While some of us were dozing off, and others were gaping at the tube, and Donald Trump and Kevin McCarthy were sleepwalking through their own personal nightmares, a bit of America resurfaced Tuesday night and well into Wednesday.
A portion of the United States asserted itself, remembered its manners and its civic lessons and the old movies, maybe overdone, when Americans tried to act like good guys and not ignorant bullies.
One example was Tim Ryan conceding his senate race to J.D. Vance in Ohio, emphasizing that this is the American way, to accept defeat, honorably.
The final results will take care of themselves in the new Congress, but despite the threat of Trumpian storm troopers, voters spoke overwhelmingly for the right of women to have a say about their own bodies, and kicked out a few bad actors, and pretty much ignored the grotesque bully lurching around some somber ballroom.
Now it is time for Americans to echo the words of Gene Wilder, playing a Polish rabbi out in the American west in “The Frisco Kid,” who declines the chance for vengeance on a murderous bad guy, and urges his congregation, (in a thick Yiddish accent), “Would somebody please show this poor asshole the way out of town.”
(Not to gloat, of course, but while Trump lumbers off the stage to face all those inquiries, he could take Kevin McCarthy with him – the “leader” who let Trump stage an insurrection and then crawled down to Florida to kiss his…ring.)
I feel particularly bad for a few Democrats who were voted out Tuesday night – Ryan in Ohio plus former Navy commander Rep. Elaine Luria of Virginia, who so impressed during the Jan. 6 hearings, and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York State.
Also, Republicans Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, who were already gone, having left an image of conscience. Others will surface. Voters have asserted themselves.
The country has two years to put on the brakes and carefully move into a more rational lane.
President Biden has had a better election than anybody could have imagined. However, from reading Peter Baker’s nuanced and knowing article on President Biden a few days ago, we need a new look two years from now.
Right now, on very little sleep, now that some bullies and know-nothings have been exposed, I’m working on a ticket for 2024.
At the moment, I’ve got Tim Ryan and Stacey Abrams or Val Demings. Or vice versa.
Welcome to World Cup 2022, the most absurd thing that the routinely absurd world of sports has ever produced.
Those extreme descriptions were what virtually the entire world, save for those who had walked off with bags of cash from Qatar, called the awarding of soccer’s greatest event to the incredibly tiny, incredibly wealthy country back in 2010.
Twelve years ago, many were convinced this event couldn’t possibly happen: staging the world’s biggest sporting event in a country the size of Connecticut, one with zero soccer culture and even less soccer infrastructure? The tournament couldn’t possibly take place in 120-degree heat, and FIFA, the governing body of soccer, most certainly wouldn’t upend football leagues around the world to change the traditional summer schedule, could it?
And, for God’s sake, what about the beer?
Those were just the logistical concerns. The moral concerns are far more distressing. FIFA, so busy paying lip service to equality, couldn’t possibly expect the world to embrace a country where you could go to prison for being gay, where women’s rights are severely curtailed and female victims of sexual assault could go to prison, charged with engaging in extramarital sex. And all those questions came before the global realization that the World Cup was being built on the backs of migrant labor: modern-day slaves held in Qatar with virtually no rights, low wages and no ability to leave. Migrants make up 90% of Qatar’s stated population of 3 million. The country’s native-born equal about 300,000, or roughly the size of Anaheim.
---Ann Killion, columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle.