Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

A senator, author, and comedian walked into a bar — er, signed onto Twitter — but the "joke" that got told failed to impress.

In fact, it was wrong in more ways than one.

It all started on Feb. 5, 2018, when Sen. Tammy Duckworth blasted President Trump online for having suggested it was treasonous for Democrats to not clap for him at the State of the Union. That assertion didn't sit well with the Democrat from Illinois.



"We don't live in a dictatorship or a monarchy," she retorted, refusing to "cater to the whims of Cadet Bone Spurs" by clapping only when he sees fit.

"Cadet Bone Spurs," of course, was a jab at Trump, who infamously avoided the draft as a young man due to apparent bone spurs in his heels.  


Conservative author Jack Posobiec took offense to Duckworth's remarks, insinuating the senator was a hypocrite for using "juvenile language."

That's when Silverman jumped in.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Trevor Project.

"Oh Jack — another misunderstanding!" she tweeted, clearly having interacted with Posobiec before. "The left doesn’t have a problem [with Trump's] choice of words or that he’s crass or some shit — it’s the actual CONTENT — that he’s accusing actual treason [because Democrats] didn’t CLAP for him."

Posobiec answered with a "joke" that didn't really add up — and also pushed a harmful stereotype.

"Are you OK, Sarah?" he wrote. "Your eye is so lazy it’s collecting welfare."

"I’m trying to understand your joke," Silverman responded. "That people on welfare are lazy?"

She continued: "Wait — so people who receive welfare (ie most 40 hr/wk employees who work 4 the Walton family, 1 of the richest families in the world) are lazy? Is that the joke? Sorry! Need help 2 understand ur funny joke!"

Silverman touched on an important point: Why do people think welfare recipients are lazy?

As she noted, many workers at Walmart, one of America's wealthiest companies, are forced to rely on government assistance because their employer — and many other corporations like it — pays them such low wages. A 2014 report, for instance, found Walmart workers cost taxpayers $6.2 billion in public assistance. In other words, instead of Walmart paying their workers higher wages, you — the taxpayer — end up footing the bill.

It's not welfare recipients' "laziness" that's costing Americans — it's corporate greed.

Photo by J.D. Pooley/Getty Images.

Posobiec quipped that "next time" he'd "use more profanity" so that Silverman would be able to "keep up."

And in typical Silverman fashion, the comedian responded in earnest: "No! I really didn't get it! Can [you] explain?"

"Also, I see ur a sci-fi fan," she wrote, assumedly having read a line in Posobiec's Twitter bio. "Next generation or voyager? I loved Next Gen (Data: swoon!) but I was in Voyager! Or no trek? 2001?"

To that, Posobiec didn't reply.

Silverman's seamless segue into nerd culture banter may seem disingenuous, seeing as she and Posobiec appeared to be clawing at each other's throats. But recently, Silverman's made efforts to reach across the aisle in order to build bridges instead of walls. Earlier this month, she befriended an internet troll who'd been belittling her — and later paid for his medical treatment too.

We don't all have the luxury to cover hospital bills for strangers online, of course. But we can fight mischaracterizations about those less fortunate by using facts and a little friendliness (and maybe even pepper in a little nerd culture along the way).

Props, Sarah.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

When schools closed early in the spring, the entire country was thrown for a loop. Parents had to figure out what to do with their kids. Teachers had to figure out how to teach students at home. Kids had to figure out how to navigate a totally new routine that was being created and altered in real time.

For many families, it was a big honking mess—one that many really don't want to repeat in the fall.

But at the same time, the U.S. hasn't gotten a handle on the coronavirus pandemic. As states have begun reopening—several of them too early, according to public health officials—COVID-19 cases have risen to the point where we now have more cases per day than we did during the height of the outbreak in the spring. And yet President Trump is making a huge push to get schools to reopen fully in the fall, even threatening to possibly remove funding if they don't.

It's worth pointing out that Denmark and Norway had 10 and 11 new cases yesterday. Sweden and Germany had around 300 each. The U.S. had 55,000. (And no, that's not because we're testing thousands of times more people than those countries are.)

The president of the country's largest teacher's union had something to say about Trump's push to reopen schools. Lily Eskelsen Garcia says that schools do need to reopen, but they need to be able to reopen safely—with measures that will help keep both students and teachers from spreading the virus and making the pandemic worse. (Trump has also criticized the CDCs "very tough & expensive guidelines" for reopening schools.)

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