Here is what I see as an interesting confluence of recent events.
To get started we go back before that, to October 28, 2017.
To a story I completely missed, but sure have enjoyed since I learned about it.
Juli Briskman, then 50, was a single mother of two teens, living in Loudon County, VA, about a 40-minute drive from Washington DC. She worked for Akima, a government contractor. She was not, in the words of Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak, “an activist, a protester, a radical or a meddler.”
On that October 28 around 3pm, Briskman was riding her bike, getting in her workout. From behind her came a familiar sight: a motorcade of black SUVs.
As area residents know, that’s how Trump travels.
He was returning from a round of golf at nearby Trump National Golf Club.
Catchy name, yes?
As the motorcade passed, Briskman raised her middle finger, and held the pose:
And repeated the gesture when she caught up to them in traffic.
A press photographer took pictures, posted them, and the image spread across social media. Briskman went from low-key suburban mom to national attention, becoming “the woman on the bike who flipped off Trump.”
Columnist Dvorak called it “the middle-finger salute seen around the world.”
Why did Briskman do it?
As the New York Times reported not long after, Briskman said her “blood started boiling” when Trump’s motorcade began to pass her.
“I just got angry. I lifted my arm and started flipping him off. I started thinking, You’re golfing again when there is so much going on right now.”
Briskman’s photo was embraced by Trump critics, including a local anti-Trump Facebook group. On their page they asked, “Who is this?” and Briskman replied in the comments that she was the cyclist.
The image passed “viral” and went stratospheric.
I love this story. I love what Briskman did. She was in a once-in-a-lifetime moment – on her bike, being passed by Trump’s motorcade. She could have just kept her head down, kept cycling and done nothing.
But she didn’t.
Would I have done that? Could I have done that? Flipped off Trump? And not just at Trump on TV – I do that often – but up close and personal?
I hope I would have.
I thank Briskman, for speaking for me and millions of Americans.
By October 30, Briskman had affixed the image on her Facebook and Twitter accounts. Neither account identified her as an employee of Akima, but she gave a heads-up to an HR official at Akima, her government contractor employer.
On October 31 Briskman was called into a meeting with the HR official and two other company executives.
“We have chosen to separate from you,” Briskman quoted one of them as saying to her, citing the company’s social media policy ban on “obscene content.”
She said she was told that she was not meeting the company’s code of conduct and that the officials feared “it could hurt business” because of their work related to government contracts.
Briskman was escorted from the building.
“I’d do it again,” she said.
When word got out, job offers flooded in.
Briskman’s story could have ended there. But it didn’t.
It got better:
Briskman was one of many Democrats in Virginia who won in November – taking control of the legislature, and in her case, running as a Democrat for the Loudon County Board of Supervisors and defeating the Republican incumbent who’d held the post for eight years.
“It’s not like I can run against him,” she’d said, meaning Trump. “But I can run.”
Again, according to Washington Post columnist Dvorak, Briskman said, “The last two years have been quite a ride. Now we’re helping to flip Loudoun blue.”
If Briskman wants to continue using “ride” and “flip” references, that’s fine by me.
So: Here we have a woman who never ran for office before, winning an election in 2019. She ran a professional campaign, defeated a Republican, and looks forward to working on issues including paying teachers in Virginia a living wage, supporting paid family and medical leave for county staff, and compensating firefighters so that they can live in the communities they serve.
Then we have the group of so-called professional politicians who ran, this time for a locked door, in what can only be called a pointless political stunt, to garner media attention and appease their leader.
It was October 23, and there were impeachment hearings going on behind that locked door. It was the door to the SCIF– Secure Compartmented Information Facility – an ultra-secure room used by congress for confidential business.
Around 30 Republicans had decided to storm the door, break into the room, and disrupt the hearings:
I’m figuring Matt Gaetz (R-FL) led the charge, since he sent this tweet:
I’m also figuring Gaetz tipped off the media. The media was there, and the stunt got lots of attention:
Including this post-charge photo of those Republicans, in which you’ll note that there is not a single woman visible:
More than anything, it reminded me of a bunch of guys back in medieval times, storming a castle:
If those medieval guys succeeded, they were the victors and took possession of the castle.
After the Republicans stormed the SCIF, all they did was order pizzas, and send out tweets about themselves, like this one:
And this one:
And this one:
And delay an impeachment hearing that simply resumed later.
Mind you, there were already Republicans inside that room, participating in the impeachment hearings.
So now it’s like the guys storming the medieval castle, only the Republicans have guys on the inside, already:
What’s up with that?
Couldn’t they have just waited until the hearing concluded, then the Republicans who were at the hearing could meet with the Republicans not at the hearing, and tell all, and then order pizzas and send out tweets about themselves?
So: A first-time, non-professional politician runs as a Democrat and wins. A bunch of professional politicians bust through a door and accomplish…?
But then, on November 9, the pro-Trumpers really came up with a significant step. Something so original, so awesome, so strategic – I’m humbled by the importance of it:
And to show us how brilliant and brave he was, the guy who did the slashing…
Did this in front of police officers…
Who promptly caught him…
As he tried to run away!
The 20-foot-high inflatable balloon was one of several “Baby Trump” balloons that have become a staple of worldwide protest:
|July 2018: London, England||November 2018: Buenos Aires, Argentina|
|November 2018: Paris, France||January 2019: Los Angeles|
|June 2019: Dublin, Ireland||September 2019: Copenhagen, Denmark|
The diaper-clad Trump is orange – of course – and holding a cell phone – of course.
The slashed Baby Trump balloon was part of an anti-Trump rally at an event held outside the Alabama-LSU football game in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on November 9.
Trump was attending the game rather than – oh, I don’t know. Rather than reading, instead of ignoring, the science on climate change? Helping our veterans get better services? Solving immigration? Sorting out issues in the Middle East? Addressing gun control issues? Revealing his Obamacare replacement that he talks about but doesn’t exist?
The alleged balloon slasher, Hoyt Hutchinson, 32, was charged with felony first-degree criminal mischief. He was booked into the Tuscaloosa County Jail and held on a $2,500 bond.
Hutchinson had posted a Facebook Live video hours before the incident saying he was “going down [there] to make a scene…I’m fixin’ to pop this balloon, without a doubt.”
Little did Hutchinson know that he was also “fixin’ to” create the image of Trump we’ll see on November 3, 2020:
Hutchinson was able to make bail and promptly called a syndicated radio program, the “Rick and Bubba Show.” Bubba? Perfect. Among other things, Hutchinson told the radio station he “keeps up with politics by watching Fox News and his two favorite anchors, Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity.”
So, there’s my confluence of recent events:
November 9: A pro-Trumper makes a gesture and commits a felony; definitely a…
October 23: A group of Republicans make a gesture, making themselves look like even bigger…
November 5: A woman makes a gesture, is motivated to run as a Democrat for her first election, and…