Thank You

Thanks to all of the athletes who prove themselves to be people of character and conscience and empower the course of democracy. Impeach Trump!

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Commander in Cheese

…on the obedience we all give to Trump.

Imagine this: One night you’re watching TV and Trump appears in a breaking news address, live from the Oval Office, with the portrait of Jackson behind him. He’s gripping his diamond encrusted golden iPhone and live-tweeting as he says, “I’m the president now and trust me I’m the best president there ever was, really fantastic, and I command all of you to think about me every day, a lot every day, and it will be some really great thinking because it’s about me.”

Would you do as you’re told? Well, some people would. But the majority of Americans would flip the bird at their TV, say something to the effect of kiss my ass you ignorant and perfidious bastard, and spend the rest of the evening thinking about Trump anyway.

What? Yep.

What if El Cheeto Bandito could make you think about him for hours every day, and every evening before you go to bed, without ever saying that’s what he wants? No demands or commands or pleas, just continuous, unflinching, attention. How much and how often do you think about Trump? You’re thinking about him right now, and you think about him a lot. So do I.

“But wait, no,” you say, “we have to keep watching him, we have to keep an eye on him because he’s fucking up the whole country and pounding democracy flatter than hammered shit and he must be vigilant or he’ll get away with it.”

Prove it. Prove that our constant vigilance is making an actual difference. There are 340-some-odd million Americans. How many have to be learning about the latest Babyhands Atrocities at any given moment?

“But I don’t worry about him because I like him or support or agree,” you insist. “I think about him because I hate him! I haaaaaate him soooo muuuch! And I haaate every treasonous sumbitch who voted for him and I hope they pop like a big bag of Orville Redenbachers on the stoves of hell foreeeeever.” Cool. I’m with you on that. But all that hatred hurts Vile Lord Damput exactly how?

Here’s the ironic part. Our obsession with Trump, our addiction to the continuous effluvium of his stupidities, and our hatred of him and his supporters and everything they represent really does do a lot of damage. To us.

Der Hair Fuhrer is not worthy of a passing thought, let alone our constant contemplation. But we are giving Darth Donald vast tracts of our time, our sense of peace and contentment, our full attention, and ultimately our lives. And we’re giving all that up for free. He is sucking the happiness out of our homes and families, the focus out of our work, and the light out of our days, and we’re letting him do it. The stress is shredding our nervous systems and robbing us of sleep.

Enough. I say enough. It’s time to evict The Landlord from the vacation rentals between our ears for non payment, commission of waste, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Let’s cut back, way back. Let’s learn to pace ourselves because impeachment is going to be a long and muddy road. Maybe check the news every few days to see if the Republic still stands, OK. But otherwise find our way back to the things we love and Beings who love us and get on with our lives. There is no better way to beat the Trumps of the world than to show them they don’t matter, they don’t dominate, and we will not follow them into the darkness.

That Man is a Success

When I was young – a teenager – my parents gave me the quotation below – framed – for the wall of my room. It has lived on in my mind for 40 years. I only wish that Emerson had made it gender-neutral, because I have known just as many admirable women as men, to whom its enlightenment applies.

While the day’s calamity for Trump may leave many of us feeling vindicated, outraged, or sickened, I also feel sad. So much that is beautiful and kind, gentle and true about human life is so often and so wantonly demeaned. It goes light years beyond the fact that he is no gentleman. Power is still consistently given to men who think people are possessions, that women and children, the poor, the sick and weak, the marginalized and the outcast, are subject to domination. That is sad, and it’s even sadder that some targets of their twisted, onanistic self-gratification seem to accept this, even to support this particular contemptible and toxic troglodyte.

We may not get another chance to teach such evil, insentient men – once and for all – that they are wrong. And to show the women and girls of America that they are awesome and equal, that their value in the world is intrinsic and inalienable. So no one has the right to grab them or bring them down.

Peace to you Reader, and to the women in your life who have taught you love and strength, intelligence, courage, and dignity.

 

That man is a success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much;
Who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
Who leaves the world better than he found it,
whether by an improved poppy or a perfect poem or a rescued soul;
Who never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it;
Who looked for the best in others and gave the best he had
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Memorial

As we Americans once again commemorate our war dead, and pay respect to the families of those who “gave the last full measure of devotion,” I wonder:

Will we ever come to terms with the fact that many of their deaths were preventable?

They not only died for us, they died because of us and our pride, arrogance, and nationalist ego-centrism.

We Americans are sure that we can do anything we set our minds and collective will to do. Why not peace?

Why can’t we learn to treat other people with respect, and so to gain friends instead of making enemies? We are so hell bent in self-righteousness, so mired in fear of others – and so completely confused about who they are – that millions of us want a dictator in our highest office.

Our dead didn’t die so that America would be weak and terrified, but we are. After 9/11 we raised flags and were defiant and strong for a while, until Bush-Cheney told us to be terrorized, and so we were and so we remain.

History will not be kind about the fall of the American Empire. For 15 years we have declined into willful ignorance, the victims of fear and selfishness. Trump is the distillation of that consciousness.

We don’t deserve a new birth of freedom if we deny it to each other.

We don’t deserve safety unless we stand up for the refugees and give them refuge.

We are not worthy to consecrate a moment, let alone a day, in honor of our dead, until we pledge in our hearts and minds that no more shall die in vain.

 

The Tables

So if I’m picking up the signals, conservatives are claiming that the man killed by cops in the Oregon standoff was trying to surrender. Witnesses say that’s a lie. Liberals claim the cops’ shooting was justified.

Two thoughts:

When did support for flagrant rebellion against the Establishment become conservative, and support for law enforcement become liberal? Haven’t the tables turned in some insane way?

This word, conservative: I do not think it means what you think it means.

Cuttlefish

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns … instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting out ink.

– George Orwell, whose birthday is today.

A cuttlefish looks like this.

I use the quote above to shoehorn my thoughts onto blog topic, but my favorite quote from Orwell is this passage from 1984:

To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone — to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone: From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink — greetings!

I sit here tonight look at those words again, amazed at how much Truth there is in them, and wondering if we have finally come to live in that age of doublethink.

Slavery is freedom. The climate is not changing. Guns keep us safe. Rich people create jobs. War is Peace. Immigration is hurting the economy. Iraq is Obama’s fault. Ignorance is strength.

I’ve been watching World War Z. It’s interesting to see what that silly zombie fad looks like with a big budget. …It is a metaphor of American politics, right?

“Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.” So for us, a zombie apocalypse is more likely than attaining government or, by, or for the people.

As Memories Go

There’s an interesting thing that happens with early childhood memory. It becomes infused and confused with memories of later events, with family photos and home movies, with other media. Memory can be heavily influenced.

I think that’s what’s happened with my memories of the day John F. Kennedy was murdered. I couldn’t really remember it, right? I was only two years old.

What I think I remember is being with my Mom in the little den or “TV room” of our house, and that the room was full of a heavy and palpable sorrow.

That’s pretty vague, as memories go. But it has always seemed like the best first reaction and it has served me well as years have gone by. It was right to grieve because a lot was lost, most poignantly not just a president; two men died that day, both fathers.

For the record, there’s no way Oswald shot Kennedy from the sixth floor of that building. An impossible shot, and Kennedy was hit from the opposite direction. Oswald killed the policeman, and took the fall for killing the president.

I’ve heard it said that the nation’s innocence died that day, but I wouldn’t say that. This nation has never been innocent. Naive maybe. I would say the murder of our president was a serious blow to our self-image, and that what followed was a crisis of identity. A kind of schism, not unlike the personality disorder we’re experiencing now. But I digress.

The single image of those days that has remained with me for fifty years is not the First Lady on the trunk of the car, or Johnson taking the oath on the plane, or the cortege in the streets of Washington.

jfkchurchjohnsalute

It serves to remind us that presidents don’t belong to us, they work for us. They belong to their families, just like everyone else. John Jr. was only six months older than me, you understand. I got to grow up with a loving Dad. And while I was let outside to play in just a little while, I have to imagine he never was.