Watershed Moments

Excellent article over at the Washington Monthly…ignore me and go read it.

But these young people from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have jolted us out of that script and this is the anthem that keeps playing in my head as I read about the impact they’re having.

So far these young people have done countless interviews, travelled to Tallahassee today to push for more gun laws, will participate in a CNN town hall tomorrow, and are busy planning a nationwide “March For Our Lives” on March 24th.

They are also inspiring others.

If you need a boost, read the whole thing.

Whenever anyone gets down about the political climate around my house, I always come back with a reminder that we’ve been witnessing watershed moments for almost a decade now. And now they are happening at a dizzying rate.

Just a few examples:

Barack Obama for president? Are you kidding me? I thought, no way, this will never happen. Bad Horse kept insisting this WAS happening. Then I heard Obama speak and I was on board. And you know what I did? I changed my registration from independent to Democrat, I volunteered, I knock on doors (I sucked at that btw). I got off my ass for a candidate. I’d never done anything but give $$ before.  As it turns out…so did a whole lot of other people.  And then…then…the most wonderful thing happened, we got tickets for the convention and I stood in a stadium filled with people that I would never expect. And as corny as it sounds, everyone of them was filled with hope and that hope carried Barack Obama to the presidency. Watershed.

Gay Marriage.  When the wave began, I thought, this is not the time, the climate is not going to sustain this. Don’t get me wrong, I was all for it, but now? It didn’t seem possible – maybe because Prop 2 felt so fresh,  a horrible, dark stain on Colorado history (IMO).  Well, I wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. It was the moment.  State by state, ballot by ballot, court decision by court decision.  Boom! Watershed.

Black Lives Matter:  If it makes you uncomfortable, then it’s working. If Fox and the right wing are turning it into a threat and filled with villains, then you know it’s making a difference. As powerful as BLM has been, I believe we have only seen the beginnings of this wave of change.

There’s been more, but let’s jump ahead to the present, where suddenly we are getting these moments in fast and furious succession.

The Women’s March 2017: So when the rumblings started, this time I was ready. I could feel the righteous anger, the power, the can-do spirit. This time I was not surprised when DC filled with women, children and men in cute pink pussy hats, marching in support of one another and against the groper-in-chief.  What did surprise me? EVERY. WHERE. ELSE. Blue states, purple states, red states all had large marches. A wave was growing and it wasn’t going to stop.

Anti-White Supremacist/Anti-Nazi Counter Marches:  I can’t even believe these have to be – but the moment here is the consequences for these racists who feel safe removing their hoods and coming out in the open. They are learning their beliefs are not normal or acceptable – especially to their employers. bye-bye.

#MeToo Time’s Up: This is so fresh, we are only seeing the tip of what this will accomplish. But the number of powerful men who have had to step down, been fired and publicly shamed…I’m not sure anyone could have seen that coming.  Still in in its infancy, there have been some questionable actions, but I believe as it matures, it will become a place for women to find support as they move into more positions of power, run for office and juggle careers and family.

And let’s not forget Women’s March 2018  – holy cow. It. Happened. Again!

And that brings us to today. And our young people who HAVE. HAD. ENOUGH.

I don’t even know where to begin – I was here for Columbine. I walked around in a fog for several weeks, not knowing what to do to make this stop. I was shouted down by friends and family when I suggested any type of gun regulation. Then it kept happening. Again. And again.

By the time the Sandy Hook massacre took the lives of 20 children and 6 adults and NOTHING happened, that was it, I had lost hope. This was just how we were going to live from now on…sending our children out to be slaughtered in the name of the second amendment.

Well, again (as you can see from many examples from above) I was wrong. And I support these young people, many who will soon have the power of the vote, to facilitate change in anyway they feel is effective. They are going to be vilified and we need to continue to stand with them. March 24, mark it on your calendar. I believe it will be another watershed moment.

We cannot understand the moral Universe. The arc is a long one, and our eyes reach but a little way; we cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; but we can divine it by conscience, and we surely know that it bends toward justice. Justice will not fail, though wickedness appears strong, and has on its side the armies and thrones of power, the riches and the glory of the world, and though poor men crouch down in despair. Justice will not fail and perish out from the world of men, nor will what is really wrong and contrary to God’s real law of justice continually endure. – Unitarian Minister Theodore Parker

Giving us Martin Luther King’s succinct quote:


I know I’ve missed moments above – feel free to castigate me in the comments.

Open thread.

150 replies
  1. 1
    yam says:

    I think that the gun control movement will probably end up going like the Marriage Equality movement; Right-wingers had a chance to be reasonable, but kept pushing for a harder line against the popular feelings of the country. When they pushed too hard, pushed too far, the reaction was more than they thought and we went from “Gays, ew, ick” to “Whatevs” like 2 years. The NRA had a chance to negotiate, to stand down just a little, but noooOOOooo… So now the people are sick of their shit and going to kick these fuckers to the curb and make them the pariahs the so deserve to be.

  2. 2
    Just the Facts says:

    Time will tell.

  3. 3
    Ten Bears says:

    I oft remind myself what privilege it has been to witness history, regardless how painfully slow, unfold.

  4. 4
    marv says:

    This is a really good post, IMHO, TaMara. Thanks

  5. 5
  6. 6
    Neldob says:

    Thanks. I needs that.

  7. 7
    Aimai says:

    Could not agree more. A rising generation of single issue anti gun voters will—because guns have become a proxy for everything else—be a powerful wedge constituency. I look forward to their political engagement.

  8. 8
    wjs says:

    The NRA counted on being able to shout down all gun control opportunities. They spent money buying whoever could be bought. They didn’t think they would have to contend with teens who have been shot at and traumatized. These kids, they can’t buy them.

    Everyone who has taken NRA money needs to figure out how to get rid of it and get the blood off their hands, fast. These kids are going to win.

  9. 9
    opiejeanne says:

    These teenagers are giving me hope. The wave elections are giving me hope too, but these kids! I want to be proud of them when I have no right to be. I didn’t raise them, I don’t even know them, but they are doing such a great thing right now I want to claim them as my own.

  10. 10
    trollhattan says:

    Is R NPR learnin’? In discussing now-dead Billie Graham they compare and contrast him with Franklin, making the son sound like the douche he is.

    I’d say the ongoing death of nu-cue-lar power industry is something I’d not have believed possible, along with “green” power growth in red states. Fvck Trump for the PV tariffs in support of “beautiful clean coal”.*

    *His actual SOTU words.

  11. 11
    Betty Cracker says:

    CNN is showing students all over South Florida walking out of their classrooms right now. I’m so damned proud of these kids.

    Tonight, CNN is having a “town hall” thingy with some of the students, teachers and parents — including the magnificent Emma Gonzalez. Senators Nelson and Rubio will be there, plus another Dem rep from the area. The NRA is sending it’s thoroughly deranged spokescreature Dana Loesch. For those of you who are unfamiliar with her — lucky you. Here’s a video she put out a while back that caused a stir because it’s so…nutso.

    I don’t wish the MSDHS kids further trauma; they’ve suffered enough this week. But I hope Loesch bares her fangs on national TV. Too many people still think the NRA is a gun safety organization rather than Vanilla ISIS. If Loesch stays true to form, she could disabuse millions of that notion tonight.

  12. 12
    Starfish says:

    Black Lives Matter has been more interesting than anyone gives it credit for.

    Right now, I am reading that talks about whether we are treating black lives as if they matter. It is called Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education by Noliwe Rooks. It is deeply critical of the way Obama was willing to jump on the charter school bandwagon when there is no real evidence that those systems really work and how a lot of those experiments do not give parents, teachers, or superintendents a seat at the table. It’s about how poor minority children are the ones always being treated as guinea pigs in all this educational experimentation. The experiment that is not being tried and that does work for them is school integration.

  13. 13
    trollhattan says:

    If my kid decides to walk out and march against guns next month, I’m taking the day off to join.

  14. 14
    opiejeanne says:

    In a previous thread it was pointed out that Think Progress has a list of companies that support the NRA. Almost all of the support is in the form of discounts for membership. I was stunned and annoyed to see that almost every major car rental is on that list. Next time I rent a car, unless that list changes a lot, I’m renting from Dollar.

  15. 15
    LAO says:

    I have long taken the position that if 20 dead 6 year old children didn’t change America’s conversation about guns and gun control, nothing would. BUT, to my surprise, these Parkland children have made me hope that maybe, just maybe we can change the conversation and change out gun laws. I swear, my cold dead heart may just be beating.

  16. 16
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Just over the weekend, I was telling my daughter and her husband that when I’d travel on business at the beginning of my career, the airplane had a smoking section. Hotels didn’t always distinguish between smoking and non-smoking *rooms*, let alone floors. Everyone in the office who smoked, did so at their desk. I asked them how many of their friends smoke, and they wracked their brains to come up with one.

  17. 17
    germy says:

    Russian police have reportedly arrested a man who has claimed to be a worker at a troll factory in St. Petersburg, Russia, hours after he gave interviews to foreign journalists, ABC News reports. https://t.co/0yeHOdugHv

    — Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 20, 2018

  18. 18
    trollhattan says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Tonight, CNN is having a “town hall” thingy with some of the students, teachers and parents — including the magnificent Emma Gonzalez. Senators Nelson and Rubio will be there,

    Oh hell, not enough popcorn…. Will li’l Marco wet himself?

    Who’s moderating? That’s going to be important.

  19. 19
    germy says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    The NRA is sending it’s thoroughly deranged spokescreature Dana Loesch.

    I’m sure she’ll be on her best behavior (sarcasm font)

  20. 20
    Starfish says:

    @wjs: A friend asked our Republican Senator on Twitter how much of his $X million in NRA money he was donating to the healthcare costs of the students still in the hospital.

  21. 21
    trollhattan says:

    Those fvckers aren’t subtle, are they?

  22. 22
    germy says:

    @opiejeanne: Yes, that pissed us off. We haven’t done business with any other companies on that list, but we have rented from Enterprise.

    No more.

  23. 23
    opiejeanne says:

    @trollhattan: Franklin, the bully, insisted that his mother be buried at the Billy Graham Library instead of on the mountainside near their home in NC, according to her wishes. He shouted down his younger brother Nelson and argued with his father until Graham sr assented and agreed to have her buried at the library. This was when he was a sick old man who was losing his hearing and eyesight and dealing with other infirmities of old age. Franklin really is a jerk.

  24. 24
    oldster says:

    Thank you, TaMara! I agree.

    I am going to try to get down to DC for 3/24. I was at the Women’s March in DC a year ago, went down again for the March for Science, and went to NYC for this year’s anniversary Women’s March.

    It’s good for the crowd to see someone as old and conservative-looking as I am, shuffling along with the kids.

  25. 25
    germy says:


    aren’t subtle, are they?

    drumpf wishes he could do that. Just randomly arrest anyone he finds annoying or too talkative.

  26. 26

    @Starfish: I feel ill-equipped to speak eloquently on BLM, but I do BELIEVE we have only seen the beginnings of it and the changes it will bring.

  27. 27
    opiejeanne says:

    @Betty Cracker: Dana Loesch? What are they thinking??? I hope the kids eat her alive.

  28. 28
    low-tech cyclist says:

    I think the more upbeat version of this song from 4-Way Street (retitled “America’s Children” and starting about 2:25 into a track that starts off with “49 Bye-Byes”) is actually more apropos for this moment:

    Well it looks to me like there’s a few politicians hanging around children
    Perpetrating some kind of myth on us all
    Talking about what a drag all the kids are
    Cause they got the guts to get out in the street and tell the truth every day


    That America is still the home of the brave oh yes it is
    And you got to be brave children
    How many is it that they shot down already?
    Something like seventeen of us
    But you know we gotta do it
    We gotta keep on keeping on

    Had that going through my head last night.

  29. 29

    I can add other events to your list, some of them are not US specific.
    End of apartheid in S. Africa
    End of the British Empire
    Women gaining suffrage (here and other parts of the world)

    We have to make sure that the arc bends towards justice, every generation has to do it. We cannot rest on our past laurels.

  30. 30
    opiejeanne says:

    @trollhattan: Good for you. Alas my youngest is 35 and I have no grandchildren yet by the older two kids.

  31. 31
    LAO says:

    @Betty Cracker: @opiejeanne: It should be quite interesting. These children aren’t polite and by that I mean they simply don’t care whom they offend and I expect Loesch will lose her shit with them.

  32. 32
    jc says:

    I love how Trump is suddenly all over banning “bump-stocks” (wink, wink). He’s such a leader on gun control.

  33. 33
    Josie says:

    Great post, TaMara. And thanks for the full quote from Theodore Parker. I had not seen that before and was moved by the beauty of his expression.

  34. 34
    JCJ says:

    Here’s hoping. I would say an even bigger change was the day in 1989 when the Berlin Wall became irrelevant. Walking down Friedrichstraße and passing through Checkpoint Charlie four years ago was rather different from when I went through in a bus in 1982.

  35. 35
    BC in Illinois says:

    A quote from somebody:

    We can’t do anything about guns, it’s too deeply ingrained in American culture . . .
    . . . says someone in a building where they’re not allowed to smoke.

  36. 36
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Who’s moderating? That’s going to be important.

    Tapper. Thank GODS it’s not Blitzer.

  37. 37
    pamelabrown53 says:

    @Starfish: #20
    I hope that little sleeze: Marco Rubio gets asked the same question at the CNN town hall.

  38. 38
  39. 39
    efgoldman says:

    @Ten Bears:

    I oft remind myself what privilege it has been to witness history

    I am old enough to have been a teen/young adult and actually remember MLK and the bus riders and the marches and the bills LBJ pushed thru (yeah I know)
    But I was also young and naive enough to think we were on our way to solving the race problem in the US.
    I was so, so wrong. Ans now we have “elected” an openly racist “president”.
    I think it was Adam who responded, well, you can expect two steps forward and one step back. Now we are looking at backsliding at the national level. I think none of us who don’t live with the racism on a daily basis expected this level of anger and hate. So, except for the fact that I think we’ll take at least the house in November, I have been somewhere between facing reality and despair.
    These kids give me hope

  40. 40
    opiejeanne says:

    @germy: Enterprise was my go-to rental company. Like you said, unless it changes I won’t rent from them again.

    Heading to Disneyworld for a couple of days in early March to hang out with our middle kid and celebrate all three of our birthdays. I won’t need a rental for that trip, shuttles and taxis for this trip.

  41. 41
  42. 42

    @opiejeanne: FedEx, shit, that’s my go-to. I should complain on Twitter I guess.

  43. 43
    germy says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    when I’d travel on business at the beginning of my career, the airplane had a smoking section. Hotels didn’t always distinguish between smoking and non-smoking *rooms*, let alone floors. Everyone in the office who smoked, did so at their desk.

    I remember sitting in a doctor’s waiting room when I was a young boy (early 1960s) and there were ashtrays in the waiting room.

  44. 44
    Cheap Jim, formerly Cheap Jim says:

    @germy: I remember the family doctor, when I was a child, examining me while smoking a cigar.

  45. 45
    glory b says:

    @Starfish: The ONE THING I had major problems with Obama about was this. It’s like he decided to phone that one in and just follow Arne Duncan’s lead, rather than getting some real background information about it.

  46. 46
  47. 47
    Luc says:

    In my humble opinion somebody should point out that the 2nd amendment needs to be amended/fixed because it is written horribly. Not a native speaker here,but to me it doesn’t even seem grammatically correct. In addition it is ambiguous and outdated. Unless people get over the god-given Holiness of the Constitution and the founding fathers…… The amendment is likely a compromise gone terribly wrong otherwise it would not be written so badly.

  48. 48

    @Cheap Jim, formerly Cheap Jim: and nowadays, when the doctor on battlestar galactica (reboot) smoked, my friends and I were all like lolwut, how outré!

  49. 49
    Starfish says:

    @TaMara (HFG): Me too. I am joining more diversity initiatives, but I find diversity initiatives to be deeply strange in Colorado. I found it strange that most of the people wearing “Black Lives Matter” shirts were white girls. However, that really does seem to be a thing, and the young people seem to find it less strange than we do.

    The very new local NAACP chapter did go and talk to the Superintendent about that lady who was physically removing a child from a class who would not stand for the pledge at Angevine Middle School in BVSD.

  50. 50
    GregB says:

    I do think this is a cultural dam breaking moment.

    The gun lobby, make sure you emphasize that they are literally the DC swamp, has had their way in most of these states, for decades now and yet they aren’t polite societies.

    After 9/11 the question was asked: What kind of people would do such things. The same question needs to be asked here and now.

    Also a side note.

    Contemporary conservative conventional wisdom is telling America that a large, multi national propaganda campaign between the US and Russia cannot possibly have caused people in the US to behave in a certain way. That is either voting for or against Trump/Hillary.

    The same people who deny that are now trying to convince America that these brave, determined protesting students are being spurred into action by George Soros.

  51. 51
    Ian G. says:

    The first real “moment of history” that I remember clearly was the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. I’m sure people older than me (born in 1980) thought that would never happen.

    Oh, what I wouldn’t give for some who took to the streets of Berlin or Prague or Vilnius or elsewhere UNARMED and defeated the tanks and soldiers of police states to confront the tiny-pecker losers with their gun stockpiles and call them fucking cowards and losers who wouldn’t know tyranny if it hit them over the head with a gay marriage license.

  52. 52

    @Major Major Major Major: Not a surprise, the founding CEO of Fedex is a bit wingnutty, more Randian than a religious nutjob.

  53. 53
    opiejeanne says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I ship USPS these days, when I need to. For years I used UPS but the cost became prohibitive about 10 years ago (maybe a little earlier?) and USPS has been great since then; before I started using them I didn’t much trust them but I’ve had great luck with them..

  54. 54
    chris says:

    @germy: Heh. My grandfather was a doctor. I have the big black glass ashtray that sat on his desk in his office/examining room. For 15 years after the war he worked in a TB sanatorium and he admitted that he knew what smoking did to lungs, they all did.

  55. 55

    @opiejeanne: I used to use USPS for packages, but now the good post office is a 25 minute walk and the FedEx is across the street and also I can print things there.

  56. 56
    germy says:

    @opiejeanne: UPS is an ALEC corporation. Whenever I need to ship something, I visit my local post office.

  57. 57
    Betty Cracker says:

    @trollhattan: Rubio doesn’t know whether to wind his butt or scratch his watch. This morning, he tweeted a “must-read,” “insightful” piece of analysis from The Post that basically told the truth about him: he’s a spineless, do-nothing pol. I can’t figure out why he did it, unless he just seized on the headline, which said he’s catching flak from liberal groups. That might placate the Fox News set if they didn’t click through. But honestly, I’m surprised as hell he called attention to it. It was NOT flattering.

    @opiejeanne: I hope they give her enough rope to hang herself. She’s a bug-eyed extremist. I don’t know if I can stand to watch, though.

  58. 58
    GregB says:

    Also too.

    The NRA is sending their swampy lobbyist to this event?


  59. 59
    germy says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    This morning, he tweeted a “must-read,” “insightful” piece of analysis from The Post that basically told the truth about him: he’s a spineless, do-nothing pol. I can’t figure out why he did it, unless he just seized on the headline, which said he’s catching flak from liberal groups.

    It’s the “orrin hatch” school of publicity tweeting. They see a headline that mentions their name and sounds vaguely positive and don’t bother reading it through. Short attention spans. I doubt they read the bills they sign.

  60. 60
    opiejeanne says:

    @GregB: George Soros has reached mythical status in the minds of Conservative propagandists. How much money can that sucker actually have in order to be funding everything and everyone who is against the Great Orange One?.

  61. 61

    Also too, I have two more events.
    Indian Muslim women organizing, lobbying and getting the triple talaq (verbal divorce wherein a Muslim man can divorce his wife by repeating divorce thrice) overturned by the Indian Supreme Court.
    Indian women (Muslim and Hindu) fighting and winning the right to worship where they were kept out earlier. Fighting and winning in many places (its an ongoing struggle) against age old taboos against periods that it is used to keep women of childbearing age out of places of worship.

  62. 62
    Duane says:

    @Betty Cracker: Dana Loesch. The NRA poster girl. Fluffed by the damn FYNYT. An inspiration. If you want to be a sociopath. Hope she falls on her face so hard she needs surgery.

  63. 63
    opiejeanne says:

    @schrodingers_cat: OMG! Women bleed! Every month! How can they do that and not die??? AIEEE! etc.

  64. 64
    polyorchnid octopunch says:

    I’m going to make an aside on that video for a moment. The bass player in Buffalo Springfield was Bruce Palmer, a Nova Scotian black man. As an aside to my aside (’tis asides all the way down I tell you), there’s a large and old community of black Canadians in Halifax; they ended up there at the northern terminus of the underground railroad. There’s a lot of history there, some of which doesn’t make us settler Canadians look so fuckin’ great if I may say myself.

    At any rate, there’s a really great video of CSN&Y playing with Tom Jones on Turkish TV you can find here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIDzA0YDso8

    You can see Mr. Palmer right there in the centre. The video in the OP takes a Buffalo Springfield TV appearance on US TV for its “live” footage.

    Spot the difference between how the Turkish television station presented the black guy in the band vs. how it was done on American TV. To really underline the point, here’s a youtube of the original broadcast used: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWTqj5lvkFs

    Bonus “Hello Mr. Soul” in the last video in this post.

  65. 65

    @opiejeanne: Blood coming out of wherever, to paraphrase a certain someone.

  66. 66
    chris says:

    @polyorchnid octopunch: I live in Nova Scotia and can report that we continue to cover ourselves in glory on the racism front.//

    El Jones writes most Saturdays at the Halifax Examiner. Longwinded but educational, she’s a treasure.

  67. 67
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    He’s a busy man, the Senator. Between picking out nice boots, serving his paymasters, and staying hydrated, he doesn’t have time to read beyond the headline.

  68. 68
    Raoul says:

    Last night when news broke that a Florida man who was staffing a GOP State Rep had contacted the Tampa Bay Times with his hot-hot-hot news of student ‘crisis actors’, and the rapid blowback, I did some quick looking and found Fentrice Driskell, who is running to unseat the GOP moran who hired (and now had to fire) the conspiracy nut.
    On twitter, I started seeing lots of posts and likes of posts of people advancing her name and giving her campaign money. We are months out from the election, and the energy/momentum on our side is such that people (including me) are giving campaign money to state races to unseat gun-nut Republicans.
    It gave me hope that folks have this much zeal for how it really works: voting. Voting for people who will not be the cowards and cynics who have put us where we are now.

  69. 69
    Vor says:

    @Amir Khalid: The Daily Show just did a Rubio burn. They showed a clip of Rubio saying changing laws wouldn’t accomplish anything. Trevor Noah then said something like so refreshing to see a lawmaker who thinks laws are worthless.

  70. 70
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Betty Cracker: Loesch is there to take statistics out of context and lie, thereby helping gun nuts feel reassured that The Kids Are Wrong About Getting Shot.

    She’ll probably also talk about how much the NRA cares. Because clearly this is the case.

  71. 71
    Betty Cracker says:

    Here’s The Post article Rubio retweeted, which I referenced above. I mean, I am totally biased against the little shit because I’m unlucky enough to be his constituent, and he sucks. But am I missing something? Why on earth would he retweet that?

  72. 72
    Duane says:

    @opiejeanne: I became a grandparent Sunday morning. Baby boy. Naturally, he’s cute as a bug’s ear.
    Hang in there, it could happen to you!

  73. 73
    Barbara says:

    I have long thought that our current national sickness will not improve until there is generational turnover. I will support students like this in whatever I way can or they think I can.

  74. 74
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Raoul: Haha! I plan to volunteer MY SISTER for Driskell’s campaign! Haven’t told sis yet, but she’s sure to be on board! She (sis) used to be apolitical — always voted for Democrats because she’s not stupid, but she didn’t pay attention to politics much except to show up and vote. Trump radicalized her.

  75. 75
    Yutsano says:

    @JCJ: I was in Berlin in 1995 when they announced plans to tear down Checkpoint Charlie. I don’t think they did as it is historically significant but that was what I was hearing when I was there. So I managed to get my grandfather a piece of it. Plus there were pieces of the wall I got for my younger brothers.

    Side note: Berlin is by far my favourite city in Germany. Although Ulm is lovely too.

  76. 76
    les says:


    In my humble opinion somebody should point out that the 2nd amendment needs to be amended/fixed because it is written horribly.

    It’s the Supremes and the GOP that need to be fixed. It wasn’t til 2008 that Scalia (still dead, thanks) wrote the opinion that the 2nd means individual right to gun ownership; and it went in the shitter from there. Sane justices won’t be easy, but constitutional change ain’t happenin’.

  77. 77
    dnfree says:

    When it comes to thinking things can’t happen, I like this Pete Seeger song. There are a few other thoughts from him in this, but he winds up chastising someone who says things can’t get better, giving examples like these but from an earlier era.


  78. 78
    Betty Cracker says:

    @MisterForkbeard: Does Loesch have a non-froth mode? If so, I’ve never seen it, but admittedly, I’ve only seen her NRA vids (in which she comes across as a pin-wheeling-eyed loon) and clips of her melting down on news networks. If the MSDHS teens are anything like MY teen, they’ll know how to push her buttons. BOOM!

  79. 79
    Librarian says:

    You know these CNN town meetings. They will bend over backwards to be deferential to Loesch and the NRA, and they will go out of their way to pack the audience with pro-NRA people to ask questions, and they will do their best to be “objective” and “fair” and to see that “all points of view are represented” and portrayed as reasonable, no matter how insane.

  80. 80
    opiejeanne says:

    @Duane: Yay for grand babies!

    We were promised grandchildren if we moved to the Seattle area, 8 years ago. Someone owes us at least one.

  81. 81
    randy khan says:

    There are a lot of watershed moments. I do have to single out the Women’s March, which was so unlike any other march I’ve ever attended (and I’ve been to a bunch). Most of the time a march is something of an end in itself, but the vibe was nothing like that – it was, both explicitly and in a very organic way – about what needed to be done. After a really bleak couple of months, it was incredibly energizing and encouraging.

    I’d add one personal watershed moment – one of my best friends in the 80s was a gay man. When New York City passed an ordinance adding gay people to its civil rights protections, he called me up and said “I’m a person!” It was a big advance, even in New York, and his joy reminded me how important those kinds of protections are.

  82. 82
    Chet Murthy says:

    Look at the gigantic crowd of teens at Union Station in DC headed to the US Capitol to protest. Wow. These kids are gonna save us all. #NeverAgain #BanMachineGuns pic.twitter.com/tDjf0Kunan— Scott Dworkin (@funder) February 21, 2018

  83. 83
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Duane: Congratulations! That’s fantastic news for you and for the new parents. :)

  84. 84
    dnfree says:

    @efgoldman: I’m with you. The Civil Rights movement was the story of my youth and college years. Some time back, my eldest daughter told me that she had asked about race relations when she was a child (probably late 70s-early 80s), and the impression she got from me was that it was basically handled and things were improving. I told her that was because I honestly believed that at the time. As you say, totally unprepared for where we are now.

  85. 85
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Chet Murthy:

    So fantastic.

  86. 86

    @Chet Murthy: That’s worth embedding.

  87. 87
    Miss Bianca says:

    @zhena gogolia: Oh, wow, that made me cry.

    Strange days…I had just moved to Colorado and was a substitute teacher in a rural district when the Columbine shooting happened. I remember just sitting on my front stoop for hours in shock.

    I also remember talking to students in class shortly after it happened – high school students – and the question came up of “whether it could happen here” – in tiny Paonia, CO.

    I remember all of them nodding matter-of-factly and agreeing, without hesitation, that it could.

    ETA: I may just try to scrape up sme cash to go to Washington for the rally – or if there’s one in Denver, I’ll go to Denver.

  88. 88
    Doug R says:

    You missed the Affordable Care Act. Remember SICKO came out in 2007 when we thought change was impossible?
    Sure seemed impossible in 1993.

  89. 89
    mad citizen says:

    This march on DC TODAY, right now, is so cool! And Neil Young is my guy–will have to check out those videos.

    After just reading one of the Florida students said “We’re not old enough to vote yet, but we will be soon and we’ll vote you out!”, I’ll offer up a belated impact of the 26th Amendment, lowering the voting age to 18. The interweb says discussion started as soon as after WWII. The Supremes ruled (divided decision) in 1970 that the federal government could regulate the age for federal elections. Congress passed the Amendment in March 1971, enough states ratified it right away, Nixon signed into law in July 1971.

    I always wondered and hoped for the youngsters to vote in great numbers. Maybe now they will. I couldn’t wait, and if your 18th birthday is on November election day, you can in fact vote in the earlier state primary election. At least that’s how I remember it, although I don’t think I voted in the 1978 primary. My 18th fell on general election day 1978 (born on JFK vs. Nixon election day). No real reason to in my almost all red state. Although according to that new Gallup map even the Hoosier state is grey. Really?

    My personal watershed moment is the day in late Nov/early Dec 2016 when I searched out an ultra liberal blog and found Balloon Juice. This is a great place, I learn so much from everyone. And it was a great post, Tamara!

  90. 90
    rikyrah says:

    I am hoping that the Mueller money trail leads right to a RICO charge for the NRA

  91. 91
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Betty Cracker: Is this the sis who was the roach to your rat?

    (sorry, BC, couldn’t resist – that story about you all on the exterminator float is one of my all-time fave raves).

  92. 92
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @mad citizen: It seems a million years ago now, but Obama carried Indiana in 2008. Massive turnout in Lake County put him over.

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  94. 94
    Yutsano says:

    @mad citizen: In a lot of states you can register to vote at 17 as long as you’ll be 18 by the next election. So that’s a huge wave of young voters that could be brought into the system.

  95. 95
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Miss Bianca: Yep — the roach is my only sister! 🙂

  96. 96

    @Miss Bianca: If you find out there is one in Denver and want to go, email me, I might just join you. I’d love to go to DC, but finding someone to watch the puppy might be a roadblock.

  97. 97
    Duane says:

    @opiej@MisterForkbeard: eanne: Grandbabies are great. Thanks!

  98. 98
    mad citizen says:

    @Matt McIrvin: It does seem like a world ago. I recall the IndyStar article noting Obama had visited Indiana 48 times, and McCain something like 2. I saw Obama twice in Indy, along with Stevie Wonder–can’t beat that!

    I can’t help but wonder if any Republican lawmakers are having this thought: “Is there any way we can move the voting age back to 21, and quickly!?”

  99. 99
    Raoul says:

    @Betty Cracker: Excellent! I already feel my hundred bucks will be in good hands with Fentrice. In fact, I’m excited to be supporting a youngish (38!) Black woman first-time candidate. Would love to know about more newly minted Dem politicians like her, anywhere in the US.

  100. 100
    Ruckus says:

    I wonder if electing an openly racist jackass for president was a last grasp at that white ring? It as brought the level of racism in this country front and center rather than keep it on the back burner.
    I asked before we elected President Obama if maybe the time wasn’t right and was rightfully schooled in the meaning of the right time. This bullshit we are now seeing may just be the same concept. It’s unfortunate but we may have to go through this to reach the other side.

  101. 101
    Yutsano says:

    @Betty Cracker: Grabbed that. Shared it. Talk about hitting home.

  102. 102
    Miss Bianca says:

    @TaMara (HFG): We’d have to road-trip it and pray that somewhere out there are some motels that will accomodate two Great Danes and a Siberian Husky. ; )

    @Betty Cracker: Wow, indeed.

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    Steeplejack says:

    @polyorchnid octopunch:

    The bass player in Buffalo Springfield was Bruce Palmer, a Nova Scotian black man.

    I’m not quite going to call bullshit, but you are spreading some seriously weak sauce. Bruce Palmer may in fact be black, but if he is he’s the passing-est, whitest-looking black guy ever. Here is a picture of Buffalo Springfield with Palmer standing in the middle of the back row. Another band picture here with Palmer squatting in the center.

    And here’s a thumbnail bio (with picture) of Palmer from the site NNDB, which purports to be “an intelligence aggregator that tracks the activities of people we have determined to be noteworthy.” (I hadn’t previously seen the site before doing a Google search.)

    Where you are factually wrong is in conflating two different bands: Buffalo Springfield in the video at the top of the post and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in your video with Tom Jones. The black bassist in the latter video is almost surely Greg Reeves, the actual bassist for CSN&Y. (Greg Reeves at lower right.)

    As for the “discriminatory” posing of the bassist in the top video (his back to the camera when in frame at all), who the hell knows? TV filming of “rock ’n’ roll acts” was notoriously hinky: the traditional shows seemed to think they were novelty acts one step above trained seals, and the “hip” shows like that of the Smothers Brothers weren’t much better. Plus, by all accounts, Palmer was a flake even by the loose standards of the time, with an ongoing drug problem that got him deported back to Canada in 1967. So that might be a session musician instead of him in that video. Or it might be a stand-in who can’t even play the bass, since the audio almost certainly was overdubbed. (It sounds exactly like the studio cuts, and the guitar “playing” is awfully sketchy.) But I would bet it’s not a case of “Let’s hide the black guy.”

    So what’s my point? Racism is bad, and it’s all over the place, but it doesn’t really help to “find” it in places where it almost certainly doesn’t exist.

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    Betty Cracker says:

    @Yutsano: Right? Chills.

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    cokane says:

    Just wanna add on the gay marriage thing, Massachusetts legalized it in 2004, being the first US state to do so, and back then people didn’t even know it would stick in even Massachusetts. Only a bit more than 10 years later, it’s nationwide. That is pretty dizzying pace, especially compared with social change of past movements such as ending legal segregation, interracial marriage or even sodomy laws.

  106. 106
    trollhattan says:

    $1 Soros buck > $1 millyun Koch bucks. Donchano.

  107. 107

    @Ruckus: I say this same thing every day. Sometimes you have to open up the infection and let it ooze out to heal it.

  108. 108
    low-tech cyclist says:

    Between now and the March For Our Lives on March 24, here’s something that we might want to bug our Congresscritters about: the Dickey Amendment.

    It’s the amendment, incorporated in every appropriations bill since 1996, that prevents the CDC from doing research on guns as a public health problem. (Text: “none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”)

    The march is on March 24. The government’s spending authority under the current CR runs out…March 23.

    I think we ought to tell our Congresscritters: Vote against anything with the Dickey Amendment in it. On March 24, we’ll know how you voted, and we’ll be talking about you.

  109. 109

    @Miss Bianca: Hell, we’d have to find a CAR that would accommodate them. LOL

  110. 110
    Miss Bianca says:

    @TaMara (HFG): Mini-van. MINI-VAN!

    It would be hilarious, in a horror-comedy way. Maybe we could crowd-source the funding to live-blog it. ; )

  111. 111
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Ruckus: I remember having a conversation with a friend of mine right after the 2016 election, when I was so devastated I felt like I could barely move, let alone function at a higher level. Her response was basically, “I hate to say this, but maybe we’ve just reached the point where we have to go thru’ this as a country – have someone like Trump as President – and see what comes out on the other side when people finally wake up.”

    I found it oddly reassuring, even tho’ I normally pour scorn on any utterance even vaguely resembling a “heighten the cotradictions” sentiment.

  112. 112
    bystander says:

    @Cheap Jim, formerly Cheap Jim:

    …examining me while smoking a cigar.

    Sometimes a misplaced modifier conjures up a great cartoon image.

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    rikyrah says:

    I have long thought that if a few of the Sandy Hook parents were willing to Mamie Till their children, that thing would have gotten passed after Sandy Hook.

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  115. 115
    L&DinSLT says:

    Probably a dead thread but I was walking my elliptical listening to For What it’s Worth extended video (link) with the montage of protests and in-country photos. Finished that and thought, I’ll just go to BJ and see what fresh hell has happened recently. So bizarre.


    While I was watching the video with my cell phone and Beats, not 10 feet from me hung on our family room wall is a black and white pencil print, “Extraction From a Hot LZ” by Michael P. Kelly, personalized for my husband’s service in LRRP 66-67 purchased by his parents in support of the CVVMF in 1988. Mr. Kelley, a gifted artist and tireless activist, died suicide in 2011, which was not ironic.


    I agree with TaMara. This feels important.

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  117. 117
    Miss Bianca says:

    @schrodingers_cat: VW Bus. Hell, we’re more than half-way to Scooby-Doo territory, between the gals and the Great Danes!

  118. 118

    @Miss Bianca: That would make a great movie. You could drive to WV meeting BJers on the way.

  119. 119

    @Miss Bianca: That would be wild! In more realistic news, here’s the Denver march info:


  120. 120
    Barbara says:

    A lot of our leaders, including Dem leaders, are like the proverbial lobsters in a pot of water that is slowly heating up. Before you know it, they are used to all kinds of horrors as being perfectly normal. Bombing a country that never tried to harm us would be one example of that. One of the great things about youth is that they have not yet been boiled. How can this possibly be something we would just accept as normal without even trying to change it is a question I ask myself every day but I know what the answer is. They don’t, so I hope they keep calling out those answers that have been given for my entire life as the bullshit they clearly are.

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    Aimai says:

    @rikyrah: i think the mother of one little boy did show his body to the governor and that is one reason he was so powerfully affected.

  122. 122
    Raoul says:

    @Ruckus: I think there is a lot to this. A friend-colleague of mine who is a bit of a thinker on politics, organizing and social movements has trained on a ‘wave theory’ of social change.
    If we look at the conservative wave as having a nadir at Goldwater, and a crest somewhere from the end of St. Reagan to the beginning of Bush II, the Mistakening (we’ll know much better in 20 years what the look back says about the length, strength and peak of the wave), Obama was probably the first significant signal that a liberal wave was rising. But, (see Goldwater above), rising from where, exactly?
    Her theory would suggest that Trump is the final phase of the past GOP frame/wave breaking and foaming out. The decrepit part where “Doing what you always did [aka race baiting, money grubbing from fat cats, manipulating your base for votes and then stiffing them, etc] doesn’t get you what you always got.”
    In this wave theory, she also suggests that we don’t even see exactly what the new frame will be as it’s rising, because we’re too close to it. The Parkland kids could be a powerful signal that the new wave/frame is forming and will start to take hold!

  123. 123
    Fair Economist says:


    I have long thought that if a few of the Sandy Hook parents were willing to Mamie Till their children, that thing would have gotten passed after Sandy Hook.

    Some were. They held open casket funerals like Mamie Till (which must have been torture for them) so people would see what guns do to children.

    The media, of course, refused to publish the pictures. Surprise, surprise.

  124. 124
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @cokane: A while back XKCD did a cartoon comparing the legal and public-opinion trajectory on same-sex marriage with that of interracial marriage.

    The interesting thing is that the change in opinion happened at about the same rate in both cases. The difference is that on interracial marriage the courts and governments were way ahead of the public-opinion curve–Loving was in 1967, and majority approval for white-black marriages didn’t happen until the 1990s. Whereas with same-sex marriage, legalization only started to happen when there was a large constituency approving, and didn’t go nationwide until there was comfortably majority support (after this cartoon was drawn, in fact). It seemed fast because the legal changes happened very late.

  125. 125
    JustRuss says:

    @polyorchnid octopunch: Interesting stuff, how they played “hide the black guy”. But even on the Turkish broadcast they don’t have any closeups of Palmer, while the rest of the band members did to varying degrees.

  126. 126
    randy khan says:

    @Chet Murthy:

    Look at the gigantic crowd of teens at Union Station in DC headed to the US Capitol to protest. Wow. These kids are gonna save us all. #NeverAgain #BanMachineGuns pic.twitter.com/tDjf0Kunan— Scott Dworkin (@funder) February 21, 2018

    I saw a bunch of the teens who went to the protest in the burger place where I went to get lunch this afternoon. I thanked them and said what they were doing was important. I figured they should get outside affirmation for their effort.

  127. 127
    PJ says:

    @polyorchnid octopunch: @Steeplejack: I don’t know where you got the info that Bruce Palmer was black, but, as Steeplejack points out, if he was, he surely could pass better than 90% of most white people. Here are some photos: https://www.google.com/search?q=bruce+palmer+bassist&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwigxuXe5LfZAhXE0VMKHZYDDIMQ_AUICygC&biw=1199&bih=681. No account of the Buffalo Springfield I have ever read mentioned that he was black, which I think would have been significant at the time. (Whereas, with Neil Young’s earlier band, the Mynah Birds, it is always pointed out that the singer was in fact pre-Superfreak Rick James, who was obviously black.) The bass player is probably not shown in the video clip because it was someone sitting in for Palmer – he was deported at least twice back to Canada for drug possession.

  128. 128
    Steeplejack says:


    I didn’t put it into my previous comment, because I thought I was getting into the “beating a dead horse” zone, but Bruce Palmer’s Wikipedia entry says of his early career: “He started out playing in a high school band, which evolved into the successful Robbie Lane & The Disciples, then graduated to a local, otherwise all-black group, fronted by Billy Clarkson.” That would be a strange distinction to make if Palmer was black himself.

    Also, the NNDB article I linked above gives his “race or ethnicity” as white, for whatever that’s worth.

  129. 129
    Steeplejack says:


    It’s two different bands! See above.

  130. 130
    Brachiator says:


    @polyorchnid octopunch: @Steeplejack: I don’t know where you got the info that Bruce Palmer was black, but, as Steeplejack points out, if he was, he surely could pass better than 90% of most white people. Here are some photos

    I got no dog in this fight, but posting up photos is a waste of time.

    I find it a bit interesting that the Wiki notes that in his youth, Palmer played with an “otherwise all-black group, fronted by Billy Clarkson.” This don’t prove jack, but sometimes the truth hides in plain site. A good chunk of black Canadians ended up in Nova Scotia, but I don’t know whether Palmer’s home town of Liverpool had a significant black population.

    So, the claim seems to me to be extremely weak and probably should be forgotten without some real info. But it ain’t impossible.

    Most people don’t know, for example, that Ronnie Spector of the Ronettes had black ancestry and it was not mentioned publicly in her early career.

  131. 131
    Steeplejack says:


    (Now beating the plaque where the dead horse died . . .)

    If Palmer was “passing,” it’s highly unlikely that a busy TV-show producer slotting in a three-minute act would suddenly notice. “Oh, shit, a black guy! Keep the camera off him!”

    The other thing that occurred to me after my first comment is that bassists and drummers are always underrepresented in screen time in videos of the period. The camera focuses on the singer and occasionally the lead guitar player. The others pop up as filler, if at all.

  132. 132
    MoxieM says:

    Thanks TaMara for your whole post, and especially for including old Theodore Parker (who, although a good friend of Frederick Douglass, is not getting talked about more and more….). He’s a bit of a hero of mine.
    Among other things he was a firebrand abolitionist, anti-slavery activist, and often called a heretic for his rational form of religion. He was thrown out of the Unitarian Association of ministers in Boston for it. And he had a way with words. He also coined the phrase that democracy was “government of all the people, by all the people, for all the people”– adapted to great use by Abraham Lincoln, just as the “arc of the moral universe” quote was adapted by MLK.

    I recommend his own work, “On the Permanent and the Transient in Christianity”, as well as Dean Grodzins’s wonderful biography American Heretic

  133. 133
    Ruckus says:

    @Miss Bianca:
    I don’t think this is hightening the differences, I think it’s just the concquences of anything so bad, like racism, taking over, either it has to be stopped early or it will last until it’s blindingly obvious to most everyone. We are now at blindingly fucking obvious.

  134. 134
    Ruckus says:

    Better written but yes this is exactly what I mean.

  135. 135
    Steeplejack says:


    You had a good take. We tried the easy cure—“Take these mild Obamamycin tablets for eight years”—and now we’re at chemo and radiation. “Your hair is gonna fall out and you’re gonna be sick all the time.” So be it.

  136. 136
    Brachiator says:

    @TaMara (HFG): Great post. I will mark it and quote it and return to it.


  137. 137
    Ruckus says:

    Still all and all, your beating the plaque comment is priceless, absolutely priceless.

    It’s not just the chemo and radiation, believe me I know first hand, or the feeling like crap, it’s the “And this all may not actually work in the end,” speech that goes along with it. It’s the doubt and the anxiety.

  138. 138
    Brachiator says:


    If Palmer was “passing,” it’s highly unlikely that a busy TV-show producer slotting in a three-minute act would suddenly notice. “Oh, shit, a black guy! Keep the camera off him!”

    I didn’t remark anything about the camera work. It’s totally irrelevant.

    Somebody noted something about the guy’s ethnicity. It ain’t implausible, but if the claim was based on the camera stuff, then pass me what the guy was smoking.

  139. 139
    Chet Murthy says:

    @TaMara (HFG): TaMara, uh, is there someplace that explains how to embed a tweet? B/c I’d have done that if I knew how. Here’s another I found …. really hopeful and yet still very perceptive (b/c reassuring does not always equal perceptive):

    Gotta say, Republicans & right-wing media are not doing a great job of ensuring that an entire generation doesn’t grow up politically driven & wholly determined to end them. Not a hell of a lot of foresight happening here.— Rebecca Traister (@rtraister) February 21, 2018

  140. 140
    Steeplejack says:


    [. . .] it’s the “And this all may not actually work in the end” speech that goes along with it. It’s the doubt and the anxiety.

    True. All the more reason to do whatever we can.

    ETA: Think I got the “beating the plaque” thing from someone here (maybe burnspbesq?).

  141. 141
    Steeplejack says:


    I didn’t remark anything about the camera work. It’s totally irrelevant.

    I know; I was mostly just adding to my original thoughts.

  142. 142
    Steeplejack says:

    @Chet Murthy:

    Only front-pagers can embed a tweet (or picture or video) the way TaMara did. The rest of us use the link-mo gadget at Twitter to provide the text and a link.

  143. 143
    WaterGirl says:

    @rikyrah: @germy: As I was reading that article about him yesterday I double-checked, and sure enough, this was someone from Russia. I wondered at how he could say all that and let them use his name without being afraid of consequences. I am sorry to see that he has been arrested.

    I hope they don’t torture him before they kill him, and I hope he doesn’t have children. At least it’s not that bad here under Trump, not yet.

  144. 144
    Peter Curtin says:

    Good post, and an excellent reminder of how quickly important things have changed in the past 15 years, despite all thee blood, sweat and tears, and the many years of struggle leading to the change.

    This post reminded me that Barack Obama is the first POTUS my two daughters remember (early teens). I’ve already noticed how profoundly different their generation is than my own (born in the late 1960s), but I can’t really conceive of how they just begin their lives with a different baseline conception of what is “normal” and what is possible. This gives me hope.

  145. 145
    WaterGirl says:

    @Aimai: It broke my heart and made me feel sick when I read yesterday that the parents of one of the Parkland kids fainted when they saw their son’s body.

    He apparently took multiple bullets to the front of his body.

  146. 146
    stinger says:

    @mad citizen:

    Congress passed the Amendment in March 1971, enough states ratified it right away, Nixon signed into law in July 1971

    By contrast, a proposed amendment giving women equal rights under the Constitution was passed by Congress in March 1972. Nearly 46 years later, we still can’t get 38 states to agree to that proposition. Hope I don’t sound bitter.

  147. 147
    Slightly_peeved says:

    I think it made it clear that polite discussion wasn’t the solution. The NRA don’t give a crap how many Americans get killed, and these young women and men are forcing people to address that.

  148. 148
    Peter Curtin says:

    @opiejeanne: I don’t know, but my check’s late.

  149. 149
    Miss Bianca says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Long-dead thread, but OMG I love that idea! : )

    @TaMara (HFG): THanks, think I’ll plan to be there. I know cain was looking for a political event BJ meet-up – maybe this could be the kick start?

  150. 150
    Ruckus says:

    I wasn’t disagreeing with the protests or the kids or the people here.
    I was explaining that when large groups of people have opposing views one side always will dig in and fight, no matter how stupid or how few their actual number is. That’s human nature. People that have invested far too much, time, energy, rational, political stupidity, hate are not going to back down. They have to be shut down. Our current majority crop of national politicians are going to have to be shut down because they are part of the problem, because they have been bought and paid for.
    How does that sound like polite discussion? I think if you ask around or read a lot of what I write, you will notice that politeness really doesn’t describe me very well. I try to be polite but my limits of staying that way are very fucking low. Especially when you are trying to kill me. I take exception to that. I take exception to most people trying to kill most other people. There are exceptions of course, people who really, really should take an early dirt nap or an ocean swim with concrete shoes, preferably out past the 12 mile limit. But mostly that’s because they are trying to be bullies and fuck bullies.

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