And I Thought, ‘Something Just Broke’

Systemic change will be difficult until we cut out and complete irradiate the Trumpist cancer from our diseased body politic. So we fight.

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something just broke
"And I thought to myself / And I thought / Something just broke / And I thought / I kept thinking / Something just spoke." Lyric: Stephen Sondheim.

Since midyear 2019, I have gathered together weekly with longtime Clyde Fitch Report contributor Elizabeth Burke and our amazing podcast editor, Michael Houk, to record us taking stock of the week just past and to have a few laughs at the sickeningly laughable state of political affairs in America.

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But when we recorded our latest episode, on Monday, June 8, something was very different. Smell the air — touch it, feel it, you can’t avoid it. Something broke last week. Broke in a way that, I think, many of us have wanted since November 2016 — and earlier. Listening to this week’s episode, I found myself blinking with amazement, and feeling a deep sadness, and, for the first time in many months, noticing hope when I think about all the things we mentioned as cried through our laughter and laughed through our tears:

  • The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff released a memo reminding the entire military — everyone, literally everyone, even the whole rank-and-file, — that Americans have a right under the US Constitution to protest;
  • A monumental passel of widely respected former military leaders, spurred on by former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (better late than never, I guess), effectively gave cover to the rest of the military in proclaiming that the treasonous Russian asset squatting in our White House is out of his fucking mind and needs to go — ideally, if you ask me, in tight shackles;
  • Responsibility for the entire world remains, apparently, in the tiny, breathless hands of Jared Kushner — or, if you’re The New Republic, “American Psycho” — but, faced with collapsing poll numbers, now the aforementioned Russian asset squatting in our White House may sideline him, or pay for his testicle reconstruction;
  • Ivanka Trump’s voice sounds like Marilyn Monroe after death;
  • Quasi-military and paramilitary personnel, intentionally obscuring their badges and identities, menacingly “guarded” the Lincoln Memorial, and national revulsion ensued;
  • Mitt Romney, who as a presidential candidate failed to capture the White House from Barack Obama in 2012, put his mask over his face and became the first Republican in Congress to march in Washington, DC — with, of all people, evangelicals;
  • Police unions — oh Lord, where do we start? Are they really going to be the enemy of change and not stop irrationally protecting, if not outright celebrating, all of the racist, murderous cops?

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It’s like the world is upside down. But you know what? The world is upside down. And until we cut out and irradiate our Trumpist cancer from the diseased body politic, we’re going to struggle to achieve the comprehensive, systemic change we demand and deserve. And so, each week, we will fight on. Whether it’s Liz heading to a march in downtown DC with Lulu, her activist dog, or Michael and I pursuing our activism from Georgia and NYC, the death of George Floyd is the catalyst so many of us have wanted and waited for since November of 2016 — and earlier. We honor Floyd’s memory and we fight, despite whatever words that may be directed toward us, despite whichever guns that may be pointed toward us, for his justice. And, more broadly but equally crucial, we fight for justice for every Black man and woman who have victimized by white America’s four-century cotillon with racial supremacy and privilege. That party is over.

And now, a sincere note of appreciation to our listeners for your support. If you enjoy this podcast, leave us a review and share this episode on social media. On Twitter, follow Liz at @burkelawNYC and follow CFR at @TheCFReport. Stay safe.

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