Feb 28, 2017

February 28, 2017: State of Disunion, A National Obscenity, Quintessential ‘Boomer’

Donald tRUMP is much more than a national embarrassment; he is a national obscenity"
                            ----from "The Quotations of Chairman Joe"

Following the election, Time magazine published a cover photo of Donald tRUMP over which was written the headline “President of the Divided States of America”.   And so, he is. 

To be fair to our Caesar Disgustus he did not create these divisions but, like any Rescumlican worthy of the name, he has done his level best to exploit them.  Divisions of race, class, geography; black and brown vs. white, rich vs the rest of us, town vs country and the coasts vs the interior ‘heartland’.  Many of these divisions have been eternally with us bedeviling the republic since before its inception, race and class being a legacy of our colonial heritage.  tRUMP, as Nixon, Reagan and the Bushes before him has been the happy beneficiary of the politics of divide and rule; but the divisions now are so marked and run so deep as to fragment the very foundations of the republic itself. 

Again, it is hard to lay responsibility for all this upon the sorry head of Disgustus.  The Democrats, by encouraging international trade agreements and ‘free markets’ as well as whoring after the moneyed interests on Wall Street have now become the party of the coastal states.  Is it any wonder then that one would find Obama pushing the secret TPP as well as an equally secret European trade deal, despite clearly predictable consequences for the middle class and what is left of organized labor?  The Democrats have likewise become a party ossified by layers of special interests representing narrow bands of the electorate and increasingly narrower bands of national territory.  It is not mere happenstance that upon election the first casualty of the Obama administration was Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean who had envisioned and worked assiduously to broaden the party’s popular and geographic support, taking the Democrats deep within Republican territory.  Instead new leadership in the form of Tim Kaine assumed control, an alumnus of the Clinton-led DLC and firm believer in transforming the Democrats into America’s second Rescumlican Party.  The results where wholly predictable with Americans consistently opting, when given the choice, for the genuine article—as in the last presidential election.  Again, tRUMP had nothing to do with these developments, but he was the happy beneficiary thereof.

What tRUMP did do was conduct himself in such a manner as to demean the process by which we choose who will represent us, and now threatens to demean the process by which we govern. 

The tragedy of 2016 was clearly demonstrated by the second presidential debate featuring tRUMP fresh from allegations of serially sexually abusing several women facing the Clintons with several of Bill’s paramours featured prominently in the audience looking on.  The national tragedy was that neither of these aging “Boomers” could, unlike, for instance, the far more qualified Gary Hart, be shamed from the national stage.  Instead the nation was forced to endure what became an openly pornographic contest for the nation’s highest office; a contest which tRUMP did his level best to lose but, unfortunately for the nation and perhaps the world, lost the race to the bottom by an even more suspect opponent.  Indeed, on election day more people trusted Disgustus than our former First Lady.  

The damage done to our politics by such a spectacle is difficult to measure but it is becoming increasingly clear that the longer this ‘Generation of Swine’ has its hands about the throat of the republic, the greater the risk of its survival. 

tRUMP is the quintessential “Boomer”, willfully ignorant, narcissistic, paranoid, thin-skinned, self-serving, greedy and with a propensity to vandalize whatever he touches.  He is, in fact, the ‘Boomer’s” end game; a national obscenity and now titular head of a movement hell-bent upon, perhaps, destroying the republic itself.    

Feb 27, 2017

February 27, 2017: Orange Julius, Caesar Disgustus, No Discernable Validation

"Donald tRUMP is much more than a national embarrassment; he is a national obscenity"
                            ----from "The Quotations of Chairman Joe"

In what had to be one of the strangest spectacles to ever disgrace the republic, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held his first news conference and took to the podium not to announce new policy but to denounce press coverage of the inauguration, boldly and falsely claiming that the crowd attending tRUMP’s ascendancy was the largest in history, larger even than that attending Obama’s inauguration in 2009 or that of Lyndon Johnson in 1965.   Photos rapidly produced by the park service immediately demonstrated otherwise, including banks of empty seats lining the inaugural parade route right up to the presidential grandstand in front of the White House itself.   But tRUMP continues to contend otherwise, believing what he needs to believe, facts to the contrary notwithstanding.

Orange Julius is a serial prevaricator, which is to say, a pathological liar.  Everything coming from the mouth or computer (Twitter) of this man is either a diversion, exaggeration, hyperbole, or outright boldface lie; all designed to meet the deep emotional needs of a man with small hands and even smaller ego; a man ill at ease with himself; a man compelled to resort to petty, mean, small-minded acts of vengeance even at the cost of burying the larger Rescumlican agenda beneath false assertions and tweet storms. 

So the first press conference held by this administration was not an attempt to lay out an agenda, explain changes in policy, nor open the floor to questions and answers.  Instead Spicer simply took the floor, chastised the press for its reporting, and questioning the motives and by extension the legitimacy of the 4th estate, and then called an abrupt end to the spectacle storming off the stage.  If the press had any intestinal fortitude it would simply refuse now to cover the White House, for whatever comes out of the White House is truth stood on its head.  We have now gone beyond spin into the nether regions and dark corridors of the deeply psychotic and paranoid alternate universe of Steve Bannon, Alex Jones, and Breitbart “News”.   In the less than immortal words of former tRUMP spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway we are now presented with “alternate facts” which carry no discernable validation except in the minds of the tin hats now in the White House; “facts” which the White House now demands be taken more seriously than what the rest of humanity clearly sees as universally discernable and measurable empirical reality. 

Coming as it does on the heels of claims that 5 million illegals voted in the last election, thereby giving Hillary more popular votes despite virtually no evidence that any voter fraud, not to mention fraud at this level exist, tRUMP is emerging as a whining pre-adolescent, easily slighted, thin-skinned, and easily played.  The fact is that the ego of this little man simply cannot stand the fact that more people voted for someone else, especially when that someone else is a woman.  So, desperate to smudge the historical record he now calls for a presidential commission to investigate bogus claims of large scale voter fraud.

The White House has rapidly degenerated into a “Funhouse” house of mirrors, images of Orange Julius distorted to serve the purposes of the moment, images endlessly replicated into infinity giving the illusion of great depth when, in fact, there is no there, there. 

Welcome to the New Order, get in line, bow and genuflect before our very own Caesar Disgustus. 

Feb 26, 2017

February 26, 2017: Support and Rememberance, To the Ramparts, Seeking Ablution

On Saturday, January 21, I took part in a demonstration.  For weeks my daughter had been talking of taking part in the national 'women's' demonstration scheduled for the day after the inauguration in Washington D.C, and had gone online in search of a more local event which, she had hoped, I would be able to join.  The closest event being planned turned out to be in Grand Rapids and she decided that it might be too great a reach for the old man and dropped the subject.

Later, while perusing my email, I encountered a missive from one Caitlin Maloney from the "Courage Campaign" with the heading "Women's March on Washington: The pussy grabs back". How could one resist such an appeal?  Indeed.  I found myself irresistibly drawn to participate once again, to take to the ramparts and register my protest; to become part of the resistance. 

Accordingly, I looked up the information regarding the particulars of the event in Grand Rapids and decided that I, too, would join the march. 

The event was held on Saturday, January 21, at the Fountain Street Church.  For those not in the know, Grand Rapids'  Fountain Street Church is a venue which has hosted everyone from U2 to Winston Churchill and has long been a rallying point for those seeking expression.  Originally constructed as a Baptist Church it became, decades ago, nondenominational and has accordingly become an institution giving free expression to a range of religious and non-religious points of view. 
I made my arrangements and arrived at ten in the morning as the event was getting underway.

I made the journey alone.  Upon arriving I found myself wondering about the narthex of the cathedral where the organizers had placed several tables upon which were items for sale.  I found myself spending ten dollars on a sign reading:


I purchased the item as a means of making a contribution to the cause as well as to have a souvenir that I could then pass on to my daughter who was, at that very moment, in Washington D.C. taking part in the center-stage event around which several hundred local protests were organized. 

As I wondered about, a woman approached me from behind and, taking my arm, pulled me aside to inquire what I was doing there.  I was a bit taken aback by the approach thinking that perhaps she had mistaken me for an errant tRUMP voter who, now seeking ablution, was now about the business of assuaging his conscience if not, by making a rare appearance in church, appealing now to a higher authority lest the grim reaper arrive before forgiveness is bestowed upon this lost soul.  I gently explained that I was here in support of my daughter who was now taking to the ramparts in the nation's capitol.  She seemed satisfied with my explanation and I could discern in her countenance that forgiveness was not in order and that I was indeed welcome into the fold.  I then walked about a bit, took my sign to my van for safekeeping, and then returned in time to find a place in the pews as the event got underway.

There was a bit of poetry reading, including a choice by Langston Hughes' I, Too, Sing America" followed by someone about to set up and sing some protest songs when someone once again tapped me on the arm.  I turned to find that the same lady who had buttonholed me earlier inquiring if I would mind being interviewed on local television.  I followed her out of the church into the daylight and was introduced by a channel 8 reporter for WOOD-TV of Grand Rapids.  I was led to a nearby stairway where she set up the camera and, standing behind the camera she asked her first question:

"As a white man", she queried, "what brings you here today?"

I was a bit taken aback.  Has 'identity' politics come this far? Nonplused, I soldiered on. 

"As a white man for sure," I responded, "but also as a father and a great grandson..."   I then went on to explain that a century ago my grandmother and great grandmother who were area organizers for the Woman's Christian Temperance Union and, along with my great uncle, demonstrated for women's suffrage; and that indeed the struggle, now well more than a century old,  continues today.  In their remembrance, and in support of my daughter who was at the ramparts in D.C., I am here today.  Indeed along with the more than 280 others who had left Fountain Street Church and traveled to D.C. by bus from Grand Rapids earlier in the week. 

I then joined the march from the Fountain Street Church to Rosa Parks Circle located at Campau Square.  As we approached our destination a certain de ja vu overwhelmed me.  It had been nearly half a century since I walked these streets and took part in a political event and as I looked about and registered what had and had not changed since that distant spring morning in April 1968, I could still hear that voice in my ears. (1)

"There are places I remember
All my life, though some have changed
some forever, not for better
Some are gone, and some remain.  --The Beatles "In My Life"

I had started out earlier in the day quite alone seeking only to add my support by my participation in an event that would involve, across the country, many millions of people.  I ended up, quite by chance, on the local news.  It is indeed strange how these things sometimes evolve; hard to know what life has, at any given time, in store.  I had set out in search of an event only to find myself confronting not only my turbulent age, but my own distant youth.  My daughter had been right.  It was indeed quite  a reach for the old man. 


(1).  See previous post: April 11, 2008: A Sunny Afternoon at Campau Square, "There aren't any Republicans Here, Are There?", Great Leaders Don't Grow On Trees