Have You Ever Noticed?

This has been getting a lot of play on twitter today.

Have you ever noticed that the biggest assholes in government are always the czars? That’s because most of policy czars are people who the president wanted to be appoint to an official post but, because they’re all almost uniformly assholes, it was realized that they would never be able to get Senate confirmation. So, they became czars. Most of them don’t have any real power but they do get to go on the morning shows and pretend to be experts.

What I know is that my family sacrificed. My friends sacrificed. Jobs were lost. Businesses were closed. People stood by helplessly as their loved ones died alone. You want to talk about COVID and how the American people responded? You need to talk about the people who suffered and who did what they were told to do and who were constantly scolded by the media and who watched as the rich and powerful continually skirted the restrictions that they insisted everyone else had to follow. You need to talk about the people who went through this and somehow did it all without losing their minds. A lot was demanded of the American people over the past year and a half and the majority of them did the best that they could and they’re still hurting as a result. Would a little gratitude be out of order? Maybe give the scolding a rest and just say, “Thank you, we know it’s been hard?”

So many of the people who are still scolding Americans for “not sacrificing enough” are the people who haven’t really had to sacrifice anything.

Who Trusts The Media?

This is is from FiveThirtyEight and it reveals what everyone already knew. Republicans don’t trust the media at all. Democrats do trust the media, though I think that number will go down as the Biden administration continues to stumble forward. The truly interesting number is that only 36% of independents have a “great deal” or “fair amount of trust” in the media.

The media, of course, has no one to blame for this but themselves. Even as I sit here writing this, 60 Minutes is getting called out for deceptively editing a story about the vaccine rollout in Florida. At a press conference, the reporter from 60 Minutes more or less accused DeSantis of giving Publix preferential treatment because Publix donated to his campaign. (Publix is one of the biggest stores in Florida and, like most corporations, it donated to both Republicans and Democrats in 2018.)

Below is transcript of the conversation. Everything in bold was edited out when the story aired on 60 Minutes last night:

It’s hard not to get the feeling that DeSantis is being targeted because he’s currently the prohibitive favorite to receive the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 and also because much of the media seems to be determined to prove that red states like Florida and Texas have screwed up their handling of the pandemic just as much as Andrew Cuomo did in New York. That’s not the type of behavior that’s going to restore trust in the media.

The truth is that we need to be able to have faith in our media. One reason why this pandemic has been so much harder on people than many of the other crises this country has been through is because no one knows who to trust. Both the media and the government have proven themselves far too quick to lie to promote a narrative and protect their own power. As a result, the people have no one to whom they can look without skepticism. The people feel like no one is on their side and that leaves them open to being manipulated by every demagogue with a national platform.

America has been on a dangerous path for a while. I’m not sure how much longer we can continue to walk down it.

A Short Review of Biden’s Speech

Biden’s speech last night was strange.  At the time, it seemed to be just another Joe Biden word salad but it’s left with me with a bitter aftertaste.  I think a lot of us were either so amazed or so relieved that Biden’s still able to read a teleprompter that we initially overlooked the scolding tone of the speech.  And yet this morning, it’s the scolding that most of us are remembering.

“Do what we say or we’ll bring back restrictions,” is not a great message.  It doesn’t make me want to follow “the rules.”  Telling me that I have to listen to Dr. Fauci doesn’t cover up how inconsistent Fauci has sometimes been.  Promising people that they can maybe have a barbecue on the 4th of July doesn’t work when most of us know that we can have a barbecue anytime we want.

If I was a White House advisor, I’d suggest losing the scolding tone and just promise people that they can get back to their lives after taking the vaccine.  Emphasize restrictions going away, not the possibility of them coming back.  Stop acting personally offended just because people are understandably frustrated by everything that’s going on, that’s what someone who actually possessed empathy would do.  Gloom is not what we need right now.  You have to give the people hope.  It’s hard to do that when your messenger is an elderly man who often seems to be in a state of confusion.  If there’s ever been a time when America needs young, energetic, and optimistic leadership, it’s now.