Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Fear of the Deafening Sound of Silence

("What Drives Donald Trump? Fear of Losing Status, Tapes Show")

It was the cheers of the crowd that mattered, that gave him that rush of adrenaline. It was the political incorrectness, the one liners that berated others but thrilled those chanting his name, wearing the hat with his signature line. He was a cliff jumper, always searching for a higher elevation, an ever more perilous risk to be taken.
And when those around him counseled that he stick to the script, play the game, he could not for it would have meant that the enthusiasm for him could have waned. Then he would have been like all the rest, mundane, maybe even boring. And for him that would be the worst sin of all.
And if he dies, he will go out with guns blazing, not fading slowly in the night, but exploding like a shooting star leaving a flame in the sky as it descends to earth.
Of all the things that could cause him to suffer, the worst is to say we didn't notice that he left.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

An Unforgivable Sin

I used to bear malice towards none but that no longer holds true. I cannot and will not forgive and forget the pain the Republican candidate for President has caused me. What galls me beyond all else is that I am prohibited from playing golf on any course with the name you know who in it.

I mean I have withstood a lot. His face twisting, hand gesturing, finger pointing, fact contorting dystopic meanderings have often left me angered, bewildered, perplexed and just about every other angst ridden emotion one can contemplate. This bozo leading the free world. Please (not that kind of please but the ironic, rhetorical one).

But as that danger ebbs and we can begin to contemplate a day when we will not be saddled with the world according to him, as the sun begins to peek out between the clouds, as a warmth begins to reenter my system even as the cold of winter begins to descend, even at this moment when it seems we can begin to turn our thoughts to puppy dogs and puffy clouds that look just like the profile of Abraham Lincoln, even then his icy tentacles will grab a hold of me where it hurts the most (not there, this is an ironic, not literal turn of phrase).

For nearly all my life I have chased a golf ball down any fairway that my eye fancied and my wallet permitted. Of course (golf speaking) those that built a wall to keep away the undesirables (meaning those of insufficient weight, financially speaking) were well beyond my sight and contemplation, but all others might one day find me hacking and cursing within its boundaries (or possibly just outside its bounds).

But that uncontested truth is no more. No longer can my gaze fix upon that long five, it's green guarded by white deserts or deep rivers, nor my mind contemplate the swirling winds that bedevil me. My feet will not touch this terra firma nor my dollars depart my hands, if this patch of land contains even the faintest smell of you know who.

I have both friend and family who have sworn allegiance, at least of the dimpled Titleist kind, to layouts bearing the name of you know who. I have been invited as guest to some of these establishments and have, in days past, occasionally found myself within their confines. There is even, within striking distance of my home, one where the hoi polloi and their dinero (sorry, English only spoken when discussing you know who and his you know what) are welcome (muchas gracias).

But I have to draw a line in the sand that cannot be crossed (sorry for that Assad reference). My family would lose all respect for me if I meandered over to the dark side (metaphorically speaking) and allowed the one whose name I cannot mention, whom I so vehemently oppose, to benefit from my presence at one of the many golfing homes bearing his name. I would lose all respect for myself, for what is the worth of a man if his most deeply held beliefs can be cast asunder for a well shaped dog-leg, a pretty face of a bunker, or a perfectly placed hole (for those of you whose minds are now on the Bush bus, please get off at once)?

And so I will cast my vote, pledge my allegiance, get down on my knees and pray to many golfing gods but not this one. This is a bridge too far, a wall too high, a hazard too severe, to traverse.
A universe where I am constrained in my hopes, my aspirations. An America (and beyond) where there are places I cannot enter and people I cannot see. For that restraint upon my dreams, more than the other countless sins committed by you know who, for that there is no room for forgiveness.
And if one day I should falter, if the passage of time and the distance of distaste should dull my memory, if I should find myself thinking that it could not have been as horrid as the picture I painted, on that day may the golfing gods turn my driver into a snake and my golf ball into dust.
You know who, a stain upon this nation, who could never make this country great again in a thousand lifetimes, but who could make (or at least alter) a few pretty good courses. Attempted killer of millions of important dreams. And one of slightly less cosmic significance.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The "Undecideds"

The "undecideds". That is theoretically the sum and substance of what this, or any other presidential election, is about. Convincing those, who by reason of lack of interest or lack of understanding, have been unable to determine which candidate more closely meets the vision of the America they believe in.
Donald Trump has done a wonderful job of convincing the "decideds" that he is their person. He has been the living embodiment of his pronouncement that he does not have time to be politically correct. From the opening dog whistle on Mexicans to the final bell on nasty women, he has called out virtually anyone and everyone in the most politically inappropriate manner conceivable.
And for his committed base, for the many millions in our midst who see the America that Mr. Trump sees (or at least pretends to see for his adoring audience), he has been a breath of fresh air (well maybe not so fresh). A man who is willing to bring voice to our inner demons, to express the hatreds and contempts, the annoyances and the grievances that no other politician dare enunciate.
For his "decideds", Donald Trump is hero, martyr. He is unwilling to compromise his beliefs (or at least theirs) in the face of a cacophony of dissent, unwilling to accept even the possibility that what he says is wrong on so many levels. He does not back down. And if he goes down, he goes down swinging.
He is all about the adoration. How many times he has told us who loves him, even if they do not. Women, blacks, Hispanics. The list is exhaustive and pure fantasy. But Mr.Trump wants, no he needs, the praise to feed his ego, and so he will give his base, his "decideds" all the red meat they need to make this happen.
And along the way, he will have alienated almost every "undecided" in this country. Who, but maybe the old, rich white guy, has not been the subject of his vitriol. Immigrants have been his prime target, but in pushing every button for his most loyal subject, there has been almost no category not derided: from war hero to the disabled, from fat to ugly, from those who did not kiss his ring in his own party to those who stood on the stage and challenged him, from past president to the first black president not born in this country, a secret Muslim intent on destroying this nation that he hates, from the "Wall" to "Bush-gate". Over the past 16 months he has thrown most of this nation under the bus.

And, in this non-stop attack, fed by the cheering crowds, by the "lock her up" chants, by the multitude wearing the hat with his signature line, in all this he has accomplished what was once thought inconceivable. Donald Trump has handed Hillary Clinton almost all the "undecideds" from sea to not so shining sea.
Barring a catastrophe in the next 17 days, Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States. If she wins by a large mandate, if those who were not firmly in her court come to her en masse, if the "undecideds" speak in unison, Hillary Clinton will have one person to thank above all others.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

He Once Said

He once said he would not pledge not to run as an independent if he believed the Republican hierarchy was not fair to him.
He once said he would not attend a  Republican debate because the media was not fair to him.
He once said he would not allow the result to stand if the Republican convention was not fair to him.
He now says he would not accept a defeat on November 8 if the election process is not fair to him.
What has not been fair is Donald Trump's candidacy, his ugliness, his thin skin, his anger, his lack of knowledge, his lack of understanding,  his pettiness, his rambling, nonsensical, dangerous comments, his total and complete lack of qualification for the office he seeks to hold. What has not been fair is his mistreatment of this nation.
So on November 8th, when the votes have all been cast, the only thing that would be unfair is if Donald Trump did not, with whatever shred of decency resides within him, leave the stage with even a touch of grace and dignity.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Vast Conspiracy Against Donald Trump

The election is in fact rigged.
What other conclusion can be reached when no major newspaper in this country, not one, has endorsed Donald Trump. A vast left AND right wing media conspiracy.
What other conclusion can be reached when so many courts have overturned legislation intended to control the massive non-existent voter fraud Mr. Trump insists is real. A vast judicial conspiracy.
What other conclusion can be reached  when Mr. Trump feared that his own party's nomination would be "stolen" from him.  A vast Republican conspiracy.
Mr. Trump sees conspiracies everywhere he looks.  What other conclusion can be reached but that Mr. Trump is omniscient. Or maybe that he is totally delusional, paranoid and unable to accept responsibility for his own impending political demise.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Mr. Trump's Assault Upon This Nation

("I edited the People writer who says Trump groped her. Here's why she didn't speak out.")

Donald Trump is a perpetual tsunami, wreaking havoc wherever he lands and leaving minds and bodies damaged.

His career, his life, has been about bending people to his will, to his desired goal. Whether it be a woman who strikes his fancy, a business deal he finds attractive, or a political race that beckons, his has always been about the taking, the conquest. Any means to his end.

The assault upon Natasha Stoynoff was, we can be fairly certain, but one of many similar moments that have dotted the ugly landscape of  Mr. Trump's seven decades. And her response, like the others, was to find multiple reasons not to face the onslaught that would surely follow the accusation.

The media has been complicit, turning its head away, finding the safer and easier route,  ignoring what it could and dismissing his disgusting and destructive behavior as peccadillo rather than perversion.

But Mr. Trump has taught us all, media outlet or individual citizen, a valuable lesson. We cannot cower, we cannot excuse, we cannot by averting our eyes, allow those like Mr. Trump to proceed unchecked and unchallenged. And if we owe Mr. Trump any thanks, it is only in his teaching us that the more we allow those like him to feel insulated from our review and our rebuke, the more we all suffer the consequences.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Bob Dylan - Nobel Prize Winner


Confession: I’m not smart enough to understand many of the parables and metaphors and references to other works woven throughout Bob Dylan’s lyrics. I am, nonetheless, awed by their beauty, their depth and their range.
And I am far from alone in my admiration: He also inspires countless creators to cover, expand upon, interpret and derive from his work, a trait that puts him not only squarely in the folk tradition, but also in the world of storytelling and oral history.
He is indisputably a uniquely gifted (song)writer, well deserving of the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Thoughts on Yom Kippur


On Yom Kippur, to my fellow Jewish Americans: If you're fasting, may it be peaceful and easy. If you're atoning, may you do so with only the minimum required amount of Jewish guilt. And if you feel upset, angry, or frightened by the recent disturbing rise in anti-Semitic rhetoric, stirred up by one very orange tyrant, take this opportunity to reflect upon the fact that we are incredibly fortunate to live in a time and a place where, except in the darkest, most miserable corners of society, anti-Semitism has no impact on our daily lives. Jews enjoy all of the privileges and opportunities that come along with our American citizenship.

Our grandparents were not so lucky. Jews in some other parts of the world are not so lucky.

And, most importantly, right here in America, today in 2016, our Latino and black neighbors (Jewish and Gentile alike), as well as our Muslim brothers and sisters, are not so lucky. They face prejudice, discrimination, and persecution every day, from personal insults to systematic oppression.

I'm not a religious person, but I'd still like to use this day to apologize for falling short of my own ideals, and to vow to be a better advocate for justice and equality in the real world (not just in internet posts). In the coming weeks, I'll start at the voting booth -- but I hope to have the strength and courage to carry my values far beyond there.

Why I Care

I was described as having an "Ahabian" obsession with Donald Trump. I think that is not an incorrect statement. The question is why.

The answer is that I care about what our children hear and see from their leader, I care about our environment, I care about our crumbling infrastructure, I care about our love affair with guns and the NRA,  I care about whose finger is on the nuclear button,  I care about protecting our right to vote, I care about who sits on our Supreme Court, I care about who has a right to live peacefully in this country,  I care about who we open our arms and our hearts to, I care about who pays taxes, I care about who respects women, children, blacks, Latinos, war heroes, immigrants, the disabled, I care about the truth,  I care about who spends a life devoted to self and selfish pursuits and who spends a life devoted to service of others, I care about who puts in the time and effort to learn and understands the nature of the problems we face, I care about who can address this nation's issues thoughtfully and who can only fuel the fire with thoughtless and reckless actions, I care about the future of the world and what it will look like in four or eight years.

I care because he doesn't.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Donald Trump - Alpha Male Unhinged

He is the hater in chief, the rich white guy sitting on his throne, pontificating and belittling every person, male or female who is not him.
His lust for power has no boundaries, all must kneel before this alpha male gone bad. His orange hair is but the lion's mane, as he surveys the puny universe below.
His admiration is reserved only for others in his realm, like the bare chested Russian leader who crushes dissent and takes what he wants.
Greatness, in his cruel world does not sanction understanding or compassion. It has disdain for the poor, the disabled, the weak, the ones who get in the way. It is kill or be killed, as he roams the stage in a manic display of a man unhinged.
The man on the bus spoke the truths he knows and believes. While Mr. Brooks might find a place in his heart for pity and sadness for Donald Trump, this ridiculous small man taking up far too much time and space in our lives is deserving of nothing but our disgust and disdain.