By John Zaring
No, you haven’t fallen into some Marvel Universe-like time machine… The Rational Center is back.
Before we begin (again), let me address exactly why it’s been absent from your feed, perhaps blissfully for some of you, for the past year or so.
The simple truth is that three years into the dumpster fire that was Donald Trump’s presidency, I found myself writing far too many columns detailing his vile toxicity, only to feel like I was blow-harding into the wind. So, after nearly 20 years of regular columns, I took a break.
My sabbatical also coincided with California going into lockdown, and me losing all of my clients at my bills-paying day job. My focus shifted to staying healthy and keeping my family whole, while doing my absolute best to ignore Trump and all his minions.
I was sort of successful, at least until the insurrection reached our Capitol.
Like many, I entered lockdown with a couple of wonderful dogs at my feet. Sure, they were confused why our family was home all day, every day, but eventually they made their peace with it, discovering there were real benefits to having their humans around full time.
For us humans though, quarantine has often been a fraught experience. We had to learn how to deal with isolation from family and friends, or the opposite, how to survive spending too much time with those we love the most. We’ve learned to Zoom and, apparently, based upon the behavior of my neighbors, a fair number of us have rediscovered the benefits of exercise.
I didn’t drop out of politics, mind you. Only writing and posting about it. I worked with other like-minded progressives to bring change to Santa Clarita, donated dollars and offered strategic advice to both local and national Democrats, but mostly worked hard to ensure that enough (rational) Americans would turn-out in November to send then-President Dumpster Fire to the trash heap of history.
Thankfully, they did. And he’s gone. Well, kind of, sort of. But, back to the dogs…
There’s a more practical problem that comes from dogs constantly going in and out: the amount of dirt they drag in. We seem to always be sweeping up dirt now. I know, at first blush, it might seem like dog dirt has nothing to do with politics, but you made it this far; indulge me a moment longer.
One of the other things I swept out of my life was Facebook. On the rare occasions when I did post to my own feed, there were far more dog pictures than politics, and I mostly eliminated visiting the toxic local groups and pages.
The other day, however, in a flight of foolish fancy, I opened up the Facebook group dedicated to the 25th Congressional District and the first post I stumbled upon featured all of the same deplorables spouting much of the same nonsense as last year.
Not a damn thing had changed.
I guess I shouldn’t be shocked or even surprised, but I had hoped that the insurrection on Jan. 6 would lead some among us to rethink their undying commitment to Trump. But nope, nada. Zilch. Zero. In fact, there’s still lots and lots of zeros spouting Trump’s Big Lie about the election and gloating about our local Republican hero, “FIGHTER PILOT” Mike Garcia. You know, the same Mike Garcia who promised to be bipartisan.
In reality, Garcia has voted lock, stock and barrel with the GOPq, following House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) and his coterie of morons – you know, right wing nuts like Gym Jordan, Devin Nunes and the Queen Q-a-Loon herself, Mike’s gal pal Marjorie Taylor Green – down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories.
I’m left to wonder just how much time our conspiracy-loving congressman has been spending with the psycho from Georgia? Mike’s wife might want to check his texts but from what’s publicly available, they’re sure cozy enough that he’s voted with her 100% of the time, literally voting against everything that the House has passed since the new Congress convened.
For example, Garcia voted against a bill to protect workers and unions, a key issue to many of our district’s show biz and other union workers. He voted against COVID relief not once but twice, including the American Recovery Act – which most polls show has the support of somewhere between 70-80% of ALL Americans, including the majority of Republicans. And, after standing with the “Big Steal” crowd, he voted against certifying the presidential election and refused to hold Trump accountable for what Republican Rep. Liz Cheney described as “assembling the mob” and inciting a riot.
Do those actions sound bipartisan to you?
With these votes now on the record, that rabbit hole he’s so comfortably gone down may widen into a deep six, political grave. After betraying his oath of office, and with it his country, will the “FIGHTER PILOT” label be enough to fool those in the rational center a second time? Doubtful. But a potential bigger problem is that whatever shape the 25th takes after redistricting this fall, it will be less hospitable to conservatives, making reelection even more difficult.
So, that brings me back to my quarantine companions, my dogs, and specifically all of that hair I’ve been sweeping up every damn day …
Democratic candidate Christy Smith only loss by a paltry 333 votes out of the three hundred thousand or so cast.
Three. Hundred. Thirty. Three.
For the math challenged, that’s less than a tenth of 1% and if you round it to the nearest tenth, this was a 50-50 race. Dog owners everywhere know that when you sweep out the hair, you’ll have a cleaner floor. I suspect when voters in our (new) district head to the polls in 2022, they’ll have their brooms ready.
Better go get yourself some dogs, MiQe!