Connect with us

Politics

How I wrote myself into a real-life romcom – that became a survivalist thriller

how-i-wrote-myself-into-a-real-life-romcom-–-that-became-a-survivalist-thriller

He doesn’t love me. He never loved me. And he isn’t looking for me – so I damn well better survive the night on my own.

No food, no tent, no map. No one to blame but myself. Too bad burning hot shame isn’t a heat source.

Moonlight traces a craggy ridgeline up around me. The sparse lodgepole pines give way to barren rock, which means 12,000ft elevation. Thin air breeds spartan creatures – mountain lions, king snakes, bighorn sheep. Not soft-fingered writers.

My body curls into the fetal position inside the soggy sleeping bag. The hard earth refuses to yield an inch to the curve of my hip.

I lay my spine flat and look up – I haven’t seen a star in nine years. The Perseid meteor shower should peak tonight.

Hey, if I don’t make it, at least I’ll get a good show, right? But nothing falls.


“We tell ourselves stories in order to live,” writes Joan Didion. “We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the ‘ideas’ with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience.”

My compulsion started around the time my father surprised everyone by dying. I’d just been dumped by the first person I’d ever kissed. Then I’d blown out my knee in a basketball game and torpedoed my collegiate career. I craved control over an uncontrollable world.

So I began to write. When I’m overwhelmed, I imagine I’m inside a movie of my own design. Nothing can hurt the omniscient narrator.

Of course, it’s a trap.

This is a love story. More specifically, it’s a story about how I froze the phantasmagoria into a false map and got terribly lost. We tell ourselves stories in order to live, unless they end up killing us.


I met Mountain Man at a boarding school in Ojai, California – my first job out of college. The faculty led mandatory backpacking trips, often to a camp under Mount Langley in the Sierras.

illustration of woman climbing giant man like a mountain
Photograph: Genevieve Ashley/Narratively

He arrived my second year at the school – the hirsute love child of Ryan Gosling and Bear Grylls. His eyes were the blue of alpine lakes. He took jobs when he felt like it and lived off the grid when he didn’t. He caught trout with his bare hands and had once lived in the Sierras for 40 days and nights alone. How Biblical.

I saw him for the first time at an outdoor school assembly. I stepped out of the air-conditioned admission office wearing a Laura Ashley knockoff from the Tall Girl Shop. Mountain Man strode in from the horse department – sweat-stained in jeans and leather. Blades of grass leaned toward him, hoping for the crush of his boot.

He introduced himself to the student body and began a tutorial on how to light a fire by rubbing sticks together.

This guy is such a cliche, I thought.

But I was charmed, which made me a worse cliche – Girl Who Didn’t Stand a Chance. I was a 24-year-old Harvard-educated virgin with a signed copy of The Elements of Style. I hadn’t successfully dated anyone, let alone Field & Stream’s cover boy.

Yet still! My storytelling brain sensed an opportunity of Hughesian proportions. Sexiest guy in school falls for intriguing, overlooked assistant admission officer.

The secret to elevating my dating game lay in the heart of my favorite teen romcoms: Don’t be yourself. I pictured him with a SoCal Lara Croft – half assassin, half sun-bunny. You know, a cool girl.

Adorkable overachiever was my brand. Cool was not.

Nonetheless, I had minor superpowers. I understood narrative. I knew how to play a part.

How hard could it be to write myself into this story?


A month later, I was assigned to chaperone a holiday school dance. I’d seen Mountain Man’s name on the list too. However, it was midnight and all of the students had left, with no sign of him. He was probably out birthing a foal or eating a volcano.

I danced, sweated and didn’t care how I looked. A tap on my shoulder – I turned. It was him. His cerulean eyes locked with mine. “Trust me,” he said, and put his forearm against the small of my back.

“Jump!”

I leapt up and back as he flipped all 76 inches of me 360 degrees. Adrenaline surged through my veins as I stuck the landing. Cheering friends circled around.

The lights came up and the music stopped. I gave him an awkward high-five and bolted for home, like a Cinderella who knew tonight’s ration of magic was up.

I lay awake in bed. After the school year, I’d be moving to New York City to accept a fellowship in public affairs. Time was running out.

The following week, my basketball team won a big game on a heart-stopping buzzer beater. Mountain Man and I celebrated by playing pool in the back room of a local dive bar. It was the first time we’d been alone together. I matched him point for point until his final turn.

Channeling Cool Girl, I perched against the table, blocked his approach and said, “Take your best shot.” He stepped between my legs, took my face in his hands and kissed me hard.

All the fireworks fired.

We drove to my little house. The sex was great, but what really blew my mind was the story. To be desired by the Most Desirable, I must be exceptional.

Illustration of woman at pool table
Photograph: Genevieve Ashley/Narratively

As our romance progressed, he confided that he was drawn to a solitary life in nature. “I’m bad at relationships,” he said.

I’ve never been in one.

“Me too,” I answered.

I doubled down on Cool Girl. I drank whiskey without flinching, hustled darts with my opposite hand, and wore low-cut tops with black bras when we played pool. He suggested we try dating long-distance. I was elated. Coup of the century!


My sister Sarah, a design student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, moved in with me in the Big Apple. We caught five mice in our decrepit apartment in the first week. Yet as long as Sarah was there, I was home.

Mountain Man sent me handwritten missives and pencil sketches of my face. In between pages, he pressed columbine and Indian paintbrush. New York City was kicking my ass, but my belief in our epic love story buoyed me.

He even came to visit me in Babylon, as he called it, for New Year’s. He strained to put on a good face despite obvious irritation with the concrete canyons, $14 gin and tonics, and affected hipsters. I joked about the local wildlife (pigeons, rats in the subway, my asshole mice roommates), but it was plain that he was lost without his true love. I could never compete.

“So great to see you killing it out here,” he said.

This city is crushing my soul.

“You know me,” I said.

He called once a week from a landline. He didn’t believe in cellphones. I held my cell all February 14th, certain he’d call any minute. He didn’t. Later he remarked, “Hallmark holidays are such bullshit, right?”

But you’re my first Valentine.

“Total bullshit,” Cool Girl agreed.

Sarah saw through my story. “You’re not happy with him,” she said. “Stop being an idiot.”

A year into dating, I visited him in Ojai. We returned to the dive bar where we’d had our first kiss. He loaded up Sweet Melissa on the jukebox but was out back having a cigarette with strangers when it came on. I felt like a hollowed-out piñata.

A woman at the bar advertised palm readings for five dollars. I didn’t hesitate.

“You’ve got the Jupiter Mate Selector,” she whispered, like it was a tumor.

“What’s that?”

“You fall for powerful men. You put them up on a pedestal and keep yourself down low.”

Oh boy.

“If you don’t believe that you’re just as powerful as the man you’re with, then you’ll be alone for ever.”

My Cool Girl act proved that I didn’t feel like his equal. So I could either get real quick or break up with him. I chose the latter.

We went on one last backpacking trip in the Sierras. Distance was a perfect excuse. Nobody’s fault. “A good run.” I exited the union the way I’d entered, by suppressing my emotions and calling it strength. I didn’t cry until I was alone.

He started dating someone a nanosecond later. I wasn’t exceptional any more.

View of the Sierras from the Sequoia national park, adjacent to Inyo national forest.
View of the Sierras from the Sequoia national park, adjacent to Inyo national forest. Photograph: Courtesy Melissa Johnson/Narratively

Nine years passed in New York. I wrote stories for money. Got rejected. Wrote more. My mom’s health worsened. I dated a police officer, a tech entrepreneur, a newspaper man.

I spent my life’s savings to create a film that sold to Showtime. For once I hadn’t sought anyone else’s permission. I’d leaned back, jumped into a flip, and stuck the landing on my own. I decided to move to Los Angeles, though leaving Sarah was like leaving behind a limb.

I hadn’t spoken to Mountain Man in almost a decade. Missing him and missing the mountains felt the same – a tug to abandon acceptable society and get dirty. I considered reaching out to him. I’d done hard things. I was stronger now – his equal, right?

I’ll be my 100% true self this time.

I believed it, too.


Mountain Man answered my email with a warmth that made my entire body blush. He welcomed me for a weekend at the school’s camp in the Sierras. We’d rendezvous at the parking lot trailhead in three weeks with a group of alumni.

I drove alone from New York to Los Angeles in a daze of possibility. I was about to start telling stories for a living in the City of Angels. Who knew what might spark between Mountain Man and me under the stars?


I awoke on a bright August morning in Silver Lake and hit the road late because I had to rough up my new shorts in the garden and apply no-makeup makeup. My car bombed through the scorching Mojave Desert, past Joshua trees, Death Valley. My ears popped as I dodged fallen rocks with one hand and called Mountain Man with the other.

It went to voicemail. “It’s me,” I said, buzzing with adrenaline, “I’m a little late. No need to wait – I’ll walk myself into camp!” Cool Girl knew the way.

I arrived at the sprawling parking area, dotted with dozens of trailheads. Mountain Man and the alumni had departed. Fresh burro tracks crowded the trail.

The midafternoon sky was hard and bright as a marble. I reapplied no-makeup mascara and started down the trail, recognizing trees and streams as I passed. Cocky about my sense of direction, I stopped to meditate on a felled trunk, freebasing sunshine and alpine air.

I’ll catch up to them in 30 minutes, tops.


Hours later, I climbed a grueling series of switchbacks as sunlight narrowed to a thin ribbon.

I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. No problem, I’d see Mount Langley from the top of the pass and the camp beneath it. There’d be a full spread waiting.

Sweat-drenched and huffing, I made it to the saddle and looked out upon the long-shadowed wilderness. No Langley.

Huh?

The trusty burro tracks were still there. I scurried down the opposite slope into the gloaming. Raindrops pinged my bare arms but there was a lake up ahead that I recognized. Just a little farther.

Illustration of frightened woman in sleeping bag
Photograph: Genevieve Ashley/Narratively

Night ambushed me. Total blackness. I balanced my pack on a rock, hands trembling as I fumbled with an ancient headlamp mummified by duct tape.

Tharump-tharump-tharump! A mountain lion pounded down the ridgeline behind me, jumped with jaws wide, ready to rip into my flesh – I whipped around. Nothing. It was only the sound of my own heart, trying to beat its way out of my ears.

Nausea washed over me. I knew the hypothermia risk of sleeping out in precipitation. I was at the tree line, which meant near freezing temperatures.

Is this a joke? Donner, party of one?

Weary, I hunkered down with my wet sleeping bag. Dankness soaked into my bones. I couldn’t stop shaking.

I closed my eyes for short, drowsy intervals, and opened them mechanically, as if triggered by the slow, audible click of a lever behind my ear. The view changed a little bit each time. Hazy, no stars. Then a low, drippy moon. Then faint white pinpricks everywhere.


Click. I opened my eyes again to find a clear-eyed moon bearing down on me like an interrogation lamp. I threw myself upon its mercy.

I confess. I’m here because I took too long putting on my Cool Girl bullshit costume. I was trying to impress an asshole who couldn’t wait 20 fucking minutes after 10 YEARS. I understand the story now. It’s a cautionary tale. Let me survive this and I’ll drop Cool Girl for ever. Please.

View of the Sierras from Sequoia national park with the moon high in the sky.
View of the Sierras from Sequoia national park with the moon high in the sky. Photograph: Courtesy Melissa Johnson/Narratively

It was a long sleepless wait before I dared to open my eyes again. The moon was gone now, and I watched the sky change from black to indigo to pink, like a bruise healing. I rose, quaking as a colt. Everything hurt. The muscles around my knee spasmed. My lungs worked for every breath in the oxygen-depleted air.

On the far side of the lake I spied campers packing for departure. I shuffle-ran toward them, legs screaming.

“Beg your pardon!” It came out in a British accent. That’s weird. My survival instincts had turned thespian.

They were a group of fathers and sons from San Diego and were horrified to hear that I’d spent the night exposed to the hail and rain. They were hiking out today and encouraged me to join them.

Their map showed that I was nine miles and 2,000ft up in the wrong direction. I’d been wrong from the first step.


The day was late back at the trailhead parking lot. I slumped in my hatchback, sorting through wet clothes. Hair ratty, makeup frightful, I was downwind from the public toilets and too spent to move. Portrait of the Uncool.

A school van rolled towards me.

“Melissa Johnson,” a serious voice said, “everyone is looking for you.”

Bearded, older, but those unmistakable eyes. Mountain Man.

He sounded pissed – his voice, low and even. I’d never seen him like this. Then I realized – I’d scared him. The unflappable guy, flapped.

“I got lost,” I said in a soft voice. He got out of the van. We embraced.

He had waited for me at the correct trailhead, five minutes away, until nightfall. Then he’d sent out the call. State troopers were looking for me on the highways; park rangers were searching in the mountains; student workers from the camp were scouring the trails – a full-scale search-and-rescue operation.

He’d used his satellite phone to track down our math teacher friend who had, in turn, called the headmaster on vacation in Wyoming, my friend Adam in Silver Lake, my former boss in Oakland – and Sarah.

We drove to a nearby vista so I could call Sarah. She screamed to the point of squeaking.

“You are an ASSHOLE! I thought you were DEAD!”

My tongue was thick with shame. This was the worst thing I’d ever done, to the person who loved me the most.

To this day when this story comes up, Sarah leaves the room.

Me at Cottonwood Lakes in Inyo national forest, with the Sierras and Mount Langley peeking out in the back.
Me at Cottonwood Lakes in Inyo national forest, with the Sierras and Mount Langley peeking out in the back. Photograph: Courtesy Melissa Johnson/Narratively

Mountain Man and I walked to the camp from the correct trailhead. We sipped tequila that night in his cabin.

“After we broke up, I missed you so bad. Thought we’d be friends. All this hard stuff was happening. I couldn’t understand why you just … dropped me.”

My body trembled. I’d never been so forthright.

His face fell. “Why didn’t you tell me?!”

Why didn’t I tell him?

Turns out, I’m the hero of this story and also the villain. In my search for a romantic lead, I’d replaced him with a totem. Mountain Man neither possessed nor could tolerate weakness. But his real name was Gabe. He was born in Reno with a clubfoot to parents who got divorced. He was self-conscious about his hairy back. Clean arcs resist messy details.

“The way you live your life apart, I realized you don’t need people,” I insisted.

“That’s not true. I absolutely need people.”

No, he didn’t need people! It was a pillar of my story. But then he opened up about his own bone-crushing loneliness after his last breakup. It had been drawn out, ugly, emotional – an altogether human affair. I couldn’t hide from the deeper, more painful truth –

You didn’t need me.

The words sat heavy in my mouth. I ached to say them, to drop the Cool Girl mask for good. Vulnerability is death. Yet lack of vulnerability is also death. What a rotten trap! I wanted to be messy and real and loved for it all.

But I choked. I filled my mouth with tequila instead.

“I would have gone up every trail,” he said, “followed the road all the way back to Los Angeles to find you.” My heart split in two and fell to the ground.

All my stories had been wrong.

I’d picked the wrong map, gone down the wrong trail and reassured myself with misinterpreted data points that I was going the right way. I’d been wrong from the first step.

At a grassy alpine meadow in the Sierras, two days after reuniting with Mountain Man.
At a grassy alpine meadow in the Sierras, two days after reuniting with Mountain Man. Photograph: Courtesy Melissa Johnson/Narratively

The rest of the weekend was full of hikes, hammocks, and music around the campfire. I reminded Gabe of that first fire he’d made at the school assembly.

“God, that was so embarrassing,” he confessed, “when I couldn’t get it to light.”

What? I stared at him. Exactly how different had our stories been over the years?

What if neither of us was right? What if both of us were right? What if all the stories were true and untrue? What if we could experience the multitude of competing narratives at once?


When the time came for me to return to LA, Gabe invited me to join a river rafting trip deeper into the wild.

“It’s the opportunity of a lifetime,” he said.

Indeed, it was. Manbrosia flooded my senses.

“So?” he shrugged with a devilish smile. All creatures in his gravitational orbit bent toward him. I felt the pull and leaned away.

He is the guy. He’s not the guy. He’ll always be the guy. He never was the guy.

I could hold all of the stories at once, devour them in a mouthful. They swirled together in my magnificent round belly. There was no past and no future here. Nowhere else to be. I felt my life force expanding in a primordial storm. I was the descendant of supernovas.

“What’s it gonna be?” he asked.

I had thought that becoming his equal would mean that we’d be together. I was wrong.

I have a life to go build.

“I have a life to go build.”

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Politics

Final victim of Florida condo collapse identified by relative

final-victim-of-florida-condo-collapse-identified-by-relative

The final victim of the condo building collapse in Florida has been identified, a relative said Monday, more than a month after the middle-of-the-night catastrophe that ultimately claimed 98 lives.

Estelle Hedaya, an outgoing 54-year-old with a love of travel, was the last victim identified, ending what her relatives described as a torturous four-week wait.

Her younger brother, Ikey Hedaya, confirmed the identification to the Associated Press. The news comes just days after rescuers officially concluded the painstaking and emotionally heavy task of removing layers of dangerous debris and pulling out dozens of bodies.

“She always mentioned God anytime she was struggling with anything,” he said. “She had reached a different level spiritually, which allowed her to excel in all other areas.”

Her brother said he is drawing strength from God, just as he’d seen his sister do in troubling times. A funeral was scheduled for Tuesday.

The site of the 24 June collapse at the oceanside Champlain Towers South has been mostly swept flat, the rubble moved to a Miami warehouse. Although forensic scientists are still at work, including examining the debris at the warehouse, authorities said there are no more bodies to be found where the building once stood.

In the end, crews found no evidence that anyone who was found dead had survived the initial collapse, fire chief Alan Cominsky has said.

Search teams spent weeks battling the hazards of the rubble, including an unstable portion of the building that teetered above, a recurring fire and Florida’s stifling summer heat and thunderstorms. They went through more than 14,000 tons of broken concrete and rebar before finally declaring the mission complete.

Miami-Dade fire rescue’s urban search-and-rescue team pulled away from the site Friday in a convoy of firetrucks and other vehicles, slowly driving to their headquarters. The fire chief saluted their bravery, saying they had worked 12-hour shifts while camping out at the site and also dealing with the heavy emotional burden.

Estelle Hedaya.
Estelle Hedaya. Photograph: AP

Linda March, a 58 year-old attorney and fellow former New Yorker, was close friends with Hedaya. Oddly the two were among the last three victims to be identified, along with 24-year-old Anastasia Gromova of Canada.

Leah Sutton, who knew Hedaya since birth and considered herself a second mother to her, said she and March were both “forces to be reckoned with”.

“My two beautiful amazing fearless friends saved for last, have to believe there was a reason for them to be last,” she said Monday. “Estelle’s love of God was unbelievable and unwavering.”

The dead included members of the area’s large Orthodox Jewish community, the sister of Paraguay’s first lady, her family and their nanny, along with an entire family of four that included a local salesman, his wife and their two young daughters, four and 11, who were buried in the same coffin.

Meanwhile, it’s unclear what will happen at the collapse site. A judge presiding over several lawsuits filed in the collapse aftermath wants the property sold at market rates, which would bring in an estimated $100m or more. Some condo owners want to rebuild, and others say a memorial should be erected to remember the dead.

Continue Reading

Politics

California and New York City to mandate vaccine for government workers

california-and-new-york-city-to-mandate-vaccine-for-government-workers

California and New York City announced Monday that they would require all government employees to get the coronavirus vaccine or face weekly Covid-19 testing, and the Department of Veterans Affairs became the first major federal agency to require healthcare workers to receive the shot.

Meanwhile, in a possible sign that increasingly dire health warnings are getting through to more Americans, vaccination rates began to creep up again, offering hope that people who have previously been reluctant to receive the shot may finally be getting inoculated.

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that all municipal workers – including teachers and police officers – will be required to get vaccinated by mid-September or face weekly Covid-19 testing, making the city one of the largest employers in the US to take such action.

“Let’s be clear about why this is so important: this is about our recovery,” de Blasio said.

California said it will similarly require proof of vaccination or weekly testing for all state workers and healthcare employees starting next month.

The move comes amid a surge in cases in California, which have risen 218% over the last two weeks, while hospitalizations are up 62%, according to New York Times data. In the month since California lifted all Covid safety restrictions for its “grand reopening”, the state capitol has reinstated a mask requirement after several aides contracted Covid-19, and Los Angeles county is again requiring mask-wearing indoors, even for people who are fully vaccinated. The San Francisco Bar Alliance, which represents almost 500 bars, is recommending that members require guests to show proof of vaccination to enter the establishments.

California saw a 16% increase in vaccinations over last week and is one of the country’s most vaccinated states with 77% of adults having received at least one vaccine dose, but there are still plenty of unprotected people to transmit the virus, experts say.

“Primarily, we’re seeing infections in the unvaccinated,” said George Rutherford, an epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco.

The VA’s move came on a day when nearly 60 leading medical and healthcare organizations issued a call through the American Medical Association for health care facilities to require their workers to get vaccinated.

“I am doing this because it’s the best way to keep our veterans safe, full stop,” Veterans affairs secretary Denis McDonough told the New York Times.

The mayor of New York City has announced all municipal workers will be required to get vaccinated or face weekly testing.
The mayor of New York City has announced all municipal workers will be required to get vaccinated or face weekly testing. Photograph: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

Elsewhere, St Louis became the second major city to mandate that face masks be worn indoors, regardless of vaccination status, joining Los Angeles in re-imposing the orders.

“For those who are vaccinated, this may feel like punishment, punishment for doing the right thing,” St Louis county executive Sam Page, a Democrat, said Monday. “I’ve heard that, and I feel that frustration.”

Dr Leana Wen, a former Baltimore health commissioner, applauded the moves but called on President Joe Biden to “lead by example” and impose similar mandates on federal employees and in public venues where the government has jurisdiction, like on planes, trains and government buildings.

She also said all hospitals and nursing homes need to require all employees get vaccinated.

“We need vaccine mandates and vaccine verification,” Wen said. “We’re well past the time for the Biden administration to get on board with this. What we’re doing is not working. Doing more of the same is not the answer here.”

The White House has so far deferred to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on masking guidance, which recommends that those who are unvaccinated wear masks indoors. But officials acknowledged over the weekend that they are considering changing that guidance and recommending that the vaccinated also wear masks indoors.

“We’re going in the wrong direction,” Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday.

Wen, who is also an emergency physician and public professor at George Washington University, said public health experts have been worrying for months about this very scenario.

“We were worried the honor system would not work, the unvaccinated would be behaving as if they’re vaccinated and people would think the pandemic is over,” she said. “That’s precisely what has happened, and it’s incredibly frustrating.”

Dr Albert Ko, an infectious disease specialist Yale’s School of Public Health, said the U.S. should not have been caught off guard after watching the Delta variant ravage India in May and then land in the United Kingdom, Israel and other highly vaccinated nations with force last month.

“We have learned multiple times to not take anything for granted with CovidO,” he said.

The US is around 67% immune from Covid-19 when prior infections are factored, but it will need to get closer to 85% to crush the resurgent virus, said Dr Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health.

“So we need a lot more vaccinations. Or a lot more infections,” he tweeted Sunday.

Jha said the nation has to brace for another rough few months. The disease has killed almost 611,000 people in the US since the pandemic started last year.

Vaccinations ticked up over the weekend, with about 657,000 vaccines reported administered Saturday and nearly 780,000 on Sunday, according to CDC data. The seven-day rolling average on Sunday was about 583,000 vaccinations a day, up from about 525,000 a week prior.

A mobile vaccine clinic in Los Angeles, California.
A mobile vaccine clinic in Los Angeles, California. Photograph: Étienne Laurent/EPA

Public health experts on Monday said the uptick in vaccinations is encouraging but warned that it’s far too early to say if the numbers mean that millions of unvaccinated people are finally beginning to overcome their reticence.

The seven-day rolling average for daily new cases in the country shot up over the past two weeks, from more than 19,000 on 11 July to nearly 52,000 on 25 July , according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Some prominent conservative and Republican voices that have spent months casting doubt on the vaccination effort have recently started sounding a different tune.

House minority whip Steve Scalise, a Louisiana Republican, was among the members of the GOP Doctors Caucus who held a press conference at the Capitol late last week imploring their constituents to lay lingering doubts aside.

A week ago, on 19 July, Fox News host Sean Hannity declared: “It absolutely makes sense for many Americans to get vaccinated. I believe in science. I believe in the science of vaccinations.”

And in Tennessee, the brother of a popular local conservative radio host who had been a vaccine skeptic urged listeners to get vaccinated as his brother was in critical care in the hospital battling Covid-19.

“For those listening, I know if he were able to tell you this, he would tell you, ‘Go get vaccinated. Quit worrying about the politics. Quit worrying about all the conspiracy theories,’” Mark Valentine said of his brother, Phil Valentine, Thursday on WWTN-FM in Nashville.

Associated Press contributed to this report

Continue Reading

Politics

Arizona secretary of state tells Trump before election lie rally: get over it

arizona-secretary-of-state-tells-trump-before-election-lie-rally:-get-over-it

Arizona’s secretary of state had a message for Donald Trump before he appeared in Phoenix on Saturday: “Take your loss and accept it and move on.”

Trump was set to speak at an event organised by Turning Point Action, a conservative group, and called the “Rally to Save Our Elections!”

Republicans in the most populous county in Arizona continue to pursue a controversial audit of ballots in an attempt to prove Trump’s claim that his loss to Joe Biden in the state, and nationally, was caused by widespread voter fraud. It was not.

Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, spoke to CNN on Friday. Asked what she wanted to tell Trump, she said: “Well, I mean, like most grownups, take your loss and accept it and move on … Nothing that’s going on here is going to change the outcome, and, really, this is nothing more than being a sore loser.”

Hobbs also said Trump’s appearance – like support for his lies from local Republican officials, office holders and congressional hopefuls lining up to speak at Saturday’s event – was dangerous.

“The bottom line is it doesn’t matter what he says or does,” she said. “Nothing is going to change the outcome of the 2020 election. But it also doesn’t change how dangerous this is.”

Trump’s lie about electoral fraud stoked the deadly attack on the US Capitol in Washington on 6 January this year. He retains power in the Republican party, which has swung behind him in seeking to obstruct investigations of the assault.

“The bottom line is that Arizonians are tired of being led by conspiracy theorists,” Hobbs said. “They don’t support this fake audit, and they’re ready for leaders who are going to put those partisan games aside and deal with real issues.”

Hobbs is hoping to become governor of Arizona. Midterm elections will also see a key Arizona Senate seat up for grabs again. Mark Kelly, a former astronaut and a prominent campaigner for gun control reform, won the seat on Biden’s coattails last year. But that was to complete a term and he must run again to secure a full six years in the seat.

On Friday, the former president blasted “Rinos”, or “Republicans in Name Only” whom he regards as insufficiently loyal. One GOP Arizona state senator offered a pithy reply.

“If he hadn’t started an insurrection in DC and gotten kicked off here,” Paul Boyer wrote on Twitter, “I could’ve responded directly to him. So there’s that.”

Trump said his remarks would be broadcast by networks including Newsmax and One America News, upstart rightwing operations which have sought to challenge Fox News on the right of the political spectrum.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2016-2021 2Fast2Serious magazine.