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Words Matter: Stop Blaming "Congress" When the GOP is the Problem

It's easier to blame everyone because if everyone is guilty then no one is.
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There's an annoying habit among people to bitch and moan about "Congress" as if everything that's going wrong in our government is somehow the fault of all 100 Senators and all 435 congresspeople. People love to joke about how great it would be to just get rid of all of them. 

Here's Mars Attacks in 1996:

And here's a bit of satire from last week:

WASHINGTON, D.C.—In an emergency, overnight referendum, the American people voted on Thursday to replace the United States Senate with a room full of monkeys throwing feces. The measure passed with 57% of the vote. 22% of voters thought the Senate should be replaced by barking seals, while 17% voted that the replacement should be the pit of venomous snakes from Indiana Jones. 3.97% voted that Senate members be replaced by screaming goats. "About 100 people" voted for the current Senators to keep their jobs, with this tiny voting bloc centered in Washington, D.C.

Yeah, it's funny, but jokes about rape, gay men, and blacks used to be funny too until someone started pointing out the underlying problems with them. When we began to understand that certain kinds of jokes normalize something harmful, they stopped being funny. This is not to say that these kinds of "a pox on both your houses" jokes are on the same level as rape or bigoted jokes, but in a way, they're not that different. They've rewarded bad behavior by Republicans for years and now they're rewarding fascism and white nationalism by normalizing them.

Look at what's happening right now. Republicans are bulldozing every democratic norm to put a right-wing extremist on the Supreme Court. They have credible evidence that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted a woman and that he's assaulted other women. They know for a fact he lied under oath and that he's exactly the kind of hyperpartisan judge they would never allow on the Court if he were a liberal. Yet, they're still pushing him through and violating every ethical standard of the Senate to do it. 

At the same time, Republicans continue to shred the very concept of the rule of law by allowing the Trump regime to operate unimpeded. Republicans know for a fact that Trump is a Russian stooge and that his administration is overflowing with corruption and incompetence. Yet, they do nothing to rein it in. In fact, they're running interference for Trump and his band of kleptocrats, hoping to keep their more egregious crimes out of the public's eye for as long as possible.

This is after spending eight years abusing the filibuster and demanding Congress hold the executive branch to an almost impossible standard of conduct that Obama, somehow, exceeded. And when they couldn't find any corruption, Republicans simply invented it and turned Congress into a partisan weapon, breaking norm after norm in a reckless pursuit of power. And that's not even touching the insanity of the House Republicans and the flying monkey caucus formerly known as the Tea Party.

On top of all of this, the Trump regime is rushing headlong into fascism, demanding fealty from corporations in exchange for regulatory beneficence and threatening to punish those that do not fall in line. Combined with the white nationalism of Trump's immigration policies, his attempts to subvert the Justice Department, his nepotism, his blatant unfitness for office, etc. etc. etc., the fact that Republicans are complicit in the degradation of everything the office of the presidency stands for tells us that the GOP is an existential threat to our country.

So when we have a good laugh over how we want to get rid of "Congress" and replace them with shit-flinging monkeys, what we're actually doing is rewarding Republicans for setting our democracy on fire. We treat their criminally abnormal behavior as being equal to the normal behavior of the Democratic Party. That means for Republicans, there are never any consequences for their actions because if everyone is guilty, no one is guilty. And we've been helping them do it for decades culminating in the disaster we're currently trying to survive.

Think of it this way: A bunch of white nationalists march into a black town and start tearing the place up. The residents fight back and you stand on the side whining that all of them should be locked up for acting like animals. A little too on the nose? Suck it up, buttercup, that's what you're doing when you complain about the hyperpartisanship in Washington without being honest about the root cause.

Is the Democratic Party a bunch of sinless saints? Of course not. No one ever said they were and since you're no fucking saint yourself, get off your high horse and stop expecting politicians to be morally pristine. But being a fallible human that doesn't always support the policies you like is nothing like belonging to a party that supports caging and torturing children for the explicit purpose of terrorizing immigrants so they don't come to the United States. That's pure evil and there is no "both sides" to that conversation.

Words matter. There's a reason the press prefers to blame "gridlock" or "partisanship" or "tribalism" instead of the party that's taken a chainsaw to democratic norms and the rule of law. They know the second they speak the truth about what is happening in Washington and who is doing it, they lose their precious access. And so they perpetuate the lie that "both sides" are guilty while we continue to joke about how much Congress sucks.

Meanwhile, all we're doing is enabling bad people to do terrible things. That's how this kind of "humor" works. Jokes about rape normalize sexual assault. Jokes about homosexuals normalize homophobia. Jokes about black people normalize racism. Jokes about how much "all politicians" suck normalizes the fascism and white nationalism growing in the Republican Party whether you know you're doing it or not.

Still think it's funny?