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Ellen DeGeneres’s money isn’t why she likes George W. Bush.

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It’s her personality.

A photo of Ellen DeGeneres and George W. Bush having a laugh at a football game went viral because the most visible Liberal Hollywood Lesbian was on camera yukking it up with an anti-gay war criminal.

The Internet ran with that photo like Ellen and Dubbya were running of to commit crimes after the game. This is not what happened:

“Hey George! I miss hanging out, buddy. Wanna go to a football game? Awesome! Let’s bring our wives. See ya there.”

This is what happened:

“Oh hey George, you’re seated here too?”

I’m not sure if the Internet expected her to tell her hosts that she couldn’t be seen next to George W. Bush, apologize, and then swiftly exit the stadium or if they expected her to sit there stonefaced for a three hour football game, but what she did do — sit there and enjoy herself — has nothing to do with her money or her status as a member of the Hollywood elite. I have $47 right now and I would’ve sat there too. If Dubbya cracked a joke, I probably would have laughed.

Actually, let me rephrase that, because I don’t even have to add the “probably.” I do attend functions every summer where I invariably end up making small talk with Republicans because I 1) don’t want to be rude when I’m the guest of someone else 2) would like to be invited back. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually left a social engagement because of a Republican, and each time, it was because the Republican had no sense of decorum. Most people, regardless of political affiliation, can read the room. The way I decide to chuckle at small talk from a Conservative is the same way a Conservative decides to avoid landmines in the conversation when talking to a Liberal. If you’re the kind of person who would show up to a function as the guest of someone and then throw a fit because you’re seated next to George W. Bush, I probably wouldn’t invite you anywhere again. (I personally would make sure you were not seated next to Dubbya, because Dubbya wouldn’t be at my function, but anyway…)

The point is, the Internet saw a snapshot and went viral with it for no reason. The fact that we made it into a huge deal is the reason why Ellen now has to “defend” herself, and her reasoning has actually given you cause to be mad. Watch this video. I could give you a recap, but you might as well watch her give you the summary in her style to give yourself a refresher of her personality.

If y’all had let that woman enjoy a football game, we wouldn’t be faced with this even bigger story where Ellen says Dubbya is her friend and you can be friends with people who disagree with you and we should all be kind to each other, because that’s the person she is.

We know these (mostly white and female) people, regardless of economic status. The kumbayah, can’t we all just get along, everybody is red on the inside, people who think a “little disagreement” is not enough to cut someone out of your social circle. That’s who Ellen is. She thinks you should be nice to your enemies, that being nice can change the world, that all the country needs is a dose of niceness and then everybody will act better and the problems will go away. That’s not money talking — that’s naivete. Your great aunt who leaves Facebook comments about the weather and posts Clip Art memes is the same way and she lives in a trailer park. She also thinks politics are just little disagreements and not vastly different worldviews. A disagreement is ranch or blue cheese on celery sticks. A disagreement is not which communities deserve to be treated like humans and which don’t.

I don’t need celebrities to TALK all the time. I don’t need explanations of everything. Ignorance is bliss, and the less I know about the details of how your brain processes the world, the better. As long as I know you are voting the right way and we are fundamentally similar in how we view the world, I’m good. I don’t need the minutiae of every decision making process.

So Y’ALL have to stop being mad at every single thing. Y’all got mad at something small and inconsequential, so now we have the explanation, the minutiae, the actual decision making to be mad at. Pick your battles. That rich white lady wants to push the world in the same direction you want to. Let her watch football in peace, because if you make her explain why, it’s impossible to ignore how wrong she is.

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Vote or Don’t Vote for Charles Graham…but know why.

A good ad does not a good candidate make.

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Earlier this week, NC State Rep. Charles Graham announced his run for the US House of Representatives, hoping to unseat Republican incumbent Dan Bishop in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. And he came in guns blazing with this campaign ad featuring the KKK…

I’ve never seen a campaign ad for a Congressional race go viral on social media so quickly, but less than a day after it was released, it was all over Twitter. I reposted it too. And then I found out Charles Graham was the only Democrat in the NC House to vote in favor of NC’s HB-2, the state’s infamous transgender bathroom bill.

Back in 2017, Republican state lawmakers wrote a bill that required people to use the public restroom in accordance with the gender they were assigned at birth. Republicans cited their false intention to protect women and children from predators (a thoroughly debunked premise that I don’t need to spend time on), and Charles Graham was the only Democrat to vote in favor of it.

I deleted my Retweet immediately.

Later, I did more reading, and Charles Graham had issued an apology for his vote, and as far as political backtracking goes, this is one of the more sincere and believable ones I’ve come across.

————————————————————–

Text of the above screengrab from Charles Graham’s website reads:

I believe human dignity is a human right. It’s a value I hold dear – but five years ago I failed to uphold my own value when I voted for HB2, and it was a mistake. It was a bill written and voted on within 24 hours, with the conversation surrounding protecting children and women, but I should have done more research to completely understand the impact of the bill. After the hurried vote, I spent the following days talking with colleagues and transgender-rights activists about the impacts of the bill – I became a full supporter of recalling the bill and worked across the aisle to fully repeal it. To the LGBTQ+ community, and specifically to the transgender community who suffered real pain from this bill and the rhetoric that surrounded it, I am sorry.

I have always tried to do what is right, but I am not perfect. I’m running for Congress to stand up against hatred and ignorance, and I expect to be held accountable when I fail to live up to my own principles.

————————————————————–

I believe him. That said, you don’t have to. There are people making the case that if he were truly apologetic, he would have released this apology at any point between 2017 and now, that if he were truly in favor of trans rights, he wouldn’t have waited until his campaign ad went viral and his voting record on the issue was called into question. I don’t disagree, however, he admitted that he didn’t really have a full grasp of the issue when he voted, and once he had a greater understanding, he worked to repeal the bill. That to me is more than just lip-service — that’s action to undue something you did.

So. I decided to post his ad again, but I took a beat. I’d already made the mistake of supporting a candidate (from afar) based on one campaign ad without really looking into his record or what he supports, so I did my due diligence and it’s not great.

NC-9 has been very dramatic these past few years. In 2016, a US District Court ruled the gerrymandering in North Carolina was so heavily and obviously prejudiced toward Republican candidates, the state had to redraw the lines. Before 2016, NC-9 looked like this.

Democrats still argue that the partisan lean toward Republicans continues to be out of sync with the actual population of the state so they’re looking to have the lines drawn even more equitably, but for now, this is NC-9.

Before the lines were redrawn, incumbent Robert Pittinger won that slivery snake of a district with 94% of the vote. He lost his primary bid in the election following the restructuring of his district and Reverend Mark Harris won the Republican nomination. His Democratic opponent, Dan McCready, is a successful businessman with a solar clean energy fund called Double Time Capital. Far from the forgone conclusion of the 94% win by Pittinger, the race between Harris and McCready went down to the wire (I wonder why…) and Harris came out on top with roughly 900 more votes than McCready.

However! (Drama!) The bi-partisan state election board declined to certify the results because campaign operatives for Harris committed fraud on multiple occasions (which included tricking elderly Black voters in rural areas into filling out absentee ballots for Harris). The election was voided and Dan Harris was not the Republican nominee the second time around. State Senator Dan Bishop won the Republican primary and went on to defeat McCready by two percentage points. In the last cycle, Bishop won re-election by a larger margin against Cynthia Wallace, the first Black chairperson of NC-9’s Democratic Party, in a lackluster race that didn’t garner much attention.

This backstory is necessary to understand why the Democratic Party should put its weight behind someone other than Charles Graham. Charles Graham is a Conservative. He’s absolutely the kind of person/politician who is aligned with the Democratic Party not because he agrees with most of the platform but because he disagrees with the other side, and that’s an important distinction. Because we have a two party system, we have a lot of people who belong to to the Democratic Party by default, not by choice. If you’re a politician who hates Donald Trump and supports funding for education, you’re not allowed a voice in the Republican Party. Even if you take issue with some of the Democratic platform, you’re still allowed a place in our Big Tent, and that’s who Charles Graham is.

…critics began pointing out Graham’s more conservative voting record in the General Assembly, including his support for some abortion restrictions, in favor of allowing firearms on school grounds, and opposing a statewide mask mandate — all votes largely in keeping with the prevailing sentiment in his conservative district, which has begun trending more Republican as rural voters sour on Democrats due to culture-war issues.

(cont. MetroWeekly)

Firearms on school grounds and abortion restrictions and no mask mandates are the positions of a Republican. We don’t need another “Democrat” of this kind in Congress, so reflect back on the recent history of NC-9. If this were the snakelike sliver of the past where 94% of the vote went to a Republican and we suddenly had a chance to flip the seat, it might make more sense to focus on a Conservative Democrat. In a district where one Republican had to cheat to win, and still only won by a few hundred votes, you don’t need to run a Conservative Democrat. In that same district where the the election was voided and the next Republican won by 2% partly because of his alignment with Donald Trump, you don’t need to run a Conservative Democrat.  In that same district where Donald Trump won the state for reelection and a Black woman still managed to grab 45% of the vote, you don’t need to run a Conservative Democrat. A clean energy businessman narrowly lost while Trump was in office and a Black woman grabbed a huge share while Trump was winning the electoral votes. You can run the same kind of candidates against that Trump-supporter again and win if you mobilize the people to vote.

Look at this way: People who voted for Republican Dan Bishop because they like Dan Bishop are going to vote for Dan Bishop again. They are not going to suddenly vote for a slightly more liberal version of Dan Bishop just because that version has a good backstory about fighting the KKK and taught special ed. Your goal is to grab the people who don’t like Dan Bishop, so why would you run Dan Bishop-lite? Run an actual alternative who can grab the people who didn’t vote for him while also catching the attention of the people who didn’t vote at all. Nobody who voted for Dan McCready a few years ago or Cynthia Wallace last year is suddenly itching to vote for a Democrat In Name Only. Charles Graham caught a couple of headlines with a good campaign ad, but that’s about as much attention as he deserves from national politics going forward. Save your donations for his primary opponents.

(Sidenote: I do believe Charles Graham evolved quickly on trans issues and his statement was genuine. I believe it because he has not apologized for his votes on abortion. He probably believes in his heart that women do not have the right to choose, so he has nothing to apologize for. If he were an opportunist, he would just apologize for that too and keep it moving.)

 

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Rolling Stone: Rudy Giuliani Whines About Fox News Ban to Steve Bannon

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Rudy Giuliani was reportedly “really hurt” that Fox News banned him from appearing on the network. He turned to Steve Bannon to elaborate on Friday, telling the former White House adviser that the ban is “outrageous.”

(cont.)

Fox News is perfectly fine with peddling lies and booking commentators who peddle lies, but they’re not okay with losing money. When Dominion Voting Systems filed suit against Giuliani *and* sued Fox News for $1.6 billion partly because Giuliani kept going on air to say Dominion was part of the rigged system to give Biden the election, Giuliani’s relationship with Fox News was suddenly in jeopardy.

You can lie all you want to destroy our democracy, but don’t you dare cost us any money.

 

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The Big Tent failure of the Democratic Party.

It’s just difficult unifying a party of leftovers.

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Congratulations to the Republican Party of Texas once again putting another check in the Win Column this year.

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday signed into law a bill that bans 24-hour and drive-thru voting, imposes new hurdles on mail-in ballots and empowers partisan poll watchers.

The election overhaul in Texas comes as Republicans seek to hold onto power in a rapidly changing state where people of color make up virtually all of the population growth — and that growth is concentrated in large cities that tend to vote Democratic.

(cont. CNN)

Texas was very close to becoming Blue or at the very least a deep purple, but they did not. So, Red Texas sprang into action to consolidate power and push through Conservative goals while they can.

Why don’t Democrats ever take a page out of the Republican handbook?

If Democrats took advantage when they are in power the way Republicans do, we’d have the Voting Rights Act, no filibuster, a larger Supreme Court, free college, universal healthcare, etc. I mean…assuming Democrats actually want those things in the first place.

Watching Republicans set a goal, work toward it, and achieve it come hell or high water is impressive. I wish I had no morals so I could be a Republican too. Unfortunately I care more about people than I do about winning, but damn if I don’t feel jealous of the successful party.

It’s just difficult unifying a party of leftovers.

Democrats don’t have a guiding force the way Republicans are guided by a corrupted version of Jesus, white nationalism, and greed. Democrats are people who care about people PLUS everybody else who doesn’t want to be a Republican for one reason or another.

Turned off by Evangelical Jesus?
White supremacy?
Cops?
Misogynists?

You’re a Democrat by default, not by choice.

The Democratic Party is a big tent party made of gays AND homophobes, minorities AND racists, atheists AND Christian supremacists. It’s hard to unify so many disparate groups into one big push to do anything. We just sit around and twiddle our thumbs nitpicking at each other because we don’t even have the same common goals, let alone any sort of agreement as to how we should achieve those goals. For every Democrat who wants a $15 wage, there are two more who say “the cashier at McDonald’s should get a better job — let’s provide training!” For every Democrat who wants to wipe out college debt, there are two more who say “I paid mine, why do they get off scot free?” For every Democrat who wants to abolish the police, there are two more who say “not all cops are bad — we just have to get the bad apples out.”

For every Republican who wants to ban abortion, there are ten more who say “absolutely.”

For awhile, right after the election, I was naively hopeful that the Republican Party would actually splinter into two groups. Trump’s Most Loyal Activists were filing papers to start their own party. Establishment Republicans were distancing themselves from Trump. The divide was deepening between the Moderates and the Deplorables. If the GOP split, then the Democratic Party would soon follow. The AOCs have less in common with the Joe Manchins than the Joe Manchins have in common with the Mitt Romneys. The latter two should be in a party together, a party that does not represent me in any way. I want to be in a party with Cori Bush, not Cory Booker, but I don’t want the Democratic Party to split first because the GOP will completely take over the entire country.

But that was just wishful thinking on my part, because the GOP is about power first, regardless of personal politics. They can put their differences aside for the common goal they share, some authoritarian capitalist wet dream of a White Christian America where women and brown people know their place. The Democrats can’t agree on a goal so we have no long term strategies. We’re just trying our best to get along with each other while the opposition continues to advance.

 

 

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