Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category

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A Study in Eggplant

October 19, 2012

I am wearing my awesome purple dress today, both because it is awesome, and because it is purple. Today is Spirit Day, a day of awareness of the effects of bullying. In honor thereof, I’m not going  to talk about the presidential race today, because issues that impact the LGBT community are still not accorded their proper due and are being decided piecemeal, state-by-state.

I live in Tennessee, land of “Don’t Say Gay;” home of state lawmakers who try to carve an exception for “faith-based bullying” into anti-bullying measures; and holding pen for lunatic State Rep. Richard Floyd, a man so intensely transphobic he introduced a bill that would make it a crime in Tennessee to use a public restroom or dressing room other than the one designated for the sex on your birth certificate, convinced it is necessary to keep the (heterosexual) public safe. Floyd didn’t’ try to justify his bill with anything OTHER than hate:

“It could happen here,” Floyd said. “I believe if I was standing at a dressing room and my wife or one of my daughters was in the dressing room and a man tried to go in there — I don’t care if he thinks he’s a woman and tries on clothes with them in there — I’d just try to stomp a mudhole in him and then stomp him dryDon’t ask me to adjust to their perverted way of thinking and put my family at risk. We cannot continue to let these people dominate how society acts and reacts. Now if somebody thinks he’s a woman and he’s a man and wants to try on women’s clothes, let him take them into the men’s bathroom or dressing room.”

I had heard of Floyd and his unabashed hatred of the LGBT community, back in January when this bill was proposed. In the interim, he had faded from my consciousness. Like “Don’t Say Gay” and “License to Bully,” the “Bathroom Bill” was introduced, made Tennessee a national (international?) laughingstock, and faded away without becoming state law (thank god). But recently I started working for the campaign of a wonderful State Rep, part of the thin blue line that keeps Rachel Maddow from establishing a permanent Nashville bureau, and I started thinking about what would happen if those bills actually had become law. As I meet with her supporters – union members, leaders in the states LGBT rights movement, and honest-to-god Tennessee feminists – it restores so much of my faith in my home state, and motivates me to work harder to fix our broken state house. Personhood is coming up soon, and we only just beat back a disastrous Alabama-copycat immigration bill, and Richard Floyd is still a sitting rep.

Still, nothing prepared me for how I’d feel after talking to Christy.[1] Christy is a transsexual woman. She works overnight shift at a big box store, and is getting her degree part time. She’s on Metro buses two and half hours a day because she can’t afford a car. She has midterms next week. And yet she was desperate to find a way to work for my candidate, because my candidate has worked so hard for her, and people like her. As we tried to find a way that she could help in spite of her crazy schedule, our conversation turned to the horror of some of the bills proposed in our legislature last term. Christy’s voice broke when she spoke of Richard “Stomp ‘em” Floyd, and suddenly I saw all of this in a different light. I’m pretty empathetic, and of course I had been horrified and outraged at Floyd’s hateful words, but I wasn’t hurt by them, as Christie was. Richard Floyd is an elected official of my home state, and he feels it’s okay to threaten violence against people different from him. He feels its okay to ridicule and slander the LGBT community. He uses his position to spew hatred, and his power to try to enshrine bigotry into our laws. His legislation is aimed at humiliating people like Christy, and his words are aimed at negating her right to exist. One of these people is a sick, festering sore on humanity, and it ISN’T the woman riding the bus home at dawn to crash for a couple of hours before going to classes, who only wants to be left in peace.

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I am a straight ally, and I stand against state-sponsored bullying. I am a straight ally, and I stand against lawmakers who work to make bigotry and prejudice the law of the land. So today I’m wearing my awesome purple dress for Christy. I am working extra hard at getting my candidate elected. Christy is making phone calls for my candidate when she has a few minutes to spare in her crazy day. I am a straight ally, and I will do whatever I can to make my state a better place for all of its people.


[1] “Christy” is not her real name; I don’t know her personally, and so don’t want to say anything that could come back to hurt her. This is also why I’m not naming my candidate by name here; these are my opinions alone.

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He Really Does Think He Built That (The Problem with Romney’s Money, part 1)

September 24, 2012

First things first: I don’t have a problem with wealthy people. I certainly don’t think being wealthy disqualifies a person from being a great leader; some of our most accomplished Presidents have come from money. The Kennedys were practically gilded, and yet they were compassionate leaders, concerned with the welfare of the whole nation. So why is Mitt Romney’s wealth so troubling? The problem is not that he is an enormously, astonishingly wealthy man – it’s the attitude he has towards his wealth, and the way it has shaped his world view. There are several different facets of this: entitlement, obliviousness, and a lack of empathy, bordering on scorn  – aka, “I built it,” “Let them eat cake,” and “These are people who think they’re entitled to health care, to food, to housing!”

I Built It! Mine! Mine! All Mine! I Owe the World NOTHING!

I’ve been meaning to write about Romney’s overwhelming sense of entitlement for a while now, and his remarks in the video leaked last week presented the perfect opportunity, but there was so much else there to address… News marches on. Romney was on 60 Minutes last night, saying more ridiculous, unforgivable things. Still, I really need to say my last word on the fundraiser video – I have to address the line that upset me more than all the rest. It’s a nothing line, in some ways, part of his introduction before he takes questions. It certainly hasn’t gotten the press that his infamous “47 percent” remark did:

By the way, both my dad and Ann’s dad did quite well in their life, but when they came to the end of their lives, and, and passed along inheritances to Ann and to me, we both decided to give it all away. So, I had inherited nothing. Everything that Ann and I have we earned the old-fashioned way, and that’s by hard work.

Full transcript at Mother Jones.

I don’t doubt that Romney gave away his inheritance from his father, let’s be clear. (Though it is incredibly charitable of me to trust anything he says, given his habit of lying about anything and everything.) By the time his father passed away in 1995, Mitt was already a multi-millionaire. What boggles my mind is that Mitt doesn’t see the privilege that has shaped every moment of his life. He takes full credit for his own success. In most people, this would just be obnoxious and narcissistic, but given that he’s running for president it becomes more troubling. By being blind to his own privilege, Romney is oblivious to the realities that constrain and obstruct the lives of the other 99 percent of the American people. I’m not begrudging Mitt Romney his wealth, just his inability to acknowledge that he was dealt a very good hand.

So what if he didn’t inherit huge sums of money? He grew up here:

He went to private prep school before attending Brigham Young University and then Harvard, and then embarked on his illustrious career bleeding other people’s businesses dry for huge personal profits. (If you haven’t read Matt Taibbi’s excellent article in Rolling Stone about Romney’s career at Bain, stop, drop everything, and read it now. Then share it with everyone you know who thinks Romney would be good for America because he understands business.) Did he work his ass off, in school and in business? Absolutely. Did the fact that his father was George Romney – wealthy automobile executive, former Governor of Michigan, serious contender for the Presidency – open doors for him every step of the way? Of course. To say nothing of all the doors that simply are open to handsome, rich white men in our society and are locked or even invisible to the rest of  us. To acknowledge only his own effort, and not the privilege he was born into, or luck along the way, is to pretend that everyone has the same opportunities.

This is important to understanding the Republican’s mentality this year. They designed their entire convention around intentionally misunderstanding Obama’s suggestion that they didn’t build their fortunes alone, as if existing in a society is an anathema to them. I suppose it is. Society requires sacrifice, shared goals, compromise, and a sense of responsibility for one another. The GOP prefers the radical Randian vision of extreme social Darwinism – the poor don’t deserve a hand up; they had the same chance as anyone. Look at Mitt Romney, after all. He didn’t have any help from his dad, but he worked hard, and now he’s a billionaire! Why can’t you do that, kids growing up in the projects? Why don’t you start an investment firm, single mother of three? Why aren’t you growing your stock portfolio, college graduate who pays a thousand dollars a month in student loan debt?

It’s slander. Slander against the millions of people who work day and night at crap jobs and still can’t cover their basic needs. Slander against immigrants – documented or undocumented – who work backbreaking days harvesting crops so that all of us can eat. Slander against their bright, articulate children who have no chance to go to college because they fear deportation for themselves or their parents. Slander against people who worked for forty years for a company just to see their 401K evaporate in a Wall Street shell game. Slander against every single person who didn’t have the keys to Wall Street handed to them as a birthright. But Mitt Romney really doesn’t see it that way.

“Oh, you were born with a silver spoon,” you know, “You never had to earn anything,” and so forth. And, and frankly, I was born with a silver spoon, which is the greatest gift you could have, which is to get born in America. I’ll tell ya, there is—95 percent of life is set up for you if you’re born in this country. 

Yes – yes, it is, but it isn’t set up the same for everyone. I don’t think Mitt Romney can accept that, anymore than his super-wealthy donors can. They peevishly need to believe they are entitled to have so much more than the rest of us by virtue of their hard work – even if their wealth came at the cost of thousands of jobs lost for other Americans (seriously, go read that Rolling Stone article). The “ruling class” used to have some sense of responsibility toward their community, some sense of true citizenship, that they’ve lost. They don’t want legacies anymore, they simply want more for themselves. They can’t even acknowledge the unevenness of the playing field, because that would challenge their sense of entitlement. No, they insist, THEY built that, and don’t you dare suggest they don’t deserve every blessed penny of it.

Romney/Ryan 2012: All the Noblesse, None of the Oblige.

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View Inside the Bubble

September 19, 2012

I just listened to the entire video of Mitt Romney’s remarks at a fundraiser in Florida, not out of masochism, but because I knew I’d be missing something important if I just read the transcript. There were certain specific lines I want to write about, but for today, I’m just struck by the surreal setting. A privileged group of people have convened in a palatial private home, eating a fine, fine dinner (reference is made again and again to the excellence of the food). They have paid $50,000 each for the right to hear and to talk to a Presidential candidate. $50,000 is the median household income in this country. They banter with Romney, he calls on them by name as he’s taking questions. Several commentators have noted that in this video, Romney sounds more relaxed and less robotic, and they’re right. This Romney is completely at ease; he cracks jokes (about undocumented immigrants), and laughs at the audience’s jokes (about Elizabeth Warren). This is his world, these are his people.

It was his second such fundraiser that day. Ann Romney was in Texas, at a similar fundraiser. At one point on the video, he states, “[on] a typical day,… I do three or four events like this.” This is what campaigning is, now. It’s not just Republicans, by any stretch. President Obama attended two fundraisers in New York yesterday – one with a price of $12,500 per family, the other hosted by Jay Z and Beyonce, at a cost of $40,000 per person.

I knew this. And you know this. We know that politicians – ALL politicians – complain that all of their time is consumed in fundraising, rather than more productive pursuits like meeting with regular constituents, writing intelligent bills, trying to break logjams in the legislature. I was always focused on the corruption that’s possible when you depend so much on people giving you money. What I didn’t grasp was that it’s so very very insular, and how damaging that can be to a politician’s understanding of the world. Hyper-wealthy people speaking to other hyper-wealthy people who all already agree with them. The people in the Mother Jones video have no concept of living paycheck-to-paycheck. They don’t KNOW anyone who does. They cannot fathom what the economic collapse of 2008 did to American families. They simply do not understand what it means to a middle-class family when the major breadwinner loses his or her job, and they see their lifesavings evaporate as they try to find work. They have no idea what it feels like to have no savings, no retirement plan, and no way pay for your kids’ college that doesn’t involve loading them with crippling debt. Full-time work at minimum wage leaves people well below the poverty line, yet the individuals who have all of the candidates’ time and attention are the very ones who send jobs overseas to avoid paying employees a living wage here. No wonder Romney found it so easy to dismiss those who receive any federal funds – no one he ever interacts with understands what it’s like to need help to feed your children. Instead, Romney and his donors have an overwhelming sense of entitlement, and the horrifically skewed perspective that comes with that. They speak the clubby language of wealth and self-congratulations, and eventually, that becomes they only language they can understand.

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Which 47%, Exactly?!?

September 18, 2012

By now, you’ve all heard or read the heinous remarks Mitt Romney made at a fundraiser in Boca. Everyone from David Brooks to the Daily Kos has weighed in on his remarks about the 47%. What surprises me, though, is that almost no one is untangling Mitt’s logic and pointing out that he’s talking about apples and oranges and bananas as if they were all grapefruit.

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax… My job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

What’s remarkable is not that Romney wrote off half the country (we knew that); what’s remarkable is that the mystical 47% refers, in the course of six sentences, to three very different things – Obama’s base, people receiving some form of government assistance, and finally to those who pay no federal income tax. Romney is referring to these as if they were all exactly the same thing, and of course, they AREN’T. But why would he do that? Look at the points one by one:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. It’s true. It’s also true that a similar percentage is locked and loaded for the GOP; there are far fewer “undecideds” in this race than in the past. This is the argument Romney fell back on in defending these statements to the press: he’s not trying to win over this 47%, he’s trying to appeal to the five-to-seven percent who still are undecided. There’s nothing inflammatory about this at all, it’s conventional wisdom that this election belongs to the candidate who turns out his base and captures enough undecided voters to close it out.

“All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement.” Wait – what?!?!? According to a libertarian think-tank at George Mason University, nearly half of American households receive some kind of government assistance. That includes food stamps and housing assistance, to be sure, but it also includes Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, as well as unemployment benefits. It includes all of the elderly who paid into the system all of their working lives, and are now receiving what they are, yes, entitled to. Yet Romney states this as if the “47 percent who are with [Obama]” is the same as the 47% “dependent upon government.” This clearly untrue. Many middle class and and wealthy voters receive no government assistance and yet support Obama, including me. More tellingly, large numbers of the working poor who receive some government aid still vote for Republicans. Some of them really do believe in trickle-down economics, despite decades of proof that it doesn’t work. Some of them are single-issue values voters, who will never vote for anyone pro-choice, or pro-marriage-equality. And some of them simply have what one article (the one link I can’t find) recently called  “a deep-seated personal antipathy towards Obama,” which is a really nice way of saying they are racist. In any case, there’s no truth to the idea that Obama’s base is entirely composed of those who receive benefits, or that those who receive benefits will automatically vote for him.

(No. I’m not even going to TOUCH the hateful assertion that those receiving government benefits “believe they are victims” or won’t “take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” I know Mitt Romney lives in a gilded bubble, and that he was speaking to a room full of similarly insulated hyper-wealthy individuals, but this is so desperately insulting to working people, to the elderly, and to our nation as a whole that it makes my brain explode. I’m saving that for tomorrow.)

These are people who pay no income tax.” There is quite a bit of overlap between those who receive government benefits and those who pay no taxes, simply because our tax system is (sanely and humanely) structured to limit the tax burden on the very poor. So yes, many elderly people receiving social security pay no income taxes. Many working class families pay income taxes and then receive a full refund because the standard deductions cover their liability. But you know who else doesn’t pay income taxes? Students working part-time while they go through college. U.S. soldiers in combat zones. Oh, and of course, Mitt Romney and the thousands of other households in the top 3% of incomes who manage to zero-out their taxes with deductions, credits, and manipulation.

The sad fact is, Romney is conflating these three ideas – Obama’s base, those receiving federal aid, and those who pay no taxes – for a simple and craven reason. This is their narrative, repeated again and again at the Values Voters Summit this past weekend:

“There’s a growing segment of the American population that is dependent on government funds and largesse,” says Dean Welty, an activist from Virginia. “Many of them give the Obama administration credit for that. We have the largest number of people on welfare we’ve ever had. We have the largest number of people on unemployment. It’s not good for the country, but it’s good for Obama.”

and again, from The Slate,

“Forty-seven million on food stamps and the regime is advertising for more,” said [Rush] Limbaugh in July. “We have 47, 48 percent who pay no income taxes. We have 3 million more off the unemployment rolls and on the disability rolls, and they all vote.”

Romney was speaking directly to this Republican narrative, stoking the fears of those who believe our black president is willfully destroying the economy to create a culture of dependence to expand his base. In this hateful scenario, Obama voters are all welfare queens, living off hardworking folks like you and me. They contribute NOTHING, they don’t even pay taxes, they refuse to take responsibility for themselves, and that’s the culture this president encourages….

It’s a sad and horrifying mash-up of Ayn-Randian narcissism, paranoia, and racism. It’s the crudest, basest dog-whistle, but it works, apparently even with multi-millionaires. I suppose they too may have “deep-seated personal antipathy” towards President Obama.

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Post-Convention Euphoria

September 7, 2012

Now THAT was a speech. I guess we got spoiled in 2008, when Obama trotted out a new, moving speech for every primary win… but I’d forgotten what this felt like – to truly believe that the man running for President really understood my values, my concerns, my hopes for the best in this nation. But now that he’s the POTUS, it seems all I’ve heard about is the Republican ticket. Attacks on women’s reproductive rights, vitriol over gays in the military, the promise to end Obamacare, the pledge to enshrine intolerance in our Constitution. And lies upon lies upon lies. Lies about Medicare, lies about taxes, lies about the President’s record, and lies about their own records. I don’t know what it’s like, experiencing a national election from a blue state, but here in Tennessee it gets scary. Sometimes it seems that no one in public life is willing to stand up with the President and embrace what he’s done, to be openly liberal and proud of it. To represent what Howard Dean once called “The Democratic wing of the Democratic party.”

Word cloud of Obama’s speech to the DNC (click to enlarge)

I was reminded of the euphoria I felt when Obama was elected. Not just the joy that came from having worked so hard for this result; I felt, for a moment, as if people like me were in the majority, for the first time in my adult life. People who wanted opportunities for advancement to be open to all in the United States, people who believe that the government can make a positive difference in people’s lives. People who believed that no one should be without a safe home or adequate food and medical care – that our society should provide a floor through which we let no one fall, and a ladder to help them achieve more. People who believe that we are all created equal and all deserve dignity and respect in our society, regardless of race or disability or sexual orientation or financial portfolio… This speech brought that back to me. Others set the tone so beautifully – Clinton debunked the Republican lies, Biden reminded us just how good Obama is at the hardest job in the nation – but Barack Obama did what he does best. Put our hopes into words, our faith in our country into sharp focus. Highlighted our potential for greatness, brought out the best in our nation. I’ve been struggling to articulate what is so obviously wrong with the GOP platform this year – it lacks empathy, it lacks inclusion… but there was something more I couldn’t name. And Obama named it. CITIZENSHIP. The idea that we have responsibilities, as well as rights, and that through our government, we work together for the good of our community.

[W]e also believe in something called citizenship, a word at the very heart of our founding, at the very essence of our democracy; the idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another, and to future generations.

We believe that when a CEO pays his autoworkers enough to buy the cars that they build, the whole company does better. We believe that when a family can no longer be tricked into signing a mortgage they can’t afford, that family is protected, but so is the value of other people’s homes, and so is the entire economy. We believe the little girl who’s offered an escape from poverty by a great teacher or a grant for college could become the next Steve Jobs, or the scientist who cures cancer, or the President of the United States, and it’s in our power to give her that chance….

Because — because in America, we understand that this democracy is ours.

We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which asks only what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.

As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. That’s what we believe.

(full transcript at The Washington Post)

That’s what being a Democrat is all about. And we should never be ashamed of it. We ask for common sacrifice for the common good. We don’t hate business, or stifle success – we breed success by fostering dignity and opportunity. I feel at home again, back in the Democratic wing of the Democratic party. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

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Post Labor Day Labor Post

September 4, 2012

We’re really good at forgetting our history in this country. Labor Day is hardly more than 100 years old, and yet the Republican party freely attacks unions and workplace regulations in its platform. It’s the line they’ve been pushing for years – unions drive up wages “artificially,” protect bad workers, and make America uncompetitive. Regulations are too burdensome, they hurt business, they aren’t “cost-effective” because they place higher value on workers’ health than on profit margins. Wall Street’s shell games destroyed our economy, but somehow unions and regulations are the real culprits.

We demand an end to the Project Labor Agreements; and we call for repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act, which costs the taxpayers billions of dollars annually in artificially high wages on government projects. We support the right of States to enact Right-to-Work laws and encourage them to do so to promote greater economic liberty. Ultimately, we support the enactment of a National Right-to-Work law to promote worker freedom and to promote greater economic liberty.

“Right-to-Work” sounds lovely – until you look at the history of the labor movement in this country. For a very long time (until 1937), our Supreme Court believed that workers have a “right to contract” for their labor, much like the current “right to work.” “Right to Work” means that you can be hired without joining the union or receiving the benefits of its contracts. “Right to contract”  made any laws or regulations or union activities that affected wages, hours, or working conditions illegal. The basic idea is the same – if you are willing to work for less pay, for longer hours, in more dangerous conditions, that’s between you and your boss, not the government, not the union. But both “right to work” and “right to contract” are based on a lie – the idea that a worker can hold out for the right wage, hours, and conditions. Anyone who’s ever been unemployed for more than three months knows exactly how a bad labor market affects your standards. So wages were always kept low, especially for unskilled workers ; there was always someone willing to work for less. That is exactly what the GOP platform is trying to take us back to: a labor market where workers have no protections, from law or from unions.

The only thing worse than unions is regulation. The GOP platform specifically calls for reining in “the EPA’s and OSHA’s overreaching regulation agenda.”

The bottom line on regulations is jobs. In listening to America, one constant we have heard is the job-crippling effect of even well-intentioned regulation. That makes it all the more important for federal agencies to be judicious about the impositions they create on businesses, especially small businesses. We call for a moratorium on the development of any new major and costly regulations until a Republican Administration reviews existing rules to ensure that they have a sound basis in science and will be cost-effective.

A reminder: these “job-crippling” regulations often are designed to protect people from being crippled on the job. They exist to ensure that those who work with hazardous materials are outfitted properly so that they don’t become ill. They exist to ensure that waste from manufacturing doesn’t poison our drinking water. They exist so that we never have another Triangle Shirtwaist fire in this country. Yes, all of these things cut into profit margins – which is exactly why we use the government to regulate them.

People died for the right to unionize. People died for want of workplace regulations. Grover Cleveland created Labor Day in an attempt to win back votes from the working class after federal troops had killed 13 workers and injured 57 in breaking up the Pullman Railroad strike. Siding with the workers during that strike, a Methodist minister from Montana, J. W. Jennings, railed against the government’s strikebreaking: the government, he said, should protect “the rights of the people against aggression and oppressive corporations;” but instead, our leaders were “the pliant tools of the codfish monied aristocracy who seek to dominate this country.” It’s still true, over a hundred years later. Corporations do not need relief from necessary regulations, and people in the working class do not need the “right” to work for less money. And a vote for the GOP is now, more than ever, a vote for “the pliant tools of the codfish monied aristocracy.”

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The GOP Wakes Up with the Fleas

August 29, 2012

There was a time, not very long ago, when bigoted people in this country tried to hide their racism. They recognized that it was something appalling, something people would judge them for and find them wanting. They still believed they were absolutely right in their hatred, of course, but there was enough pressure from right-thinking people that it was kept quiet, expressed only in places where you knew you were “safe” to be your backward, Neanderthal, racist self. The Republican establishment fed Southern whites’ resentment against the Civil Rights Act with code words and dog whistles until the Solid South turned solidly Republican – but again, it was done through code, transparent as it may have been. On the surface, Republicans were professional and civilized and would have been shocked (SHOCKED!) at the suggestion that they were stoking racial fears. The problem with rabble-rousing, though, is that eventually you end up with a lot of highly agitated rabble who don’t just sit quietly – they make a scene, and feel great about it. That’s what we’re witnessing in Tampa.

 

 

That clip has been interpreted differently by people who were there. The reporter from Harper’s Magazine saw it as an ugly show of immigrant-bashing, while Buzzfeed asserts the crowd wasn’t reacting to the heavily-accented Latina at the podium at all; instead, it was trying to drown out the Ron Paul supporters. For my part, I can maybe believe that it may have started out as Buzzfeed suggests (though “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!” seems an odd choice for people arguing about rules changes), but I’m sure that most of those who joined in were directing it at Puerto Rican woman on the dias. Reince Priebus, at least, recognized that this might not be the image his party wants on television – but it’s a bit too late for that. For decades, the Republican party has courted, cajoled, and condoned unapologetic racists, and fed them a diet of conspiracy and paranoia. You reap what you sow. You sow hatred of women, gays, blacks, homosexuals, Muslims, Jews, the poor, the highly educated… and you end up with a party full of hateful, angry, scared, ugly, stupid people, shouting down the Gentlelady from Puerto Rico. It’s your party. Cry if you want to.