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Stop the insanity 

Call it what you will—outrage fetishism, outrage exhibitionism, outrage porn—but that's what we see happening in the majority of today's political discourse. Conflating seemingly benign comments into crisis memes and using them to obfuscate what's actually happening. And yes, there is no bothsidesism to it—Fox News and the "alt-right" and white nationalist rhetoric they co-opt, and repackage for the thirsty masses, is the biggest perp.

It saddens me then, to see a small-town columnist like Al Fonzi continue to chomp up the bait, to take those contorted takes straight to the dome, half-digest them, and regurgitate them for a local publication.

Fonzi's parroted rhetoric and beliefs rooted in misinformation seep into these pages on a bi-weekly basis for what I'm assuming is a cohort of readers split down the middle, half of whom are cheerleaders who swallow the same hate-filled pills on the daily and half of whom hate-read him to throw up their hands and wonder why in our little corner of the world this type of spittle has become the norm.

Trump and his empire are criminal enterprises based upon the tenets of the old-time grift. Lie, cheat on taxes, bilk people out of money, sue, steal, lie, and cover some more. He is a carnival barker, a solo act, a Svengali and a charlatan, a bright shiny bumbling bauble of vitriol who wouldn't be worthy of note if not for the fact that his policies have real consequences. The debasing of our Constitution and very democracy is happening so fast that no normalizing news org or equivocal governing body seems to have the chops to even cover or react to a fraction of the malfeasance. And so it rolls on. The real consequences will be felt over the next three generations—even as we've already lost so much.

Party-line thinking that things will "go back to normal" after a Mueller report is released, after the next election, are as far-fetched as wishing the economy would reverse back out of the have-tons and have-nothings mode of late capitalism that those entering the workforce now are just getting a taste of. We are, wholly, through the looking glass.

Climate change, which is happening in spite of the fact that an insufferable and specious "debate" is still waged by one side questioning its existence; slow-playing mouthpieces of the oil and gas lobbies warping the masses into believing that things will remain the same as the earth ramps up temperatures and revolt after revolt, is the biggest threat to our lives, to our very existence. And yet, here we stand, segmented and outraged, crazy, and hand-wringing, and clinging to guns, religion, and racist statues, separating families at the border in totalitarian fashion and spreading hate memes as it all crumbles around us.

Andrew J. Pridgen

Los Osos

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