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I Can’t Even With These Assholes
Brad Roae leans into bigotry, has hurt feelings and, oh yeah, the PA GOP Uses Our Money Against Us
Sunday, Brad Roae apparently decided it’s high time he stop hiding his bigotry, prejudice, and general lack of human decency behind that thin veil of…well…all the other times he’s made it clear who he is. This is his post from January 24:
The comments are very much what you might, sadly but rightly, expect: a collection of transphobia, general anti-LGBTQ+ hate speech, implied violence, and ranting from folks who combine a penchant for conspiracy theory with an utter inability to think beyond the limits of their own deep-seated prejudice. And, of course, they do this while also railing about some perceived groundswell of liberal hypocrisy and evil. The worst and most important part is that Roae decided undermining the dignity of human beings who face enormous rates of hate crime and abuse and violence was on his Sunday to-do list. Just another day of spew-mongering politics for him, and another example of the rabid masses of hate-filled followers who are ready to pile on.
Brad Has Fragile Feelings
One of the reasons he might have been soooo ugly this week (and to be clear, he was really ugly this week…which is the reality that dominates this newsletter) is because Roae had his feelings hurt. I mean, let’s feel for the guy. He had to watch his Incompetent Wannabe Dictator hero slink off into the shadows. And then his worst fears were inaugurated on Wednesday: a decent human being as a President, and a strong, intelligent, competent woman of color as Vice-President. This hurts a troll y’know? Worst of all, Roae faces an America that will be working to extend rights and equity to folks who have been suffering. That really hits him in the dark, fetid nethers of a soul rotted by right-wing hatred and a social-consciousness stunted by remarkable abhorrence and fear of anyone who doesn’t look or act exactly like him.
So this week Brad put out a poll asking people to list their favorite parts of Trump (Me: I’m thrilled that Trump single-handedly wrestled control of the House, Senate, and White House from his right-wing GOP enablers). And this week Brad got lathered that Biden said the oath not precisely at noon. And this week Brad decided to stoke fears of a South American migrant caravan “invasion” … because he’s not just a bigot but also a racist. You might recall him defending the term “illegal aliens” this fall, flying those racist colors in trying to undermine, well, me. He stuck with that brand this week, because it’s good for his trollish business. In fact, racist dogwhistles prove to be just as popular as transphobia with the intolerant folks who scurried out in force on Sunday, happy to hear and agree with Roae’s rants, and happy to pile on the hate. For what it’s worth, Roae’s posting this week smacked of a stew full of chunky conspiracy and gullibility:
Yeah. All of it is unhinged. And (did I mention this?) racist.
But then a constituent starting mixing it up with him, and pressed back on the toxic language used by one of Brad’s mighty warriors. Rep. Roae got “offended” when the language was redirected toward him. Thus he lashed out to try to smear and punish a lack of fidelity to his own distortions:
Rose’s ire is a knowing distortion because Brooks did not initiate the term, as Roae implies, and because clearly Brooks had no idea of the obscure slang definition Roae had to go hunt down. Brooks later apologized publicly, to be clear, an act of contrition and honor we’ve never seen from our Rep, who regularly posts many, many things for which he should apologize, and that he posts on purpose. And in this exchange, while our region continues to suffer persistently high rates of poverty, and continues to be mired in the Covid pandemic, our Rep spent his work day scouring the deeply-academic and so-very-reliable online Urban Dictionary, a text so respected in academic circles that (checking notes) it is disallowed as a viable research paper source at even the kindergarten level. And in making his case of outrage, Roae cites the sage wisdom of a user called “Beer Sponge.”
I mean, really Brad? Really.
It’s who he is. So ugly. So useless. And this was his week. Ugliness and irrelevance on parade.
Did You Know Elected Officials Can’t Block Constituents from Social Media Accounts Used to Convey Official Information?
Yeah, Brad Roae knows this, too. But he blocked the constituent referenced above. And he has blocked at least three other constituents (that I know of…there have likely been more) because they challenge his distortions, pettiness, and bigotry. So much integrity in our representative. So much.
Ah, But Brad is an Outlier, the Rest of the PA GOP…
Is corrupt and awful.
Spotlight PA released a story this week about the state Senate GOP spending a million bucks of taxpayer money to suppress the vote and overturn the election: Read the article here. They spent our money in attempts to suppress our votes then, later, to try and have our votes tossed out.
(I’m sorry to say this, but I don’t see how any reasonable person can vote for a member of the PA GOP unless and until that party begins disavowing this extremist, abusive behavior. And — silver lining I suppose — I’ve talked with a few lifelong Republicans who have said the same thing. A few. Not enough. The few are terrific, moral human beings.)
This week, our Crawford legislators also made an ignominious list , a compilation of those politicians who chose to support insurrection over their oaths and duty. National attention! Yee haw! Again, the PA GOP needs a hard reset.
Plus Congressman Scott Perry was outed as taking an active role in trying to help Trump illegally toss the Attorney General, install a lackey, and steal the Georgia election for himself. He, like our Rep. Mike Kelly, has so little respect for Pennsylvania that he argued — after the violent coup attempt delayed the final certification of electoral votes — against the validity of his own state’s voters. Well, to be clear, he argued against the validity of his state’s Democratic voters, because the current PA GOP believes only in themselves, not democracy, not the Constitution, and not the Commonwealth.
I am so, so tired of paying attention to these assholes. And by that, in case there’s risk of me being unclear, I mean Brad Roae quite specifically. I also mean the general category of asshole politician who stokes hate, performs mediocrity, and fails basic tests of human decency. As for Roae, he has proven time and time again, in his speech, in his actions, and in the ways he knowingly provokes the bigots of Crawford County to rally together, that he lacks any shred of humility, intelligence, compassion, or care beyond his own interests. That he doesn’t get anything done in Harrisburg is, as it turns out, the only good thing about him. Imagine if he actually had the influence to legislate his dank soul into existence?
Paying attention to Roae does us no favors. It just gives fuel to the outrage furnace that is his base and catalyzes indigestion. Without a doubt, every day he is our state representative we are represented by someone who reflects the worst of who we are in Northwestern Pennsylvania. He. Has. To Go. No point, really, in continuing to point out his absence of integrity or complete absence of legislative accomplishment. We know who he is, and he isn’t afraid to tell us.
So, the hard question: how does he keeping getting re-elected?
There are only two answers.
1) Somehow, a critical mass of respectable Republicans have failed to see what Brad Roae says and does, and just unknowingly vote for their party. If that’s the case, we all should be making a point to make sure such folks know their guy is an unapologetic bigot. And that such folks actually have a pulse. Because, how do you not know?
2) “Respectable” Republicans either don’t care that their guy is who he is, because they like his official legislative stance of lumpish inaction, or they actually agree with his repugnant views and are, in fact, not respectable. Each of those possibilities is unacceptable, but I fear this really is the case for too many in Crawford. I find it hard to believe that so many folks (21,000 voted for Roae in the last election) are so checked out they fail to miss the reality. Same as with Trump. 70% voted for him in Crawford, and not a single one did it by accident. They’re at best fine with the awful because it seems to benefit them. That’s awful in itself. The rest, who actually want Trump because of what he said and did … well, they’re living in a world of self-conjured hatred and violence, and they want us to suffer in it alongside them.
My point: I dunno. I guess, mostly, that we have two years to find a way to demonstrate to folks turning a blind eye to ugliness that they ought not. The reality we have to accept is that showing them who Roae is won’t matter. He doesn’t hide his views. We have to show them there’s consequence to supporting ugliness. Living in the ugliness is our shared consequence if we don’t act.
As one wise meme had it on social media this week, bigotry continues to exist because those who display it still profit. We must make it unprofitable to be hateful. We must make it clear that we will not do business with folks who have such views, or who support politicians with such views (For example, I know we have to get a new furnace maintenance company, because they were happy to chirp hatred online and plant a big I’m Voting Hatred sign in front of their business this election-season). We need to write donors, and write businesses, and refuse to treat awful people with the complicity of silent “civil” respect. Call out the bullshit, in voice and action. Stop shopping at places that discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community, who continue to be racist, who think it’s too much to ask when we want to work toward ending violence. Find ways to make the people who say awful things feel uncomfortable when they do it. Don’t do that little polite, nervous laugh (that so many of us do … I get that, and feel that) when someone says something shitty. Do as one of my noble friends has often suggested: ask them to explain the joke. That will shut them up quickly, because even bigots know they’re bigots, and they don’t like feeling alone in that. Refuse them the comfort of allyship they don’t deserve.
My point also is that I’m done with Brad Roae. I will not engage. And we should all just leave his page to the hateful trolls who love him so much. Build elsewhere, folks. Cut out the toxic, and don’t feed their ire anymore. It gives them power. Deplatform the assholes organically, by ignoring them. And, then, give a platform to someone who deserves it.
Are You That Person for 2022?
Be that person. Make your intentions known now. Register your committee (see last week’s newsletter for details), get your bank account set up, and start planning your first campaign year. Your task for this week: build an official candidate Facebook page, announce your candidacy, and start regularly posting materials to introduce yourself.
A Last Thought
It sucks to live in a place where the shouting, vile bigots get to be in charge. Let’s stop letting it be that place.