I don’t typically spend a lot of time combing through United States Senator Marco Rubio’s Twitter account. It’s nothing personal, he just doesn’t post enough photos of cats or snappy one-liners to end up in my regular rotation. (Also, well … it’s a little personal. Sorry, Marco.)
However, he did recently tweet something that happened to catch my attention:
… no wait, not that one.
(Though, admittedly, he’s got a point about the new Colonel.)
It was actually this tweet:
The tweet threw me off because these people he’s talking about – these so-called “radical left wing extremists” – are me and my friends. We are the people urging our representatives to block Trump and the Republican majority in Congress at every turn. I have friends who attended Women’s Marches and Standing Rock gatherings across the United States (though they are still waiting for their checks to arrive for their “paid” protesting). Other buddies of mine have organized groups on social media to help spread ideas of how to most effectively resist the Trump administration. All of us are scrambling to think of ways to fight the good fight.
I signed up for Wall of Us, which sends a weekly email with specific ways to get involved. My Facebook, Twitter and this column – which all used to be spaces for me to make dumb jokes and look at photos of adorable pugs – have become spaces for me to vent my political frustrations. I’ve even started calling members of Congress to make my opinions heard.
So, while I’m hesitant to be lumped in with Michael Moore, who I’m not a fan of – it is quite clear to me that Rubio is subtweeting me and my friends. I’m willing to give Rubio the benefit of the doubt that he isn’t being hyperbolic with his words. In Rubio’s mind, my friends and I are “radical left wing extremists.”
But here’s the thing Rubio (and others who share his point of view) are missing – I don’t want to be an activist. Even though I listen to the Hamilton soundtrack several times a week, the last thing I want to do is start a revolution. In fact, in my happier days – the days before Trump – I wasn’t a particularly political person.
I would keep up with the broad strokes of politics. I’d always know just enough to have some idea of what was happening in our country, but I was never immersed in it. I didn’t watch cable news or read political websites. C-SPAN was a channel I quickly surfed past while looking for FX or Comedy Central. Mostly, I’d keep up to date on the latest Obama-Biden memes, skim the online headlines and watch The Daily Show and Last Week Tonight to “stay informed.”
And, in my heart of hearts, I’d love nothing more than to go back to that life. It was a simple life. It was a much less stressful life. It was a life filled with a lot less stress eating and shouting at loved ones about the state of the world.
Trump getting elected changed everything. Suddenly, I felt like I had to start paying attention to what was going on. I started reading The New York Times every day. I started watching Sean Spicer’s press briefings and clips from various cabinet members’ confirmation hearings. I spend so much time every day catching up on Trump’s policies and Twitter rants that my fiancé and I had to start imposing limits on our reading (No politics first thing in the morning, no politics after 8 pm, etc.).
I don’t want to be this guy. And most of my friends don’t want to be these people either. But the moment America elected a short-tempered, thin-skinned, sexist, xenophobic, corrupt orange businessman, I started paying closer attention. And I haven’t liked what I’ve seen. Trump’s questionable ties to Russia and to white nationalists, his attacks on immigrants and his general demeanor have filled me with grave concern for our country.
I’ve watched as he attempts to turn America into the antithesis of the inclusive land of opportunity that I’ve always been taught it is. I’ve watched as he angers Mexico and Australia while bending over backwards to praise Vladimir Putin. I’ve watched as he appoints a cabinet that is laughably inept. I’ve watched as he’s insulted judges for doing their jobs. He’s a detestable human being who is doing immeasurable damage to this country.
I’d love to go back to the golden age of my political apathy. But as long as a madman is in control of this great country, I’m going to be keeping a close eye on things. If you’d like me and my friends to stop pressuring our democratic representatives to oppose you, Rubio, the answer is simple – impeach Trump. Because if I am a “radical left wing extremists,” it’s only because Donald Trump radicalized me.
Joel Murphy is the creator of HoboTrashcan, which is probably why he has his own column. He loves pugs, hates Jimmy Fallon and has an irrational fear of robots. Follow Joel on Twitter @FreeMisterClark or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.