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Welcome to the United States


So I’m flying back to the U.S. today after a lovely week in Mexico City. What a great place. Anyway, I’m in Atlanta, flying to Pittsburgh. I get on the plane. Turns out I have a middle seat. Whatever, it’s not a long flight. I sit down and there’s this woman next to me.

First thing, this woman is eating a very smelly sandwich. Now, let’s hold up on this story for a minute. Rule #1 about plane etiquette is don’t take off your shoes. Rule #2 is unless it is an emergency scenario like you are running very late, don’t eat smelly food on a plane. I don’t know exactly what was so stinky. It had avocado in it, that’s all I saw and I doubt that was it. But a) this woman was one of the first people on board and b) it was well before the plane actually took off. People, eat the food before you get on the plane.

But who really cares about the food. Because the woman was Karen Handel.

Now, you may remember Karen Handel from such lovely things as turning the Susan Komen Foundation into an anti-abortion outfit by pulling money for breast cancer exams from Planned Parenthood because only certain women should live. And you almost certainly remember her from the most expensive race in the history of the House of Representatives, the legendary GA-06 race early in 2017 where she defeated Jon Ossoff. Ah, those were good times.

Now, you may ask yourself, “Erik, how do you know it was Karen Handel?” First, I looked at her and I was like “Huh, that woman looks a lot like Karen Handel.” She is from Georgia. And it’s the Atlanta airport. But everyone flies through there, so what does that mean? So I convinced myself it wasn’t her.

A minute later I notice she has a document in a folder. It’s the draft of a congressional bill. Now, for whatever reason Congress has used the same format and font for the printing of bills for a very long time–a century at least. So any political historian or anyone who has reason to actually read a bill knows what this looks like immediately. That obviously struck me like lightning. At this point, I figured it must be her. I still tried to convince myself it wasn’t. Why would she be reading a bill? Isn’t that what staffers are for? I figured Handel just votes for whatever Speaker Granny Starver wants.

Then she flipped to the front page. The bill is to repeal the Corporation for National and Community Service. Not familiar with this name, I immediately look it up on my phone, while sitting right there with my “Fight Fascism” sticker on my computer, which she definitely noticed because I saw her looking at it. The Corporation for National and Community Service was created by the Clinton Administration and oversees Americorps, Senior Corps, the National Civilian Community Corps, some Native American programs, and other service programs.

In short, she was reading a bill to eliminate Americorps. I tried to take a picture of the front page but she turned it just before I could.

Jesus Christ. First, welcome back to the United States! Second, however evil you think these people are, they are more evil. Of course, she’s just doing this on a plane, like it’s no big deal to eviscerate everything good about the fucking nation just out in the open. How more Republican could this be? No more Republican!

Finally, just in case I had any doubt at this point, and I did not, she pulled out her Kindle and texted her husband so I saw his name.

And if you say that she deserves privacy, well, any member of Congress who doesn’t recognize the right of privacy for a woman to choose what to do with a pregnancy sure as shit isn’t going to get any privacy from me on an airplane. Especially when I sniff out right-wing assholes.

Now, by the time I recognized it was Handel, I had already asked to get out of the middle seat and I did escape. So maybe I regret not seeing what she was doing the whole flight. But I don’t. First, I’ve said before I think talking to right-wingers is a waste of time. Karen Handel is lost to evil. There’s nothing I can say to her to change her mind. Second, while I could start getting after her, composure in the face of vile people is not my strong suit. It would have gone to yelling in 10 seconds and I would have been thrown off the plane. We all have our weaknesses and while it might be a fun story to brag about how I told off Karen Handel, it’s not a story I want to have. I don’t like talking to people on planes in the best of circumstances and this was not the best of circumstances.

As to why Handel was flying to Pennsylvania, who knows but she’s been a huge supporter of the vile Rick Saccone and my guess is that she was coming up to support him in his last days of campaigning for Tuesday’s race.

So that was my day. And also finding out that Republicans are evidently trying to eliminate Americorps. What a joy.

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