Funny. I have been in that state that has become so common these days: agitation, mixed with normal life. As I was reflecting on that — on how it’s so weird to be baking Christmas cookies, for example, as I listen to the news which is, of course, stunningly disturbing — and just now sitting down to write on that all-too-familiar juxtaposition, I opened WordPress and note immediately a blog post from a couple of months ago (I note it because it was among the blogs read yesterday by mystery people in my readership and I get notifications of such on my dashboard), entitled “It Was the Scariest of Times and the Worst of Times.” Which.. is about exactly that.

Well.. I thought it was funny (odd funny, not haha funny) .. in a frightening sort of way. We are in such weird (dangerous) times.

I think often — especially as I read the daily newsletter of my favorite writer these days: historian Heather Cox Richardson — about how we are living in a very historic moment. Not historic in any good way. Historic in the worst possible way: on the verge of the collapse of our democracy, combined with, you know, a deadly pandemic. A pandemic made worse by the very guy who’s at the root of our democracy’s collapse.

God, I hate that guy. I seriously hate him. I hate him for what he’s wrought.. here, globally… everywhere. I don’t care that we were maybe primed for this following a couple decades of republican shenanigans ineptly addressed by ineffectual democrats. I place the lion’s share of the blame squarely on the-man-I-loathe-to-the-depths-of-my-soul, aided and abetted by an immoral, corrupt, power-drunk, spineless, scaredy-cat congress.

I know. Rant alert. I can’t help myself. Feel free to skip (I mean.. of course).

So yeah.. I was making Butterballs and groovin’ on the tradition of it, the aroma, the holiday lights and cheer. I was in my happy mom place — having had a two-hour-and-twenty-minute Zoom conversation with Peter this afternoon. Beautiful, wonderful Peter (moms get to feel this way). And as I was in this nice, apron-clad place, sneezing on inhaled powdered sugar, I was listening (ill-advisedly) to CNN. There was good news: the approval of, and imminent release of gazillions of doses of, a proven-effective vaccine that will turn this pandemic thing around in the most profound way. So that was a great bit of yin. And then, of course, there was the yang: news of the destruction that a petulant, vindictive, aggrieved loser president is continuing to wreak. Sigh (because what else is new) and holy mf’ing crap (because this is really bad).

I care not one wit about him and his pathologies. And don’t even want to rant, yet again, about the insanity and danger of his every move. But here’s what I was thinking today:

How stupid are these congress people? Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. Let’s accept that for most of the 126 of them who signed on to the amicus brief to reverse the election results in four states, it wasn’t because they don’t believe that Joe Biden won. I’m pretty sure most of them signed on not because they’re buying the election fraud ruse that Trump is pushing (to save face), but because they fear Trump’s retaliation if they don’t. They acquiesce to absolute fealty because they are afraid of a mean tweet and the resulting effect on their careers. They fear him, period. They need to stay in his good graces in order that his base votes for them. His base. It’s all about hanging on to the Trump base and avoiding getting primaried. Trump put pressure on each and every one of them. They were told that he was scrutinizing the list of signers, that he would be “anxiously awaiting the final list to review.” (Seriously.) If their name was not on the list, there would be consequences. When the brief was initially filed, only 106 names were on that list. By day two, another 20 had added their names. We were told “a clerical error” was the reason behind the missing names on the first go-round. Uh huh.

Definitely, fear is top of list. But, actually, I don’t think they give a hoot about democracy either. As Heather said: “Since the 1980s, Republican leaders have managed to hold onto power by suppressing votes, promoting disinformation, gerrymandering states, gaming the Electoral College, and stacking the courts. Now, so unpopular that even gaming the mechanics of our system is not enough, they have abandoned democracy itself.”

And that’s where we are.

But what I don’t get is.. where are the real leaders? People like leaders, preferably inspiring leaders of integrity. These republican congress guys (and handful of gals) are, for the most part, smart and well educated. Most of them run circles around Trump, brain-wise. They know stuff, they know history. Not only are they smarter than Trump, they are way smarter than the people they are afraid of pissing off. They COULD be leaders. Instead, they’re being led. They’re allowing themselves to be threatened by the least qualified, least knowledgeable, least honorable person ever to lie and manipulate his way to the WH. And they’re allowing themselves to be threatened by a voting base that is hugely ignorant and misinformed, who seem hellbent on voting against their own interests. They, of all people, NEED leaders who will truly hear them and fight FOR them, not whip them into a frenzy of anger, resentment and distrust. And not trick them into giving their money to a [self proclaimed] millionaire. Trump’s got them knotted into balls of fear and hate, thinking only he can help them, when, in truth, it’s all a con.

Congress should lead. They should put their heads down and work for the people they represent. Instead they are afraid and spending all their time staying out of Trump’s crosshairs. Why are they allowing Trump to have that power over them? They are smarter than he is. This party of Trump, the cult of Trump, is so, SO stupid. They should have denounced him a long time ago. Still should. They don’t even have a party platform anymore! The platform is whatever Trump wants. And now they’re following him off the cliff. This is the real cliff, the democracy cliff. He never cared about democracy, but now THEY are walking right along side him.

They signed the brief. I just can’t get over that.

Congress: you are smarter than this. You took oaths. You swore to defend the constitution. You’re supposed to be serving the people. Instead you’re afraid. Weak, spineless, reduced to scaredy cats, signing ridiculous, embarrassing legal briefs. He’s controlling you and you’re letting him. You’re trapped. He’s also manipulating his base, the most ardent of whom are ignorantly following him, rejecting masks, rejecting science, rejecting vaccines (all at their peril), threatening democratic public officials, carrying guns into crowds and statehouses. Why are YOU at the bottom of this trash heap, a bunch of lowly sad sacks begging for a stupid president’s approval, doing anything to get it, selling your soul. It’s embarrassing to watch. You’re so afraid to anger him or his base you’ll sign on to a legal brief demanding the Supreme Court throw out votes you know were fairly and legally cast for Joe Biden. You’re so afraid he’ll mean-tweet you, you’re willing to completely undermine the election, the will of a majority of voters and democracy itself.

Real leaders are guided by principles, laws, facts, and govern in the best interest of the people they are sworn to serve. Like John McCain. So what if your decisions are not popular? In the end, you earn the support and respect of people if you fight for them. You’re supposed to be the bigger person. You were entrusted to make the hard choices and do the right thing for the PEOPLE, the COUNTRY. Not Trump.

You’re now all losers. History will forget about you in a millisecond. You stood for nothing and violated the people. All because you were afraid.