wrong with beige, my dear!

So we toddled along, making do with Italians and Jews, maybe the odd Polish Catholic if you were really desperate, as the targets on which to discharge our Anglo-Saxon bile and make them be the cause of things, rather than the cause being our obnoxious self-regard and personal manifest destiny.

And then of course came—the sixties! No sooner had my two sisters frosted their lips, raised their hemlines and learned to Twist when it was dead Kennedys, Lyndon Johnson and civil rights; race riots, Detroit and Chicago and Berkeley on fire; MLK Jr, Rosa Parks, and marches on Selma, summers of love, hippies and yippies.

Suddenly my mother and all the other white people were up till all hours processing the dusky Europeans into “white,” and bringing their focus to bear on figuring out what to do about these really non-white, unmistakably non-white, black people who’d suddenly found a voice.

Or was it that we hadn’t listened before?

No one listens to the voices of the oppressed (not hearing is the point of the oppression, after all) until the house is burning down; and what we finally heard was: “So we’ll burn the friggin house down, have it your way!”

This succeeded, finally, in getting someone’s attention.

Black people rioted in American cities, where the racism was more overt, the attitudes harder, the privilege somehow more entrenched. Canada, after all, had begun a gradual process of abolition in 1793, and in 1834 a British Act of Parliament abolished slavery throughout the Empire. Upper Canada became a destination for an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 refugee slaves via the Underground Railroad.

Forty thousand! Where were they? We’d literally, in Whitby, Ontario, never seen a black person live. This cannot be true, I rifle through my brain’s Rolodex for any memories, yet as far as I can tell I grew up in a small town in which I swear no black people lived. I remember no black shopkeepers, or teachers, or playmates.

They existed only on American TV and in American cities; in the pages of my Rand-McNally Children’s Encyclopedia, god help me, where they were called “Negroes,” (the new N-word) and where it was suggested that they were “good at sports and as entertainers, even scientists!”

Well, pick that cotton to a chorus of “Mammy” and stick a jockey on the front lawn, who knew!

In fact, my parents, who were your average, decent, nominally Christian, basically educated but unsophisticated small-town white people, didn’t really say anything I can remember that was bad about black people. I expect the whole concept was so fantastically alien it eclipsed any concept of ethnic, leaving them at a loss for words.

Still, there was that seventy-year head start with abolition; and that more liberal attitude, taking pride in its ornery non-American-ness. (It’s that unmistakable Canadian air of quiet, bemused Loyalist superiority, drawing on the enlightened authority of the Crown, that still drives some Americans bonkers.)

And so we went back to our living rooms to watch Judy Garland singing “Swanee,” her face loaded with more boot-polish than the entire U.S. infantry, breathing a sigh of relief.

We’d deal with black people when we had to. The possibility of black neighbors was not something we worried about, mainly because it seemed so unlikely.

Unless, of course, some black sportsmen, or entertainers, or even scientists, found the charms of Whitby, Ontario—with its leafy park, the annual itinerant carnival, the Carnegie Library, year-round Christmas lights and the orange-cellophaned windows of Whitby Mall—irresistible.


Thinking more about my mom, which reassures me that she’s still dead, I am reminded yet again about Trump’s comments that “the Squad” should “go back to their own countries.”

My mom did the same thing with sofas. This is a direct analogy. She would invite a sofa into our home — say, in coral silk or blue brocade—cover it in heavy plastic and, for a while, the two would co-exist happily.

This was “the honeymoon.”

Then, of course, as in any relationship, the sofa would begin to get ideas. One morning we’d discover that the sofa had thrown off its plastic cover in the night, or popped a button, or it would deliberately heat up when you sat on it, so you’d be sitting in an embarrassing puddle of sweat. The valance on the bottom of the sofa would begin to fray. The interloper was restless.

My mother would not stand for any show of sofa independence. Sofas had to know their function: to please her, to be a source of comfort, and above all to fit on her charge card and exact the high interest rates that would keep her relationship with the Robert Simpson Company well-oiled and meaningful and my father permanently on the road earning too little money (but not too little to get hammered).

The day came that she would no longer be speaking to the sofa. This was the contempt period, following, like a case of crab lice follows hooker sex, the last gasp of the honeymoon and the nano-second period of contentment; for my mother was a consuming soul as restless as the westward wind, that wayward wind that’s sure to wander.

I don’t know if my mother ever told a sofa, “Go back where you came from.” But soon after the contempt came the delivery men, rolling their eyes, for this ritual was repeated once, twice, three times per year. My mother would get an apology, a full refund and a new sofa, this one more compliant, less uppity, than the one before.

You just have to be absolutely clear who’s boss.


Conservatives, most current among them Donald Trump, the Great Mouth Breather, have finally done it. They’ve finished the work that Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher and the two Bushes started, not to mention de facto conservatives like Bill Clinton.

They’ve ruined the world, broken the social contract, turned everyone against the people who should be their allies, namely all the other people, and made division, fueled by racism, an agenda.

Democracy is gone, busted, kaput. In its place partisanship, entrenchment of power, as those we elect refuse all compromise and game the system through gerrymandering and judicial appointments, to ensure their ideology gets woven so tightly into the fabric that plucking our own eyes out would be easier than unweaving it.

For democracy to exist, we all have to agree on some basic principles: we have to realize that democracy is never simply about what the majority wants but how we treat minorities. Democracy is primarily about human rights, increasing our understanding of and extending the reach of equality, justice and dignity, and we have to agree what this means.

Liberalism is incremental, contextual, progressing slowly as we learn. It’s not black and white, revolutionary or impatient. It’s not about throwing out everything we have, it’s improving what works and evolving what doesn’t.

This is why the French Revolution ended in a bloodbath; and why Britain, watching the events in France to remind themselves how not to do things, continued with its plodding, slow increments of common law and of equity, a gradual, extremely imperfect, organic growth. Boring old liberalism may drag its feet but it leaves more heads attached to necks.

We need to agree that government is not a business, that leaders of our countries should not be accountants, but visionaries who respond to our beliefs and who work not for themselves but for the public good.

We have to agree that health care and hospitals, housing, a single system of public schools and secondary schools and universities from which emerge educated citizens whose eventual contributions enrich society; water, power, food; day care for our children whom we claim to cherish, that these things must be universally available, not delivered privately for the wealthy and publicly for everyone else. We have to agree that there can be no first-class and second-class citizens.

We have to agree that there is a level below which we will not let people sink, and then we have to discuss how we will help them if they do. This is not pure altruism but an investment in a robust, stable society over the long term.

Extremes of wealth inequality stop democracy from functioning: If your life consists of a struggle to house, clothe and feed yourself and your family, there is no time or energy or will to participate as a functioning member of the body politic. In this sense, democracy is a luxury item.

If you can’t afford access to professional journalism and get your “news” from Facebook and other dubious websites pushing their agendas rather than seeking truth, you are a sitting duck for disinformation and will soon end up in a bubble of lies, half-lies, fake “experts” and conspiracy theories.

Soon you are denying reality and clinging to your alternative facts in order to “belong ;” soon you trust no information source except those that espouse the same crazy beliefs; and what you believe is what your fellow bubble-dwellers believe.

But for democracy to function, even to know where we disagree, we have to agree on the truth and know where we have a reasonable chance of finding it. This agreement will probably not contain such ideas as “the poor are lazy,” “winners and losers,” and “the market will solve everything.”

Do we have this consensus? We used to. But then the right initiated their project of turning informed, educated, rational adults into misinformed, confused, panic-stricken children. What was once a salon for the airing of intelligent thought has been transformed into a giant playground full of whimpering, reactive, traumatized liberals whose balloons have been popped by the snarky, emboldened bully conservatives as they scream “Snowflakes!” “Libtards!” “SJW’s!”

And we liberals, believe it or not, actually mind these epithets and waste our time responding to them. Instead we could be sparking the imagination of voters with a compelling narrative of a better society: one in which everyone is valued and in which we recognize the principle of equality while respecting diversity. Our failure to do so more or less tells me that conservatives have a point about the snowflake thing, which I would have twisted myself into a pretzel to avoid admitting.

What do voters want, now that they are reduced to whimpering, confused, angry, ill-educated, misinformed children? A big, blustering father figure who’ll tell them everything’s going to be all right.

You’re the best, he’ll say. I’ll take care of those bullies. Don’t bother trying to figure this out. It’s just the xtreme lefties, criminals, Antifa, illegals. And you’ve got me, now.

He’ll say: I’m the only one who can fix this for you.


We had just started cooking pad Thai and buying hand-woven rugs at Pier One to show how cosmopolitan we were about the ethnics when Reagan and Thatcher and Bush started to cast their evil spell. They convinced us that prosperity was scarce, places at the table limited and a comfortable life that wouldn’t involve scraping by as best you could available only to those rat-like and ruthless enough to win the race.

They didn’t have to remind us that where there are winners there are losers; we figured that out for ourselves. We saw what it meant to be a loser: to live on the street, go hungry in the midst of plenty, to have no support, to be nothing.

The newly empowered right proved their point by de-funding social programs until they didn’t work, then telling us that incompetent government and “the nanny state” were the enemy; by preying on Protestant guilt and telling us the poor were poor by choice, that they were lazy.

Meanwhile the one percent lounged in their country clubs wearing Prada sneakers and drinking rum that someone once traded for slaves, while their nannies looked after the kids.

They made the effort to lift everyone up, the effort to reconnect the human family, into an evil. By hammering us with the misused words communism and socialism—we were uneducated, remember? and had no choice but to believe them, no intellectual ammunition against the lies—they planted in our poor heuristically-vulnerable brains the false idea that to offer universal government-delivered health care was akin to denouncing your family to Stalin and sending them to the gulag.

By hammering us with the words rapists and terrorists and invasion and illegals they reanimated the slimy residue of racism that we still contained so that our lizard brains quivered with atavistic fears. In that state we had no hope of processing the truth: that we were being manipulated, that there were rapists and terrorists and invaders, for sure, but they were the people we elected—and quite a number of corporate CEO’s whom we didn’t.

There is no scarcity of money or of prosperity. There are funds for healthcare. There are funds for housing and feeding and guaranteeing an income to every person in North America. A government that mints its own money can never default on its own debt. A state in the red is a public in the black. Interest is virtually zero. Every yacht and penthouse that the one percent could possibly want has been sold; they don’t even know what to do with their idle money except produce more money. The world is awash with money.

What’s scarce is truth.

There are Facebook groups dedicated to debunking the myth that the world is round. This is how lost we’ve become. This is our level of panic. This is our successful reduction to partisan, truth-free zombies. Our brains are wiped clean of fact, there is no information source we trust, we’re ready, empty and malleable.

If you are so adrift that you can’t figure out who is trustworthy, if you have so lost your bearings that you can believe the world is flat, the moon landing was faked, and there are extra-terrestrials wandering among us but the government’s not letting on, it’s a piece of cake to make you believe your unsafe streets or unemployment are caused by liberals, homos, feminists—or a few thousand refugees seeking asylum.

A day will come when the drones fly overhead, the levees collapse and the oceans engulf the coasts with mile-high waves; when deserts crack open like desiccated skin and the fires ignite. We’ll experience these together.

This, finally, will be the truth we can all agree upon, as together we all become refugees with no safe haven.


My mother, like most people, softened and changed once we’d moved to the city and met black people; homosexuals, including me; Asian people and hookers and hucksters and other exotic types. Because you learn tolerance, then acceptance, then truth, by being forced by life to rub elbows with, work with, live with the full spectrum of humanity.

This is what makes cities the roiling, bustling, all-in-this-together final liberal hope for human survival,

and towns, those hard, conservative kernels of smug self-satisfaction and hatred, its certain extinction.

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