Photo of black woman with shoulder length black curly hair wearing a black top with white collar smiling at the camera

Everything above my shoulders is in agony. I’ve spent an entire week rolling my eyes, shaking my head, and gritting my teeth. I actually rolled my eyes so viciously my wife started calling me Liz Lemon. This week regrettably has been one which left my respect for American liberals hanging by a thread.  Liberals and devotees of the elected left reminded me how extraordinarily hypocritical they are and how dangerously short their memories are.

The biggest story this week was the possibility of Oprah Winfrey running for the presidency in 2020. That’s right; there was a ton of coverage on the possibility of a former talk show host becoming a world leader. I have neither the time nor the print space to fully cover why this is just plain horrific. As a disclaimer, I have no personal issue with Oprah whatsoever. She seems like a genuinely decent person and she has done a lot of good for a lot of people. This whole episode began with a single speech she gave about racism and sex crimes. She spoke well and used the kind of words (truth, hope, horizon) that send blood rushing to people’s political genitalia. With that being said, it was given at the Golden Globes, which isn’t exactly the largest platform, and was months after the first wave of allegations were made. Wanting someone to run for president because they said sexual assault is bad is like giving someone a PhD for writing a paper about the need to breathe in oxygen. If liberals are going to support someone because of a single speech, it shouldn’t be this one.

The most substantial factor in Oprah’s favor is that she is Oprah. If she had given a speech about the need to support Trump and help him through the coming years, most of the room would have still given her a standing ovation. She has millions of fans who will be behind her no matter what she does, no matter how preposterous. It is the whole idol worship thing this country desperately needs to shake. Taylor Swift and James Patterson had some early success and even though they’ve been churning out tripe for a long time, millions fall all over themselves to continue to support them. George Clooney remains highly popular although he hasn’t made a decent movie in years. Football fans fixate on their quarterback despite there being dozens of other players on the team who win games. As doltish as the idolatry of sport and entertainment stars is, at least it isn’t damaging like the worship of politicians. In the past decade alone, American politics have been based on personality contests. Liberals’ infatuation with the Clinton family gave us a Trump administration. The Greens’ second nomination of Jill Stein missed a huge opportunity for growth because it created the image of them having no new ideas or depth in leadership. African Americans’ inexplicable reverence for Barack Obama ties them to a party that couldn’t possibly care less about them. Had Trump not decided to run for the Republican nomination we could very well have a third Bush in the White House. In 2016, if everyone had taken even a small amount of time to look into the candidates and understand their positions we would have a president and a congress currently implementing single-payer healthcare and erasing the more than one trillion dollars of crushing student loan debt as they save our environment and loosen big business’ grip on our government.

To be looking to Oprah Winfrey for a win in 2020 is to forget the Democrats’ attacks on Trump for being inexperienced in both politics and leadership. It is hypocritical for anyone who is not a Republican to support a billionaire TV personality who has never been elected to office. Another layer of hypocrisy is added by those who primarily concern themselves with the global image Trump is creating for America. Do Americans (liberals in particular) truly think Western Europe or East Asian powerhouses would respect the US more if Oprah was the president? Would the world have more faith in American policy if it was being shaped by someone who runs a lightweight lifestyle magazine and has a penchant for PR stunts? Comparing the resumé of Oprah to Paolo Gentiloni’s or Shinzo Abe’s wouldn’t exactly make the US government, or its voters, look good.

An Oprah Winfrey campaign or presidency would be the final nail in the coffin of American politics. One bonus of Trump winning in 2016 was that it proved the lesser-evil way of voting does not work. Another is it told everyone seeking office that neoliberalism is not what the majority of the country wants. It gave the country a president so sure to lose the next election a real progressive could finally take office. Oprah being the main contender in 2020 will deter many voters from looking into progressive candidates. It will teach them critical thinking isn’t a necessary feature of democracy. The Democrats will continue to work for their corporate owners because they will never need positions that appeal to the people as long as they have a coherent celebrity. Please America, do NOT fall in love with a candidate because of prior popularity. Do NOT support someone without knowing their issues and positions first. Do NOT vote for someone just because they aren’t as bad as their opponent. Please take a second to seriously think about the future of this country and the rest of the world.

One candidacy that is real is Joe Arpaio’s. He recently announced his intention to run for Arizona’s open US Senate this year. Arpaio was for twenty four years the sheriff of Maricopa County covering Phoenix, the country’s fifth most populous city. During his tenure as sheriff, he touted himself as a no-nonsense, tough-on-crime crusader. He turned his jail into a hellhole he likened to a concentration camp. Whether you are a Zionist or someone who believes in human rights, talking about concentration camps in a positive light is completely unacceptable. He racially profiled Latinos in an attempt to rid the country of illegal immigrants. He failed to investigate hundreds of reports of rape, child molestation, and sexual harassment. He politically attacked everyone who was planning to run against him or was investigating the many claims of abuse of power and financial mismanagement. Arpaio also has a criminal contempt conviction, ignores court rulings, believes Obama is not an American, and is a full-throated supporter of the president. Overall, he is a slimy, bigoted pile of filth who intends to lock up peaceful, law-abiding immigrants while child molesters and rapists go free. His candidacy is not funny. All I could bring myself to write in the way of humor is that Joe is Ar-steaming-pai-o shit. The worst part is that he has a real shot at the seat. There are enough Arizona voters who agree with him to put him in the United States Senate. As a decent human being (if I do say so myself!), I can hardly wrap my head around it. Regardless of where you live, please work hard to make sure Joe Arpaio doesn’t come close to winning.

The most neglected story from the week was the administration’s attack on Medicaid recipients. A letter was sent to state Medicaid directors informing them they will be permitted to institute work requirements for those seeking coverage. It means states can rescind existing coverage from those who do not work, and deny new applications. There is no nuance which takes into account the various reasons someone may not work. Disability and prior convictions are obvious ones along with a lack of job availability and job transition. Medicaid is the last resort for the financially and physically needy. If someone loses their Medicaid, they have only two options: stop seeking medical care, or continue treatment and accumulate thousands of dollars in debt. Those fortunate enough to have a job will be split into two camps: those who earn too much to receive coverage and those who earn little enough to qualify but still not enough to live comfortably. This new rule will trap individuals and families as working poor. They won’t be able to increase their incomes so they can afford food, rent, and maybe some “luxuries” because they would then earn too much for Medicaid but still too little for quality coverage on the exchanges. Almost their entire lives will depend on their ability to stay healthy which gets more and more difficult the less they earn. Insufficient coverage results in sicker people who strain the already overstretched hospitals and increases the payments for everyone who has their own insurance. The goal of the administration is to drastically decrease government spending in the short-term while holding people in poverty and killing the poorest Americans. Everyone involved in this decision must have giant holes in their hearts and brains, holes that will hopefully grow and not get treated under a public health plan. Then maybe there will be some room for leaders who actually have compassion and common sense.

In a rare moment of bipartisanship, the Republicans and Democrats in the House voted to continue spying on the American people with complete disregard for the Bill of Rights. The legislation in question was an extension to the existing ability of the NSA to intercept, read, and possibly use the digital communications of American citizens without the need for a warrant. Most Democrats did vote against that, but 55 of them voted down an amendment which would have required the NSA to obtain a warrant before spying. That alone would have respected the Fourth Amendment and protected innocent Americans from having their information stolen by their government. There was nothing to lose by voting for it. The Democrats would have protected their constituents and won a lot of favor from civil rights activists. Any political attack on them could easily have been repelled and they didn’t even have to worry about losing campaign funds. This was not an issue that involved their corporate overlords. Many House members claimed the NSA’s programs ensure national security. Really? How does a geek at Fort Meade reading the tremendously graphic and disgusting sexts I send to my wife keep us safe? Do my dick pics really prevent terrorists from massacring festivalgoers, attacking Planned Parenthood clinics, and stealing elections? I think not. Maybe the Democratic leadership just wants to take away Americans’ privacy and found a less politically damaging way to go about it. Maybe Pelosi and Hoyer are so decrepit they don’t know what their own caucus is up to and the House leadership needs to be sent to a farm upstate. In the end, why they voted the way they did is anybody’s guess.

There were welcome developments in the net neutrality and offshore drilling stories. There are now 40 co-sponsors for the Senate bill which blocks the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality rules. The bill needed 30 co-sponsors to be brought to a vote, so this is one area where the elected left is offering some real resistance to the Republicans. Although the bill is highly unlikely to pass, every member of the Senate will have to take a stance on the issue, greatly impacting the upcoming midterm elections. With regards to offshore drilling permits, Florida was given an exemption and at least a dozen other states immediately requested one too. An exemption would be a moratorium on all new drilling leases off the coast of the affected states. The opening up of the oceans was sure to receive backlash, but Florida’s exemption raised the anger to a whole other level. It seems as though Zinke’s quest to destroy the planet isn’t getting very far.

Now the week is over, I can relax and look forward to the world making sense again. Liberals will have surely come to their senses and stopped talking about Oprah Winfrey. Joe Arpaio won’t be in the race for the Senate thanks to criminal charges. The attacks on Medicaid and Americans’ privacy will be rendered redundant by the elected left starting to build a single-payer health system. The internet will remain open while the administration calls off its plan to ruin the Earth. Yep, that’s what’s going to happen, right? Right? Please?