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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

THE MYTH OF THE RELUCTANT TRUMP VOTER

("Some Trump Supporters Might Be Relieved to See Him Lose")


Are we supposed to feel badly for the ambivalent Trump voter? The one who recognizes this man has more flaws than the 1962 Mets but still voted for him in 2016 and will likely do so again this year?

If 2016 was an error of judgment, what is this but a hundred times worse?

Don't tell me of those who would secretly hope for his demise but publicly provide him cover and don't even have the courage, the moral fibre, to cast their ballot where their head is.

It is those like the writer's friends who cause me the most unhappiness. For the ones who know better, I have no sympathy. For it is you who stand squarely between Mr. Trump and the unemployment line.

Don't lie to yourself and certainly don't lie to me. You are either with Mr. Trump with every single one of his warts or you are against him. There can be no in between. 

For your one foot in and one out is not the best of both worlds but the worst.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

DISENFRANCHISED

 ("Supreme Court Won't Extend Wisconsin's Deadline For Mailed Ballots")


Approximately 138 million Americans voted in the 2016 Presidential election. That seems an impressive figure until one considers that the eligible voter population was about 250 million.

We are typically a wholly unengaged electorate, with 40 percent or more of us finding inadequate reason, or for some, opportunity to participate in what is our most fundamental and critical right.

But this time is different. With a pandemic raging through our nation and a President raging at more than half of it, there is a fervor to cast a ballot. We have been witness to those who have stood for countless hours for the chance to make their preference known.

Now we are informed that procrastinators are not welcome. Our far from Supreme Court has informed Wisconsin, and, with virtual certainty, any other jurisdiction who will petition it for advice, that mail in ballots must be received, NOT MERELY CAST, by election night. So for all those whose circumstance, or nature, prevented them from sending in their vote yet, for those who have always been last minute crammers, or didn't recognize that November 3rd was merely an illusion, you are  now given a moment's notice that you are about to be disenfranchised. 

It keeps me awake this evening, knowing that five people may well have now stolen another four years for Donald Trump.  It keeps me awake knowing that our highest court, in the midst of our terrible plague, in a time where the President and his party have tried to squeeze the US postal service to the brink of extinction, find insufficient cause to extend until election day the appointed hour when ballots may be cast.  

I lie awake disheartened by the absurdity of what we have become.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

IT WAS THE WORST OF TIMES

 

It was the worst of times, it was the pervasiveness of the cruelty, it was the constellation of suffocating lies, it was the unremitting procession of hatreds, it was the field of broken dreams, it was the morning of mourning, it was the evening of death, it was the spring, summer, fall and winter of our discontent, it was the relentless seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and years of blinding darkness.

It was a ride down an escalator into Hell, to a place filled with rapists and murderers swarming across the border, with caravans of the worst humanity could offer, with children locked in cages, a place where our shores were closed to the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free (a concept that would take on further meaning in a different context), a place where prisoners of war were losers and those who went to war were suckers, a place where women were there for the taking, where disabilities were  mocked, a place where the rule of law and the Constitution were treated with disdain, a place where federal agencies were held in contempt and experts were treated as charlatans, a place where fealty replaced ethics and wrongs flowed like water from a tap, a place where tax returns were treated as national secrets and Congressional subpoenas were ignored without thought or concern, a place where truth was forced into hibernation and our promises were without meaning, a place where floods filled our streets and fires filled our lands and lungs, a place where I can't breathe echoed in every corner of the nation, a place where Proud Boys flourished and evil was deemed indistinguishable from good, a place where autocrats, despots and dictators located refuge and allies were left abandoned, a place where a virus found a home and remained unrestrained, where wearing a mask somehow became a declaration of fundamental disrespect for our freedoms, a place where illness and death became numbers on a page, a place where casting a ballot was no longer a right but a question mark, a place where the Supreme Court became a reflection of one party's dishonesty, a place where morality, decency, compassion, kindness, reason, logic, science, justice became four letter words in the highest office in the land.

And now we pray the light will be once more, and that the seasons will embrace us, and the morning and evening will bring hope, and  love will stand at the ready, and  truth will emerge, and the qualities that once made us strong will escape from their prison.

We pray we will soon see the best of times.

Well, that may be a bit of hyperbole.

We truly only desperately pray that they will no longer be the worst.

Friday, October 23, 2020

I MISS THE FLY

 I miss the fly.


I know it only had a starring role in the V.P. debate but I hoped it could be convinced to make a return to the stage.

Instead we were forced to listen to a mountain of lies by Trump on his response to the Coronavirus, on a cure happening by the morning, on all the lives he has saved during the ever disappearing pandemic (giving a new definition of chutzpah), on his really, really wanting to release his tax returns, on Biden being the corrupt politician on the stage, on Trump's tireless efforts on behalf of the children in cages and their wonderful accommodations, on his freeing the slaves at Mar-a-Lago, on his herculean efforts to save the environment, on his making China his bitch, on his honest to God desire to put a chicken in every pot but not $15 per hour in every pocket, on anything and everything he has done in this alternate universe every hour of every day of his presidency.

Putting a two minute muzzle on him did the President a great favor. It made him seem less a madman, less petulant, less puerile. With the bar set at foaming at the mouth, he exceeded expectations. 

I miss the fly. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Things We Dare Not Discuss

He sits alone at the end of the dugout. No one speaks to him or even looks in his direction. No one dares to discuss what he is tantalizingly close to doing. It could cause the gods to respond in anger.

Just like watching a pitcher who in the late innings is still twirling a no-no, we fear that if we acknowledge what is happening before our eyes we will jinx it, cause it to disappear in a Jim Comey moment, in a chad left hanging, in a Supreme Court appointee casting a big shadow over our democracy in her first days on the job.

We felt an excruciating pain in every inch of our being, in our soul, four years ago when we had the hubris to count our chickens before they were ready to hatch. We cannot allow that to play on repeat. 

And so we are collectively holding our breath, afraid to exhale lest we turn what we believe we see into a mirage, a cloud of dust.

The gods can't possibly be cruel enough to do it to us again. They can't allow a dying quail to fall in front of a charging outfielder, or a swinging bunt to eradicate all that has come before, to alter the course of destiny.

We will not talk out loud of this. It is not that we are superstitious. But Joe, if you will just sit in the corner and let us ignore you, understand why. We will wait until the last out, I mean the last vote, is counted before we give recognition to your accomplishment.
Just one fervent request. Do not throw a hanging curve Joe. It would break our hearts.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

THIS TIME IT IS PERSONAL

 Do you know why President Trump is in trouble? Because this time it is personal.

The pandemic has done what his assault on Muslims, Mexicans, war heroes, political opponents, the media, Congress, the Constitution, the environment, the Justice Department, the FBI, NATO, the Post Office, women, on voting rights, on health care, on those suffering disabilities, on children in cages has not done. The pandemic has changed the thinking of those not  moved by his pandering to autocrats, to white supremacists, to the one percent, his breaking America's promises to the world, his personal immorality, his obliteration of the concept of separation of powers, his use of government for personal profit, his bullying, his dog whistle calls for violence, his boorishness, his destruction of truth, his narcissism, his laying blame for all his egregious errors at the feet of others, his incessant tweeting, his laziness, his relying on Fox News for strategy, his failure to supply his tax returns, his payoffs to keep his dalliances quiet, his pardons for the criminal acts of allies, his obstruction of justice, his "perfect" conversation, even by his impeachment.

This time his absolute incompetence has entered our homes, has taken our jobs, has made us sick. This time his malevolence has separated us from friends and family, has caused many to die horrible deaths in terror and isolation. This time Donald Trump's lies have caught up with him, for they have had horrific consequences that we see, we feel, each and every day.

We want our old existences back and we have learned the terrible lesson that Mr. Trump is not remotely capable of meeting that responsibility.

It is not what the President has been that will cause his political demise. It is what he is wholly incapable of being, of doing, that is finally, finally bringing him to his political knees.

It is not that Covid 19 infected Donald Trump. It is that he didn't do what he had to in order to keep it from infecting, from affecting, us. We finally got to see Mr. Trump, with his mask off. He only had to keep it on and everything else might have been forgotten, might have been forgiven.

This time it is no longer an abstraction. This time it is not happening to someone else, not happening somewhere else. This time it is personal.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

You're Always Giving Him Money

("Biden Announces Record $383 Million Fundraising Haul For September")

You're always giving him money

You only give me your indignation

And in the middle of my coronation

I'm way down

I never told you the whole truth
I only gave it an imitation
You only started investigations
The whole time

Out of options, I am spent
Coronavirus put a dent
All the fun is gone, even on the road
Hate this job, I'm getting sacked
All the votes, can't turn them back
Try to slow them down, but yes I know
Oh that tragic feeling, the end of show
Oh that tragic feeling
The end of show, the end of show

One nightmare
Carry my bags and don't mess up my hair
Soon I'll have my own talk show
Trump TV, a billionaire once more
That's my dream, I'll make a score
I'll make a score
I'll make a score (yes I will)

One, two, three, five, seven, eight
Count my votes like this it's great

One, two, three, five, seven, eight
Count my votes like this it's great

One, two, three, five, seven, eight
Count my votes like this, it's great









Monday, October 12, 2020

Amy Coney Barrett

 ("Rooted in Faith, Amy Coney Barrett Represents a New Conservatism")


The dilemma for the Democrats is whether now is the best moment to attack Mother Teresa.

As the Amy Coney Barrett hearing gets underway the Democrats must try to thread a needle knowing that the Judge will be confirmed at the end of the day: they must push against this occurrence without pushing away any votes they need to cling to come November 3.

Kamala Harris, for her part, must be strong in her questioning, but not offensive in demeanor. The Dems must question whether the religious values of the judge will influence her decisions without questioning her religious values. They must try to persuade our nation that America should not be on tilt to the right without sounding alarm bells that the left is taking over the Democratic Party.

The worst thing that could happen in these hearings is that they provide excuse for voters to take their eyes off of Mr. Trump's abysmal record and his ongoing tragic mishandling of Coronavirus devestation. Let this not be the last minute James Comey revelation of 2016 that derailed Hillary Clinton. Let this not be the last word before this election.

The Dems should not roll over and play dead on this nomination, but they dare not go to war, no matter the lingering stink of the Republican stolen seat in 2016, no matter the hypocrisy of Mr. Graham and the words he basically begged the nation to hold against him.

Amy Coney Barrett will bring her ultra conservative originalist beliefs to the highest court for decades to come. Don't also let her be the catalyst for four more years of the reign of terror.

Two wrongs would only make a far right.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Whitey, Baseball Wounds and Unoccupied Seats

 ("In a Golden Era for the Yanks, the Mound Belonged to Whitey Ford")

Tonight's demise at the hands of Tampa was painful in the way a bad tooth hurts just before it is pulled. But, the seventh game loss to the Pirates in 1960 was, to borrow the parlance of Muhammad Ali, the closest thing to death I have ever experienced in my Yankee loving life. I ached from the moment the ball passed over Yogi's head in left (yes, left) until the electric M&M home run derby revitalized my soul the following glorious summer. 

Six decades have passed since Bill Mazeroski became the original Bucky F'ing Dent, a player who drove a dagger deep into the hearts of the opposition and that eight year old boy who often slept with his glove at his side.

The Yankees have misplaced their aura of invincibility for over a decade now, so the sting of Mr. Brousseau's retort for a regular season 101 MPH missile out of the hand of Mr. Chapman directed at his opponent's psyche, was not wholly unanticipated. But that 1960 squad was fully imbued with the power of inevitable victory, especially against a far inferior squad from Pittsburgh.

The Yanks beat them from pillar to post in their three victories and surely it was preordained that the last contest would be their coronation. But the gods can be cruel at times to little boys. And big ones.

I know your piece was devoted to the Chairman of the Board (until today I didn't realize why he received this title). But you were the one who opened up a 60 year old wound in referencing Casey's mismanagement of Whitey's work schedule that series.

If you put Whitey side by side with Gerrit Cole, from their size, stem to stern, to the speed of their fastball, you would have wagered your mother's last penny that Whitey had spent a career laboring at a different pursuit. But, your mom would have died penniless and you would never let that happen.

I am nearing 70 now and I understand there will in fact be a next year, even as there was this one, Covid be damned. There will be unexpected heroics and unexplainable defeats.

If I am fortunate there will never be another Mazeroski in my baseball lifetime, Mr. Brousseau notwithstanding. But also likely never another Chairman of the Board. That seat is now vacant. 

Friday, October 9, 2020

The Fly - Continued

 He grew up a little more than a mile from here. Last week he had been young. This week, he was middle aged. Next week, he might die of old age. Such is life as a housefly. Decisions must be made quickly, or not at all.

Early on, he was not a political animal. For the first 10 days of his life he did not even know the name of our Vice President. But over the past weekend there was much buzz among his friends and family about the show coming to town on Wednesday night.

In a single day he studied the entire Republican platform. Actually it only took him a minute or two to absorb the specifics. And he decided in that moment that he would risk life and wing to be on that stage. His existence had to have some higher meaning.

He knew security would be tight in the hall. Everyone entering would be triple checked at the door. He had heard tale of a cousin who had been killed trying to sneak into this room the day before. He would have to hatch a plan.

He would wait until the debate was well underway. When everyone was distracted by the Vice President's interruptions, or mesmerized by his ability to speak in tongues, he would buzz past security.

And that is exactly what transpired.

Once inside, he went straight to the horse's ass. Or, more accurately, his head. There was a rush of adrenaline, unlike anything he had known before. He was born to be on center stage. Even as he knew he might die here.

He focused on his target, hit his mark perfectly and stuck his landing, waving his arms furiously for but a second in greeting to the millions of other flies who were surely watching. They had to be envious  that he had been the one to rest his laurels on such perfect dung. His intention was to make a quick entrance and quicker exit, safely watching the balance of the debate in the wings.

But, the next two minutes seemed more like an eternity (and they were in fly time) as Mr. Pence droned on. The simple house fly may have momentarily passed out, unable to extricate himself, trapped in a white web, awakened from his stupor only when the Vice President finally hit a period.

Why he was saved from a public execution at the hands (hand) of Mr. Pence he knows not. But whatever the reason, he has stated the rest of his days will be devoted not to flights of fancy but to pursuit of a more down to earth goal: keeping his distance from any Republican web of deception.


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The Fly

 Trump has decided to replace Pence on the ticket with the fly. 

The fly now has to be tested for Coronavirus and quarantined for 14 days.

The fly is negotiating a book deal for it's life story.

The fly had the same number of comments that responded to the moderator's questions as did Pence.

The fly was checking to see if Pence was a human or a robot.

The fly appeared to be Republican, like Karen Pence entering the stage without a mask.

Or maybe the fly was really a Democrat, a bug planted on Pence to mess with his head.

One flew onto a cuckoo's nest.

Why didn't the fly get two uninterrupted minutes to answer?

I would rather have the fly elected President than Trump

The fly should be Time's person of the year for 2020 

Long live the fly



Monday, October 5, 2020

Never Gonna Be Alright

 ("A President in the Hospital and a a Nation in the Dark")


You say you want some revelations
Well, you know that isn't gonna be

You ask him all about his condition
Well, you know, information don't come free

For if you expect truths from Chairman Don
I got you a bridge in Brooklyn to bid on

Oh you know it'll never be alright
Never gonna be alright

You say you wonder if he's dying
Well we won't know 'til November 3

You ask him can he please stop lying
Well you know he's gonna be what he will be

For if you want answers you're in the wrong place
Cause the orange one's all about saving face

Oh you know it'll never be alright
Never gonna be alright

You ask about his constitution
Well you know he don't believe in it

You're left with just your intuition
Cause man his docs just give us s..it

For democracy's died a thousand deaths
While we just wait and hold his breath

Oh you know it'll never be alright
Never gonna be alright
Gonna be alright
Alright

All right

All wrong

Friday, October 2, 2020

Irony

 This one is just begging to be listed in Webster's as the perfect example of irony.

While it would be polite to say I wish no one ill, the President has taught us all that politeness is a weakness. So, Mr. Trump let me be the first to wish you not well.

Let me be clear that the President will try to turn his positive result into a positive result. He will inform us he is feeling fine. He will tell us that he is the strongest of men his age, that he can beat back any illness. He will say, look at me, there is nothing to fear from the Coronavirus but fear itself.

But would it not be the height of irony if the virus proved the President's political death knell. If it demonstrated that his mask of false bravado was no defense against a disease that demands one wear an actual mask in prevention.

And while he may recover from the illness maybe he won't be able to recover from the psychological impact of he, his wife and maybe a full coterie of those around him proving how sick it is to try to treat this disease with contempt.

Mr. Trump, I wish you a speedy recovery so that you are in perfect health on November 3 when I hope the results of that test make you sick.

Irony, thy name is Trump.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Mr. Trump, Good Things Happen in Philadelphia

 Dear Mr. Trump:

("Trump Renews Fears of Voter Intimidation as G.O.P. Poll Watchers Mobilize")

 "Bad things" do not happen in Philadelphia.

I was a "poll watcher" there for the 2016 election. I was a volunteer for "Election Protection", having received training to assure that the rights of voters were not abridged by intimidation or otherwise, and that these rights were properly exercised.

I was assigned to monitor three polling places in a mostly minority district. I can report that all went wonderfully. The people I met as I walked the city between polling spots were among the nicest I have ever encountered. The voting issues I had to address at each location were virtually nonexistent.

I left late that afternoon filled with gratitude for having had the privilege to witness democracy working as intended.

Mr. Trump, you can tell the Proud Boys to "stand down." There are, contrary to your assertion, "good people" here and I can assure you that good things happen in Philadelphia. I was witness to them.