Collective complicity

Ukraine

Julia Ioffe is unlikely to have read my last blog post[1] on Ukraine. But she shares my fear that Donald Trump will win in 2024[2] and my concern[3] that the white Christian nationalist isolationists will undermine support for Ukraine’s defense against Russia.[4]

Moreover, it’s not just apple-pie American isolationism, not after Trump’s victory in 2016. Trump showed that there is a genuine ideological affinity for Putin in America. He is an aspirational leader for many on the right, including Carlson and Trump. Putin is unapologetically white, Christian, and traditional. He hates gay people and feminists and effete, urban intellectuals. He is a nationalist who doesn’t care about democratic niceties. He does what he wants and he takes what he wants, like a real man. If this wing of the G.O.P. is again ascendant in 2024, then Ukraine better hope it has won the war by then.[5]

As I wrote in my 2024 forecast, I am far from fond of issuing forecasts this far in advance. But it is very, very, very hard to see what stops the Republicans from seizing control of Congress in this November’s election and what stops Trump from winning back the presidency in 2024.[6] Frankly, this forecast right now looks nearly safe enough to take to the bank.

Ishaan Tharoor, “Turkey’s awkward role in the Russia-Ukraine war,” Washington Post, May 20, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/05/20/turkey-ukraine-erdogan-russia-nato/

Drew Hinshaw and Laurence Norman, “Hungary’s Orban Keeps EU Guessing Over Russian Oil Embargo,” Wall Street Journal, May 21, 2022, https://www.wsj.com/articles/hungarys-orban-keeps-eu-guessing-over-russian-oil-embargo-11653053395

John Psaropoulos, “Former NATO general says Putin has 9-month window to win war,” Al Jazeera, May 26, 2022, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/5/26/nato-general-putin-has-8-9-months-to-win-the-war

Joe Barnes, “Germany ‘deliberately watering down’ EU embargo on Russian oil,” Telegraph, May 27, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/05/27/germany-deliberately-watering-eu-plans-embargo-russian-oil-imports/

Dominic Nicholls, “Vladimir Putin’s forces are running out of tanks,” Telegraph, May 27, 2022, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/05/27/vladimir-putins-forces-running-tanks/

Julia Ioffe, “Putin’s D.C. Waiting Game,” Puck News, May 31, 2022, https://puck.news/putins-d-c-waiting-game/


Gun nuttery

United States


With strict rules on gun possession, California has had some success at reducing gun violence. This is a reality that those who confuse their guns for their penises can’t honestly refute.[7] But if the Supreme Court rules as expected,[8] those gains will likely be reversed.

Ashley Parker, Tyler Pager, and Colby Itkowitz, “From Sandy Hook to Buffalo: Ten years of failure on gun control,” Washington Post, May 22, 2022, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/05/22/guns-biden-democrats-buffalo/

Jon Allsop, “A massacre in Uvalde, and the ‘numbing script’ of gun-violence coverage,” Columbia Journalism Review, May 25, 2022, https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/uvalde_shooting_media.php

Kevin Rector, “U.S. gun laws are getting looser, not stronger, despite more mass shootings,” Los Angeles Times, May 25, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-05-25/mass-shootings-renew-calls-for-stricter-gun-laws-experts-say-the-opposite-is-coming

David Siders, “‘It’s straight out of a playbook’: At NRA convention, conspiracy theories abound,” Politico, May 27, 2022, https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/27/nra-convention-uvalde-shooting-00035842

Laurel Wamsley, “The U.S. is uniquely terrible at protecting children from gun violence,” National Public Radio, May 28, 2022, https://www.npr.org/2022/05/28/1101307932/texas-shooting-uvalde-gun-violence-children-teenagers

Shawn Hubler, “California Has America’s Toughest Gun Laws, and They Work,” New York Times, May 31, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/31/us/california-gun-laws.html


Right-wing dictatorship project

David Smith, “Republican party building an ‘army’ to overturn election results – report,” Guardian, June 1, 2022, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jun/01/republicans-plan-overturn-election-results-report


Pittsburgh

Population

Jason Togyer had speculated that what we would now identify as white Christian nationalism was driving people away,[9] but it seems the largest factor in local population decline is that more people are dying in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area than being born;[10] the number of people moving here—I’m still seeing a remarkable number of California license plates as I drive around—from other places is apparently insufficient to make up for the dying.

I’ll put it this way: If indeed Pittsburgh is suffering, as in actually suffering, a population decline, it ought to be more appreciative of people who have moved here. Like me.[11]

Honestly, though, I think Pittsburgh folks would rather just complain: “It is what it is,” they say, exposing despair, acquiescence,[12] and collective complicity in all that is wrong here.

To whatever degree that Togyer is right about white Christian nationalism,[13] he will certainly likely be right about me. It isn’t just that Pittsburgh is a horribly white Christian nationalist kind of place. It’s that it’s so blatantly shameless about it.[14]

And the roads really aren’t helping.

Megan Tomasic, “Western Pennsylvania population continues to trickle downward,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 31, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/regional/western-pennsylvania-population-continues-to-trickle-downward/


  1. [1]David Benfell, “Vladimir Putin’s [T/t]rump card,” Not Housebroken, May 21, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/05/21/vladimir-putins-t-trump-card/
  2. [2]David Benfell, “My 2024 forecast,” May 28, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/10/my-2024-forecast/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “Vladimir Putin’s [T/t]rump card,” Not Housebroken, May 21, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/05/21/vladimir-putins-t-trump-card/
  4. [4]Julia Ioffe, “Putin’s D.C. Waiting Game,” Puck News, May 31, 2022, https://puck.news/putins-d-c-waiting-game/
  5. [5]Julia Ioffe, “Putin’s D.C. Waiting Game,” Puck News, May 31, 2022, https://puck.news/putins-d-c-waiting-game/
  6. [6]David Benfell, “My 2024 forecast,” May 28, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2022/03/10/my-2024-forecast/
  7. [7]Shawn Hubler, “California Has America’s Toughest Gun Laws, and They Work,” New York Times, May 31, 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/31/us/california-gun-laws.html
  8. [8]Kevin Rector, “U.S. gun laws are getting looser, not stronger, despite more mass shootings,” Los Angeles Times, May 25, 2022, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-05-25/mass-shootings-renew-calls-for-stricter-gun-laws-experts-say-the-opposite-is-coming
  9. [9]Jason Togyer, “Will western Pennsylvania become a string of ghost towns?” Columbia Journalism Review, September 8, 2020, https://www.cjr.org/special_report/year-of-fear-mckeesport-census.php
  10. [10]Megan Tomasic, “Western Pennsylvania population continues to trickle downward,” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, May 31, 2022, https://triblive.com/local/regional/western-pennsylvania-population-continues-to-trickle-downward/
  11. [11]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d., https://disunitedstates.org/about-my-job-hunt/
  12. [12]David Benfell, “It is what it is,” Not Housebroken, December 31, 2021, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/12/31/it-is-what-it-is/
  13. [13]Jason Togyer, “Will western Pennsylvania become a string of ghost towns?” Columbia Journalism Review, September 8, 2020, https://www.cjr.org/special_report/year-of-fear-mckeesport-census.php
  14. [14]David Benfell, “Hate, Pittsburgh Style,” Not Housebroken, February 26, 2022, https://disunitedstates.org/2021/04/06/hate-pittsburgh-style/

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