Some days, I really get truly, truly despondent about stuff that happens in this country.
Days when I don’t know whether to laugh, or cry, or just ball up my fists and scream and punch something.
Friday night, I read this horrifying story from The Daily Beast, about what’s going in Oregon right now. Without trying to summarize or minimize, here are the first few paragraphs of the story, and again, I’m not making this up:
Right-wing militia groups across the Pacific Northwest are mobilizing to prevent Oregon state police from arresting Republican state senators who went into hiding on Thursday in order to prevent climate change legislation from passing.
All 11 of Oregon’s Republican state senators are currently on the lam, with some leaving for Idaho in an effort to deny the Democrat-controlled state senate a quorum to pass a cap-and-trade bill. In response, Oregon Governor Kate Brown (D), citing a provision in the state constitution that allows the state to “compel” absent lawmakers to attend legislative sessions, dispatched state troopers to bring them back.
One of the lawmakers on the lam, Republican Brian Boquist (R), warned that he would resort to violence rather than return to the state, implying in a local television interview that he would attack law enforcement officers sent to retrieve him.
“Send bachelors and come heavily armed,” Boquist said. “I’m not going to be a political prisoner in the state of Oregon. It’s just that simple.”
Militia groups in the Pacific Northwest—a hotbed of far-right extremist activism—claim they’ve mobilized to protect those state senators.
“We’re doing what we can to make sure that they’re safe and comfortable,” said Eric Parker, the president of militia group Real Three Percenters Idaho, adding that the Idaho militias are in touch with their Oregon counterparts about the senators.
OK, so let me unpack this a little, if possible, because this all sounds batshit crazy.
First, yes, I know this walkout thing has been done in other state legislatures before, by Democrats and Republicans alike (it got a lot of attention in Wisconsin when Governor Scott Walker drastically tried to destroy unions.) But what really frightens me are two things: 1, this is about climate change legislation, a very real and significant issue, and we’ve got armed militias and wacko lawmakers threatening violence against his own state’s police???
And 2, nobody on the right seems to think this is going too far. No calls to stand down with all the militant talk, no one cares that militias are vowing to fight the law-enforcement agencies, and this is all just business as usual.
A few years ago, I would’ve laughed at anyone who said what I’m about to say. It sounds completely ridiculous.
But I honestly, truly think we might be headed toward a real civil war in the country. An honest to goodness civil war.
Next up today, because I feel we all need a palatte-cleanser after that horrifying story, my Dad showed me this clip last week of the late great Tim Conway, from “The Carol Burnett Show” back in the 1970s. Conway, who died on May 14, was a brilliant comedian, and this may have been his funniest skit yet.
It’s called “No Frills Airline,” and I laughed so hard I had to stop the clip a few times so I didn’t miss what came next.
**Finally today, I came down with a serious case of Kappo Kakko fever this weekend, but don’t worry, it’s not fatal. In fact, a million of my fellow New York Rangers fans are suffering from it, too.
I know it’s late June and what the heck am I doing talking about hockey, but indulge me for just a few paragraphs, please. Friday night in the NHL Draft, my Rangers drafted their most exciting rookie in decades, an 18-year-old sniper from Finland named Kappo Kakko (and come on, isn’t that a fun name to say? Go ahead and say it, me and my 4.5 year old have been yelling it at each other for a few days.).
He was picked No. 2 overall, he’s 6-foot-2, 190 pounds and is the most exciting Rangers prospect since Brian Leetch. I cannot freaking wait until October when he starts scoring goals for the Blueshirts.
Move over Federer, and take a seat, Zion Williamson. I have a new sports man-crush, and his name is KAKKO!!!!!!
OK I’ll calm down now.