Cognitive Dissonance minimization or why I’m fighting

In a previous thread, a troll was FIRST!! with the advice to “Just quit, we lost this fight in November”

I reject that.

We aren’t going to win often but we get to choose how to lose. We can roll over without trying to defend our values and our morals or we can fight as hard as we can to either get a policy win or inflict significant political costs on Republicans to increase the probability of future policy wins by either putting the fear of losing their seats into them which constrains future opportunity space or flipping those seats in 2018.

More subtly, we tell stories to ourselves. I want those stories that I tell to myself about me to be true. Defending and improving the ACA is one of those stories that I tell myself. The ACA benefits 2009 me far more than it benefits the 2017 me. It is a gut check. Am I full of shit or do I actually believe in what I think I believe in.

Let me digress for a moment.

Several years ago, I was with my two kids at the mall on a February night. My two year old son was sliding down the play area slide and my five year old daughter was jumping off a foam rubber trolley. I was watching them have fun and burn off some winter time energy. I figured in another ten or fifteen minutes, we would go home and get them ready for bed. It was a slow night of boring normality of fatherhood.

And then “pop, pop, pop…”

My first thought was “gun” second was “where’s my son” as my daughter was tugging on my arm to show me something. He was half way down the slide, I took a step forward and grabbed him. My third thought was “trample zone”. I pushed my daughter to the side out of a trample zone and threw both kids down and then covered them with my body. My fourth thought was “If no more, we stay here, if more shots we run as it could be a spree shooter”

“Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop” We ran. I ran a world class sprint with two kids stuffed under my arms until we could hide in the storage room at the Claire’s for an hour and a half.

The story I had told myself before that night is that I was a good dad. I would always protect my kids. I had a gut check moment and my story matched my reality. The kids got ice cream, my daughter probably had a stress reaction, and once they were in bed, I had several fingers of very good Scotch and posted an otter video to go to a happy place.

This is a moment of realization. Are we who we believe we are or are our professed values full of shit?

I would like to believe that I am who I believe myself to be and therefore I seek ways to protect the 2009 version of me and many like him.

75 replies
  1. 1
    Tim C. says:

    So say we all.

  2. 2
    TenguPhule says:

    We aren’t going to win often but we get to choose how to lose.

    Is this the modern version of come back with your shield or on it?

  3. 3
    mai naem mobile says:

    McCarthy(what an appropriate name) says they have the votes. I will never vote for a Republican. Ever.

  4. 4
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @mai naem mobile: Probably lying. If they had 216 they would be more confident.

    I am pretty sure they said they had the votes last time, too. But you know what? They can go ahead and walk that plank. Vote for a bill that defunds Planned Parenthood, explodes the deficit, takes away healthcare from EVEN more people, and watch Yertle Turtle burn that pile of garbage of a bill he knows has no shot in the Senate and laugh at ZEGS and Orange Shitgibbon.

  5. 5
    ruemara says:

    I’m black. I’m female. I have chronic health issues. I’m single, barely connected to family or friends. I don’t get to give up. If you’re tired, you try being this way. We don’t have the luxury of stopping. I fight so someday, someone else won’t have to keep swinging at all the things.

  6. 6
    hitchhiker says:

    I’m actually afraid.

    That they would go forward with this madness means they’re really not functional as adults, much less as lawmakers. We’re in trouble.

    And David, thank you for that story. I would have adrenaline poisoning for days.

  7. 7
    clay says:

    @PsiFighter37: Let’s hope. Josh Marshall thinks that if they got to 216, they’d vote immediately. That seems reasonable. So this could be a bluff. But good God, these people are twisted.

  8. 8
    Lapassionara says:

    Thank you for the poignant reminder of why we fight and what we are fighting for.

  9. 9
    JMG says:

    Somehow, someway, they may get the votes. But the harder they have to work, and more shit we stir, the harder it gets for the next steps, and there are many steps left.

  10. 10
    dmsilev says:

    @mai naem mobile: They said they had the votes in March as well, up until they cancelled the vote an hour prior.

  11. 11
    laura says:

    Your post is sobering.
    Just quit is UNACCEPTABLE. This is the only life each of us has to live. It is short. It is precious. If life is to have meaning, and if the sum of our life includes what we did, how we act, the agreement we make with the self, then ‘just quit’ is not an option.

    History is rife with the difficulties we create or find ourselves facing and history can be a guidepost.
    Just a few generations ago, Americans faced a great depression and found a way foward in the New Deal, facism arose and was both accommodated and challenged. America’s foundation of chattel slavery has never been forthrightly addressed and reconciled or remedied.
    All of these challenges and more have occurred and will reoccur and the task at hand is to face it, and act in a manner that will be the measure of the self.
    Till my final breath, I will act in a forthright manner. Otherwise, how do you look in the mirror, face your self and hope not to see the face of regret?

  12. 12
    Cacti says:

    My niece has been type I diabetic since age 3. Without insulin management and blood sugar monitoring, she dies.

    Unlike the “godly” Mike Huckabee, I tend not to think of her as a house that already burned down.

  13. 13
    debbie says:

    Between power and internet outages yesterday, I didn’t get to hear the full story on Trump’s badmouthing the Democrats about their behavior on the budget. Were they in fact boasting as he said they were? My fear is that Trump’s fury (and any ensuing arm twisting) is what has resulted in the changed minds for the AHCA.

  14. 14
    mai naem mobile says:

    @PsiFighter37: True. They did say they would have he vote tonight or tomorrow and there’s no reason not to have the vote tonight. Moreso to bury the Comey story.

  15. 15
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @clay: yeah, this person writes for the “Independent Journal Review”, which I think is a pretty R-friendly outfit, and her twitter bio describes her as a “Christ follower”, so probably not a liberal shill

    Haley Byrd @ byrdinator
    I’m, uh, a little skeptical they have the votes for this thing. astounding this vote is happening tomorrow. But who knows anything anymore

    her last point is the most cromulent, but IIRC, Boehner, who was better at this than Ryan and didn’t have to deal with trump or actual consequences, had to stop more than one announced vote to save face.

  16. 16
    laura says:

    @laura: I may need a day off to hide under the blanket now and again, but then, back in the saddle.

  17. 17
    debbie says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    It has to happen tomorrow. They don’t want to go on recess (again!) and face those angry mobs. Idiots. They’re going to get angry mobs either way.

  18. 18
    ArchTeryx says:

    Just as a reminder, its 2017 me whose life is at stake. This bill passes my choices are to find another country to take me or die, and the clock starts ticking as soon as this abomination gets Trumps signature.

    Maybe my one note wore out its welcome and I am just another troll now, but dammit, I don’t want to be a martyr. Not unless I can take some of them with me.

  19. 19
    Chris says:


    I am not saying we’ve lost, but don’t say it has no shot in the Senate. At the very least, a somewhat watered down but still horrifying version of this still has a perfectly good shot of being past, which would be less cartoonish but still destroy tens of thousands of lives.

  20. 20
    pluky says:

    @TenguPhule: damn straight.

  21. 21
    ArchTeryx says:

    @PsiFighter37: I wouldn’t count on that. McConnell wants what Trump wants and is far more competent then Ryan at counting noses. The only hope is that he has a LOT fewer votes he can lose.

  22. 22
    JPL says:

    @ArchTeryx: We’ll do our best. Do you live in New York? The reason I ask is that their state program might support you until 2018, when we drive the assholes out of office.

  23. 23
    Quinerly says:

    Should I ship Poco to you to hide with you? I believe you are his biggest fan. 💚 I’ve upset him in the last 15 minutes screaming at the tv.

  24. 24
    ArchTeryx says:

    @JPL: I do live in NY but neither Cuomo nor the lege will commit to expanded Medicaid if the federal funds are withdrawn. I count on nothing.

  25. 25
  26. 26
    randy khan says:

    The NY Times still has 33 uncommitted Republicans. They’re still vulnerable to pressure. Call, call, call.

    The list

  27. 27
    Ohio Mom says:

    @ArchTeryx: We are all still pulling for you, although I admit that sometimes I get distracted by my own family’s health issues ; )

  28. 28
    randy khan says:


    I think of you as an important reminder of why this matters. You’ve helped to motivate me.

  29. 29
  30. 30
    JPL says:

    @ArchTeryx: shit.. I don’t have a rep, but plan to vote for Ossoff. Chris Hayes on his twitter feed asked if Handel backs this bill. She did back the earlier version, but touts her support of mammograms. What good are mammograms if you can’t treat the cancer.. . f..k

  31. 31
    ArchTeryx says:

    @Ohio Mom: You’re on the boat with me. You got your own worries.

  32. 32
    gbbalto says:

    @ArchTeryx: You are more than one note but i think we all understand and appreciate your primary note just now. We are pulling for you and all the rest, and hoping for a decent resolution.

  33. 33
    Ohio Mom says:

    @randy khan: I don’t see my Rep on these lists, should I assume he is a “Yes”?

    When I call his office, I never get a clear answer from those swarmy, asshole interns (over the past couple of months I’ve grown to hate those soulless young people who think it is a feather on their cap to work for a Republican).

    I’ll still call tomorrow — I’ll just feel better armed if I know for sure he is a Yes.

  34. 34

    Damn right, we fight. To quote a colossal loser, what the hell do we have to lose? If we fight, we either win or lose. If we give up, we know we lose. And even if we lose, as you say, I want to choose how we lose.

  35. 35
    TenguPhule says:

    @pluky: I can work with that.

  36. 36
    eclare says:

    @gbbalto: I don’t understand how you and everyone else who depends on the ACA are able to function these days. Sound your note. I like to hear it.

    ETA: meant to respond to ArchTeryx.

  37. 37
    JMG says:

    @ArchTeryx: The fact that McConnell is better at counting is why he’s not eager to handle this hot potato. Ryan’s a fanatic, Mitch is a party hack. If he thinks the bill would hurt his party in the Senate in 2018 if it becomes law, he’ll slow walk his way to defeat. Now whether he thinks that, I have no idea.

  38. 38
    Ohio Mom says:

    @JPL: Most bad mammogram results are actually false alarms. But it takes $$$ testing to determine that, and then even if you get the all clear, you may well be tagged as having a pre-existing condition.

    Not that any of this takes away from your point that supporting mammograms by themselves is very weak tea.

  39. 39
    Joyce H says:

    We aren’t going to win often but we get to choose how to lose.

    Sometimes not winning often doesn’t matter, what matters is just not giving up. George Washington didn’t win the Revolutionary War by winning a lot of battles. In fact, he lost more battles than he won. He won the war by not quitting until the war was won.

    And this is the case in every conflict, war or otherwise. The winners don’t decide when the war is over, the losers do – and they signify their agreement that the war is over by stopping the fight. And until they stop, the war isn’t over. And so long as the war isn’t over, it can go the other way.

  40. 40
    TenguPhule says:

    @Joyce H:

    The winners don’t decide when the war is over, the losers do – and they signify their agreement that the war is over by stopping the fight. And until they stop, the war isn’t over.

    Unless the winners win by default, because none of the losers are left alive.

    /sorry to burst the analogy bubble.

  41. 41
    Joyce H says:


    Unless the winners win by default, because none of the losers are left alive.

    /sorry to burst the analogy bubble.

    When has that ever happened? EVER? In the history of the world? Has there ever been a war that ended because one side was totally obliterated? That’s a serious question because I can’t think of any.

  42. 42
    JMG says:

    They have the votes. On to the Senate, where things get much murkier. Look for Susan Collins to be the first to fold.

  43. 43
    Scamp Dog says:

    @ArchTeryx: Nope, you’re not a troll. Your complaint isn’t new information, but it’s still true, so keep hammering at it. You’re one of the people we’re fighting for.

  44. 44
    JMG says:

    Apparently bill exempts Congress from all its provisions. These guys do think they’ll never be called to account.

  45. 45
    rikyrah says:

    I have been without insurance. It is a terrifying way to live that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I have a pre-existing condition that I got when I was two years old. I am genetically predisposed to diabetes. I am scared to death.

  46. 46
    Yarrow says:

    Wow. David, so glad you and your kids were okay.

    I’m calling from a landline, cell phone and using the AARP call through number. I got a friend of mine to call as well today. It’s her first activism. She detests Trump and now all the Republicans. She’s got chronic health conditions and needs insurance. She was happy to do something to make her feel less worries.

    We have to keep fighting!

  47. 47
  48. 48
    Timurid says:

    I’m watching a bunch of anti-Trump Republicans in my Twitter feed who appear to be packing up for the trip home…

  49. 49
    JPL says:

    What representative said to just move, if your state drops preexisting conditions? I can’t find it.

  50. 50
    Goku says:

    If this thing passes, I don’t think I’ll be able to wait until 2018 to make the Grand Olichary Party pay for this. They’re messing with my healthcare (exchange) and future career (nurse) (male by the way). This is bullshit! Millions will likely lose their care even if the Senate waters it down to pass. These people know exactly what they’re doing and they deserve to die for it

  51. 51
    ArchTeryx says:

    @Scamp Dog: Thank you for that. I did call my Rep and Senators (Paul Tonko, D, Gillebrand and Schumer). Praised them and pleaded that they continue the fight, because the stakes are my life and Ohio Moms and all those like us.

    And I didn’t vote for Trump. I’d rather have eaten ground glass then vote for that turd.

  52. 52
    eclare says:

    @JPL: Some rep in NC….

  53. 53
    rikyrah says:

    @JPL: Pittenger-North Carolina

  54. 54
    efgoldman says:


    I didn’t vote for Trump.

    I doubt very much that anybody here did, except the Wilmerbot trolls

  55. 55
    JPL says:

    @rikyrah: Thanks.. I was chatting with someone who didn’t believe me.

  56. 56
    Raoul says:

    For half a century, gay and lesbian Americans could too easily have said, way way way too many times “Just quit. We lost this fight in November” (or at a legislature, or any of many courts right on up to SCOTUS. Heck, even Bill Clinton threw us under the bus with DADT).

    But we did not quit. We did not stop. We did not fall into some paralytic pit of despair. Fuck no, we did not. Ain’t gonna start that WATB behavior now!!

  57. 57

    @Joyce H: …and that is why every war that has ever been fought is still in progress, unless everyone on both sides is long gone and didn’t bother teaching their children to carry the torch. One of Nixon’s less notorious hacks, Fred Ikle (pronounced “Fred E. Clay”) published his dissertation as a book with the title “Every War Must End” — conveniently ignoring the fact that no war ever has.

  58. 58
    TenguPhule says:

    @Joyce H: The Trojan War comes to mind as one of the few successful attempts. But its been tried in many many wars unsuccessfully.

  59. 59
    gbbalto says:

    @eclare: That’s all right. The luckiest of us are only temporarily without a pre-existing condition. My own time will come…in the meantime we can only stick together.

    ETA I absolutely agree and hail the courage of everyone who persists through pain and disabilities. I hope that I will have Archteryx’s level of courage.

  60. 60
    JMG says:

    The Republicans are caught in their own bullshit. They are telling reporters voters will be happy because their premiums went down. 1. Premiums never go down. 2. People who lose insurance altogether will be a lot unhappier than those who save $50-100 a year, not to mention the ones whose premiums go up five times those amounts.
    There are no people who can be reasoned with here. They are all Trump. Fox and talk radio is all they know.

  61. 61
    laura says:

    @Quinerly: I’d say yes, but Chet the weiner dog says definitely no.

  62. 62
    artem1s says:

    We are living in an occupied country. The GOP got what they always wanted. The government is the enemy now. At least a good part of it. We can only rely on one another and try to keep what local institutions that haven’t been corrupted strong; try to make sanctuaries for those who are in need and dispossessed.

  63. 63
    Ohio Mom says:

    @ArchTeryx: We are holding our own around here, so far, so good, knock on wood. It helps to have relatively common conditions that respond well to treatment, as my husband and I do.

    It is mainly our son on the autism spectrum that I worry about. Medicaid (and to a lesser extent, SSI) is what pays for food, clothing and shelter for adults with disabilities. If those f-ers succeed in undoing Medicaid, I don’t know how my kid will manage after we’re gone.

  64. 64
    eclare says:

    @efgoldman: Huh? I never said that. Of course I fucking didn’t.

  65. 65
    efgoldman says:

    @eclare: Clicked the wrong reply button. I’m posting an watching the hockey at the same time.

  66. 66
    eclare says:

    @efgoldman: Just embarrassing you thought I might have!

  67. 67
    randy khan says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    Not on the list = yes, from what I understand.

  68. 68
    Ohio Mom says:

    @randy khan: Last time around, my Rep, Brad Wenstrup, played a game of chicken — kept saying he couldn’t say how he would vote until he say the bill — then the vote was cancelled and he was home free. He didn’t blink, got away with his little game.

    He might be hoping to do that again, that’s why I asked.

  69. 69
    TenguPhule says:

    @efgoldman: Hockey is a brawl, not a sport.

  70. 70
    varmintito says:

    When they kick out your front door, how you gonna come?
    With your hands above your head or on the trigger of a gun?

  71. 71
    Miss Bianca says:


    Heck, even Bill Clinton threw us under the bus with DADT


    Err…are you actually old enough to remember what things were like for gays in the military *before* DADT? Because I am. I’ll never forget a friend’s older sibling being dishonorably discharged after he was outed, and then committing suicide. And he wasn’t the only one who suffered. That stopped happening so much after DADT was passed.

    Was it everything we may have wanted? No. Was it the best that we were going to get, given the socio-political circumstances of the time? Yeah, probably. Was it better than what had come before? Did it help pave the way for progress for civil rights for, and greater acceptance of gay and lesbian people, in these United States? HELL yeah.

    People sneer at the notion of incremental progress – certainly most white “progressives” of my acquaintance seem to – but honestly, it’s usually the ONLY way the sausage gets made. This is what makes me crazy about the “Obama sold us out by not going for single payer!” meme. War for civil rights and social progress is WAR, dammit – and most of the time liberals, and liberal politicians, are fighting that war with fewer resources and less public sympathy – and far less fawning propaganda – than Republicans. We sometimes have to accept partial victories that look like defeats only when you compare them to what came before.

  72. 72
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Miss Bianca: One of Clinton’s very first efforts was to allow gays to serve openly. The military and its Congressional supporters went batshit. He was able to get DADT as an incremental measure.

  73. 73
    Regine Touchon says:

    I’m doing a series of the resistance for an upcoming art show focusing on woman who I admire, the Persisterhood. I would like to post some pics here if that’s okay. How do I do that? They are in a new medium for me, encaustic . I think you guys would appreciate them.

  74. 74
    goblue72 says:

    @Joyce H: The Native Americans on whose land this entire country sits wave hello.

  75. 75
    lowtechcyclist says:

    More subtly, we tell stories to ourselves. I want those stories that I tell to myself about me to be true.

    It’s not the fights you dream of,
    it’s those you really fought

    -Si Kahn


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