By Ed Spivey Jr. 3-03-2017

With yet another revelation of contact between the Trump administration and Russians, Americans are wondering, and I’m paraphrasing here, “What up with dat?” Again and again we have heard of communing between two entities that for generations have held each other in contempt and suspicion. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is the latest to deny, then remember that he forgot, then “oh, you mean THAT?” in response to press reports of his contacts with Russian officials, adding his name to a long list of Trump supporters and staff who apparently have Moscow on speed dial.

Psychologists might suggest that Republicans, despite decades of anti-Russian rhetoric, have been harboring a secret need for connection. Like the virulently anti-gay preacher who’s caught with a male escort, Republicans have long been in denial about their latent conjugal desire for all things Russian. They’ve been saying “nyet,” but their watery eyes, yearning for love, have been saying “nyes.”

Which begs the question: Do Republicans need to be cleansed of these inner desires? Is their wanton hunger natural — a consequence of a chromosomal mix-up and genetic predisposition — or is it shamelessly willful? Does Mitch McConnell keep a Russian nesting doll in his desk, sometimes mentally taking her apart (“And what secrets are you hiding today, my little Matryoshka?”)

Could Dr. Ruth help? To my ear she sounds Russian.

Or do Republicans need conversion therapy, a favorite remedy of the evangelical right for curing “objectionable” behavior, although egregious false piety and flagrant hypocrisy are two that still resist treatment. Maybe Republicans should just sit down in the living room with their parents and break the news gently. (“It’s OK, honey, we’ve known for years. Ever since you put up that poster of Czar Nicholas in your room. You told us it was Ben Affleck, but it didn’t fool us. Affleck looks good in a suit, but not THAT good.”)

I would suggest an easier approach, one that could satisfy Republicans’ insatiable appetite for Russian acceptance (“that Putin kid is so cool, but he totally ignores me in the cafeteria!”), an idea that would put an end to the embarrassing perv-walks in front of the media, and the awkward mansplaining that the camaraderie doesn’t threaten national security or the future of our democracy. (Does “camaraderie” come from the root word “comrade”? Just asking.) They were just, you know, trying to get a prom date with that dreamy Sergey Kislyak.

Instead of contacting Russian diplomats, Republicans should reach out to Russians not affiliated with government. Admittedly, they’re not easy to find, since most Russian nationals in D.C. are here as either official diplomats or unofficial spies. But our local hockey team (GO CAPS!!) has three Russian players, some of whom even speak English. Granted, they’re often traveling to away games (where they’re KICKING BUTT!!), but frequently return home (14 STRAIGHT WINS!!) and would be available for meet-ups. And they’re in a giving mood, these days, because this is the year we’re TOTALLY GOING TO THE STANLEY CUP!!

Additionally, many computer hackers are also Russian, although they probably wouldn’t meet for coffee. But Republicans are only looking for quick hook-ups, not long-term relationships, so this might be perfect. And it’s easy to reach out to them. Just open Facebook on your computer, then open another window with your bank account, and they’ll find a way. I don’t know how, but they’re very clever, these Russians, and pretty soon you’ll have the relationship you desire. It’s not a cheap date, of course, but it’s money well spent, and taken directly from your bank account.

Actually, I can’t think of any other Russians suitable for innocent hobnobbing with employees of the new Trump administration. I tried to contact the Russian ambassador for ideas, but he was unavailable. He was on the phone.

It was local call.

Photo: Brandon Hook / Sojourners

Ed Spivey Jr. is Art Director at Sojourners.

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