Wednesday, April 27, 2022

So, So Wrong

A column written, but not published, the day after Trump’s “election:” 

How wrong I’ve been. Wrong about climate change, wrong about the value to our country of immigrants, wrong about the idea that separation protects religious freedom. I’ve been wrong in thinking Americans would reject a lifelong liar and cheat who knows nothing about our Constitution, or foreign affairs, or our system of governance.

I was right, too. The power of the dishonest right-wing propaganda machine can’t be overstated. The ease with which they made it possible to reject facts, ignore lies, consider expertise dangerous, is something I’ve pointed out, repeatedly; my wrongness was in thinking there were enough people able to recognize and reject it.

It’s hard to accept that I live in a country where a minority, who don’t value the things I value, rules: diversity, lending a hand, education, science, protecting the environment, believing our greatness isn’t military power, but the power of our ideas, the potential for success in people of all races, religions, backgrounds. But it’s true, and I’ll have to deal with it.

People who, because of my liberalism, consider me a traitor, have won the day. We’ll see how it plays out, a vengeful narcissist at the head of our government, one who’s promised to use the powers of our government against those who challenge him. (Maybe I should disappear my columns.) He has Congress in his pocket, too; time will tell how he’ll deal with those in his party that didn’t support him. He’s made it clear he’ll go after “enemies.” His past business behavior indicates he will.

I don’t think I’ve been wrong about the horrors that will follow the election of such a man, but since I’ve been wrong about everything else, maybe that, too. There have been times when I’ve thought that if he won it’d finally make clear how wrong he is about what makes our economy strong, and about what makes America strong in the eyes of the world; that Trumpism will disappear. If not, we’re in deep trouble as a nation and as a world. We’ll know soon enough.

Unlike Republican electeds during the Obama years, I accept the results: he won the Electoral College, and that’s how it works. I hope against all likelihood that Donald Trump will either make the effort to become educated on political matters or that he’ll defer, as he’s suggested, to other people while he savors the trappings but not the responsibilities of office; that he’ll abandon deliberate division as the path to maintaining power.

Over the years I’ve told countless patients facing grave illness, let’s work for the best while preparing for the worst. Given the stakes, and unlike Mitch McConnell and his ilk, who wished it for President Obama, I can’t hope for Trump to fail. I have grandchildren. I want them to grow into a world that’s welcoming, safe, unpolluted, with a climate that’s compatible with human life. I want my granddaughter to be valued for who she is, not devalued because of her sex. If either of them turns out to be gay, I want them to live without fear, to have the same rights as the rest of us. I want their schools to teach truth and, because democracy depends on it, empathy.

I don’t want to see our country consumed by hate and fear of people of differing backgrounds. I want science to be valued, religious differences to be respected. So I must hope that the seriousness of his office will find a way into Donald Trump’s selfish heart, and that he or the people to whom he turns over the job won’t turn our country back to the worst of times.

Hope is all I have now. Because, as it turns out, I’ve been entirely wrong about who we are. 

Update, 4/29/22: I under-predicted the bad. America is now riven by divisions far greater than before he took office, the flames of hate fanned and vote suppression brought to levels at which democracies don’t survive. He listened to crooks, liars, xenophobes, racists, and incompetents.

Trumpists in Congress block progress, just to “stick it to libs;” pushing hate, not help. And they’ll be reelected. Marjorie Taylor Greene. What more proof is there?

Caught lying outright, future Speaker Kevin McCarthy still denies he said what he said, on tape! For Republicans, denying reality isn’t disqualifying: it’s required. The Big Lie: gospel. In Ohio, Trump just called for one-day, in-person voting, which would disenfranchise  millions.

Their obvious, direct threat to democracy ought to see every Trumpublican voted out, yet the opposite appears likely. Other than spite, what do Trumpists think they're getting out if it?


  1. Other than spite, what do Trumpists think they're getting out if [sic] it?

    “They got someone to hate.
    "The salient fact of American politics is that there are, at any given time, enough people to elect a president who would also volunteer to live with their family in a cardboard box under a bridge, and eat sparrows toasted on an old curtain rod, if you only promise them that the black-gay-foreign-liberal-Mexican in the next box over doesn’t even get the sparrow.”
    -- Davis X. Machina, comment at Obsidian Wings post "Quick Thoughts", 12:32 AM, 2008/09/04

  2. I will never forget election night 2016, nor the day following . That night, my sister asked me, "is this really happening?". I was so dispirited, holding on to the hope of mail-in ballots swinging the result overnight, all I could do was say to her, "wait until tomorrow". Upon waking on that tomorrow, I turned on the news and saw Hillary had conceded. I wore all black that day. Sure, go ahead and laugh, but I knew--I KNEW--what had happened and what would be coming. I went to work in a daze, and don't remember the drive itself, (luckily only 3 miles through town) only the quiet and somber air of disbelief I encountered as I walked to the main building at Everett High School and to my office.

    There, my co-workers of a younger generation couldn't understand my despair. One person I worked with was older than I, and she understood. She could only look at me and shake her head, but the others didn't understand what we older women did. Everything was at risk. Everything was endangered. The beast had been unleashed. I remember talking to several of them in the counseling office lobby and trying to make them understand how bad--really, really bad--this was going to be. They, however, had been raised in the world we older folks had fought for. Ease of voting, equality of treatment (if not pay for women), safe and legal abortion, a million protections that had been hard won. All of it at risk because of the election of an irresponsible narcissist. One 30-something woman, American born to Mexican immigrants, looked at me so quizzically in my distress and fervor to try and make her understand the gravity of what we were facing, I wanted to shake her! It took immigration changes and children in cages for her to really get it.

    In retrospect, as Dr. Schwab says, it turned out even worse than I'd imagined. I cannot claim the kind of PTSD brave service men and women have suffered, but I know I have "something". Information overload? Continual adrenalin depletion from constant fight-or-flight? Assault on my natural intelligence from the onslaught of mis and disinformation? Schock at the sheeple-ness of people I've known all my life and thought were smarter/ better than to believe a snake-oil salesman and his cronies? As I've said so many times in comments to Sid's columns, I despair. I've got about 20 years left here, and I don't want it to be in a country of this much turmoil. I don't have it in me. But I know, that's what the Fascist Republicans want--for me to stop caring and fighting.

    Screw them.

  3. Oh, hey--that big, long diatribe is from me! Most of you would recognize my writing anyway, or my references to Everett High School, but I forgot to put my name on it. This comment section has been slightly reformatted to put one's name in first instead of last, so I messed up!

    Hi, it's me! :-)

    1. Yeah, I figgered it was you. Not only the EHS reference, but your excellent writing.

    2. I remembered more about the days and weeks following the election which was as unnerving to the adults at work as the results of the election had been. That is, the reactions of the students. Those who were different in all the ways we now see being targeted by Republicans--LGBTQ, Muslim, Hispanic, Black, Jewish, etc.--came to the counseling offices in a steady stream with anxiety and tons of questions. We spent a lot of time reassuring kids that we knew how they felt, honestly admitting that we felt the same way, but that we were their allies. The doors were always open, we were available as a haven and safe space to voice their fears and uncertainty. There were no time limits on their visits, unless we had previous appointments for academic services, which is actually what counseling offices at schools are for--academic counseling! We set up study tables. We made sure we had snacks. We called their teachers, who were glad to hear from us but also seeing SO MUCH trauma vis-a-vis in their classrooms. In short, we were instantly called upon to be much more to kiddos than our job descriptions called for. We did it, because who can look in the face of a frightened child and not jump into action?

      As time went on, we saw the "opposite number" of these marginalized students, but not in our offices for support. We saw them in the hallways strutting and preening with their red caps on (until we confiscated them). We saw the empowered bullies, the misogynistic boys, the mean girls, the racists, who were now unleashed. The kids who heard at home that the new President was going to make everything go their way and there was nothing anyone could do about it. The "n" word and other racist terms, vulgar language, defiance, taunting, and all the tactics bullies use, were now present in the halls and on campus. We dealt with so much in 2017-18 until the mid-term elections seemed to balance things. But it isn't over. I hear from my friends that it isn't really over, which shouldn't be a surprise considering the split in the country at large.

      I can't say why this all popped into my head this morning. Maybe it's that second cousin to PTSD I mentioned in the first post?

  4. Yes yes yes...This is not the beginning. This is simply the alt right after LBJ. Never again they said. They clearly mean it.

    I fight for the right to be left alone every day. Think about that a moment.

    In America people are not allowed to just live. Especially if they are effective communicators with character and charisma. While others who lack all or most of those traits win somehow...Hmmm

    The folks who bully win. Interesting. I wonder why that is.

    1. Hey, brother! Good to see your uniformed photo and name in the comments. Feels like it's been a while, but then again, I was out of the picture for several weeks recuperating from knee surgery.

      It sounds from your post that the world has been trying to kick you down. It's a favorite tactic of bullies, as I am sure you know--kick down to make themselves feel bigger or more powerful.

    2. It has been a while...

      Yes, the world has had it's way with me for a while now. Not anymore though. The world has recently found out I have been paying close attention.

      I'm in Bully Beatdown mode. Now they make heapum big circles around me Ke-mo sah-bee.

      I am in the process of assembling a team. A team with special talents and skills. Gotta have a decent sense of humor. Trial experience. Media savvy. The ability to learn new things and to think 'outside the box'.

      I am a disabled vet...So the tenants union, vets admin., NJP etc. are all on board. Then I got a dude in a tall building downtown who's way too expensive and I could never afford.

      I've always been the 'big brother'. My younger brothers were made more for running their lips than fighting in our school days. I know a bully when I see one and I have spent my life twisting up bullies and smokin' em. There's a singular deeply seeded reason for that.

      These people all know this are still giving me fits. Better me than someone else. I have some unique resources and I am pretty capable.

      I am just one dude. Taking on the entire world is hard. Very very very hard. However, it CAN and MUST be done. Putting down bullies is a righteous act anytime. That's how I live.

      Putin is no different. Just a bully. Drumpf the same. Bannon, Nazi Miller,...all of them. Right down to Hannity and Carlson. They are all bullies of varying varieties. They all have their little super powers. But they use them for the same purpose. Their own interests.

      People need to get into the fight whether they think they have a dog or not. People need to educate themselves on civics and history. Yes, it's hard and it's confrontational. People need to do the same with businesses. 40 years stagnation on wages? Nothing screams oppression louder than that. And we wonder why kids are pissed off? Have ya seen the planet lately? Well, catch a glimpse before it's gone.

      Kids...They say "We got all these cool toys, why are we not saving Ukraine??? Why do we let free people suffer when we don't have to?"

      Kids see a bully when they see one. They don't see a flippin' statesman that's for sure. Putin and his ilk are all the same. One trick pony. Force and intimidation....OK 2 tricks. But it's a thin playbook and that's their weakness. Look at the Russian invasion. Find an idiot like Zalensky who dared to pull the curtain back on Putin. Then the curtain fell and Putin was onstage with no clothes. Suddenly Zalensky is a more dreamy version of Churchill.
      "I don't need a ride, I need weapons!" That's gangster right there. Thug nasty. The only thing that little twerp understands. Pull him off his horsey by his ear and pee on him in front of the whole world.

      I mean c'mon...The women swooned.

      ...and now look? He a genius saving the world. Who'da thunk it?

      Warren Buffet has a saying...When the tide goes out, you see who has gone swimming w/o their trunks. Well, Putin has been skinny dipping. All that money that was to go to Russian weapons, went instead to boats and Russian hookers. Clearly.

      The other similarity is they have closely and quietly, watched and studied Russia for years. Knowing that someday it will be them.

      Me? I got no interests other than I despise bullies. Stepping into my yard was their choice. They had their fun. Now I am gonna have my justice. Simple as that and they know it's comin'. They just don't know who, what, when, where, how. They dang sure know mean...Would you rather have say, a tenant issue with a landlord vs. a class action suit?
      Would you rather have a misunderstanding with the cops or a lawsuit? It goes on and on but there's a few people who are on the edge of their seats waiting for the shoe to drop. It ain't so fun anymore.

      It's so

    3. I won't pretend to understand your recent struggles, but they sound big. I wish you well, and I wish you success in however you are choosing to fight against those who would (and have) "stepped into your yard". Your anger and frustration are palpable in your writing.

      I am curious why you consider Zelenskyy and idiot, a thug, a gangster? I am not a woman who swoons, but I admire him and the way he has rallied his country to fight the invasion. With your military experience and greater knowledge of history than I have, I would like to understand your perspective. It seems to me Ukraine is doing the dirty work of the entire liberal West.

  5. First, on Zelensky...I was being facetious. "Thug" and "gangster" are endearing terms. He is tougher than Putin. Putin is a thug, but he met his match in Zelensky and America. Putin thought we were pushovers and wouldn't do anything.

    I'm taking the truth and giving it my special take is all. Remember, I am the guy dripping in irony and fun w/a tongue firmly in cheek. One of my favorite MMA stars is Chael Sonnen. Nobody talks better smack than "The American Gangster". Kinda in that vein.

    As for me? Yeah, I have had 4 attempts on my life. People breaking into my apartment and vandalizing stuff. I can't go into detail just yet. But trust me when I say, it's huge. It's residual stuff from my ex wife. Long story is she killed herself with her meth habit. But her wreckage lives on. I am being forced to deal with it. The cops are deeply involved in my torment. I stumbled across something and I have to do something about it.

    I'll be writing about my newest adventures as I am able. My fight is going to court eventually. You are not allowed to gang stalk. It's illegal. That's my case. There's no govt. conspiracy or mind control devices. It's just good 'ol fashioned stalking using the latest tech. It's taken over 20 years to unravel the mess. We'll see what happens. But I am taking my best swing at it.

    Yes, Zelensky is dealing with a huge mess that nobody wanted to deal with. Kinda like me.

  6. Clearly, I have lost the ability to detect irony. I hope my second language, sarcasm, is still intact!

    That personal stuff--man, what a nightmare! Take care, hang tough.


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