So, here we are…
It’s 2016, and we are officially in the midst of the World’s Greatest Sh*t Show. Just when you thought we couldn’t get more ass-backwards, just when you thought we couldn’t be more divided… the ‘Outrage Pimps’ of America have fecalized us, and we all have our hands in the air as this big brown rollercoaster circles the drain.
Seriously. What in the ever-loving f*ck happened to us? What happened to the folks representing us who reside in the political middle? I know, I know… You’re tired of hearing about it. You’re tired of reading about it. You’re tired of watching it on TV. I am too. I’ve been completely unable to write about the sh*t show because I’ve been paralyzed by the one-two punch of disgust and awe.
I don’t even know where to start. I don’t know how to start. Everything is deemed inflammatory. The problem with everything being deemed inflammatory is that the bullshit that’s been labeled as such is lumped in with that which should actually inflame us. We have no way to address the issues.
Look at gun control… You can’t talk about it, even though 90+% of our country thinks we need to make it more difficult for those who intend to do harm with firearms to obtain them. If I bring it up, I’m coming for your guns. If I state that, in my opinion, open-carry of semi-automatic weapons is a bad idea, I’m coming for your guns. If I state that I don’t want college students carrying concealed weapons, I’m coming for your guns. I own several guns. I want to keep them. But if someone were to offer me evidence that an additional step could be added that might be a slight, momentary inconvenience… and that step would save lives… I’m in. Sign me up. Do I know the answer? No, because we can’t have the conversation. The gun lobby is full of outrage pimps that shut the whole prospect of a conversation down. And they don’t shut it down in a minor way. They get you pissed off. They get you to shut down the conversation for them on every social media outlet available. And then we just kick back and watch the violence unfold before us on a daily basis. Sure, they agree there’s a mental health element, and that we should do something about that, but then what do they do? They just get you pissed off again. It’s actually a brilliant business model for them, because it creates a market frenzy for firearm purchases.
Then we have healthcare… I’ll tell you up front, I’m not a fan of Obamacare. I don’t think it makes sense for employers to be involved in the process. It’s another layer of bureaucracy. But I lean left on this one. I support a single payer system. What happens when we say something like this aloud, though? Here come the outrage pimps. “It’s Socialism!” they all scream. Well, yes, just like public education, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and countless other things… It’s what countries do when they evolve to something greater. They take care of their people. It’s called compassion. But we don’t have to agree. I may not be right. I’m open to the conversation, and I’m willing to adjust my viewpoint. But I can’t have the conversation. Because at this point in the essay, I’m a socialist who wants to take your guns.
And then we move to foreign policy… Who should we bomb, and when? Should we continue to arm and train rebels that hate us because the people they’re fighting hate us more, only to fight the rebels we armed a few years down the line? Is this interventionist policy something that’s gotten away from us? Has it fixed anything at all? Half of our country still supports the invasion of Iraq, even doubling down and saying they’d do it all over again if they had to, regardless of the fact that most world leaders deem this the worst American foreign policy disaster in history. We have to keep our military budget as bloated as possible, spending billions on obsolete programs instead of infrastructure. But what happens when we try to have this talk? Aren’t we adults? Don’t we care about our service men and women? Why can’t we talk about it? Because talking about it means I’m weak on foreign policy. It means we won’t stand by our allies. It means we’re making America weak. I just want our leaders to explore if there’s a better alternative. I can’t say it, though, because I’m a socialist who wants to take your guns and abandon our allies.
How about police brutality against black people? Can we talk about this one? No. Not just no, but HELL NO. Both sides will take you down on this one. The problem with this one is that you can either support your police officers, or you can think there is police brutality against black people disproportionate to the amount against other races. One of my best friends is a cop. There’s no way in hell you’ll get me to talk poorly of that profession. I put our police on the same pedestal as soldiers. They risk their lives for our safety, and they do so by choice. They sacrifice their lives daily for us. This is not up for debate. Yet if I say that, I hate black people. Is there an issue out there with some police officers? Yes. Not most of them… not by a long shot… but there is obviously an issue. It’s a deep issue. It runs throughout our justice system. We have to fix it. But don’t ask me to disparage all police officers, or put them all in one boat. That’s an action that’s equally disgusting to me as some police officers targeting minorities. It should be possible to support our brave men and women in police uniforms well as fight for justice for minority groups being targeted. But we can’t. Our leaders will sick their outrage pimps on you. Then you’ll end up like me: a socialist who wants to take your guns and abandon our allies while simultaneously hating both police officers and black people.
Can we talk about gay rights? Can we talk about my cousin, a gay dude who’s a total badass of a guy that served his country in the armed forces? Can we talk about his freedom to marry? No, we can’t. That’s because his ability to have the same rights and freedoms as the rest of us means that your religious freedoms are being trampled on. Because my cousin wants equal rights, the outrage pimps have convinced many that they will no longer be able to sell wedding cakes unless we want them covered in the tears of Jesus, and their kids will almost certainly become infected with ‘the gay’ and end up showering at school with transgendered people. So what does that make me? That’s easy. It makes me a socialist who wants to take your guns and abandon our allies while simultaneously hating both police officers and black people while trampling on your religious liberty and making your kids take gay school locker-room showers with transgendered people.
But if you REALLY want the outrage pimps aligned against you, try showing compassion for immigrants. See how fast it takes someone to say, “We should take care of our own first!” Yes, because nothing says ‘taking care of our own’ like denying healthcare, entrapping generations in predatory lending via student loans, attempting to make both the minimum wage and social programs disappear, ignoring our wounded veterans while continuing to ship them off to unjust and never-ending wars, and so on… We don’t take care of our own. In fact, we get pissed off at people and slap them down when they ask for a hand up. I guess that thinking such a culture would honor the inscription on the Statue of Liberty is preposterous. That’s just not us anymore. It doesn’t matter if your family is fleeing the most treacherous conditions known to man… It doesn’t matter if your government is killing people just like you and your family, and you’ll have to watch your children become emaciated or blown to bits. F*ck you. You’re not one of us. If we let you in, you’ll rape and kill us. You’ll send your kids to our schools. Go home! Right? Right. Yeah, I can’t have that talk either. I’m a socialist who wants to take your guns and abandon our allies while simultaneously hating both police officers and black people, trampling on your religious liberty and making your kids take gay school locker-room showers with transgendered people, and thinking you should be raped by immigrants.
So anyhow, that’s me. That’s what you’re programmed to think. That’s how you’re programmed to react. That’s what I am to be labeled the moment I punch the ‘publish’ button on this essay. I’m a socialist who wants to take your guns and abandon our allies while simultaneously hating both police officers and black people, trampling on your religious liberty and making your kids take gay school locker-room showers with transgendered people, and thinking you should be raped by immigrants. It sounds ridiculous, right? It should. But for too much of our country, it doesn’t sound crazy at all. Just watch the presidential debates. That’s exactly what they’re saying. Our candidates have mastered the art of Outrage Pimpery. And one stands high above them all.
I am absolutely baffled every single day that a sizable portion of the Republican populace has rallied around a man that has achieved Outrage Pimp Master Level V. I’m baffled that, sprinkled amongst the masses of racist, illiterate and unintelligent Trump supporters lie a few groupings of otherwise intelligent folks. Trump has mastered the outrage. He has tapped into it. And his supporters don’t care if he denigrates women, POW’s, the handicapped, and immigrants. They don’t care that he’s slow to speak poorly of the KKK and claims ignorance of David Duke, a very racist man he knew of quite well. They don’t care that he has vowed to kill the innocent families of people who turned to terrorism. They don’t care that he’s a huckster who scammed $40 million from folks who enrolled in Trump University, and left them nothing in return. They just don’t care. He’s tapped into the outrage. And the scariest thing is when we hear his supporters say, “He just says what we’re all thinking.” F*ck no, he doesn’t. He says what racists and those in awe of their opposable thumbs are thinking. He pisses everyone else off. Unfortunately, they like that about him. I can appreciate wanting a self-financed businessman in office… but there’s always the option of picking one that isn’t a bigoted scam-artist f*cking douchebag. Just so you know.
So, here I am… Matthew S. Hiley… a socialist who wants to take your guns and abandon our allies while simultaneously hating both police officers and black people, trampling on your religious liberty and making your kids take gay school locker-room showers with transgendered people, and thinking you should be raped by immigrants. It’s too much to put on a business card, so I’ll call it what it is… I’m a moderate. And I’m tired of being insulted by the wingnuts in both parties because they’re unwilling to have honest discourse (one FAR more than the other). They’re unwilling because they have to sell their outrage. Outrage wins elections. Mr. Trump is proving this at a rate never before seen. He’s building his kingdom on bullsh*t, and half the country is buying the bricks. Almost nothing he says is even remotely attainable, and yet they keep handing him the bricks. One might normally refer to these folks as gullible idiots sporting an alarming lack of cognitive reasoning. With few exceptions, one might be very right.
This is usually the point in an essay where the author offers a solution, or draws things together somehow with a pathway leading toward the light. That’s not what’s happening here though. The only thing I can offer is this: Most people know right from wrong. With some people, religion or spirituality offers guidance in situations such as this. For others, they just need time to process things that are said to form an opinion. So do what you need to do… think, pray, sacrifice a goat, I don’t give a sh*t. Just think about right vs. wrong. Use your f*cking brain. Think about things from a moral perspective, and vote accordingly. I know with certainty that if Jesus were alive and in America, he would first flip off and then b*tch-slap Donald Trump. And then he wouldn’t vote for him. I would hope that everyone else would do the same.
Stop buying into the outrage, people. Just be a good person, and vote accordingly. That’s the best way to make America great again.