We Didn’t Start the Fire

Despite the tone of many of my posts, I am, for the most part, a reasonable person. This is not by accident. As a salesman I’ve learned the hard way that not listening to your customers’ needs can have unintended consequences. Conversely, listening to them is a good recipe for success. The art of “give and take” is as old as the profession itself.

But give and take presupposes two things: One, that both sides are reasonable; and two, that both sides have a firm grasp on reality. For instance, if a customer thinks a $1,000 flat panel TV should cost only $200, there’s really nothing to discuss. If he’s not willing to be reasonable, you send him on his way and move on to the next customer. Facts matter, irrespective of the situation you’re in. 

The calls for unity from Republicans in the wake of the assault on the nation’s Capitol aren’t just unreasonable; they’re an affront to common decency. It’s the moral equivalent of that very same customer coming into the store and demanding that flat panel TV for NOTHING.

Just to be clear, we didn’t start this fire. We didn’t storm that building and threaten the lives of potentially hundreds of members of Congress. We didn’t spend the last two plus months undermining a free and fair election. We didn’t coerce elected officials to try and change the results of that election or tie up the courts looking to overturn it just because we didn’t like the outcome. Your side did.

We didn’t naively fall for a two-bit huckster who peddled conspiracy theories and told so many lies the Washington Post had to catalogue them. We didn’t behave like children just because we were told to wear a mask to help combat the worst pandemic to hit this nation in over a century. We weren’t the ones who elected wing nuts to Congress, one of whom tweeted the location of the Speaker of the House during the siege on January 6. We aren’t the ones who rejected reality for fantasy. And we certainly aren’t the ones who now have the gall to demand to be met halfway.

Halfway to what? What substance are we suppose to ingest that would allow us to enter into the Twilight Zone you have encased yourselves in? How do we build both sides of a bridge that leads to nowhere? If the starting point for meeting you halfway means we have to suspend reality, count us out. That is a journey we want no part of. If your calculator is incapable of adding 2 plus 2, perhaps it’s time you bought a new calculator instead of asking us to accept the wrong answer.

Keep in mind, I’m not even talking about climate change or supply-side economics. Frankly, I miss the good old days when a United States senator would bring a snowball into the Senate chamber in a feeble attempt to prove that global warming was a hoax. Now, instead of snowballs, members of Congress are bringing guns into the House chamber and conspiring with insurrectionists to overthrow the government.

This is where we’re at as a nation, and it’s all your fault. Don’t even dream of pawning this off on us; not even a little. Yes, we may have invented cancel culture, but your side is literally looking to cancel people. Those weren’t Black Lives Matter protesters on the steps of the Capitol; they were white nationalists who were chanting “Hang Mike Pence” and “Where’s Nancy.” And while I realize not all of you may have endorsed their methods, the majority of you embraced their sentiment. The reason I know this is because I read some of your posts on Facebook. Hint, you may want to adjust your personal settings. No need to let the world know you’re fascists. Is there a secret handshake or something?

Look, I’m all for healing. God knows I’m the last pot who should be calling any kettle black. I’ve burned more bridges than Rommel. A good day for me is when I only piss off 50 percent of the readers of my blog. But last time I checked I wasn’t a domestic terrorist. And don’t give me that old “I’m no domestic terrorist” nonsense. You’re the ones who chose to lie down with pigs; don’t complain because you got covered in shit.

If it’s unity you’re looking for, here’s what you can do. For starters, admit you were wrong – about everything: the election, Trump, COVID, the works. This refusal to acknowledge reality is what led to the assault in Washington D.C., and the longer it lasts the more polarized our politics will become. Later on, we can talk about climate change and supply-side economics; I don’t want to put too much weight on those narrow shoulders of yours.

Second, stop electing crazy people like Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene to office. If you don’t like Democrats, fine; there are plenty of responsible Republicans out there who aren’t loons who can acquit themselves with honor and integrity. If you’re looking for some examples, read Ben Sasse’s op-ed in the *Atlantic. Now that’s a conservative with a moral compass. I may disagree with his positions, but he isn’t a disgrace to his office, nor a threat to his fellow colleagues.

Lastly, turn off whatever news outlets you’re currently getting your information from. They’re not helping you, and they’re killing what’s left of your brain cells. And please knock it off with the MSNBC bashing. Yeah, I know it’s a liberal network, but comparing them to Newsmax is like comparing a ribeye with a day-old Whopper laced with arsenic. Just because a cable-news network tells you something you don’t like doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Maybe the problem’s you.

Sorry to have to be the bearer of bad news, but there aren’t two sides to every story; there’s truth and then there are lies. For the last four years Trump has been lying to you, and for the last four years you’ve been gullible enough to believe him. The fact is Trump’s own justice department said there was no widespread voter fraud in the election; conservative judges have rejected any and all claims that there was, and Republican governors have certified the results. At some point this is no longer about Trump; it’s about you.

Listen, I know a thing or two about denial. The first step in any recovery is admitting you have a problem. Trump was your drug. He told you what you wanted to hear. And now he’s gone. What happens next is totally up to you. You can go cold turkey, or you can continue to stay hooked and enable the behavior of people who have made their evil intentions all too clear. 

If you choose the former, we will be here to welcome you back with open arms. But know this: if you choose the latter, you will do so alone. We’re not your keepers. We have no intentions of dragging you kicking and screaming across the goal line. You’re the only ones who can have an epiphany.

Dancing with myself was the name of a Billy Idol song in the ’80s. It was never meant to be an epitaph. Think about that.

Author: Peter Fegan

Progressive but pragmatic. Lover of music, die-hard Giants' fan and reluctant Mets' fan. My favorite motto? I'd rather be ruled by a smart Turk than a dumb Christian.