Archive for January, 2021

Good Riddance to the Sickness that Is Trump

January 20, 2021


Just about anyone who has lived a while on this earth  can remember a time in their life when reality seemed so overwhelming and  out of control, when events seemed to be  spinning at such a speed and attacking from so many angles  that it was all you could do to hold on to your sanity by filtering lots of it out or just not letting some of it in. 

At such times  things are pushed away to be dealt with at a later date when it is possible to take it in.  Then, after a while, you look back and wonder:  were things really that crazy ? Did that really happen?  How did I survive ? 

One such moment came to me today when, contemplating the end of Trump, I  suddenly remembered the infamous April 23, 2020 press “bleach” briefing — and also what came after it. To recap: After hearing of a study that found that disinfectants and bleach can kill Covid  when it lingered on certain kinds of surfaces, President Trump used his Trump brain to publicly  ponder the possibility of injecting  bleach and disinfectant into the human body to address Covid 19.  

What the President of the United States said was this: “And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning, because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that, so that you’re going to have to use medical doctors with, but it sounds interesting to me. “

Like much  of America, I watched helplessly as Trump once again spoke with both enormous confidence and astonishing ignorance about a subject of which he knew absolutely nothing.     By this point in his presidency, Trump episodes of talking out of his ass were legion: he had pontificated imbecilicly about Frederick Douglass, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, you name it.

But the bleach injection idiocy,  partly due to Sarah Cooper’s hilarious spoofs on the moment,partly due to increasing disgust at Trump’s frivolousness in the wake of a deadly pandemic and partly due to the fact that this time he was talking about something that could potentially kill someone   proved a much bigger and more embarrassing story than did Trump’s earlier idiocies. 

Trump understood this and, as is his want, he fought back with his usual weapons: lies and repetition and more lies and repetition. The talk about injecting the bleach, Trump insisted straight-faced  the next day, was sarcasm. He was asking reporters a question sarcastically, he said, “just to see their reaction.”  That the incident  was caught on video made no difference to Trump, who later repeated the line about sarcasm in one of his debates with Joe Biden.  

Like the rest of an increasingly exhausted and demoralized America, I didn’t give either statement another thought. 

Until today, that is.   Until today when I considered the fact that in the past four years  it had become perfectly normal that the President of the United States could do things like  

a) muse publicly about injecting disinfectant into the human body to cure a deadly virus ravishing the nation he was obstensibly governing 

b) lie about the musing and claim he was being sarcastic 

c) find sarcasm (even a lie about sarcasm) an appropriate mode of communication while addressing the nation about the deadly virus ravishing the nation.  

I had not really thought about all that – not the full and abject horror and danger such a reality  merits — until today when I began to realize what a ceaseless psychic assault the Trump presidency has been.   And I suppose I could begin to fully realize this  only because it finally ends tomorrow.  

You know you are living in an age of absolute spiritual and civic degeneracy when incidents that are absolutely crazy and  deeply repulsive  are barely noticed and scarcely remembered a few months  or even days later.  And for the past four years such things have happened on a daily basis.  

Such a world is exceedingly if insidiously perilous.

I have no illusions about Joe Biden and the Democratic Party.  I know who he is and what they are.  That said, I know that from tomorrow at noon  things will be better, if only because we will not have a sociopath in the White House nor a man who believes that every situation and relationship at every moment should be viewed as a transaction.   Because of those facts alone, four years from now, on the day before the next inauguration, I do not expect to be asking myself in horror: were things really that crazy ?  Did that really happen ?  How did we survive ?  

An Open Letter to Trump’s Betrayed “Patriots” 

January 11, 2021

This is an open letter to any and all of the “Patriots” who attended President Trump’s “Save America March” on Jan 6., especially those who smashed down doors and windows and rampaged through the Capitol believing you could overturn the results of the election and hand Trump the presidency. It is even more so addressed to the (as yet) relatively few whose involvement in the frenzied attack has seen them lose their jobs, be arrested for federal crimes or remain on the run from the FBI.   

My questions are simple and are asked in complete sincerity.  How does it feel to be completely and utterly betrayed by the object of your affection and devotion?  How does it feel to have sacrificed your livelihood and freedom for a person who could not possibly care less about you and who turned on you with no more thought than to swatting a fly?  

I ask specifically about the turn of events that took place between January 6 and January 7, 2021.   To wit: Encouraged by President Trump and others, you journeyed to D.C. from all over the country and on Wednesday morning gathered with thousands of other like minded souls  at the Ellipse.  There you heard a series of speakers repeat to you an enormous older lie within a preposterous newer lie:  the election was stolen but Vice President Mike Pence had the power to overturn the results and restore Trump’s rightful  second term if only he mustered the courage to do so.   It was your job to encourage Pence  to do so.   Alternately, if Pence proved a coward…   

Speaker after speaker put forth one variation after another of this demonstrable nonsense until at last the Great Leader ( who is somehow also the Great Victim) President Trump himself arrived and spoke for two hours, bellowing on about the same.   At one point he said,  “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard, ” a sentence and sentiment that was made absurd by the belligerent and crazed  words that followed, including, of course, a  multitude  of lies a sample of which follows:    

“When you catch somebody in a fraud, you are allowed to go by very different rules. So I hope Mike has the courage to do what he has to do, and I hope he doesn’t listen to the RINOs and the stupid people that he’s listening to.”

“I hope Mike is going to do the right thing. I hope so. I hope so, because if Mike Pence does the right thing, we win the election. … 

“We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them, because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”

We will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved. Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore, and that is what this is all about. And to use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will stop the steal. …

“You will have an illegitimate president. That is what you will have, and we can’t let that happen. These are the facts that you won’t hear from the fake news media. It’s all part of the suppression effort. They don’t want to talk about it. They don’t want to talk about it. …

“We fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”  

 “Now it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy. And after this, we’re going to walk down, and I’ll be there with you.…”

“And I’ll be there with you.”  

Of course, Trump had no intention of joining his rabble army on their March on the Capitol  and immediately slipped into his armored limousine to watch the fun and games on TV from the safety of the White House. 

 For me, out of all of the lies Trump told you that day, that one is the worst as he pretended to solidarity and to place  himself at the same risk he was demanding from you.    

At any rate,  within an hour many of you were smashing your way into the preposterously ill guarded Capitol Building,  soon to be roaming the halls, some of you taking selfies like drunk teenage tourists, or wrecking offices or defecating in the hallways, while others engaged in far more sinister endeavors including searching for Mike Pence in order to hang him.    Meanwhile, the man you did all this for watched you on TV, lamenting to his aides about how “low class” you looked while doing absolutely nothing to stop or even address your rampage for over two hours, as images of the chaos shocked and horrified the entire world.  

As you rioted , certification of the Electoral College was on hold – a fact that I am certain brought joy and hope to the heart of your leader – because the legislative body of the United States had been driven from our Capitol.  

Finally, only after President-Elect Joe Biden appeared on national television and demanded President Trump order you out of the building did the President release a video that must rank as one of the most insane statements ever made by an American President.  Largely ignoring the absolute chaos in the Capitol, even in the midst of a world-shaking event, Trump’s statement is made up exclusively of lies about the election, or commiserations of your “hurt” and “’pain” coupled with entreaties to “go home in peace” as you continue to rampage with absolute impunity.  As if talking to children the President of the United States adds that he “loves you” and informs you that you are “very special.”   

Twenty four  hours later Trump speaks to you again and — poof! — there is no talk of  “very different rules”,  “of courage”, “ of showing strength,” and “having to be strong”, “of taking back our country,” of “never  giving up or conceding”; of “stopping the steal,” “of not taking it anymore”, of “fighting like hell or not having a country anymore” , of “your pain” and “hurt “of being “special”  or of his “love.”   

In the place of love and your special place in American history, instead, your leader says this: “Like all Americans, I am outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem.  America is and must always be a nation of law and order. The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy. To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country. And to those who broke the law, you will pay.”

Overnight, without warning,  the same man who urged you to travel to Washington to save democracy was now unambiguously declaring to all the world that you have defiled democracy, that you do not represent this country and that you, not he, will pay for the terrifying, criminal spectacle he orchestrated  for his sole benefit.  

This from the man who the day before proclaimed “I’ll be with you.”  

Hearing these words last  Thursday,   even after four years of listening to this person, I will confess to being stunned by the absolute contempt showered upon you by one to whom you, in turn,  had showered with loyalty. Stunned, that is,     by the enormity of his betrayal.  

In my experience, few if any wounds are as profound, as confusing and as crushing as that of betrayal. Thankfully, I have not known betrayal often, but so painful are its memories, I hope to God to never know it again.  

I wonder if you know it now, now that you have been identified and fired from your job, or fearful of being identified  and fired from your job; or thinking over last week’s adventure from a jail cell; or awaiting a knock on the your door. I wonder  if you recognize it for what it is ?  If you realize that you are hardly even a human being to this man ?  That you are no more than a thing to be used and discarded as you have been so used and discarded? 

I understand the futility of these questions I ask yet I am compelled to ask them.  I also understand that within the agonizing realization of betrayal is the emancipating possibility of clarity.

Like it or not, you are my fellow countryman and I am yours.   I need to understand you as much as humanly possible.     More importantly, you need to understand you. We need to understand each other.    If we cannot,  we are bound, in time, to rip each other’s throat’s out.