Normal is a fairytale we tell to children

I posted something on Twitter the other day, some joke about how hilarious it would be if Trump and Pence both went down simultaneously on impeachment charges and we wound up with Paul Ryan as president. It just brought to mind this mental image of that Australian speed skater who won a gold medal by being the only person who didn’t fall down in the giant dogpile right before the finish line.

And then some guy replied that there would be nothing funny about a Paul Ryan presidency.

I’m not really mad at the guy, because obviously he’s right, a Ryan presidency would be shitty, because Ryan is the vapid love-child of Ayn Rand and P90X.

But can we laugh again? That’s a serious question. Are we allowed to laugh? Are we allowed to find humor in the world, even when everything is shitty? Because I am telling you that everything is shitty and has been shitty and will be shitty for a long time to come. A long time to come. The fissures opening in our polity are Mount Doom-sized, and you better not hold your breath waiting for Sam Gamgee to show up with that ring.

And yet I get this sense from a lot of people that they’re just waiting until the current crisis is over so that they can go back to the way things were before. Back to normal, you might say. I sort of remember thinking that for a while after 9/11 too, like, woo-ee, it looks like Congress is allowing a lot of crazy shit to pass right now, but we’re all living in a fever dream of grief and vengeance. Surely when it fades, everything will go back to normal, right?

Nothing ever goes back to normal. It didn’t then and it won’t now. And you can either decide that you are going to wear sackcloth and ashes and live your life in mourning for normalcy, or you can share a fucking laugh with your friends every once in a while and act like you are a human being with a life to live.

Which you are.

This is where I’m supposed to say “but of course don’t forget to call your Congressperson about important legislation.” I’m not going to say that (I sort of just did, but ignore that) because calling your congressperson is not the price you have to pay for living as a complete human being. It may be the price you have to pay for living in a society that isn’t going to shit. That I will grant you. But I think sometime real soon here we need to take off the sackcloth and remember to live our lives, because this year is not a year you are getting back once things return to normal, which they won’t. This year you get once. Last year you got once.

Make the most of it.

A bad thing happened in the US Senate

Recently in the US Senate, Republicans proposed a terrible piece of legislation that will hurt people, disproportionately poor and minorities. It was badly-written and poorly-thought-out, and it was rushed through approval without giving sufficient time for debate or amendment. When asked why they were doing this, some of them smiled and lied and said they thought it was good policy. Some were more honest and said that they are beholden to their donors, and this is what their donors want.

There was general public outrage, and an exhausted populace phoned their elected representatives over and over again, pleading with them to do right by their constituents. We cannot keep doing this, they said into the phones. Please do not make us keep doing this. We are exhausted.

But the wheels of the machine churned on, unthinking and uncaring about what, or who, was being ground beneath it on the tracks.

Uneasy Republicans mounted shaky defenses of this in their friends’ Facebook posts and in other public fora. Well, they say, what about that other time when something got passed that I didn’t like? This is the same as that.

It’s not the same as that. We all know. The senators know, the staffers know, the lobbyists know, your Facebook friends know. It’s not the same at all.

But the wheels grind on, and we will be back here again, and again, and again.

I’ve left the specifics out so that I can just reuse this the next time it happens. Maybe next week. Maybe tomorrow.