I thought around midnight that I was having a stroke. I lost about an hour’s worth of time, not with passing out or with sleep, but with unwanted time travel. I remember checking the clock and seeing 3:25 a.m. and then, after my next dizzy-stepping trip to the bathroom, my stupid, lying eyes saw 2:20 a.m. So, I doubled-checked, even resetting my phone to be sure, and all three time displays agreed that I had traveled back in time. Of course, maybe it was me misreading the earlier time. Yet, I am in the habit of double-checking every trip, once upstairs and once downstairs, and I distinctly remembered the 3:25 blinking on my phone. So, my mini-stroke may have been unwanted anomalous time-travel instead.
Never-the-less, I did not die in my sleep as per expectation. I was glad to see that Biden was ahead of Trump and only not the official winner because the Trumpalump and his terrible Trumpkins would act like trolls and break stuff if the victory in the election went to Biden only on the basis of… you know, more votes, both ballots and electoral college electors, and the math that proves it.
Anyway… I am still here. And with luck, tomorrow too.
Teachers are not supposed to fall in love with students. Of course, when the school district tells you that, at the beginning of the year, they are talking mostly about high school students, and they are talking exclusively about romantic love. I have never had a real problem with that rule. Romantically, little half-brained and totally immature middle school students are downright icky. Especially the walking, talking, and sometimes farting middle school boys.
But schools, even though they can’t really say it, and some administrators don’t believe they want it to be so, they want teachers to have “teacher love” for students. That means, in a vaguely defined way in administrative brains compatible with the real meaning of “fully funded,”that they want teachers to become surrogate mothers and fathers to students, the kind of love you have for an orphan you have adopted because you can plainly see they need someone… anyone… to love them and care for them… no matter how ugly they might be on the outside.
“To be a good teacher, you gotta learn to love ugly,” Head Principal Watkins said to us all for the two years he managed to love our faculty. And he meant it. I was not the only teacher I heard him tell, “You are a wonderful teacher because you care about kids.” And he meant it. Not like most principals.
But when you see a picture of David, the way he was back then, you can see he was not ugly. Just his situation was ugly.
He was one of six kids that lived with his single mother in the housing project for low-income families. His mother had, at the time the principal called me into his office, been cited by authorities twice for neglect of her children.
“Mike, I know you have mentored and helped several kids outside of school. And we have a boy coming into your seventh grade class that we would like for you to help out however you can. We know you went through the whole social-services and foster-parent training from San Antonio. And David Gutierrez could really use a bit of a boost from you,” the Head Principal told me behind closed doors.
Boy, was that ever an understatement. I was spending considerable time hanging out with the pretty blond reading teacher. The first time I cooked for her, fried hamburgers and instant mashed potatoes, David had a plate already at the tiny table in my little apartment. And, skinny little thing that he was, he ate three quarters of all the food I had badly cooked. Annabel didn’t mind. And not because the burgers were burnt and the potatoes were runny… I am still not a great cook. She would become David’s second mom for those next three years. She gave him as much if not more “teacher love” than I did.
He was not a good student in any of his classes. But he was an adequate reader, and he actually improved noticeably in the time he was hanging out with us.
But he gave us a turn during that first fall when he got sick. He had the seventh grade History teacher first period every morning. And one day in October he reported to class all listless and red-eyed, And Mrs. Finch was a sharp and capable teacher, knowing what drug problems looked like, and what they didn’t look like. She sent him to the nurse. It was a fever of one-hundred-and-three degrees. The parent was called, but the parent didn’t answer. So, immediately after school Annabel and I took him directly from the nurse’s office to the doctor. And after it was determined he had a bad sinus infection, we took him to my place and put him in the spare bedroom (all apartments on North Stewart Street were two-bedroom, but there was only one of me.) Annabel stayed with him while I filled the prescription for antibiotics. We got him dosed and rested at least before his mother returned from her cleaning job in Laredo, sixty miles south. We told her everything that happened. And she took him home. His two older sisters took over nursing duty.
But when the school contacted the doctor, it was explained that the infection was severe mainly because David was malnourished and dangerously anemic. Of course, that was evidence of neglect and had to be reported.
In order to avoid having to give up custody to the State his mother moved him to Laredo, closer to her work. Both of the older sisters, Bunny and Bea had advised their Mom to give him to Annabel and me. But, of course, we were not married and in no position to become his actual parents.
So, David spent two months in Laredo, calling me every night from a pay phone. His grades in school tanked. He was miserable and lonely.
The problem was worked out in David’s family. His older brother sent money every month to his two older sisters. And Bunny had a job and kept the apartment in Cotulla for herself. So, as a compromise, since Bea was already living there with Bunny to attend high school, David came back to live with them, along with his younger sister. They returned to the school where all their friends were.
Through the rest of David’s seventh grade until the end of high school he was like a son to me. He was constantly at my place, playing computer games, watching VHS movies, and charming my girlfriend. (Annabel had the apartment next door for three of the next four years.) I played games with him. I fought with him about getting his homework done. I basically did the Dad-thing for him, something no other man had ever been bothered to do. In later years he would work as a substitute teacher for me. He would introduce me to new girlfriends. And the last time I saw him, in Uncle Moe’s Mexican Restaurant, he introduced his pregnant wife to me and my wife.
In Hebrew, the name David means, “Beloved.” Hence, that’s the only part of his name in this essay that is real.
I was not able to post yesterday for a number of reasons. Not the least of which is the turmoil caused by this nation trying to come to terms with those sins of the past that come back to haunt us and hunt us in the present.
I am an old white man. I suffer from “white privilege” in ways I can’t explain to some of my white friends back in Iowa, a State that was almost entirely white when I was growing up there. (And I pray that I grew UP, not just old.)
I learned yesterday that it matters how you put in order the things that you can say on matters of race. You can’t just say, “Black lives matter” to some white people. They will angrily insist that “All lives matter.” They will then proceed to tell you that you are being a racist when you suggest that black people are somehow more important than white people. I learned that you should say instead, “All lives matter, which means black lives certainly matter too. And the debate now is about a few recent black lives that were treated like they didn’t matter, and so, their lives ended in being murdered.” You can’t give white people a reasonable-sounding way to get out of admitting that, or they will. (See, I can be a bit racist too. I sometimes have a hard time believing all white people have positive human feelings in them somewhere.)
It has often, in my teaching career, been a disadvantage to be a white male. Black kids don’t believe you can see them as a good person. If you have to call them down for misbehavior, the worst ones will automatically assume it is about their race and not their behavior. A good teacher needs to listen more than they talk. You have to get them to open up about what happens in their lives that makes them behave the way that they do. You have to make them understand that you actually care about them and want to help. You have to earn their trust to get their best learning behavior. And being white makes that all so much harder. Not just with Afro Americans. Hispanic kids too. Vietnamese kids too. And I promise you, if you take the time to really get to know a kid… from any race or culture… you will discover that underneath it all, there are no bad kids. You stand a very good chance of learning to love them… no matter their racial or cultural differences from you.
And as an old white man, I suffer the disadvantage of never being able to truly understand what it feels like to have to worry that, at any moment, the police might kill you with a gun, or press the life out of you with a knee on your neck… just because of the color of your skin. That is in no way a fair thing that black men, black women, and black kids have to worry about that.
I am saddened and frustrated too that I can’t do any more to correct this terrible injustice than I am doing. I can’t attend protests because of my poor health and the pandemic that will probably kill me anyway. I am too old and crippled and broke to do any more than write this essay and post things on social media that make some of my old white friends angry and ready to argue.
I feel bad. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, and too many more diminish me, make me hurt in my heart. And all I can do about it is tell you that there needs to be more love in this world, and less hate. And I hope maybe you have a little more of it to add to the world. After all, that’s all that really matters.
There is a need for fantasy in those critical times when reality is stressing us to the limit. And fantasy can turn our imaginations upward and outward instead of inward when we are in need of new Star Trek and Flash Gordon solutions to Koch-Brothers and Trumpy problems. Think of how the world turned to space fantasy during the depression and World War II. We got Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers and Daffy Duck making fun of Buck Rogers. And the civil-rights battles of the 60’s brought us Captain Kirk and Lt. Uhura having an interracial kiss on TV, forced by villains though it was.
Yes, space-explorer stories and Star Wars movies help us face the challenges of living on a dying planet that the fossil-fuel industry is gleefully killing with the help of a baby-man king-president right out of a Judge Dread movie.
I am not suggesting that some alien being is going to make contact with us and miraculously help us save our planet. They already tried that, and we didn’t listen. I am suggesting that the planet-saving ideas are going to come from today’s crop of Science-Fiction dreamers and people who grew up on ideas from outside the box… in fact, outside the very atmosphere of this planet. The space-fantasy solutions of the near future may well be the only hope we have left.
Time is running out. We need to find the Flash-Gordon-like hero who will step up to the planet Mongo’s evil and save the Universe and get the girl. Except, one that fits into the 21st Century instead of the 1930’s.
Of late I have been rather obsessed with the coming darkness. Death. Ragnarok. Mass extinction of all life on Earth. My own situation as a pessimist quickly approaching the end of my own personal life has probably colored my obsession to a very large degree. And I should point out, my own prognosis is not going to change for the better. I do not have the financial power to prevent the problems I already have using modern effective healthcare. I am personally doomed. But even though the whole world seems easily as doomed by climate change, that doesn’t mean everyone shares my sad fate. There are potential solutions to the problem that only require the people who do have the financial power to fix it to decide that life on Earth has more value than their personal wealth and privilege. (Uh-oh… there’s a dependence on goodness where it seems like none actually exists.)
I often turn to science and books by very smart people to give me ideas that comfort me and give me hope. I recently did some binging on YouTube’s Answers With Joe. He does an excellent job of providing answers to things that worry me underpinned with scientific facts.
I have been worried about the environment from the times in high school science class when we learned about Paul Ehrlich and his book The Population Bomb.
Then we were learning about how the overpopulation of the Earth and its attendant need to produce food for all those people threatened massive famine, resource scarcity, and eventual extinction for humans. It was pointed out that, at the time in the 1970s, we were using chemical fertilizers and pesticides on the fields in Iowa to increase yields that would not only pollute the water and air in Iowa, but would eventually make its way through the watershed system into the oceans where it would overstimulate the algae and create an ocean environment throughout the world devoid of oxygen, fish, and all other lifeforms. I could see the threat and the validity of the science that Ehrlich had done.
I learned, over time, that population stresses do not necessarily cause extinction events in a matter of decades. The 1980s came and went and we were not extinct, despite eight years of Ronny Ray-gun, the jelly-bean president, and massive success in increasing food production. As Joe does an excellent job of explaining in the video above which you didn’t watch, population problems proved at least partially self-correcting. Families generally slowed their growth rate as health and wealth improved and made them more productive, more intelligent, and better able to support the heavy layer of living people that now covered the Earth.
Recently I became obsessively and pessimistically concerned with the dire predictions of environmental scientist Guy McPherson. I do recognize that his work reflects the extremist point of view among climate scientists, but ;there are a number of facts that he presents that are irrefutable in the same way as the arguments of… Paul Ehrlich.
In the second video above that you also didn’t watch, Joe explains how the problem of greenhouse gasses can be undone by renewable energy, carbon capture and air-scrubbers, and the search for viable products made from CO2, helping to reverse greenhouse gasses. He also explains how chemical cooling of the atmosphere and actual planetary weather control are possible. Technology already exists to solve the climate problem. The only drawback is that somebody has to pay for it. And the people in control of that kind of financial power are all entitled low-down greedy bastards that would rather build massive survival bunkers in the Ozarks than pay for the rest of us to survive. So, there is hope, which comes not with a grain of salt, but with a giant’s saltshaker filled with rock salt. Still, it isn’t time for all of you to give up. Just me. I am the one most completely doomed.
I hope you listened to Joe. Not just the first part, then got bored and disgusted and turned on Fox News. I hope you listened all the way to the end and heard the hopeful things he says there. He is a very good video essayist who uses real science to reason with you about questions that are really about life and death. One way we may be going to die as a species is through climate change and global warming. The dire predictions we get from climate scientists, whom nobody seems to take seriously, are becoming increasingly alarming. If we are too stuck in our own little kingdoms and don’t look the castle windows at the weather outside, we are not only going to have our parades rained on, it will be acid rain, and the parade marchers will get boiled on the hoof as they march.
Those of us who put too much faith in the Trump Train, burning its beautiful clean coal, are going down to the bottom when we get to the canyon bridge and the train roars off the tracks. Just ask Paul Manafort after his trial ends, or Jeff Sessions after Trump fires him to make racist sausages out of him to serve at an I-Love-Putin Picnic, what the ride has been like on the Trump Tongue Express.
But, of course, the Pumpkinhead in Chief is not the only reason we have no money and no jobs and are going to be roasted to death in a polluted world. There is also the little matter of Trillions of Dollars in Debt that was racked up to make the rich richer and people like me foot the bill.
I know you may be suspicious of an interview conducted on RT which is an arm of Russian propaganda in the USA. But I should point out, if you like Trump, you like Russia already, and both of these journalists, Chris Hedges and David Cay Johnston, are not afraid to tell the unvarnished truth. That means the mainstream media is uncomfortable about putting them on the air, and those who want to stir up trouble find it easiest to do that by simply allowing access to researched facts and basic truths we are reluctant to hear.
If you don’t believe in the predictions offered by science, it is bound to be because of one of two different things. Either you see the science and follow how the results of computer models become overwhelmingly dire, disgusting you with a total lack of optimistic outcomes, or you reject science in favor of the oil companies’ rose-colored fairy-tale outlooks where unicorns will consume CO2 clouds and fart out benevolent rainbows. From where I stand now, broke and old and ill, it doesn’t matter much to me. In the short time frames we are looking at for global-warming Armageddon, I will undoubtedly reach the end of my natural life. I probably won’t be around for the horrific-suffering part of how this all is going to end.
I know if you haven’t turned away from this heat-death-of-the-planet idea already, you are probably pretty depressed by this point in the essay. I know I am. It does not bode well for my children and any future grandchildren. But I will leave you with the reminder that we are human beings. And human beings are complex and able to solve large complex problems. We put men on the moon. (Or we did the even harder job of faking it and not letting the secret be discovered for fifty years, complete with space-travel debris on the moon that you can take photographs of from earth with a really good telescope.) So, just maybe this massive terrifyingly horrible problem can yet be solved in the nick of time. I do believe in the good that can be found in mankind. But I also see the corruption and evil. So hopefully Mark Twain’s final hope for mankind, that this time when God drowns us, there will be no Ark, will be thwarted. Believe me, I have no wish to die a horrible death. But I am a pessimist after all.
I am trying to cut down on political notions and noodling in this blog. It is like sugar to a humor writer. The easy laughs are sweet, but if you are diabetic, they will eventually build up and kill you.
But between Twitter-tweeting twit-wits and Facebook false-fact fools, I keep getting drawn back in. The gang of kids I grew up with in Iowa are seriously infected with Tea Party propaganda now that they are old coots like me, and continue to vote for Teabagger trolls (And I mean literal trolls. Steve King, Congressman from Iowa, has green skin and lives under a bridge… and maybe eats foolish children when they try to cross) for public office. And of course, I live now in Texas where gun-toting cowboys look at you intently to find any possible reason to shoot you and then thank Jesus if you are fool enough to give them one (like admitting to be mostly a Democrat in your political persuasion). They want to argue anything and everything I post on Facebook. Apparently even my bird pictures and cat videos politically offend them.
Oooh! This one really offends Teabaggers… especially the ones who make $25/hr or less.
Can you pick out the Trump voters in this line? All of them maybe?
And I am not suggesting that people who voted Republican in the last election aren’t as smart as my side. I waited until now in this essay to say that, because the childhood friends and family members in that group who read my blog will have all stopped reading by this point. I really don’t need to give them any more ammunition for Facebook and dinner table arguments.
But my side of the table are not wholly guilt free.
I regularly tweet or post things like these, innocently believing these heroes of the heart and mind have universal appeal because they champion truth and science and facts. But I become alarmed when I learn how much Bill Nye offends them. They tell me, “That guy is not a scientist! He has no right to argue for climate change issues or the non-existence of God. He’s just a TV guy.” And, I suppose they have a point. I mean, his extensive education and background in engineering, or his years in television promoting science to kids in research-based creative ways, doesn’t necessarily make him an expert on all science. And Neil DeGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist. He doesn’t have a degree in EVERYTHING. And when I point out that their so-called experts on climate-change denial from Fox News cannot even claim to be TV weathermen, they are further put out by my brain-bashing bullying way of using my superior knowledge of science to put them down. Okay, I get it. I am not being careful enough of your feelings. (Oh, I forgot, you stopped reading this a while back.)
But the point of this is, we have to stop listening to and electing stupid people, while at the same time being a bit nicer to each other. We have to approach the discussion with the notion that you yourself may not be totally right about everything, and you may actually learn something by talking about it. (Which is, of course, no problem for me since I really don’t know anything for certain and need to learn practically everything as if I were still four years old.)
Okay, Bill, I get it. I am probably wrong about that too.
Yes, I am a coot. I became a coot in 2014 when I retired. I have the hair in the ears to prove it. I sometimes forget to wear pants. The dog is learning to hide from me on days when my arthritis makes me cranky.
So I am a practicer of the ancient art of being a cranky old coot. I have opinions. I share them with others foolishly. And I am summarily told to, “Shut up, you danged old coot!” And, of course, I don’t shut up because that would be a violation of number five in the by-laws of cootism. Obnoxiousness is our only reason for still being alive.
Lately, my group of coots on Facebook (who call themselves a “pack” like wolves, but, in truth, a group of coots is called an “idiocy”) are talking about politics… very loudly salted with firmly held opinions, beliefs, and bad words in several languages. I mean, it’s texting each other on memes we disagree about, but we do it LOUDLY, like that, in all caps. We also do it in such an infuriating manner because, if no one ever bothers to tell us to “Shut the hell up!” we will begin to suspect we have actually died and gone to purgatory where we are still being obnoxious, but nobody knows we are doing it. That is rubbing coot fur in the wrong direction.
The radical right (otherwise known as coot paradise) have been cooting up a storm about school shootings and gun control of late. They have more or less turned their ire on me because, knowing I was a school teacher, they have seized on the Coot in Chief’s notion of arming teachers to protect schools. Obviously a majority of old coots agree that requiring a few “volunteer” teachers to conceal carry and learn how to handle a school shooter crisis situation with a gun instead of the way teachers are actually trained and practiced on handling such a situation, is the only economical way to defend schools from crazed lunatics with assault weapons. Of course, it is definitely more economical than hiring full time police officers to handle security because “volunteer” teachers does not mean that they are necessarily willing to do it, but rather that they are doing it without pay. And of course they shout at me things like, “Why don’t you just admit that you are too scared and unpatriotic to carry a gun as a teacher, and cowardly allow some female teacher with a big pistol to step in and do the job for you?” That is a very coot thing to say, and is hard to adequately counter, because if you try to argue using logic other than coot-logic, like the notion that since a majority of teachers in this country are female, you are asking women who are fierce enough to do the job (and I have known more than a few who would take it on no matter how hopeless their prospects) to take a handgun that the principal bought at Walmart with money from the Coke machine in the hall and face down a suicidal maniac with an assault rifle, you will not even be heard over the cacophony of coot braying and chest-thumping, let alone be understood.
And, for some reason, coots love Trump. Maybe because they feel he is truly one of them. He is older than dirt. He has an epicly bad comb-over to hide his bald spot. He says bad words very loudly in front of women, children, and everybody. He says, “Believe me,” a lot, especially when telling lies. And he’s not afraid to fart in public and blame it on the dog. I admit to insulting Trump in front of them only because I like to see coot faces fold up in extra wrinkles, and coot heads turn various shades of angry red and apoplectic purple.
So, yes. I am a coot. Not proud to be one… that I can remember, but a coot never-the-less.
“Geez, Mickey,” you will say, “Why-ever would you write such a gloomy pessimist’s poem?”
“Because I prepare myself for the worst. The worst in this case is that the President of the United States says the solution to school shootings is putting guns in the hands of teachers. He wants those of us whose hands were made for using chalk on chalkboards, and hearts were made for talking to kids, learning who they are, and guiding them toward a better future, to pick up a gun and accurately take out a threat coming in with legally purchased weapons of war that can shoot more rounds faster than any weapon that the school system will be able to put in my hands. It is a terrible idea, and he is going to make it happen just because he stupidly can.”
One time at a middle school I taught at, a child did bring a gun to school. It was a handgun concealed in a back pack. He apparently meant to shoot his former girlfriend. But, as kids will, he told friends about it. They told a teacher. The principal called the police and confiscated the back pack. Not only did the target survive without being shot at, the perpetrator, after his brush with the law and time served, was able to right his boat again and sail on into adulthood, a job, a wife, and kids. He even told me later that he was grateful to have been stopped from ruining his life, even possibly ending his life. The problem was solved without a shooting because of teacher skills, being able to talk to kids, being approachable to talk to about problems and unsettling rumors, and knowing where to turn for the proper help at the proper time.
Of course, we were lucky on that one. Stopping that shooter was not 100% guaranteed. And it happened in the 90’s during the assault rifle ban. He was immature enough and excitable enough to have killed many with a more powerful weapon.
If it were up to me to become a weapon-toting defender of the innocent, I am fully aware of how little chance I have to be successful at such a thing. I am a lousy shot. If I had to face down an AR-15 with the cheap school-district pistol, I would become one more obvious target that any shooter will obviously take out in seconds. That’s the best possible outcome for the school, because my missing shot would probably hit some poor innocent bystander.
And, of course, conservative Facebook friends won’t stop insisting that teachers need to be armed. A good guy with a gun can defeat a bad guy with a gun, you know… assuming the SWAT team doesn’t shoot the good guy, mistaking him for the bad guy.
So, even though I don’t like it, I guess I have to be prepared for schools to become battlegrounds. Every day a shootout at the OK Corral. I just hope Wyatt Earp is on my side.
And it really is raining outside today. Cold, February rain… and it depresses me.
I promise not to use profanity and other assorted bad words, which will probably affect the accuracy of my synonym picking. But it is has come to my attention that people really just don’t know how to label modern Republicans. Fortunately, I am in a position to offer you warning labels that are at least somewhat useful if you ever have to buy one in a store (assuming, of course, that you have millions to invest and reasonable prospects of using the hard-to-label-accurately products to make even more millions).
Yes, the modern Republican cannot identify irony. Irony is when the opposite of what you were led to expect would happen is what actually takes place. For instance, when a political candidate expresses the will and the plan to “drain the swamp” in the nation’s capitol, and then, when he wins, he hires a racist crocodile as Attorney General, a slimy Wall-Street snake as the Treasury Secretary, and a brainless bayou woodpecker as Secretary of Education, and the average Republican voter applauds the choices as the most expertise and experience for the job. Who better to control criminals and thugs than a former master criminal? And you can’t actually accuse Republicans of having a sense of humor and get away with it. They will punish you for it. They want to endlessly debate every political cartoon you post on Facebook.
If you have to ask the fateful question, “Are Republicans generous to others?” The answer is always a resounding Notzactly! They are willing to give great gobs of wealth to certain select individuals. That would, of course, be the Walmart heirs, the Koch Brothers, Mark Cuban, assorted other billionaires, and, inexplicably, Jay-Z. But when it comes to food stamps in the SNAP program, why, those lazy individuals don’t deserve hand-outs just because they cannot feed their families on the income from two full-time jobs. They should get another job… or two, and pull themselves up by their own bootstraps (a metaphor which apparently breaks the law of gravity, in the total absence of anyone willing to throw a rope from above).
Any idea that is tainted by snowflake commie Democratic Obama flavor must be overturned. If the previous administration passed a healthcare reform law borrowed from the Heritage Foundation and Mitt Romney’s successful Massachusetts healthcare plan, then it is the worst disaster ever and must be repealed even if you leave the people with nothing to take its place. If Obama changed the curtains in the Oval Office, they must be changed again for gold ones to please the orange one who took Obama’s place. And if Obama passed a regulation to prevent pouring coal-plant waste directly into rivers, then the regulation must be de-regulated because we obviously need more coal plant waste in our rivers. Anything done by Obama or Democrats during the last administration must now be immediately undone.
No matter how stupid or destructive an idea is in the modern Republican party, it can be pushed through easily because it is backed by the loudest, angriest voices spewing their gaseous brain products through the media and government platforms. Take for instance a particularly loud and bug-eyed red-faced crank like Congressman Steve King of Iowa. His message gets through to voters. Everybody knows his name. He has achieved this by saying cruel and racist things from his bully pulpit. You probably remember how he claimed that Mexicans that had calves like cantaloupes were carrying hundred pound backpacks full of drugs across our borders. And, of course, this is an important message to Iowans because of Iowa’s long border with Mexico. But the message was loud and public enough to have a Tea Party impact on the national dialogue, where ideas are repeated often enough to be taken as fact, no matter how stupid and destructive they are.
So here are a few words that are synonyms for modern Republicans. And to them, these will probably not be taken as insults, because they agree with the definitions if you explain them well enough.