A Fly In The OYntment

Oy — that wonderful, succinct, adopted-by-all Jewish word that expresses exasperation like no other two letter combination. Usually accompanied by an exhalation of breath, an eye roll, or a throwing up of the hands — oy is incorporated into daily life regardless of your lineage.

Last night, only a few minutes into the Vice Presidential debate between Kamala Harris and current VP Pinkeye McHerpes-Sore, I found myself muttering it.

It began to swirl inside me at his first appearance on screen. There is no other way of saying it — he looked unwell. Given his immersion in the incubus of viral plague that is the White House, small wonder. His pallor was not hidden by the copious pancake make-up, his eyes were red and weepy, and as the 90 minutes wore on, the makeup at his mouth’s edge wore off revealing what looked like a herpes sore.

All concerning. COVID pinkeye is a thing. His campaign’s insistence that the entire debate be done sitting was an early clue that standing for an hour and a half was not in his best interests. But then, opening his mouth was not in anyone’s best interests.

Yes, there was social distancing, Yes, there were Plexiglas shields between him and Kamala. And yes, for the most part the Cleveland Clinic enforced the mask mandate for the event (although Mother Pence, in pure Karen form, obviously did not believe those rules applied to her). But given his level of exposure to so many people who have come up positive for COVID, and his obvious signs of ill health, a moonsuit may have been a better safety protocol for them.

So, OY.

Then they began to speak. The first question went to Kamala, about COVID, and she came out of the gate with the only summation of this administration needed: The American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country.

I’m serious. That is the sum total of the past four years of this abomination. 217,159 people dead as of this morning. That is another 1,000 people since yesterday at this time. 7,792,691 people infected since January. 655 out of every million citizens dead. These are FACTS. And FACTS do not give a wet shit whether you like them or not, whether they are inconvenient to your case, whether they make you look good or bad.

Pence then spoke. The human Q-tip is slick, I give him that. Not one to huff and puff and blow the partitions down like his boss, he is a lying machine nonetheless. I think the American people know that this is a president who has put the health of America first and the American people, I believe with my heart, can be proud of the sacrifices they have made. It’s saved countless American lives.


At no point, and this is provable right down the line, has Trump and his henchmen/women put the people first. They have played games, they have hidden the truth, they have dragged their feet, they have ignored the experts. They are directly responsible for the proliferation of this pandemic, and have the blood of what will be a quarter million people by Thanksgiving on their hands. As for those sacrifices? Ask the families of those who have died, Mike. Are they proud that their loved ones died for the economy? So that Bubba can eat wings and drink beer? So that Karen can get her nails did?

It was only 8 minutes and 53 seconds in before Kamala Harris had to do what every woman has had to do in her life — fight to keep speaking. As Pence began talking over her repeatedly, mansplaining away, she had to say several times (as she would have to throughout the night) Mr. Vice President, I’m speaking.

Quick aside — men, if a woman is speaking and has the floor — STFU. In the office, the boardroom, the kitchen, the PTA meeting — SHUT THE ABSOLUTE FUCK UP and wait your turn.

The night devolved quickly as Susan Page, USA Today bureau chief in DC, failed miserably in her job as moderator. Decent questions, but she did not press for actual answers, nor did she enforce the time limits, especially with Pence.

I will not give Kamala a free pass here in that regard. The first question she sidestepped, just as Pence had done, was about the age of the top of the ticket candidates and whether that had been a discussion with them. Neither she nor Pence answered, instead rambling off in various directions. The bottom line is that both Trump and Biden are elderly and their age matters. Anything from a stroke to a heart attack to simply dying in their sleep is not out of the realm of possibility given their ages.

I was particularly oy veyed by his continued use of “the American people” in order to avoid his administration having to take any responsibility for the past ten months of pandemic chaos. He kept throwing it on us, lauding the sacrifices that they have made, putting the health of their family and their neighbors first, our doctors our nurses, our first responders…

Yes, Mike, those of us who have followed the science, give a shit about our neighbors, our kids, our parents. Yes, we have taken the reins you and your inept rodeo clowns dropped in the very beginning. No national mandates, no clear directives — so yes, WE have worn masks, quarantined, distanced, postponed important events.

Well, those of us who don’t suckle at the Cult45 orange power teat. We have been out here dealing with the fallout of your gross incompetence, your toxic maskulinity, your continued sardine packed rallies, and your lack of leadership which runs right up to the Rose Garden COVID Orgy a week ago. What you and your pumpkin spice president have done is make OUR job harder because you have embolden millions of your followers to go unmasked, to belligerently accost us, to terrorize frontline workers.

Things continued to devolve through the economy, Trump’s taxes, healthcare, and the climate. Page’s feeble attempt to rein in Pence was this — over and over and over and over — Thank you — Thank you, Vice President Pence –

It never worked. He ran roughshod over her, over Kamala Harris. I have gone through the transcript — her pathetic Thank yous to him added up to 55, none of them ever shutting him down and making him adhere to the rules of the debate.

But then, just as the Oy machine was going into overdrive, something wonderful happened. Had it been scripted into a movie, no studio would have allowed the scene to be filmed, unbelievable as it would have been on paper.

Roughly an hour into the debate, from out of nowhere, a fly appeared. And it was glorious as it settled against the snowy white backdrop of Pence’s close cropped coif. For two minutes and three seconds, the world watched, rapt, as the fly rubbed its little hands together and refused to budge. The internet exploded as the metaphor for an administration so full of bullshit that it was now attracting flies was not lost on it.

Now, its not as if a VP debate is ever really going to move the needle as it were. Especially this go ‘round. Anyone who still falls on their fainting couch with the undecided vapors at this point is an attention whore. Ignore them. They are in it for the wooing, for the chance to be in a focus group, for the feeling of importance, as if they are going to make a tinker’s damn worth of difference.

So the fact that a fly stole the stage? Why the hell not? I’m all for it. What had been transpiring was futile, frustrating, and, quite frankly, fucked up. Pence, constantly interrupting, Kamala having to patiently wait for him to finish his latest slate of lies and deflection, and Page being the moderator equivalent of wet cotton candy — the fly was the perfect foil for it all.

That fly, in sweeping the world up for two minutes, perfectly encapsulated how pointless the debate was in terms of true substance. No one will remember what was spoken of a week from now. We will, however, remember the way Kamala was treated during and after.

Criticism for her facial expressions. Seriously, GOPers want to throw that stone in this glass White House? Bitch, please.

Post debate, Trump and his cronies have called her “unlikable,” a “monster,” and “an insufferable lying bitch.” Oh, and Republican Congressman Greg Murphy (NC) flat out wrote she was chosen solely because of the color of her skin and her race. Yes, of course, reduce this eminently qualified, brilliant woman to a mere token. (The coward quickly deleted it.)

A monster, a bitch — why? Because she called bullshit on a bullshit artist? Because she dared speak truth to power? Because Pence brought a sponge to a brain fight? And lost.

Kamala Harris went into that debate knowing exactly how many tropes were waiting for her. From the “angry Black woman” to “overly emotional woman” it was all these misogynistic assholes were there to trounce on. That she kept her calm? Bravo. Again, every woman has been mansplained to, talked over, has had to fight to keep the floor when speaking. Pence did himself no favors last night.

As for the literal fly in the OYntment? Well, it did him no favors either. People poured forth explaining the symbolism, what a fly means in religion, paintings: symbol of rot, wasting away, decay, death. A fly hovering over a church official or nobleman indicates disfavor with the king or corruption and dereliction of duty.

Talk about apt.

Coupled with his rapidly decomposing visage, the fly could not have hammered it home any better — Pence is ill. He is also sick, and I do not mean physically. He is sick man who takes pleasure in harming others, forcing his extreme religious bullshit onto people, and whose only interest is in maintaining his proximity to power.

I take pleasure in imagining Trump watching the debate from behind an oxygen mask, erupting in fury as the fly settled in and took all focus away from Pence. Image is everything with the decomposing cantaloupe, and an endless barrage of gifs, memes, and jokes just will not do.

Kudos to the Biden campaign that had a Truth Over Flies fly swatter in the works before the debate even wrapped up. The 35,000 sold out, at $10 a piece, within hours.

In the light of day, the Trump campaign continues to devolve — he now refuses to participate in the next debate since the commission decided it would be done virtually for obvious health reasons. And that’s fine. Give the full 90 minutes to Joe Biden and let him answer all the questions the public has to bring him. It will be great. For Biden and Harris. As for Trump and Pence?

Oh, to be a fly on the wall… OY… (volume up for the clip below)



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Linda Sharp

Author, columnist, blogger. Don’t Get Me Started and Transparent Trans Parent blogs