Email #122: “the election is over”

Please consider updating your excuses for avoiding people who disagree with you.

I read in the Waynesboro newspaper this week that your communications director, Beth Breeding, dismissed one of your former Congressional opponents’ challenge to hold a debate as “a political stunt by a Democrat who is still sore about his party losing the presidency.” She added: “Mr. Schmookler is apparently unaware the election is over and the time for governing has come.” Beth said that on April 5th.

When a group of protestors appeared outside an Edinburg restaurant where you were having lunch, you dismissed them, saying the protest is “organized by a national organization that is not happy with the outcome of the election.” That was February 13th.

In one of your March newsletters, you included a link to a Fox News article which began with accurate reporting about a Department of Justice slush fund before devolving into an unacknowledged op-ed and then conspiracy theory:

“As lawmakers face protests in their home districts, the issue of shadow subsidies underscores the foggy nature of taxpayer dollars used in partisan politics.

“‘The protests are as organic as a plastic cup,’ says Fitton. ‘There is a massive left-wing infrastructure in place trying to protect the monstrous government created by the Obama administration.’”

I realize you would of course like to dismiss anyone with an opposing political opinion, but I’m surprised by both the crassness and ineffectiveness of your tactics.  The hypocrisy is exceptional since the GOP thrived precisely by cultivating “soreness” over two Republicans losing the presidency to Barack Obama. I assume you are too intelligent to believe your own PR and are only making these statements to misinform you supporters.

As I told your chief of staff Pete Larkin at the last “Open Door” meeting in Lexington, I am not an operative for any national organization. No one asked me to start writing you daily letters last December. The grassroots organization that I do belong to, 50 Ways Rockbridge, was founded before we even heard of the Indivisible Guide.

The first time I cast a vote in a Presidential election, it was for Walter Mondale. I also voted for Michael Dukakis, Al Gore, and John Kerry. Which is to say I’ve been “not happy with the outcome of the election” many times before. I know exactly what it feels like to be “sore about my party losing.” And that doesn’t begin to describe our current political climate.

The administrations of George Bush and George W. Bush did not make me politically active. That was only Donald Trump and, more importantly, the support he received and continues to receive from Republican politicians whom I had previously mistook to be principled human beings.

Beth is right. The election is over. The “massive left-wing” opposition is concerned exclusively with your attempts at “governing.” Even if your deafness to that fact is just clumsy PR spin, it both justifies and deepens that opposition. I suppose in a perverse sense I should thank you. Your reflexive mistruths are helping to keep Virginia progressives motivated and focused.  Instead of working to improve the political climate, you continue to unthinkingly fuel it.

Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an associate professor at W&L University, comics editor of Shenandoah, and series editor of Bloomsbury Critical Guides in Comics Studies. He has published two novels: School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002); and six books of scholarship: On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Iowa 2019), Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Routledge 2020), Creating Comics (with Leigh Ann Beavers, Bloomsbury 2021), and The Comics Form (Bloomsbury forthcoming). His visual work appears in Ilanot Review, North American Review, Aquifer, and other journals.

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