“Republicans seem to support one fella, some guy named Brandon. He’s having a good year, I’m kind of happy for him.” – Joe Biden at the 2022 White House Correspondents’ Dinner
I have a t-shirt that I like to wear that reads simply “Brandon Won”. For those of you who don’t know who Brandon is it refers to the political slogan “Let’s Go Brandon” used by the MAGA Neanderthals as a euphemism for “Fuck Joe Biden”. For the red hat brigade: eu·phe·mism – a mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing.
I ran into a guy I have known for easily 30 years at Home Depot and haven’t seen in a while. We spent the first 10 minutes talking about what our kids are up to and then John got serious and said “You know he is not my president” pointing at my t-shirt. “Brandon” I asked? “Yes”.
Now a little about John, he is from an old south family, seemingly related to everyone, that likes to trace its roots in our community back 200 years. He grew up in the blueblood neighborhood, went to the local private “Christian” school, has a private college education, with a masters from an Ivy league school. He took over the family business which relies on cheap (read black and then later Hispanic) labor.
John grew-up well off, not rich (he married RICH), but he had all the trappings of rich including a “black girl” that worked for his family who wasn’t a “girl” at all but a woman who died 20 years ago at the age of 89, penniless. I remembered when she died (John’s family wrote her obituary which was basically an ode to them) and John making a big deal about his family paying for the funeral.
Anyway, back to “You know he is not my president”. My next question was, who the fuck is your president then? Yes, I asked it just like that. For the next 15 minutes, this overeducated industrial rag salesman proceeded to preach to me that there was no way Frump lost, that the Mexicans were overrunning and overpopulating our country and the Chinese owned everything. When John was done with his rant I asked him one last question, “What the fuck happened to you?” and left.
Fast forward 2 weeks later and I ran into John’s wife at lunch, a woman who truly grew-up with anything and everything she could possibly want. If John grew-up with a “girl” she grew-up with “girls” and “boys” working at her family’s mansion, still the largest private residence in our community. Again, we spent the first 10 minutes talking about our kids and then she said with a smile “I heard you ran into my husband”. “Yes”, I responded, “I asked him what the fuck happened to you?” and the smile left her face and she responded simply, “Fox News and Tucker Carlson happened”.
We sat down and talked for 30 minutes and here is what I learned, whoever John votes for will be cancelled by his wife’s vote. She does not share his views, which apparently has and continues to cause her a lot of pain and concern. She stated, like she was trying to remind herself, that John has been and continues to be a wonderful husband, father, and friend. She honestly feels that for John to remain in his “circle of friends” he feels like he needs to have these conservative, she used the term “radical” views.
I asked her if their two kids shared their dad’s beliefs. “No”, she said, neither of them did which she was grateful for, particularly her son who is out in the business world trying to find his way.
I have written before that racist pieces of shit have always been with us. As a percentage of the population, we don’t have any more or any less than we had 200 years ago, 100 years ago or even 50 years ago. The difference today than say 10 or 20 years ago, is that people like John feel “comfortable” sharing their bias because they think they are part of a growing tribe. It isn’t growing, it’s shrinking and that’s what scares the shit out of them.
Eleanor Roosevelt said that “Some people are going to leave a mark on this world, while others will leave a stain.” That is what Frump, Frumpism, MAGA, and John, if he isn’t careful, are going to be, a stain. The one thing I know about a stain, they can be removed or at the very least faded. It may take some elbow grease and toxic cleaner, but we don’t have to look at a dog shit spot on the carpet forever.
But here is the thing, I would rather have someone like John, again a guy I have known for 30 years, feel empowered enough that he will show his true colors rather than having him hide his beliefs in the shadows. For me, that is where the danger is for our nation. Let the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and the red hat oafs tell us who they are. When we can identify the stain with a face, a name, or a hat we will know the kind of cleaner we need and how big of a brush to use.