American Exceptionalism, a phrase coined by Alexis de Tocqueville nearly two centuries ago, refers to independence, strength, and superiority of the American experiment. Well, at least that’s what it used to mean. These days, American Exceptionalism means you get to be a dick whenever you want because… ‘Murica. Not only do you get to be a dick, but you’re also pretty much required to be a dick if you want to earn respect and adoration of a large swath of an electorate so oblivious to their self-destruction it’s almost impossible to believe.
Not All Heros Wear Capes, But Most of Them Are Dicks
And hey, not that we’re keeping score or anything, but if you’re a white guy, you get to be an even bigger dick. Oh, you’re a rich white guy? Well, why didn’t you say so? Not only do you get to be a massive dick, but you also get to control the lives of everyone else- especially if they happen to be members of Congress. You’re like a superhero dick. (A cape is recommended but not required.)
I don’t fucking get it. I was always taught that politicians were supposed to avoid offending people because it would almost certainly cost them votes. Hell, my political career in the State Legislature went to hell in a handbag just because I had the nerve to take on some miserable old ladies who were trolling people anonymously online and call them trolls. But then I committed the new cardinal sin of American politics.
I apologized. What a massive fuck up that was on my part, and I’m not kidding.
In my defense, this all happened way back in 2013, but given how fucked up our politics are now, it may as well been 1913. What a difference four years makes, huh?
I apologized because it was “the right thing to do,” but instead of accepting the apology, the Bitter Butthurt Brigade kept bitching and moaning to anyone who would listen, howling like a pack of cats in heat about how horribly they had been treated. And because I apologized, I must be guilty of something, right? The next thing you know, friends and colleagues are keeping their distance because you’re tainted, and nobody wants to hear you defend yourself.
Over time, the urban legend of what I had allegedly done to these women crossed over from the ridiculous to the absurd, none of it remotely true. These “victims” manipulated the press and the political machinery and made sure I lost my next election. Game over.
“And Did I Mention ‘Fuck ’em?”
In retrospect, I absolutely should have issued a statement that fateful day along the lines of:
“I’m giving a bunch of asshole internet trolls a taste of their own medicine; if these women are complaining, they must be the trolls in question and should knock off their bullshit. When they start to act their age, they’ll get my respect. Until then, fuck ’em. They started this shit, and as long as the First Amendment to the Constitution is still the law of the land, I’ll say whatever the hell I want within the boundaries of the law. And did I mention fuck ’em?”
Sounds crazy, but could the outcome have been any worse than the orchestrated shitshow that followed? I honestly don’t see how.
I reference this incident only to demonstrate the utter stupidity of apologizing for purely political actions. By the way, would it surprise you to learn that these same women, who supposedly maintained such high moral and ethical standards for public officials, jumped on board the Trump Train the second it rolled into town?
Of course, it doesn’t surprise you. Why? Because they were hypocrites, plain and simple. And that, right there, is the new paradigm of American political activism. Say whatever you want, apologize for nothing, and act wounded when someone calls you out on your bullshit. Oh yeah, and win elections. I almost forgot that part.
Donald Trump has not apologized for a single inflammatory word, and it’s pretty clear he doesn’t plan on it anytime soon. If anything, he keeps upping the ante to the point where I wouldn’t be shocked if the “c-word” ends up on our currency somehow.
Don’t Apologize. Ever. No Matter What.
Don’t apologize. Always be on the attack. Lie through your goddamned teeth. Rinse. Repeat. Win Elections. Throw in a few tweets about Megyn Kelly’s menstrual cycle, Rosie O’Donnell’s weight, and Mika Brzezinski’s bleeding crazy face (huh?) for good measure and head over the ballroom to make your victory speech.
Exhibit “A”. And seriously, who picked out Barron’s tie that night? Terrible.
Don’t listen to the people who try to convince you that Trump’s words and deeds will catch up with him someday. First, that’s loser talk. It’s pretty goddamned difficult to argue Trump’s strategy isn’t a winning one; he’s President of the United States, and you’re just some cuck snowflake who gets triggered just because billionaires want a tax cut at the expense of health insurance for 22 million of their fellow citizens. I mean, honestly- are you on your period or something?
The real question here is whether Democrats realize they need to be dicks too. If they feel the need to maintain an appropriate level of respect and decorum, they are labeled as weak-kneed elitists who probably have an undescended testicle or two. And oh yeah, they’ll keep getting their asses kicked on Election Day, too.
The Democrats’ strategy of being all worked up about what a massive dick Donald Trump is on a daily basis is the same strategy of the Republicans. The only difference is the GOP somehow equates being a dick with being a strong leader. Unfortunately, pointing out examples of Trump being a dick over and over again isn’t going to change anybody’s mind at this stage of the game.
“Hate the Player, Don’t Hate the Game”
The reality of their situation sucks for Democrats (and anyone with manners) to be sure, but the phrase “hate the player, don’t hate the game” comes to mind. If American politics is the unmitigated dumpster fire many people believe it to be, that means we’re all in a dumpster, so stop acting all high and mighty and accept the fact that you’re in the dumpster too.
The strategy of calling out Trump’s dickishness only works in areas where Democrats are demographically going to win anyhow. But because of gerrymandering, merely holding blue seats means the Democrats will be powerless for the immediate future. To retake power, the Dems must find ways to flip seats they aren’t already guaranteed to win.
And guess what? If being a bunch of dicks is the price they have to pay to have a substantive say in shaping policy, then is it really that bad of a deal? They say desperate times call for desperate measures. I say dickish times call for dickish measures. Take the fight to the Republicans and see how they like it. The worst thing that can happen is you continue to lose elections.
For those who disagree with this strategy on moral grounds, I would ask this question. Isn’t the best way to deal with a bully to stand up to their bullying? If television and movies have taught us anything, it’s the need to stand up to bullies to beat them. And if it’s on television, it has to be true. That’s just science.
There is probably a better way to phrase this, but if American voters are hungry for some red meat, and that red meat is, unfortunately, Grade A dick, who is the Democratic Party to deny the people all the dick they can eat?