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Quick Hit: What Congress Has been Doing While We Were Distracted by Trump’s Tweets

Trump’s tweets are like creepy guys staring at you in the subway—wrong and disturbing, but you can’t pretend they’re not there.

Marx said that Twitter is the opiate of the masses, which is absolutely true in the case of Donald Trump.

They dominate the news cycle, with the latest outrage—and the more outrageous, the better—floating to the top of the heap.

Now on one hand, this makes sense: As multiple sources have argued, the direct-tweet-to-the-people phenomenon does represent a new development in the use of the office of the President of the United States, and it’s frankly a pretty disturbing one. Yet the structure of the news cycle is also such that we pay more attention to the outrage du jour—and less attention to the longer-term, more sinister developments.

Case in point is this new Al Jazeera America video, which reminds us of a scary fact: While were were all busy staring in horror at the racist carnival playing out on Trump’s twitter feed, Congress has introduced over 2,000 bills…and many of them are even more terrifying than Trump’s trolling. Because they, you know, have the potential to become actual laws. For example:

HR 861, which consists of only one sentence, and I quote: “The Environmental Protection Agency shall terminate on December 31, 2018.”

HR 899, “which will get rid of the Department of Education by the end of 2018” (???!!!).

HR 354, defund Planned Parenthood.

HR 785, which would prohibit workers or employers from requiring union membership to get or keep certain jobs, thereby further weakening the already-tenuous status of labor unions.

HR 147, which would criminalize certain abortions.

Of course it’s true that tons of bills are habitually introduced in Congress, only to languish there forever. But we also know that under this government, ideas we once viewed as outlandish (…cutting the entire Department of Education) now seem entirely possible. Which is why we need to be paying more attention than ever, and why we need to resist letting Trump himself control the script—as grotesquely fascinating as his drama is. The video reminds us of the first two rules of this government: Stay vigilant, and believe the autocrat.

Here’s to not letting ourselves be distracted by the hateful rhetoric, and holding the line agains the hateful action behind it.

Image credit: Trump’s twitter :(

Reina Gattuso is passionate about empowering conversations around queerness, sexual ethics, and social movements with equal parts rhapsody and sass. Her writing has appeared at Time, Bitch, attn:, and The Washington Post. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in Indian cinema, theater, and visual art at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi.

Reina Gattuso writes about her sex life for the good of human kind.

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