Last Wednesday, I decided that I’d had enough with Senator Ben Sasse’s bullshit mountain after his attempt to tack an amendment onto the Senate’s economic stabilization package that he claimed “would fix the bill’s perverse incentive to increase unemployment.” Nebraska’s intransigent troglodyte in residence attempted to argue on the Senate’s floor that the rescue package would incentivize the working poor to stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic because it results in unemployment benefit overpayments to them in the amount of a few hundred dollars. I thought the best way to beat this pandemic was to stay home. As painful as it is to admit, Sasse is actually correct about the math error. However, the fact remains that he traded the moment to do the right thing for opportunism and showboating. He wasted valuable time to get resources where they are desperately needed and it makes the crisis worse. Can he be any more of an embarrassment to Nebraskans?
See, I’m an outdoor enthusiast who pretty much lives for the type of experiences that can easily go off the rails if you are not prepared and lack a certain level of humility and level-headedness. The thought of having someone with the same disposition as Ben Sasse included on one of my forays into the great outdoors makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck because he’s the type of guy who shits in all the wrong places; and if an actual life-threatening emergency were to occur, he’d be oblivious to its gravity. His behavior in the Senate, last week, absolutely makes my skin crawl.
I was so gobsmacked that Sasse selfishly held up emergency relief funds for millions of people and further increased the probability that the pandemic would get worse, that I decided it was time to pay his Lincoln office a visit at 1128 Lincoln Mall, Suite 305 in order to provide my input as his constituent and member of the public.
Lucky for me, the venerable Judy King decided to join me even though it meant she was literally risking her life to be out in public as a senior citizen. Judy is someone who has been gaslighted by Sasse for years for tirelessly demanding face time with him, so of course she would. I salute you, Judy!
What ensued was a small, pop-up demonstration that allowed both of us to get a few things off our chests. Among them, was that while this prick Nebraskans have to call “Senator” was moralizing about unemployment benefits for the working poor, he completely failed to mention anything about the multitude of corporate beneficiaries who do not deserve bailouts. While he cried about how small overpayments of unemployment benefits to the working poor would incentivize more people staying home, he was actually incentivizing the production of more body bags by making it harder for the working poor to self-isolate.
After meeting in the parking lot outside of his office, we put on our latex gloves, masks, and gowns and marched into the senator’s lobby. Once there, we were greeted by a wall of glass that physically separated us from the senator’s staff. The glass wall is a pre-COVID feature of his office, and the only way a member of the public is able to communicate is through an intercom with his interns and/or in writing. I decided to communicate my comments in writing while Judy spoke through the intercom about how worried she is about her family (many of whom are food service workers) and health care workers.
“Dear Senator Sasse, Stopped by to express my disappointment in you and your attempted amendment last night in the Senate. Paying people who have lost jobs is what’s needed to limit the economic damage, and the extra benefits last four months. It’s an emergency stipend, not a retirement program. Your concerns do not add up and you are not God. A pandemic is no time to turn your eyes away from the sanctity of life. Stop with the showboating and grow up. Every life is sacred.”
When we finished voicing our concerns across the glass barrier, we hit the street outside of his office and waved to a disconcerting number of drivers, some of whom were very likely going about their lives like nothing was happening because they’re simply not comprehending the severity of this crisis. As I held my sign which read “SASSE IS A PRICK,” we received some encouraging responses from both drivers and walkers, but there were far too many middle fingers and head-waggers.
I bet it would be a surprise to Senator Ben Sasse that he is not actually God and that human life is sacred and fragile. He is an opportunistic coward with a disposition that does not reflect that of the average Nebraskan. His concern that the bill would incentivize workers to stay home (even though that’s the whole point) and choose not work because of small unemployment overpayments does not add up. The only thing that he was doing by stalling passage of the bill was incentivizing the production of more body bags by making it harder for the working poor to stay home. Fuck that guy … seriously.