A July 4th Manifesto: In Praise Of Liberal Rage

by Shelton Bumgarner

A sentiment I see an enormous amount of on Twitter is people tusk-tusking liberals who are these days in a near-constant state of panic mixed which what can only be described as rage. Conservatives — even many of them of who purport to be NeverTrumpers — tell me to focus on policy and to get over my Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Well, in all honesty, in the spirit of the 4th of July and the Founding Fathers — fuck those guys.

People who clutch their pearls over the liberal rage generated by Trump and his policies believe that only by meekly accepting Trump’s insane behavior and focusing on policy will we win elections. We’re supposed to let Trump lie. We’re supposed to let Trump run roughshod over Constitutional norms. We’re, in fact, supposed to let Trump do whatever the fuck he wants as long as it helps us with about 2% of the electorate who are swing voters and who are still somehow magically undecided about the dark turn the nation has abruptly taken.

Let me suggest, however, that things are so dire that we need to embrace the dark side, as it were, and let our liberal rage envelop us. The 2018 mid-terms will be about getting out the vote, about mobilizing the base. So while Conservatives are gleefully smacking their political lips at what they feel is our impeding doom caused by our outrage, I see this as an opportunity to finally fight back in a constructive manner.

I can not express properly in real terms how misguided, patronizing and condescending the Right’s constant critique of the Left’s outrage over Trump feels to me. The very thing that could really drive The Resistance into electorate success — the sheer power of the liberal base being apoplectic over Trump’s policies, the Right sees as a flaw that has to be fixed as quickly as possible.

But I feel that only by embracing our rage against Trump and using it as an engine to power activism on the part of the Left can anything change. I’m not saying there won’t be problems caused by this. Plenty of moderates might be turned off by some of the ideological froth this might cause, but at the same time plenty of people who might simply shrug at Trump’s policies might see the light if we can funnel our rage into something constructive.

The Left attacking Trump with clear eyed counter-policies, while making making members of the Right’s intelligentsia happy, would make the base of The Resistance feel disenfranchised. Trump is currently a weird mixture of an American Caligula mixed with a would-be tinpot Hitler and he thrives on the confusion his constant barrage of Twitter mindfucking generates. To say I should focus solely on dry policy matters in the midst of this enormous Constitutional crisis is rather intellectually dishonest in my opinion.

I propose we focus on curating the rage of the base. It’s not like it’s going anywhere, no matter how many NeverTrumpers tell me it should be forced to abate. If we tell people who are astonished at the sheer insanity and outrageous behavior on the part of the Trump Administration that it’s ok to be filled with political rage, then that’s the first step towards regaining power at the polls. It’s not like the Right’s base, which has been hysterical for decades now, is going to let up their rapacious attacks on the Left simply because we decide to play nice.

No, I say instead of rolling over and letting the Right continue to drive the United States into a ditch, that we wrestle the wheel away from them with all our might. I’m not in any way advocating violence. Far from it. But I am advocating the center-Left quit even trying to put up the facade that it would be in the best interests of the cause if everyone would just cool it and worry about dry policy matters.

All Trump does is stir up his base. Literally, that’s all he does. He braces the worst instincts of his base to a surreal extent, which, in turn, riles up the base of the center-Left because we look at each other in amazement that the MSM is so busy trying to be fair an objective that they are unable or unwilling to call out Trump’s lies.

So, let your freak flag fly. Embrace your inner Howard Beal. If you are mad as hell and you’re not going to take it anymore, then do something about it. Becomes engaged in the political process on a personal level. Stop trying to convince your MAGA Facebook friends of the error of their ways. Fuck those guys.

It’s not like the American Founding Fathers were cool with the abuses of King George III. If they finally had enough and decided to do something about it, maybe the center-Left should too. We need to scare the living bejeebus out of the Establishment in Washington and the only way we can do that is at the polls. If we’ve learned anything from the recent events involving immigrant children being torn from their families, the only guard rails the Trump Administration currently is willing to acknowledge is popular outrage.

That’s all we got. Thus, instead of calming down, let’s rock.

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He can be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.

2,800 Immigrant Children Are Lost In The System…Now What? #Resist

by Shelton Bumgarner

Don’t be fooled by the supposed good news that all the children with Border Patrol are now reunited with their parents. It will be way too easy for the Trump Administration to spin this as the resolution of the problem.

The facts are far more distressing than the above might suggest. There are, in fact, apparently about 2,800 children who have been turned over to the Department of Health & Human Services who are….missing. We don’t know where they are and it’s going to be excruciatingly difficult to bring them back together with their parents.

This is a national shame and it appears as though it’s going to drag on and on and on for sometime simply because the system isn’t prepared to solve this problem anytime soon. So this crisis is much more of a marathon than a sprint. It could take months for all of this to get straightened out and unfortunately it’s going to be difficult to maintain the public pressure on the Trump Administration needed to convey the urgency this problem requires.

So, honestly, I’m at a loss. I don’t know how this all gets wrapped up. It’s a pretty perplexing conundrum. Either this gains traction enough that Trump feels finally forced to be a lot more proactive about this, or the fate of about 2,800 children will simply fade into oblivion down the memory hole along with all the other scandals Trump has managed to stir up.

I wish I knew the answer to all of this. I really do.

The Inherent Racism & Bigotry Of Magaism. #Resist

by Shelton Bumgarner

It’s sad, but true: fascism has come to the United States. It’s a particularly insidious, creeping version of it, but it’s here nonetheless. And there is no respite to be seen in the foreseeable future. This is it, folks, and it’s only going to get worse — far worse.

There’s just no scenario I can think of where this doesn’t get a lot worse before it gets better. Trump is a master at media manipulation and because of Constitutional rot, its pretty clear that at best we can expect a draw in the 2018 Congressional mid-terms and there’s just not going to be what we hope anytime soon: some sort of end to all of this.

This is a marathon, not a sprint, in other words.

What I mean by that is we have to triage the different urgent problems the Trump Administration has concocted. Right now, I would suggest the fate of the roughly 2,000 immigrant children taken from their families is of utmost importance. But that’s simply because of the young lives at stake. There are so many other horrible things taking place, that we need to focus on. We need to accept that the American Republic is in grave danger that that Magaism is to blame.

It goes without saying that Magaism, which I’ve begun to equate with Nazism, is misogyny, racism and bigotry. But let’s address, for the moment, the parts that are directly connected to the “Prosecution Imitative” that lead to the forcible separation of undocumented children from their families.

I speak, of course, of the racism and bigotry. The reason why this is so significant is it’s the only way to explain why Magaists are so ardent in their determination to essentially discredit the very idea that removing children from their parents at the border is an issue at all.

The frightening thing about all of this is Magaist honestly are so wrapped up in “securing the border” or the fact that the imagine of the child on the cover of Time Magazine wasn’t exactly what it purported to be that they can’t take time to feel any basic human empathy or compassion for the children involved.

It’s a chilling thing all around. If that doesn’t evoke some mental connection to Nazi Germany, I don’t honestly know what will. I find it difficult to wrap my mind around the thought processes of someone who hears the cries for help of young children on the border and isn’t moved. That they rhetorically bob and weave, and would rather quibble about the broader border problem or this or that thing Obama may have done in the past.

How we got to this point is rather curious. That on an ideological level Magaists and their collaborators would simply see brown people coming across the border as an issue of “securing borders” as opposed to something you would try to find as compassionate a way as possible to solve is a real perplexing issue for me on the face of it.

Throw into the mix systemic Constitutional rot caused by perfect storm of economics, politics, demographics and general fucked-up-ed-ness and it’s clear all of this could have been predicted. And, as I understand it, it was by at least one sociologist. Trump and Maga was inevitable, it’s just we’re stuck with the specific quirks of Trump’s own-the-moment style. Trump doesn’t have any ideology to speak of, which leads me to worry that it won’t be Trump that’s our final jump into the boiling waters of American fascism, but his immediate successor.

Trump is just to unfocused and incompetent, I feel, to get the job done. But someone smarter and younger but equally charismatic, could definitely get the job done. Really, the only thing stopping this nightmare scenario from happening is whatever American spirit that might exist that makes my nation unique among those of the world. I used to believe in American exceptionalism, but that faith is being sorely tested.

I would like to believe that the darkest timeline won’t be fully realized and we’ll finally pull out of our decent into actual fascism, but I’m not so sure anymore. There’s a good chance this time the bad guys really will win and there’s not much we can do about it.

We might scream at the top of our lungs every chance we get, but because of reverse polarization, the case could be made that that only helps the opposition. All of this is difficult for me to process without getting really, really angry. But anyway, all I can say at this point is, like, keep the faith or something.

We’ll need it.

V-Log: ‘The Picture’ — I’m Furious About Trump’s Dumb Attack On Time Magazine

by Shelton Bumgarner

I know no one ever watched v-logs, but this one is worth your time. It’s not even really a v-log, more of a live stream rant.

In Trump’s Fourth Reich, Silence Now Equals Collaboration #KeepFamiliesTogether

by Shelton Bumgarner

Now that the pot is boiling, now that we’re confronted with the decision of if we are willing to tolerate immigrant children being torn from their families, we have to face the cold hard fact that silence on MAGA no longer equals complicit approval, it equal active collaboration.

I say this only because as few notable people who have otherwise been complacent about MAGA abuses have begun to speak up about this latest outrage, that core 44% of the electorate continues to adore Trump often times is just silent when confronted. They simply refuse to answer any question, express any opinion.

To me, that goes beyond being simply complicit, that’s collaboration. You are actively doing something — you are actively saying that you refuse to go on the record with any opinion. Your desire to follow Trump with a cult-like fervor is equal to your unwillingness to agree that on this specific issue, at least, Trump is wrong. You are actively — through your silence — giving aid and comfort to a monster.

If that doesn’t make YOU a monster, I don’t what does. To say you “don’t really follow politics anymore” and then turn around and blindly vote for MAGA politicians is an answer if ever there was one. If you had a soul, if you had a conscience you wouldn’t see children torn away from their families as some sort of weird political pawn to get your damn wall. You’d see them for what they are: scared children.

Given how fickle Trump is, he could very well read the tea leaves and tweet out a change in policy today or this week. Or he could see that as a no win for him relative to his base. He might see this as a perfect opportunity to stand his ground and hope for this all to blow over. In real terms, he has until November to make a decision. As long as he changes the decision by, say, mid-October the political costs of changing a policy so popular with the base are simply too high.

Therefore, it’s very possible we’re in for a pitched battle. One one side, there will be Trump and MAGA using the Big Lie while throwing out any number of other distractions and on the other side, you have everyone else who either get mad and stay mad or finally capitulate.

All I can suggest is if someone you know and love who is a known Trump/MAGA person, when they give you silence, keep at it. Don’t accept their silence this time. Press them on what their opinion is. Get them on the record one way or another. This could very well be pretty painful for all involved.

But the greater good is involved here. If enough people make Trump/MAGA people have to not only defend their position but think carefully about why they believe what believe. I’m not saying it will make that much of a different to you personally, but on a macro level there’s a chance we might whittle down that 44% of the electorate a little bit.

This is serious. This is really serious. We need to start acting like it.

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. You may reach him at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.

Release The Kraken Of Popular Outrage. We’ll Need It #KeepFamiliesTogether

by Shelton Bumgarner

Very rarely is the Kraken of American civil outrage unleased. In general, it just doesn’t happen. Americans temperament is pretty even-keel and we generally are too busy raising our kids, drinking beer and watching sports to care about politics. In fact, in real terms even Vietnam wasn’t the Kraken as I imagine it. The anti-war movement was extremely divisive and was pretty much done by young men who objected to what they felt was an unnecessary and unjust war in Southeast Asia.

In fact, I would go so far as to say in modern American political history the actual Kraken has been more felt in the abstract that seen. So, what I’m saying, I guess, is we need the Kraken to pop up. We need something like what happened in South Korea where there was something akin to a “People’s Impeachment” of the president.

So, when it comes to the forced, obscene separation of immigrate children at the border seeking asylum, it’s not hyperbole to say if the United States wants to continue as it has for the last few hundred years, something extraordinary in the face of this dire situation has to happen immediately.

I say this because if you combine 44% of the population having a first reaction to all of this of evoking Romans 13 or blaming the victim with the complete Vichy nature of Congressional Republicans, you have a serious fucking problem on your hands. In effect, Trump is now a dictator by default.

If we can’t get people on the streets now, if we can’t get people calling their Senator and Representative today and every day until this cruel policy is revoked, then we lurch towards a dark and unknown future. I don’t feel I’m over reacting. There’s a real chance that Trump will batten down the hatches and go in for a pitched battle on this one. And he might very well win.

I don’t know what to tell you folks. If we can’t awaken the Kraken on this one, what’s the point of having it available at all?

The Pot Is Boiling. Now What. #KeepFamiliesTogether

by Shelton Bumgarner

The long predicted moment of truth is now at hand. We’ve been outraged over this or that Trump policy over the last year or so, but this is it. If we can’t get Trump to end the brutal, obscene policy of tearing children from their families at the border, then all is lost.

The scary thing is, I honestly don’t know what the endgame of this one is. Even if we manage to stop this policy, it could be the Trump Administration testing the weaknesses of the existing American system of government. If it’s not this, it’ll be something else. But this is a pretty intense crisis. You can give us any number of different options about how to address this specific crisis, but something has to be done.

We are with a potentially dark and unknown endgame because MAGA people’s first reaction to explaining what’s going on is now a sense of compassion or even outrage. It’s the usual bullshit rhetorical shadowboxing at best and at worst complete silence. We’re fast approaching the moment when silence is your answer. If you’re so much of a proverbial Good German that when forced to make a simple ethical decision about the fate of children, for Christ’s sake, your first reaction is to defend Trump not show concern, then the United States as I’ve known it my entire life is in grave danger indeed.

In other words, the pot is now boiling. Traditional freedom-loving Americans are the frog and it’s boiling. Either we finally notice the heat surrounding us and jump out, or we don’t and we are done for. I wish I could give you some quick and easy fix on this matter, but given that this is a policy not a law, one that could easily be ended by Trump, there’s a real chance the bad guys will win this one and we’ll lurch towards an American “Fourth Reich” if you will.

Trumplandia is what I’ve been calling it, but Fourth Reich is a more accurate description of what’s going on. If Trump ignores — or worse attacks her on Twitter — Laura Bush after her admonishment in the Washington Post, there’s a good chance that given how fucked up the system is right now that this is the moment when the United States formally slips into a new era. If we can’t get Trump to finally, finally have some sense of shame on this matter and the entire system simply waits for us to grow tired of this outrage, then I don’t know what to say.

The next few days will be telling. If Trump hunkers down for a pitched battle on this issue out of personal pique then I honestly don’t know what is going to happen. He has so much power over the Republican Party at this point — and they effectively control the entire government — that in real terms there’s nothing that distinguishes him from dictator or at least an authoritarian ruler like Russia’s Putin.

If Trump wins, if he does manage to found Trumplandia or the Fourth Reich, or whatever you wish to call it, the next steps could be pretty historically startling. It wouldn’t take too much for Trump to pick up the notion of a new Constitutional Convention as a pet project. Under the guise of passing a balanced budget amendment, this new Constitutional Convention could pass something akin to the Nazis Enabling Acts.

Basic freedoms American have come to take for granted such as freedom of speech, will be thrown to the wayside in an unprecedented manner do to systemic apathy on the part of the American people, if nothing else. We’ll wake up and our worse nightmares of what life under Trump might be will be realized and it will be, very much, too late. This doesn’t even begin to address the long-term damage to civil liberties inflicted upon us in a more subtle manner by the numerous young, insanely conservative judges the Trump Administration is cramming on to the Federal bench. ‘

I wish I could tell you everything is going to be ok, that I’m just being a drama queen and things are going to snap back into place after Trump leaves office, for whatever reason. But I simply can’t give you those assurances. If we as the governed can’t summon up the energy to show our displeasure on this separation policy immediately not only has the pot begun to boil, we’ve resigned ourselves to our inevitable fate.

Shelton Bumgarner is a writer and photographer living in Richmond, Va. He may be reached at migukin (at) gmail (dot) com.

I Believe The Trump Pee-Pee Tape Is Real

By Shelton Bumgarner

I think it’s pretty obvious that the Trump pee-pee tape is real. It’s got to be. How else do you explain Trumps surreal softness on the Russians? The huge question, of course, is he willful in his traitorous behavior or is he just an idiot? That’s a question we may never know.

Another question is, will we ever get to see the pee-pee tape. I doubt it. It would make no sense for the Russians to release it when they can simply uses its release against Trump as long as he’s in office. Anyway, the below videos are really interesting and I suggest you watch them. They go into a lot of detail about all of this and its implications.

V-Log: Why Aren’t We Talking About Barbara Moore & Donald Trump?

by Shelton Bumgarner

I know that we’re all too concerned about Sean Hannity to talk about Barbara Moore, but the story is salacious enough to be news at least for a few hours. At least, in my opinion. But we’ll see. Below is me talking a little bit about it.

Of Hope In The Trump Era #Resist

by Shelton Bumgarner

It is easy in this sad period in our nation’s history to assume the worst will happen in regards to the Trump Administration. And, yet, for some reason I am beginning to have an inkling of hope in this otherwise strange, surreal moment in our nation’s history.

I say this because I have found myself in the last few days pausing to soaking up the extraordinary situation we have found ourselves in. I find myself thinking that we’re living through an epic historic moment the likes of which we’ve not seen since at least Watergate.

Or, to put another way, I’m beginning to get a grasp of the ultimate endgame when it comes to this enormous clusterfuck that Trump has managed to bring upon us. I feel like the institution that have kept America the open, constitutional democratic republic that we all love.

This is not to say that things aren’t going to get bumpy or that there won’t be some serious consequences to all of this. I guess if you look back at Watergate 45 years later, you could say the same thing. But the republic survived, even if the whole thing left us a little bit banged up. Some of the things that Trump will change about the republic would have happened regardless of who happened to be the Republican president in office. Any Republican President would cram the Federal bench with completely bonkers, surreal, young Right-wing nut jobs with an agenda. That was going to happen, no matter what.

This, of course, works on the assumption that Hillary Clinton was going to lose. In hindsight, she was obviously such a bad candidate that she was bound to lose to any Republican that happened to be her opponent in 2016.

In fact, one could suggest that given how grossly incompetent Trump is as well as his complete lack of any set ideology, we’re actually better off in some ways than we would be had, say, Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio become president. The real danger of Trump is his complete disregard for the democratic norms that we have come to enjoy over the last 240 odd years.

The question is what, if anything, will be the consequence of that.

That is a very deep question. It could go either way. Trump could so screw with our norms that we may go past the point of no return, or things may snap back into place. I am of the opinion that things will snap back into place. That’s where my hope comes from.

We survived a civil war that was a far greater attack on the republic. That’s not to say this isn’t a surreal moment in our nation’s history, one that won’t have a lot of damage on us going forward. But I just believe in my heart that though I seriously doubt Trump will be convicted if he ever happens to be impeached, I still have the hope if nothing else Trump will peacefully leave office as is required in either 2021 or 2025.

But I guess we’ll see.

We’re now entering a new phase of this crisis. We’re leaving the issue of law and now we’re entering something significantly more basic and that’s the social contract. Are we, as a nation, as a populace willing to allow Trump to trample basic civil norms.

Even more unnerving is even if we do try to pressure the government it’s possible that nothing will happen. And that’s a real chance that such a thing will happen. There’s a real chance whatever consequences are, we may have to wait nearly a decade for us to figure out how to deal with them. There’s a real chance that Trump will not only survive, but prosper.

But you could very well have said the same thing about Nixon in late 1973. So, I have hope. I have some sense of hope that maybe we’ll bounce back from this horrible moment in our nations history.