Thrown Under the Bus


Many of us are feeling calmer these days. It is such a relief to wake up every morning and not wonder, “What’s he done now?”

It seemed like every day there was an attention-getting tweet or speech or impulsive action, each one designed to rile up the MAGA crowd, or endanger the country and the planet, or “throw someone under the bus.” A person gets tired of being goosed like that.

By the way, I have never heard the expression, “thrown under the bus,” so many times in my life as during the last four years. You wonder why anyone would want to work in that White House, knowing that your boss would turn on you.

Vice President Michael Pence was the last and most important Trump supporter to be thrown under the bus. When he opted to observe the rule of law after the election, he became the enemy. When he presided over the Senate on January 6 and the crowds marching on the Capitol were chanting, “Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!” and built that scaffold with a noose, his commander-in-chief did nothing to protect Pence from the mob. This after his four years of unwavering loyalty and support for Trump. We have all seen the video of Pence and his staff being escorted to safety that day.

Granted, sometimes at press conferences during the last four years he would stare into space and bite his lip so hard I feared he would hurt himself. Quite a few people standing behind Trump when he spoke kept their faces carefully blank.

When Pence was asked to speak at the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last week, he said yes at first, but then he learned that the guy who was going to allow him to be lynched would be there.

Maybe another year, he said.

I will be honest. I was not a fan of Mike Pence. His stand on abortion, which indicated a take on women as inferior animals who must be feared and controlled, and his weird relationship with his wife, put me off (still do). Also, he was chosen by Trump to be vice president and accepted the job, which I thought showed bad judgment.

During the last weeks of the Trump presidency, when Pence respected the outcome of the election and did his duty as Vice President, even in the face of a mob that wanted to kill him, my respect for him went way up.

He is, after all, a politician. He is betting that the unwieldy bureaucracy and infrastructure of the American government is going to last longer than Trump’s toddler behavior and the Trump cult. I hope he is right.

The cult is with us, and they have no intention of being pacified. I am on an email newsletter list that is a forum for Trump supporters to speak freely. If you say “unity” to these people, they are liable to spit in the corner. Or on you.

So I say nothing. I read. I do not wish to be in denial about what the angry minority is thinking.

From my point of view, their thinking and beliefs are backwards, inside out, upside down, and sad. The election was stolen; Democrats are Socialists/Communists; white people rule, disguised antifa laid siege to the Capitol on January 6.

Their email comments tend to be vitriolic, the rants of people who feel victimized. They are mad as hell. They seem impervious to reason. They are still believing and spreading lies and conspiracy theories, and they vote. Take heed, friends.

Think on this: these cult members, these scary people, are human beings, with hearts and families and tragedies and triumphs. They are just like you and me, except they are pissed, whiny, and dangerous.

While I am in the neighborhood, informal poll: how many of you have experienced the good-heartedness, hospitality, and generosity of conservatives? I have. It is confusing to be hated for being a liberal when I am treated well when seen simply as another human being.

America has a lot that needs fixing and healing. We get a lot wrong.

Racism is wrong. Sexism is wrong. Breaking up families and imprisoning and sexually abusing children is wrong. Bombing people in Eastern Syria, or anyone, is wrong, just my opinion. Seeing people with whom you disagree as not human is wrong. Throwing your supporters under a bus is wrong.

However much we want to criticize this country – and we do, and we are allowed – I am often in awe of how sweet it was to be born in America, where I have had freedoms, advantages, and blessings unheard of in many countries.

Of course, I am white. I did not realize what a difference that made for decades.
Slow learner.