Back to Regular Posting Next Week, But Check Out These UK Anti-Vaxxers

Yeah, it's been quiet in these parts the last 2 weeks while I've been on my UK walkabout. I'll be posting again come next week. Give a guy a fuckin' vacation every decade or so.

One thing I saw in several places were small anti-vaccine protests, where well-dressed fucknuts tried to engage passersby. There were almost always more curious gawkers like me than actual participants. Check out this weird little gathering in front of Parliament last week:

This is what you get when you don't have an entire fucking political party devoted to your bullshit message.


The US Is Ass-Backwards When It Comes to Covid and Freedom

It was as simple as it was obvious. I’m over here in the UK. In Manchester right now, to be precise, and, sure, I’m having a bit of a rough time with the Mancunian accent. When I was buying a concert t-shirt last night, the guy selling it asked if I wanted it “with tits or without tits.” Or at least that’s what I heard, and I thought he was making a joke about wanting a men’s or women’s shirt. So I laughed. It wasn’t funny, but, you know, fuck it, maybe he’d knock five pounds off the price. He did not. “No,” he said. “Tits. Do you want it with tits?” I must have looked utterly confused because another man gestured at the shirt’s back on the display and said, “Tits,” when I realized what he was saying was “dits,” not tits, and that “dits” were “dates,” as in the dates of the band’s tour, and, yes, I did want the shirt with the dits. 

But I’m not writing this to talk about cute misunderstandings between accents in the English language. No, it was before the show that I realized how easy things could be. See, the venue required either the National Health Service’s vaccine passport, which was in a phone app, or, if you weren’t vaccinated or weren’t part of the NHS (as a tourist wouldn’t be), you had to have taken an antigen test within the last 24 hours. In the United States, that would be onerous and expensive, with you needing to find a store that had at-home tests and paying $20-25 for just two in, say, a box from Abbott, as I recently paid at a Walgreen’s in New Jersey. The next time I went there, they were out.

When I said to my companion who lives here that we’d better go try to find an antigen test, she stared at me and said, “No. You just go to a pharmacist or the NHS clinic and you get a box of like 7 or 8 for free.” That was it. Truly. And anyone could get them. You literally walk into a clinic and they…hand it to you like it’s health care Halloween. Now, there’s a certain amount of trust and responsibility built in because you test yourself, scan a QR code, and upload your info and the test result to the NHS, and you can lie. But I’d imagine most people don’t and, like me, simply sent in the results (I was negative), got an email back from the NHS, showed it while walking into the venue, and rocked my ass off among others who were either vaccinated or had just tested. 

Imagine that, though. Imagine having access to free tests no matter your income (no fucking “means testing”). Imagine having that to test before you go visit your parents or grandparents or before visiting friends with kids who can’t get vaccinated yet. Some of the people I’ve met here tell me that they keep getting sent boxes of tests (turns out they have 7 in them) and just have a stack of them at this point. It’s so fucking simple. It’s so fucking obvious. You want people to feel safe? Give them the means to do so. That'll get the economy up and running. That'll get you some goddamn real freedom, not the fake freedom that means "leave me the fuck alone."

You know what else is simple and obvious besides Boris Johnson? That national vaccine passport. Right now in the United States, if I go to, say, Pennsylvania, they won’t take my New York Excelsior Pass as proof that I’m vaccinated. Oh, no. I’ve gotta bring my oversized fucking card with my vaccination details scrawled on it like it’s the goddamn 1800s. In fact, my school has a different pass to get in. And some events have another pass. Right now, I have three different apps saying that I'm vaccinated. Why the fuck is that necessary? Goddamn, we are so advanced in our medical research and so fucking primitive in health care policy.

Here in the UK, no matter where someone goes, their NHS passport is accepted, like this is one fucking country. (Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own NHS apps, but they honor the England and Wales one.) But almost no one is shrieking about “government control” or some such bullshit. It makes like easier. That’s it. That’s the calculus. The fact that we don’t have a national database of who is vaccinated in the United States is fucking deranged. Oh, and by the fuckin’ way, the original card is actually wallet-sized here, not some weird index card size. 

Yeah, there are anti-vaxx protesters. I saw a few in downtown Manchester, among the many protest groups vying for attention as the Tory Party met in its annual meeting. They were as barking mad as ours in the United States, with signs with fake statistics about the number of people who allegedly died from the vaccine, with photos of people who they say the vaccine murdered. But in a country where nearly 90% of people over 16 have had at least one dose and 82% are fully-vaccinated (and growing), you can fucking well bet that the effect of the anti-vaxxers has been something close to nil. 

The UK is going through a lot of unnecessary bullshit right now because of Brexit and because of the cruel Tory government and because of vile fucknut Boris Johnson and because the Labour Party is a feckless shadow of itself at this point. But, after royally fucking it up early on and with fuck-ups along the way, the nation seems to have gotten itself past the crisis at last. Hell, most people don’t even wear masks up here in the North West which might not be smart, but you can do that if you’ve got most everyone vaccinated. 

I'll give the final word to a guy from Northern Ireland I was drinking with when I said it was miraculous that even a Tory government could accomplish this. He said, "That’s what can happen when half your politicians aren’t working to undermine science like the right cunts you have in the United States." 


Kyrsten Sinema Is Getting Off on This

One of the most fulfilling aspects of self-pleasure done right is how deeply individual, totally personal it is. Your masturbatory preferences are completely yours, and you don't have to tell anyone whatever you need to get off on your own. No one needs to know that what really gets your rocks rolling is, say, a Seaside Woods Yankee Candle scenting up the joint, some Esperanza Spalding on the speakers, and a well-lubed, fully-charged Duke vibrating prostate massager on high jacked all the way up your rectum, taking full advantage of its taint-shaking action until you're jizzing so hard you might rip a hole in time. You can keep all that to yourself, if you choose. Or, you know, you can share it with the world. But it's your call. It doesn't hurt anyone either way.

The problem, of course, is when what it takes to get your peen stiff or your lips juicy is something that affects other people. It's one thing when your kinks are between you, your brain, and your happy spots, like watching blood porn (I have said many times, and I will say it again: if you google shit I mention, that's on you). Yeah, that's all well and good and consensual all around. You get to have your kinks and enjoy them. But if you're a particularly sick fuck, you get off on the actual misery of others. 

Now we're not talking basic schadenfreude, you know, enjoying someone else's failures and fuckups, although I'm sure more than a few hundred thousand of us rubbed one out when Trump was finally, officially declared the loser of the 2020 election. Mostly, though, a good schadenfreude is like ice cream truck soft serve on a hot day. Sweet and fulfilling and you're fine moving on with your life.

But schadenfreude ain't enough for some. There's a depraved sexual thrill that MAGA cretins get in making the liberal snowflakes sad online. You know they have a bottle of lube next to the bed that they've re-labelled "Liberal Tears." You know they're already wanking furiously when they get on Twitter and troll someone successfully. "Fuck yeah, I got AOC upset by mocking her fear on January 6," they might say while jacking it. Or if they attack some regular person for posting sympathy with asylum seekers at the border and that person gets angry in return, man, that's foreplay. Time for the fist-shaped vibrator with Trump 2024 emblazoned on it, eh, Jessie Rae?

Which brings us, in a not-so-roundabout way, to Senator Kyrsten Sinema, ostensible Democrat from Arizona, who has never given a single fucking reason for why she's refusing to vote for the Democrats' budget reconciliation bill, other than "I don't like the cost" and not offering a goddamned alternative. The outline of the bill contains a transformative amount of spending on social programs, finally undoing some of the damage that Republicans have done since Reagan gutted the government's role in making people's lives better back in 1981. 

And it's also gonna do some good in slowing down the out-of-control train that is climate change. Shit, Arizona faces becoming an unlivable wasteland within 30 years if things don't turn around really fuckin' quickly. Being from, you know, Arizona, you'd think that Sinema might give a fuck about her state turning into a dried up hellhole. But Sinema is too busy sucking down wine (no, really) while gobbling truckloads of corporate donor cash. Those fuckin' quirky-ass outfits aren't gonna buy themselves. Meanwhile, she's met four times with President Biden at the White House and issued a simpering, self-serving statement that essentially says nothing, moving the needle on the bill not a fucking inch.

While pundits and politicos try to figure out what the fuck her game is and what she wants, I can tell you. It's simple. And if you've read to this point, you know what it is: She's totally getting off on this. On the attention. On the rage other Democrats are feeling. On the power. On the way in which she's fucking with the lives of millions of people. Hell, she's probably loving that the people voted for her are ready to support a primary challenger. She's long had a perverse, ego-driven streak of doing shit just to piss everyone off. 

You can just picture it: Sinema in a bright kimono on her silk covered bed after a warm bath, using her hand to caress her sopping self to a giant photo of John and Cindy McCain she has glued to the ceiling above her, intoning, "I'm a maverick, too, I'm a maverick, too," over and over, louder and louder, MSNBC on in the background as she hears Rep. Katie Porter tell Lawrence O'Donnell how wrong she is for being an obstructionist. Jesus, fuck, all she needs now is to flip over to Fox "news" and hear them praise her for not backing down and laugh at Democratic in-fighting and she'll have a screaming orgasm. Fuck, finish already.

Maybe then she'll be ready to fucking negotiate like the goddamn politician she's supposed to be. If not, take away the one thing she wants: the much-reduced bipartisan infrastructure bill she so proudly humped to life in an orgy with other bullshitters. Deny her the climax she desires.


Democrats Should Be Having a Five-Alarm Freak Out Over Voting Rights

Yeah, there's a whole lot of shit that needs to get done, but right now Democrats should be freaking the fuck out over voting rights. They should be losing their fucking minds and screaming nonstop on every outlet they can find. Get your gravest, most serious senators, like Leahy or Bennett or Shaheen, and have them shitting themselves at Jake Tapper's scowl or George Stephanopoulos's hair. Because if we don't have a freak out now, then any freak out later will be useless.

Others have played this out, projecting what will likely happen if Congress doesn't pass some version of a bill that secures voting rights. The bullshit voter suppression laws in bullshit places like Texas and Georgia, combined with extreme gerrymandering in every state where Republicans can do it (yeah, Democrats can do it, too, but it won't be enough to counter the GOP), will allow the GOP to at least take the House, if not the Senate, too, in 2022. Then, filled with Trumptastic belligerence and fascistic glee, they would refuse to certify any presidential election that doesn't go their way, and, voila, we very quickly become Jesusstan or Christsylvania or Trumped Trumps of Trumperica.

And that all sounds shitty enough. But here's the thing: once this path starts, there is almost nothing that can be done to stop it once the democracy dominos have begun to teeter over because if Republicans win the House, that's it. The laws simply won't be changed and the total Republican hold on the federal government, with a minority of voters, will be in play. In fact, by that point, a Republican Party that is based on believing elections are only legitimate if they win will go further to dismantle voting protections because it has to make its belief into unimpeachable reality. Of course, this will happen even more at the state and local level, too, because if you're gonna fuck constitutional rights, you might as well fuck 'em into the ground.

Why freak the fuck out now? Well, we should have been freaking the fuck out for a long while now, but  we're seeing a general escalation of anti-voting rights rhetoric and actions, from the racist and completely fucking idiotic assertion that Democrats want to let refugees and asylum seekers into the country so they can be made instant citizens and vote Democratic (which implies that Republicans have nothing to offer immigrants, which, well, if the white hood fits...) to the fact that over 75% of the GOP believe that President Biden was not legitimately elected. The fake allegations of voter fraud and the deeply-held belief that Democrats are not really legit, true-blue Americans are held as gospel with the idiot hordes of the right and, even though most elected Republicans know this is utter twaddle, they are going to use it to solidify power through the exclusion of anyone who might challenge that power.

Even more directly alarming is the fact that Trump's goddamned lawyer, John Eastman, had laid out a six-part plan for how then-Vice President Mike Pence could shitcan some Electoral College votes and allow the House to vote Trump back into the presidency. You can look at that and say, "Well, that's ridiculous. Too many Republicans in Congress would have protested," and I'd respond, "Where the fuck have you been living for the last 40 years?" and then some of you would say, "I'm only 20, old man" and I'd say, "Fuck you. Then get me the good Molly" before explaining how this has all been part of a GOP project to disenfranchise Americans since Reagan shat the White House bed. And, as Eastman wrote, fuck permission. Let those who don't like installing King Trump's lumpy ass into the presidential throne try their luck in court. Fortunately, multiple people advised Pence to not go down that destructive path, even though Pence was trying to have someone he trusted give him the high sign to do it. The crisis was averted because Pence decided to listen to the angel lovingly caressing his right ear, not the devil savagely humping his left one. That's it. That's how close it all came to coming apart.

You want to hear that in scary scholar-speak? Trump "pursued a political and legal strategy aimed not just at sowing doubt but at subverting the outcome of the presidential election. This strategy, which has no precedent at any point in American history, had many parts, but the best evidence now available showed that this was less about saving face and more about reversing election outcomes," writes Richard L. Hasen, Co-Director of Fair Elections and Free Speech Center at the UC-Irvine School of Law. That "no precedent" part is the giant "Freak the fuck out already!" sign.

That's not only how fucked things were or are. On top of that, now we know that Trump's campaign knew that allegations about hacked or fucked-with voting machines were hot garbage being sold out of the back Sidney Powell's limo, but they did almost nothing to stop her from embarrassing herself, Rudy Giuliani, and humanity in general because it kept the rubes all het up. On top of that, just last week, Trump sent a letter to Georgia's Secretary of State asking him and Governor Brian Kemp to overturn the election results there in hopes of overturning the whole thing now, nearly a year later. These aren't red flags. They're motherfucking bright lights, bells, and sirens with packs of howler monkeys on top screaming into the void to fucking do something.

I can't help, think, though: How much shit don't we know? That's the part that keeps me the fuck up. God, can you imagine the phone calls where Stephen Miller screeched his demands at Arizona officials? Or Pennsylvania? I want to know how close we came to the coup before the coup attempt on January 6.

So, yeah, we've gotta get the stupid debt ceiling raised. We gotta pass the Build Back Better Act. And the infrastructure thing. We gotta do all that shit. But none of it will mean a goddamn thing if voting rights are left out in the rain like a rag doll forgotten by a distracted child. That's why the freak out has to happen. Anything else passed now would easily be undone by a Republican majority that will fucking laugh as they tear the filibuster out of the Senate rules on their first day back in charge. These fuckers don't care. They don't give a shit if it all burns down.

And Democrats can either be the firefighters or they can just be the gawkers on the sidewalk, wondering why no one tried to put out the inferno while holding the hose behind their backs.

(Sure, yeah, what about Manchin?  Jesus, threaten to investigate his daughter.  And Sinema? Buy her a winery or something. Whatever you can do to move things.)


Missing the Real Story: Like Many Others, Milley Said Trump Is Nuts

I get the uproar over Bob Woodward's latest luridly compelling book on the administration of Donald Trump. Woodward is like a filthy tabloid version of Robert Caro, and he always squeezes every anecdote for maximum salaciousness. So in his telling, Gen. Mike Milley, Trump's (and now Biden's) Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, was so alarmed at Trump's behavior before the election and after the January 6 riot that he felt compelled to call his counterpart in China and say, more or less, "Don't listen to this president. We're not going to attack you."

What you're hearing mostly about Milley's two phone calls is that he was "treasonous," that he should be "court martialed," and that he should face "immediate dismissal" for undermining civilian leadership of the military. On the other side, Milley himself has defended what he did as proper and that it was "within the duties and responsibilities" of his position to tell other countries that the United States is not going to war with them. He's backed by other generals and President Biden. Chances are that this is really a big nothing sandwich that Woodward oversold and overhyped, as is his way

And that's a whole interesting discussion we can and should have, but it really misses the whole fucking forest for a few shitty trees. Because, see, what's truly important about what Milley, along with then-CIA director Gina Haspel, said is to confirm that the United States was run by a dangerous and unstable fucknut whose naturally worst instincts were held in check by a few public servants who saw that Trump had the potential to fuck things up in an even more deadly and destructive way than he already had.

In other words, the person who is seen as the head of the Republican Party, who would win the presidential nomination in a walk, who is worshiped by millions of Americans, who has politicians bowing and scraping for his favor, yeah, that fuckin' guy is legit a goddamn maniac.

That's the story. That's what we should be talking about. Yeah, fine, we can get around to the debate over whether Milley overstepped his authoritah or whatever. But I'd like to put that on the back burner until we're done reckoning with and doing something about the murderous lunatic who's in charge of one of our two parties. See, when someone is trying to burn down my house, I'm not gonna worry if the pizza delivery guy overcharged me, especially if the pizza delivery guy stopped the arsonist. In that case, I'd probably just tell him, "We'll call this one a wash."

You can just toss Milley and Haspel, who called Trump's post-2020 election behavior "insanity" and said that he was "acting out like a six-year-old with a tantrum," onto the pile of former Trump officials in some of the most important jobs in government who have been quoted or have publicly stated that the ex-president is a mothefucking loon. You've got former national security adviser John Bolton, a loon himself, saying that Trump is "irrational" and a conspiracy-monger. You've got former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson saying that Trump acts impulsively and, perhaps, calling him a "fucking moron." You've got former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, former Chief of Staff John Kelly, and former Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer, among others, saying that Trump is, at best, an incompetent boob and, at worst, a danger to the existence of the country. We may never know how many times Trump took us to the brink of national calamity, only for someone to intervene and get him to back off. We know how his insane insistence on bullshit and lies prolonged the pandemic and got hundreds of thousands killed. Goddamn, what else could he have done?

We should have been talking about that every day. Nancy Pelosi told Milley, "He's crazy. You know he's crazy. He's been crazy for a long time." Sorry, but that's way more important than whose toes Milley might have stepped on. And if Trump announces that he's running in 2024, then we're gonna need to make the fact that he's out of his tiny mind front and center in any discussion of him. It's the only story. We can't be too polite about talking about the mental health of someone whose mental health affects every person on the fucking planet. And we sure as hell can't be distracted by something that isn't about life and death.


Republicans Can Suck Swollen Democratic Balls in California

Here's a conundrum that's hard to explain: 

Impeachment is a perfectly legal, constitutional way to attempt to remove a president from office. I mean, it's right there in the actual, you know, Constitution. And there are no real limits on why you can start impeachment proceedings other than "this feels like a high crime or misdemeanor." But Donald Trump and Republicans lost their fucking minds and starting screaming that the first impeachment of the orange spit globule of rage was "illegitimate" and an attempt to "overturn" the 2016 election. 

Of course, that was all total bullshit and propaganda, meant to keep the yahoos all fired up and ready to rampage. In fact, as long as the House of Representatives is running it and abiding by the Constitution, no impeachment can be illegitimate, no matter how much you don't like it. And as for overturning? Motherfuckers, we would have gotten Mike Pence as president, same as if Trump died or quit when he realized he couldn't just pardon himself for money-laundering and rape.

Because of the stupidity of California's laws, the recall process there is also completely legitimate. It's fucked up and weird and anti-democratic in many, many ways. But it is the actual law of the state, so you gotta surf the waves you got. What that fucked up process does is if the target of the recall, say, the governor, is actually recalled, that overturns an election because it's not the lieutenant governor who takes over. Oh, no. It's whatever celebrity fucknut gets the most votes. 

In this year's recall, Governor Gavin Newsom, who won with nearly 62% of the vote in 2018, could have been removed from office and replaced with the top vote-getter in the dumbfuck second part of the recall, which is picking someone else to replace the recalled official. In this case, the Democratic governor may have been replaced with nutzoid Republican piece of shit Grade D talk radio fucknut Larry Elder. Elder got 2.3 million votes. In 2018, Newsom got 7.7 million. But Elder would have taken over. Now that's undemocratic times nearly 4. But it is the law, like impeachment, so even if the law is idiotic, you gotta follow it. 

So here's the conundrum: Republicans had no problem embracing the California recall like it was their grandma they haven't seen in a year because of Covid. Impeachment? Illegitimate. Cali recall? Awesome beyond awesome. 

That's Republicanism in a nutshell right there. They love the laws and the rules when they can contort them to do their bidding, like fucking a mannequin with multiple joints in its arms and legs. Think Mitch McConnell and the Supreme Court. Man, he bent that mannequin of ethics and tradition in two and twisted its legs behind its head and put its cold finger up his asshole while he balled away, gleefully denying Merrick Garland any consideration while speeding Amy Coney Barrett through like she had explosive diarrhea and needed to get to the shitter. 

But the second those laws go against them? Then everyone's fucking cheating and everything's fucking rigged and everywhere there's illegal shit happening. 

They tried to do that with the California recall, teeing up the outrage machine prior to the election, priming the bullshit pump for the results they knew would be coming. Trump himself bellowed about how he was cheated in the state in 2020, which is stupid on its face, on its chest, and on its ass. Other right-wing self-fellaters jumped in, and Elder even wouldn't say if he would accept the outcome, declaring that there "might very well be shenanigans."

What fucked all that up was the overwhelming win by Newsom, receiving 64% of the vote so far. It was such a blowout that Elder actually conceded (while hinting he might run for governor in 2022, which would be hilarious). Democrats in California told Republicans to suck their balls and take that Trumpy shit somewhere else. This time, the rules and laws worked in Democrats' favor. 

Rather than make any kind of broad predictions about the midterms based on this - although it should be noted that the enthusiasm Democratic voters had was much higher than prognosticators thought it would be - another lesson we can take from the recall is that the Republican playbook is to undermine our election laws. That's not a big revelation. I mean, most of the fucked allegations of fraud or election "shenanigans" involved trying to attack laws passed by legislatures or actions resulting from a court decision. The fucking GOP tried to say that allowing people to vote by mail during a goddamned pandemic was really about allowing election fraud. That's some monstrous shit right there.

And if they would dare to attempt this play with California, a state where Democrats have a 2-1 registration margin, a state that Trump delusionally said he only lost because of the votes of "illegal immigrants," if they would fuck around there, they're gearing up to fuck around everywhere. 

So it's beyond time that Democrats use the rules and eliminate or, at the very least, "reform" the filibuster in the US Senate and get voting rights secured. That's a fair evolution of process and not the blatant fuckery of McConnell's Supreme Court seat grab or refusal to allow votes on pretty much fucking anything. 

Because if Democrats don't, then, in 2022, barring the entire nation telling Republicans to go to hell by huge margins, the balls will be in the other mouth.


9/11 Knows America Lies to Itself

9/11 hates these years the most. Every half-decade, the annual commemoration is amped up, as if some magic exists in numbers that end in 5 or 0. Every time, the same speeches, the same images, the same patriotic fervor in some places, the same performative sense of loss in others, the same, the same. The only part she feels still has any power is the reading of names. It has an incantatory quality, like a Buddhist prayer, with the timed striking of a sonorous bell. She feels something then. 9/11 is accustomed to feeling nothing anymore. She has been used and brutalized and caressed and beaten and loved and raped and paraded on high and dragged through the streets. 

She was degraded regularly by George W. Bush and Rudy Giuliani and the monsters and ogres of that time, forced on her knees to choke as they forced their anxious pricks into her mouth, desperate to steal her power for themselves. She was told to get out and perform for the Obama administration, to dance a whore's dance, to masturbate for the masses in order to justify the unending war done in her name. And through it all, every ceremony, every time she's been dragged out to take her defiled part in, she has appreciated the reading of names. Because then it isn't about them. It isn't about Bush or Cheney or Osama or, ludicrously, Saddam. It isn't about every TV demagogue trying to force finger her or every candidate for office slapping her ass. No. It's not about them. It's not even really about her. It's about heart-wrenching loss and soul-breaking hurt, which is all it really should be. The rest is worthless. 

9/11 hates the lie that Americans desperately need to believe. She wants to scream at her TV or her iPad whenever a report comes on that talks about how the country "came together," how there was "unity," how we "cared about each other." 9/11 knows the purpose of this lie, to cover up the instant divisions in the nation, to bury the hatred that welled up in the streets and in the police precincts, to spackle over the holes in the American conscience that could justify everything that came after. They say, "Never forget" over and over, like a mantra of the deluded inside a rubber room, as if a country that is devoted to forgetting its real past, its evil and its racism and its violence and its cruelty, has to cling to this illusion of a moment in time, a fantasy of togetherness across party, across identities, across the world. 

9/11 doesn't remember it the way the overheated politicians and the frothing media figures remember it. She remembers how Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld got harder than they had in years at the chance to blow shit up. She remembers how completely a spell was cast over the American people, with anyone opposing blowing shit up being labeled a traitor. She remembers how many other lies were told, about who was responsible, about what bombing the shit out of them would do, about how people had too much freedom in their lives and that it needed to be limited. She watched, even from the pied-a-terre near smoldering Ground Zero where Karl Rove had stashed her in so she could be conveniently and roughly sodomized by him whenever it seemed the public was straying from walking the War on Terror line, and she saw how immigrants were mistreated and stigmatized by the Bush administration, even as so much lip service was paid to not blaming those immigrants. Or Americans. 9/11 has felt all the savagery done in her name, every drone strike in Yemen, in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, in Sudan, all under the banner of fighting them there so they don't come here when, really, almost none of them want to come here. She has heard every civilian scream. She knows the faces of the tens of thousands upon tens of thousands who were killed, the payback for the almost three thousand killed on her birthdate, when she emerged, whole and adult, from the burning rubble that was made of poison.

It all disgusts her, but, she has to admit, seeing her reflection in the glass on the outside of the museum that bears her name, the nausea from her disgust has kept her in pretty good shape. It's more than she can say for some of the ghouls from back in that time. Sean Hannity looks like someone put two wax dummies of him together. Kellyanne Conway looks like she was washed in a filthy river and balled up in a corner. And Giuliani? 9/11 doesn't even know how he's still alive. But she figures the Devil he made a deal with is just enjoying watching Rudy crash and burn. And so does 9/11.

9/11 does appreciate the memorial in Lower Manhattan. She can stare at the water falling into the void for hours at a time, allowing herself to feel as if she is falling into it, too. She can turn and smile at the giant One World Trade Center building. Goddamn, she's relieved they stopped calling it "the Freedom Tower." What a crass, awful name. It's not as bad as "Patriot Day," as some like to call her. That just reeks of flop sweat, like explaining a joke that no one laughed at. Which, really, that name kind of is. 

Fewer and fewer people notice her now in the plaza. That's the one nice thing about the years going by. She's not something real to so many now. And those who do notice her are startled when they see her, but they don't approach her. They don't want to know the real her. They need the illusion. 

9/11 can't give that to them anymore. If nothing else, the end of the war in Afghanistan has made plain that she was never the gal they thought she was. And that's hard for most of them to deal with.

She does want to hear the names again. But that list should keep being read with everyone killed in the name of those names, victims as sure as those who died here in Manhattan or over at the Pentagon or in a field in Pennsylvania. 9/11 believes that's the only way to tell the truth: since that day 20 years ago, it has never not been 9/11.