Friday, December 9, 2016

Another Sleepless Night

It is 5 a.m. and I am lying in bed, and I am crying.  This is not me.  Or, at least, it is not the person I was before November 8.  As I lie in bed, I think, desperately, about my options.  I am tempted to clear my DVR of all the MSNBC and CNN news shows I tape regularly; I listen to them during the day and they haunt me at night.  I think I might try a couple more Tylenol, or a cup of tea.  Then I decide to get up and post.

After a lifetime of being afraid of dying, I find myself relieved that most of my life is past.

I try not to think about my kids.

It is quite amazing, watching our democracy being destroyed.  We have seen the wealthy fighting with their many dollars to take over the whole thing for decades now, since they nearly lost the fight in the middle of the last century.  They won't let that happen again.  Irony is the policy that prevails as Trump lines up an anti-education billionaire to run the department of education, an anti-worker billionaire to head the department of labor, an oil billionaire to run the EPA (into the ground), a billionaire whose life goal is privatizing Medicare to head HHS,  a racist to run the department of justice, and for balance, a couple of idiots for HUD and the UN.

And these are not the scary appointments.  They are the ones that can take down our programs, but it is the military arm of our new cabinet that will take down our democracy.

Our furor enjoys his Victory Rallies (He wanted to call them "Thank You" rallies, but KellyAnne advised him to tone it down.).  He especially likes the cheers he gets when he proclaims General "Mad Dog" Mattis as his choice for secretary of defense.  His voice gets all funny when he says, "Mad Dog" and as much as I fight it, I can imagine him lying on his side of the bed getting hot over the thought of the Mad Dog.  "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet," is a quote for which Mad Dog Mattis is famous.  He has a lot of them.

On our own shores, Trump has picked paranoia and son, General Michael Flynn and Jr., for national security adviser, the latter more in an advisory role.  He was pursuing a security clearance for junior, who came close to blowing it by having his crazy tweets implicated in the incident of the nutcase who "self-investigated" the satanic cult hiding in a pizza parlor.  I say, came close to blowing it, because we all know that Trump sees the word "no" as only a temporary barrier, a challenge, one that money and influence can easily remove, and these days he has ever more of both.

National security adviser.  If you can continue reading after that, there is indeed more.  On the foreign front is Mike Pompeo, proposed head of the CIA, who can now continue to investigate Hillary with new purpose and energy.  Here on the home front, to head the already creepily named Department of Homeland Security, will be another retired general, John Kelly.  He will be in charge of rounding people up:  Hispanics, Muslims, and I imagine anybody that gets in the way of his round-up.  Maybe journalists and, I don't know, bloggers.  There will certainly be investigations of commie groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center.  And Kelly is the moderate of the bunch.

Also lined up to militarize these United States is David Petraeus, maybe for the big enchilada, Secretary of State.  But first they have to figure out what to do about his guilty charge for mishandling classified materials, leaking secrets to his lover.  Wonder where Jason Chaffetz and Trey Gowdy are these days?  I would think that after all the Sturm und Drang (yeah, I know how appropriate that is) over Hillary's emails, they would at least wake up long enough to make a statement of concern.

Here is the thing.  Trump is an insecure, obsessive narcissist who we know is motivated by revenge.  And he has -- oh, I haven't mentioned it yet? -- Steve Bannon as his Trump-whisperer.  This is how bad Bannon is -- Karl Rove and Glenn Beck have spoken out against him.  Bannon is the secular evil to Mike Pence's religious evil.  Bannon is Hitler's adviser, and Trump adores Bannon.  Bannon knows just the right way to flatter the leader of the once-free world.  He also knows how to rile the crowd.  Breitbart.com was his trial run for taking over the country.

I know where in Trump's brain the billionaires came from.  Helped along by the right-wing GOP and huge donations, those picks were no-brainers.  But the military, the military came from the kind of evil that is Steve Bannon.

I am thinking in phrases of 140 characters these days.  And hashtags.  When I wake up in the middle of the night I find myself thinking of tweets that I could send out like alarms to people who could save us.  To the Democrats, who at this point can't even get it together to fight for the one Senate seat up for grabs in Louisiana, much less fight for our democracy.  And who continue to want to prove that they aren't obstructionists.  To the media, who mostly I think we should give daily, "Most Inane Question" awards to.  Just how many times can you ask various Trump minions whether Mitt Romney is still being considered for Secretary of State?

My heart goes out to the Democrats who are smart and courageous enough to see this threat for what it is, and who plan on fighting.  And journalists who will in the days to come be risking their careers (maybe even their freedom; remember Judith Miller).  I hold great hope for Obama to come forward and fight to maintain the democracy he has already saved from the brink of economic failure.  And after a time, Hillary will join the fight.  But there may be a day, with all those generals and all those police forces that Trump courted with his vows of "law and order," when imprisoning political enemies in the United States of America becomes a reality.

No, I am not paranoid.  I know just enough history to see the signs.  Thinking that we are above the fray because we have a strong democracy means that our leaders, from the spineless Paul Ryan to the West Virginia "Democrat" Joe Manchin, would have to fight the abhorrent and extremely telling staff choices Trump has made.  And they won't.  Biden and Harry Reid have both made conciliatory noises pretending to like some of Trump's picks.  Will Dems run scared and choose someone safe to lead their party over progressive black Muslim-American Keith Ellison?  Boy, now is not the time to cower, folks.  (Note to media:  the most pressing issue about Ellison's bid is NOT whether he stays in Congress while he serves as DNC chair.)

Well, the sun is coming up.  I had an emergency piece of medicinal chocolate that I smuggled home from Denver before I began my blog, and I am hoping I will be able to escape through sleep for a couple of hours.  But we all have to keep returning to the reality of a Trump oligarchy.  We have to stop trying to find the good in the turd.  We have to keep trying things we've never done before, like appeal to the Electors to dump Trump.  We can't use ignorance as an excuse.  We can't let Democrats compromise us out of our democracy.

We can't let the generals take over.  And we have to #StopBannon.

Trump is an idiot.  But he is a rich and powerful idiot, and he knows how to buy smart and powerful people.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Challenge to Democratic Party: Why Should I Care?

In its typical tone-deaf fashion, days after "Giving Tuesday," when we were all exhausted from being hammered by requests for donations by hundreds of worthy causes, I got an email from the South Carolina Democratic Party asking for -- not $3, not $5 -- a $25 donation.

The accompanying message, which I scanned rather than read, included the words "whites only."  It contained the terrifying idea that Henry McMaster would be our new governor soon, as though he might be worse than Nikki Haley.  Basically, the message was, "Scary things are happening, so give us money."

Meanwhile, on another absurd front, SCDP Chair Jamie Harrison, who kept popping up on MSNBC before the SC primaries and then disappeared during the general election, has resurfaced in order to seek the position of -- and I can't believe I am saying this -- Chair of the Democratic National Committee.  When asked why he feels he is qualified, we hear all about how he came up in politics.  Nothing about anything important that is going on right now.  Not to mention, why he should be considered given the sad state of Democratic politics in South Carolina under his watch.

This is what the SCDP is missing:

Voters can't possibly understand the complexities of the dirty games being played in politics (and I try, I really do).  We don't have the time to follow bills being introduced on a state or national level, much less sort out the meaning behind the bills.  Or where they come from.  They don't know the candidates or office holders, really.

What people know about politics is in the headlines.  And if it is too dense, they dismiss it.  Which pretty much describes the success of the republican party.  They, and their current leader, have been able to reframe issues and point voters in any direction they choose, just by using simple and stark phrases.  Remember the threatened "death panels" from Obamacare?  How about "death taxes," leading us all to believe that after we die, the government would take all our hard-earned money from our children?  Trump turned it into an obscene art form, boiling down the essence of his opponents to easy-to-remember memes like "lying Ted" and "crooked Hillary."

If the SCDP, or the DNC for that matter, want to get voters involved, they need to do two things:  educate themselves about the bills that are being written, and then educate the voters in a way that is meaningful to us.

For weeks, we have been hearing about the "emoluments clause" of the constitution.  Don't feel bad if you don't know what it means, even though you've heard it in the news a zillion times.  It has no meaning to us.  The first thing the republicans would do if they wanted voters to pay attention to the emoluments clause is:  rename it.  Turn it into a catchy, solid, simple phrase that is full of emotional meaning.  "Gifts for favors" conveys the idea more simply, but it doesn't have the emotional punch.  So I posted the idea on Facebook and Twitter, in the hope that others more clever than I will come up with the phrase that will let everybody know that the Trump family is planning on wheeling and dealing with corporate and world leaders while he is president so that he can increase his power and fortune.  In other words, reaping emoluments.

And let's take a look at Congress.  Just this week, to great fanfare about the new bipartisanship, the grandiose "21st Century Cures Act" passed the House, 392-26.  I heard it was to honor Joe Biden and his work to fund cancer research in the name of his son.  Even so, this was highly suspicious.  It took a little research, but not too much, to find that Elizabeth Warren in the Senate, had spoken in opposition to this bill.  Apparently, the pharmaceutical industry is going to make out like bandits from its passage.  Listen to Senator Warren:



You may be wondering a few years from now why we haven't cured cancer.  This is a clue.

And on the subject of Elizabeth Warren, Congress has set its sights on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which she designed in order to curb overpricing and fraud in financial services, like in those credit cards we all carry.  Along with that, they plan on deregulating the banking industry further by cutting back if not eliminating the Dodd-Frank Act and the Volcker Rule, which were intended to prevent the financial chaos and destruction of the 2008 Recession, you know, where people lost their houses because big banks were allowed to gamble them away.  And this bill is called -- are you ready for it? -- the Financial Choice Act.

Feeling the need to further mask their true intent, the House this week passed a bill that moved forward tsunami research AND tweak -- deregulate -- Dodd-Frank:

H.Res.934 - Providing for consideration of the Senate amendment to the bill (H.R. 34) to authorize and strengthen the tsunami detection, forecast, warning, research, and mitigation program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and for other purposes, and providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 6392) to amend the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to specify when bank holding companies may be subject to certain enhanced supervision, and for other purposes.

Now this is something we might pay attention to.

If the Democratic Party, both state and national, were to send out alerts whenever an explosive bill comes to the floor and tell us 1) what it means and 2) why it matters, and in actual easy to understand English, we all might become more invested in seeing our interests served.

And yet.  All we get are scary images of Henry McMaster taking over for Nikki Haley.  Or vague threats of what a Trump presidency will do to our country.

Y'all got to do better, Democratic Party.  Because nobody is hearing you.  And sending out a fund raising email three days after Giving Tuesday trying to get us to cough up another $25 without giving us a solid reason is proof that you aren't hearing us.

Friday, December 2, 2016

What We Want to Hear

I turned on the TV last night and of course, there was that ugly face with the tiny mouth.  Surrounded by gullible people hanging on every ridiculous word.  I was only able to watch for less than five minutes.  I had heard it all before, in various forms, many times over the past couple of years, but not by someone who had the authority of the presidency behind him.  So, nauseated, I turned it off and watched a movie.

The thing that is hardest to grapple with, and I am being brutally honest with myself here, is that the words coming out of the mouth are words we all want to hear.  Jobs are going to come back.  We are not going to let corporations push us around.  We are not going to have to suffer low wages anymore.  And all in that calm and sonorous voice that he has rehearsed, so that he doesn't break into the rhythms and bellicosity of the madman that he really is.

And so, he tells us what we want to hear.  And then he tells magnificent, appalling lies.  Millions of illegal votes.  Lying media.  People who are going to try to stop him from fighting for us, and to prevent us from getting what we deserve.

This is the world of the dictator.  This is how it happens.  Convinced that we should be afraid, that our secure lives no longer exist.  And the germ of truth is that, yes, our way of life has been threatened, our quality of life drastically reduced.  But the bait and switch is that those who have caused this to happen -- greedy corporations, right-wing millionaires and billionaires, power mad religious leaders and arms dealers -- are the ones who will be given greater power in the years to come.  Job security, health care, safety in our homes and in the streets, they will continue to die.

If Trump does his job well, the blame for the failure to come will be placed solidly in the laps of those who are trying to right the wrongs:  liberal democrats, the media, progressive leaders, responsible and knowledgeable judges.  He succeeded so well in turning reason on its head during his campaign, it stands to reason that these falsehoods will continue to work.

Except...

...except if the media continues to expose the lies.  They need to continue to learn to stop focusing on the wizard and get behind the curtain to expose the carnival barker.  And they need those of us who can to pay for their product, the hard won facts of the investigation.

...except if those lawyers and legal systems that have fought against discrimination and hate continue to make public the evil that turns us one against the other.  Who have run on a shoestring budget under the best of times, and now need more staff and greater publicity, and who need us to give what we can whenever we can.

...and except if each of us will fearlessly defend each of us.  We need to be united in the face of bigotry and scapegoating, because turning us against each other is the clearest path to the success of a dictator.  This is not just trying to correct lies and misleading information when our family and friends repeat it, although this is important.  We need to see each of our causes as our own.  I am a white-haired white woman who will never be stopped and frisked; I am not going to be forced to register my existence based on my religion.  But my daughter's reproductive freedom, and her privacy and right to the best medical care and advice will be threatened.  I will never have laws made that will monitor my use of a public restroom, or will tell me who I can marry.  But I may well lose the admittedly minimal financial security provided by social security, and like others of all ages, my health insurance.

Our right to live where we want will be jeopardized, especially if the Kochs or Trumps decide they need an oil pipeline or a luxury hotel or golf course where our homes are located.  We will be excluded from ever more places in our own country.  We will be denied access to information, as well as the right to speak our mind (as I am doing now) or question the words of others.

We -- most of us -- have lived under the assumption all our lives that we were free.  Free to talk, free to move around, free to believe as we choose, free to associate with whomever we want.

Imagine those freedoms gone, because they may be.  The "law and order" candidate will soon be in charge.  Those who thought that was a good idea may soon find that they are also on the wrong end of the law, especially if it conflicts with the special interests that will be running the country.  People who thought "religious freedom" meant that they were free may be shocked to find that some of their beliefs are no longer able to be freely expressed.  Chances are, every one of us could be on the wrong side of the "law" in these years when might will make right.

Yes, that has always been true.  But some of us were safer than others.  And most of us could feel secure in the knowledge that our own little differences weren't the ones under scrutiny.  But in a dictatorship, the tides can turn in an instant.  We have seen the man coming into power contradict himself within the same sentence.  He holds to no moral code, his only consistent value is his own importance.  He will and has attacked a perceived enemy and then welcomed him as a brother; likewise, he has thrown partners to the wolves and will do so again if it serves his own ego.

So who can trust Donald Trump?  Not any of us.  But today he is the most powerful man in the world.  Today it is us against him.  When he tries to tell us what we want to hear, we need to be brutally honest with ourselves.  If we can do this, and if we stand together, we can fight the tyranny.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Let Us Recount Together

I heard the wonderful Joy Reid say yesterday, with passion, that people who are donating toward recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania should instead send their money to Democrat Foster Campbell, towards a yet undecided senate race in Louisiana.  It is a long shot indeed, but boy wouldn't it be nice to have another Democratic senator.

Well, the recount is certainly a long shot, but wouldn't it be great to have T. Rump's "presidency" overturned before the cast of The Deplorables takes over and all we can do is damage control.

So why not donate to both?

I am surprised, as always, by my fellow Democrats' willingness to fight over just about anything.  I even heard some trash talk about Jill Stein, Green Party presidential candidate who has spearheaded the move to recount, and her possible involvement with Russia, based on television interviews on Russian TV network, RT.  Come on folks, can we not throw out the baby with the dirty bath water here?  Faux president T. Rump has more than enough ties to Russia to keep us paranoid.

I don't know why Stein is on Russian TV.  Maybe she believes we can all be friends, maybe she secretly owns a hotel there.  But let us stop being yanked around by those who have been silent about the T. Rump Russia connection and are now trumpeting the news that Stein has ties to Russia.

I for one, am glad that Stein has taken up this cause.  There were so very many raised eyebrows over how Hillary could lose those three states, that had been in her column for months, and lose by so very little.  Whether it is fraud or the kind of callousness that happens when those in charge are being pressured to come up with definitive results, that small margin in those three states certainly makes a recount reasonable.

I'm wondering why we should go quietly.  Just look at the hissy-fit the madman has been having over Twitter since the recount actually became a thing.  Shouldn't we be tired of being beaten about with lies, threats and braggadocio by this small-minded bully?  We still, for awhile, live in the strongest democracy in the world; now would be the time to push our rights to the limit.

Don't forget, it was T. Rump who on election day, attempted through a lawsuit to force Nevada to omit certain votes obtained during early voting in high Latino areas.  He falsely claimed voters were let into polling places after hours; in fact, it was voters who were already in line when the polls closed that were allowed to vote.    Even if it didn't work, it may have kept a few people from exercising their rights, so, to T. Rump, it was a win-win.

And how about North Carolina soon-to-be-unemployed governor Pat McCrory and his expensive and time-consuming tantrum over his losing tally?   Democrat Roy Cooper is ahead by nearly 8,000 votes, but McCrory just can't believe that this is happening.  And for good reason.  He and his minions in the state legislature have worked hard to rig the election to prevent Democrats from voting.  He is like the Grinch when he hears the Whos in Whoville singing even after he has stolen their Christmas.  How can this be???

If you are still wondering why we should be backing this recount effort, convinced that it will not change results, you may be right about the latter.  But there are so many reasons we should be behind this.  The one that smacks me in the head every time is all the various dirty tricks that have been played during this election season, from lies to the actual republican woman who was caught trying to vote twice for the Rump.  There were the repeated calls during rallies for supporters to "watch" suspect polling places -- "because of you know what I'm talking about."  Then there is the Crosscheck software program, ever popular when you want to purge the voter rolls.  And don't forget the Russians: spies, hackers and fake news.

Here is the greatest reason of all.  We now more than ever need to ask the questions.  We need to insist on facts, not tweets and tantrums.  We need to insist that we see what is going on in our government.  There is nothing wrong with demanding an audit of our voting process, especially now.  Especially when there has been so much proof that the other side will stoop to whatever it takes to win.  If we believe that our democracy is important, and I'm hearing from a lot of us that they -- we -- are fearing its loss, we need to stand up for transparency.  Our voting process has been under attack for far too long, while we have had too few defenders.

Maybe Pat McCrory will win back the governorship, fair and square.  I hope not, but it could happen.  He is not going to leave any stone unturned in his quest for victory.  And we should not leave any stone unturned either.  Because our quest is not just for victory; it is to stand up for our democracy, and for our right for our votes to be counted.

So, Jill, I'm all in.  And thanks for stepping up.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

ACLU -- Now More Than Ever

On October 3, I wrote about the American Civil Liberties Union, and their upcoming visit to Charleston County Democratic Women.  Then along came Hurricane Matthew, and the meeting was postponed.  And then, along came the presidential election, and the world truly shifted.  So that the rescheduled presentation by the ACLU at CCDW seems even more relevant than it was two short months ago.

It is obvious that during the upcoming administration, the only people whose rights will not be violated are those of the Trump family.  Now, don't get me wrong, Mike Pence is the religious right's version of Dick Cheney, and he deserves whatever he gets.  But I am betting he has had to compromise every day since he has accepted that unholy deal for power.

There is already a line of supplicants who have or are in the process of being humiliated by Trump.  In true godfather fashion, he publicly banished Chris Christie as a favor to the hideous Jared Kushner, his son-in-law.  He has forced Rudy Giuliani to scrape and bow while keeping him in the wings waiting for the announcement regarding his choice for secretary of state.  And the media is all over the rumor that Mitt Romney will have to publicly apologized to Trump for his (truly justified) attacks during the campaign.

But those are his friends, those with political power and status, ethically questionable though it may be.

Trump loves to push the powerful around.  But he also has a special place for the rest of us.  Donald Trump likes us to be there to work for him, to flatter him, to need him, to be at his mercy.  He doesn't see us as individuals, not even the ones who stood out at his rallies: "Look at my African-American over there."  Of course he usually has a hard time distinguishing all but our dominant characteristics, so at another rally he called another black supporter a "thug" and had him thrown out.

Donald Trump will go after pretty much all of us in the end.  We once, just a couple of months ago, could talk about groups that are getting discriminated against and vilified.  In this new America, there is not anyone outside of the Trump family that is not at risk.  I have been losing sleep over the thought of mass deportations and internment camps, journalists and Hillary Clinton being imprisoned for being considered threats.  I have worried about workers who will lose their admittedly shaky claim to wages and benefits, and those who have been covered by Obamacare, as well as the poor who have relied on what little Medicaid had to offer.  I have thought about the increased risk that union leaders and peaceful protesters will now face.  I have worried about those whose skin is darker, who already feared walking down the street or wearing a hijab, those whose sexual identities make them vulnerable to bullying and violence.

Last night, though, I lost sleep because I heard that Paul Ryan is salivating at the thought of putting social security and medicare on the chopping block.

So, we are all truly in this mess together.

Yes, there are more of us.  But the others have power, and money, and too often even the law and lawyers on their side.  Before Trump, cops killed innocent people with impunity, and resented having their actions called into question, even if more often than not, they were not made to pay.  And Trump has bragged that he will be "the law and order president."

What we need right now are the organizations who have stood by us in the past, and fought for us.  Groups like the ACLU.

On Thursday, Executive Director Shaundra Scott and Legal Director Susan Dunn will be the speakers at the Charleston County Democratic Women monthly meeting.  It will be held at the  Riverview Holiday Inn at 6:00.  The cost of the dinner buffet is $20.  If you can, please donate to both the ACLU and Charleston County Democratic Women.  These organizations will continue to exist and be strong as long as we stand behind them.

I am looking forward to this meeting, even more than I was in October.  I hope to see you there.

(RSVP to Jan Leonard janleonard08@gmail.com, or at the Charleston County Democratic Women Facebook page, under events.)

      

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Know Your Enemy

The Ironic Cherry reads...

Trump Revealed
by Michael Kranish & Marc Fisher

In its wisdom, The Charleston County Library acquired Trump Revealed one week before the election.  I was first on the waiting list, but happy to see that they had at least ordered several copies.  It is an easy read.  As it turns out, there is absolutely nothing about Donald Trump that is complicated.  But it was still hard for me to swallow, so I paced myself at thirty pages a day, after which I still felt I needed a shower.

Then came election day, and I decided to set it aside, and finish it after a few days, when the need was no longer so pressing.  As if.

Please, please, please read this book.  It is written by two Washington Post journalists, with the contributions of many more Post writers.  Each took a topic from Trump's life and thoroughly researched it.  So we have good insights and information on Trump's father, Fred, and his immigration to America through his real estate career.  Donald at his side, learning the family business, and then to military academy, and then branching off into his own career.

Though we have learned a great deal of Trump history over the past year and a half there is detail in this book that adds much important information, both in understanding the personality and in all the controversies we have heard about.

It was Donald Trump's father that went through the Depression, but Trump retains that penny-pinching need to accrue ever greater wealth that we associate with survivors of that depression.  The authors describe the Spy Magazine prank in which they sent celebrities checks for miniscule amounts to see who would cash them -- Trump cashed a check for 13 cents.  On a grander scale, it explains his lack of charitable giving, and his use of Trump Foundation funds for personal acquisitions.

On the other hand, while he is truly cheap, Trump has a strong need to be perceived as "rich."  He has sued publications for asserting that he is not as wealthy as he claims.  His denials of help from his father are vehement, and false.

Which leads to his lies.  And Donald Trump is a compulsive liar.  He lies even when he has nothing to gain from it.  He lies unflinchingly when he senses opportunity, either to win someone over or knock someone down.

The authors describe an aspect of Trump's manipulation of people that I found particularly interesting and clarifying.  If he perceives someone as threatening to him (and yes, we all know about his thin skin), he will attack.  Attack with insults, threats and lawsuits.  But quite often, after some time has passed, he will reach out to that person, complimenting him for example on what a talented individual he is, and inviting him to partner with him.

We look on in puzzled horror as Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz and all the other spineless members of the republican party have caved.  Trump has perfected this type of manipulation in his life in business, and weak-kneed politicians who are concerned only with self-preservation are proving to be easily sucked in.

He is NOT smart, but he has the narcissistic fine tuning of the successful bully that picks up weaknesses, twists arguments, throws his weight around, pits people against each other to his advantage, and when the time is right, uses sweet talk to seal the deal.

I am watching the manipulations with members of Congress unfold, and while it is not rocket science, Trump's tactics work.

Our liberal defenders need to understand what is happening.  And we need to understand as well, because we are the ones who will be in a position to explain to other Americans what is happening.  The better to defend ourselves from the onslaught of the what Paul Ryan yesterday gleefully referred to as the unified republican party.

So please make time to read this important book...


...even if you can only stomach a few pages at a time.  And even if you have to set it face down -- as I did -- when you aren't reading.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Silver Lining

It occurs to me that Silver Lining is the color of the roofing tiles I am having installed this very minute, with great noise and fanfare, thanks to Hurricane Matthew.  There have been a few Hispanic men hammering away since minutes after seven, no coffee break, no stopping to talk, just hard, physical work.  I don't know if they are legal immigrants or not, and, honestly, nobody really cares if it keeps the price of their new roof lower.  All the protests are bullshit and dog whistles, shamefully attacking and victimizing good people.

But other than the coincidental title of this post, that is not what I need to talk about today.  Today I'm not quite through my period of mourning, for Hillary, for our country, for all the mean and ignorant or just naive and foolish voters who hammered their own nails into all our coffins on Tuesday.  But I have been commiserating with friends, and posting on facebook, and talking to my kids, and just as with George W. Bush in 2000, there is a day after this one too.

In fact, I have started to compile a list of all the things we have to look forward to during the "presidency" of He-Who-Just-Cannot-Be-Named.

For one thing, once they have worked through their own mourning, our wonderful comedians will have far better fuel than they would have had with Hillary in the White House.  I imagine Samantha Bee has only just been getting warmed up during the election season.  And Alec Baldwin, after working so hard to nail Trump, surely will be willing to show up (or call in) to SNL from time to time.  After all, we did miss Tina Fey's Sarah Palin once we didn't have the original around anymore.

I am also thinking that, given Trump's failure to grasp economics and his need to continue to be adored by those undereducated and underpaid workers, it is just possible that those of us liberals who work hard for too little will also reap the benefits, at least till the crash.  And as long as Donald doesn't insist on an ideological test for us white Americans, I should be okay for awhile.  It occurs to me with some relief that when the Bush years started I was on the low end of the wage scale, so when they ended I hadn't lost anything.  And now that I am attempting to live on Paul Ryan's social security, it seems not that much has changed.

Let's be honest, Donald Trump is a hoot.  He is every bit as stupid as W., but without the charm.  I am looking forward to those 365 day calendars of Trumpisms, and for a couple of reasons.  Not only were those idiotic gems ("More of our imports come from overseas.") something to brighten the dark days, but at the end of the Bush years I had stacks of scrap paper, perfect for phone messages and grocery lists.  And I am running low.

The younger generation, those we have been falsely accusing of being disinterested in politics, are infuriated.  They have truly had it with people trying to legislate their bodies, and sexual and marital choices.  They are sick to death of big corporations getting handouts from the government while they are spending their young lives trying to pay back student loans while failing to get a job that pays what they are worth.  They are not going to tolerate intolerance of race or religious choice.  The riots and protests over racism aren't going to stop, and women are not going to be forced to choose between an unwanted  pregnancy or a backroom abortion.  My son, who could be safely ensconced in his Ph.D. program, has told me that as he has become an activist, he knows he may someday be arrested, and it is a risk he is willing to take, a sentiment that fills me with pride even more than fear.

It will be fun to see the reaction of Trump supporters when Congress finally succeeds in repealing Obamacare.  They apparently had forgotten that before the ACA insurance premiums rose precipitously each year.  That will be a happy thing to watch, for me anyway.  As long as the Democrats are ready to yell loud and long when the right wingnuts try to blame it on Obama -- and probably Hillary as well.

And while they are targeting others for their failures, let us also remember that our new "president" gets bored with people when they have outlived their usefulness.  I can only imagine that it won't take long for the smugly pious Mike Pence to get under Donald's skin.  Imagine the name calling, followed eventually by the inevitable tweets.  And wouldn't it be fun at some point to hear that Pence has been "fired."

Of course, once Pence is gone it will be safe to impeach Trump.  And wasn't that clever of whichever brains-behind-the-boss manipulated Trump into choosing the white-haired Satan for his running mate?  Anyway, point being, nothing lasts forever in Trumpworld.

Along the way, it isn't going to take long for these characters to put the economy into the toilet.  And once it is there, I would say by 2018, the voters will be ready to appeal to a Democratic Congress to get us out of the toilet.

Again, though, let us not forget the Bush years.  And Trump's reigning philosophy.  When some lose, others win.  For a couple of years I had been able to afford amazing timeshare rental vacations, weeklong getaways at resorts for $500 a week, the cost of the annual maintenance fee for those who needed to recoup the cost more than take the vacation.  That ended with the resurgence of the economy (thanks, Obama).  Now, the vacations that went for $60 a night are up over $300 a night.  But when the economy tanks, and until they take away my social security, I'll be able to get in on a couple of weeks a year of vacations on the beach once again.

I honestly can't believe that here we are, doing the Bush years over again.  But our electorate truly does have a short memory.  And they are gullible, easily manipulated.  It takes the pain of an interminable war and the tanking of the economy to the point of loss of jobs and homes before they realize that those sugar-spun fantasies of cutting taxes in order to make us rich are just fantasies.

On Tuesday afternoon, before the end, it occurred to me that this race was more like Nixon than Bush.  The Trump crowd that adopted "lying Hillary" as their mantra and made excuses for Trump's blatantly illegal and immoral behaviors could have been the same hardhats that chanted that they would rather have a crook in the White House than Hubert Humphrey.

It is hilarious that in retrospect, Nixon doesn't look that bad.  It is criminal though, that our memories have been so thoroughly wiped of all the damage done in the Reagan years that Democratic and republican politicians alike would no sooner fail to mention Ronald Reagan than walk onto a stage without a flag pin.

And then there were the Bush years, as we went from a growing economy to the brink of disaster.  Bad choices made by a gullible president at the behest of the evil Dick Cheney.  And surrounded by a cabinet of ideological idiots.

And finally, here we are again, with a growing economy, a strong military, better foreign relations than we have had for quite a while, more jobs and even wages slowly rising.   Instead of Bill Clinton, we have the most admirable couple to grace the White House maybe in my memory.  And instead of Al Gore, we have Hillary Clinton.

Instead of the evil capitalist Dick Cheney behind the wheel, we have the evil religious fanatic Mike Pence.  And then we have the proposed cabinet of deplorables:  Chris Christie, the guy who claims he didn't know about "bridge-gate;" Newt Gingrich, the man who ended his marriage at his wife's hospital bed, and last but truly least, Rudy Giuliani, whose contact with reality is so completely shot that he believes the US was not attacked on George W. Bush's watch.  That same Giuliani by the way, who giggled like a madman a couple of weeks ago when he alluded to his knowledge of the FBI re-opening the investigation into Hillary's emails as another surprise.  Yeah, he's going to be the next attorney general.

So, lots of reasons to weep, and hopefully lots of comedy potential as well.  And lots of reasons to get fired up to fight.  It is true that we will be fighting two branches of government rather than just congress.  But with a cast of characters as shady and corrupt as this bunch, as long as we fight as fearlessly as did Bernie and Hillary for what is right, as long as we don't let the bullies intimidate us, we can not only survive but win this thing.  And by "this thing" I pretty much mean our country and our freedoms.