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You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression….

November 11, 2016 1 comment

Yesterday was a sinking-in sort of day. Things were a bit foggy. It ain’t often you wake up in a brand new world.

I greeted the day the way I greet most. By pulling the covers over my head and slamming the snooze button. But I’m a grown-up and usually act like one, so I went through the motions of productivity at least. Went to work. Slumped at my desk. Starting slamming diet cokes. Jammed the ear-buds in. Fired up the Ipod. Found the appropriate mood music (early Replacements if I recall correctly, and the latest Drive-By Truckers), and shut out the rest of the world for the next 8 hours. It was dark when I walked to my car in the parking lot. I almost forgot. Daylight savings time and all that. Suddenly it seemed an ominous warning.

America has a new President. Which means that me, being a citizen of the United States, has a new President as well. The fact that he’s a blatant racist, a raging misogynist, an opportunistic homophobe, a childish bully, and a sexual predator who communicates at the level of a 4th grader matters not a whit now that the electoral votes are counted. This is a democracy, Bubba. Not a tea party.

rtx2oexu-baedec10-cdaa-4ec8-b68c-64f2cc0666b9Well, sorta anyway….there’s the electoral college thingie and all that, which means the one with the most votes sometimes loses…but whatever. The people have spoken, sometimes with spittle dripping down the side of their mouths, but still (the red and blue states still resemble a civil war battle map from 1864). Little ol’ me, being a member of said “people”, must accept the wishes of a people who elected a man who came to our area multiple times and promised, to a screaming throng of walking-dead-like supporters, that he was going to re-open the flooded anthracite mines, remove all the dead bodies (presumably?), and make America great again.

I must learn to get along in a nation that just elected Donald Trump president. I have been officially dumbed-down.

When considering who to vote for, the first thing I ask myself before checking the box is…”is this person endorsed by the KKK?”

If they are….that’s pretty much a deal breaker. I mean…..this shit shouldn’t be that hard.

I strive to be on the correct side of history, so assuming I don’t get deported and/or waterboarded in the next four years for being an enemy of the state, I’ll be able to sit my grandchild on my knee, peer outside at the large brown people-proof wall blotting out the sunlight, and say…”granddaddy voted for Bernie…”

I wish it was as easy as saying “he’s not my president”.

But he is my President. That’s the thing about elections in a democracy. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

Reality bites. I’m all for protesting….but in this case all we’re doing is walking around in a circle. The election wasn’t rigged. Funny how that worked, eh? He won the thing….and the sooner we come to grips with it and try to stop him from dismantling what made America great before he started saying that it needed to be made great again, the better. 

And this is just the beginning. Just wait until he fills his cabinet with Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich…….a roll call of partisan slime that puts the “bat” in “batshit”. Trump is a craven opportunist with no fixed ideology….he believes whatever comes out of his mouth at the time of the utterance…and may in fact say the exact opposite the next day and deny the first bit ever happened. Trump is a homophobe because being that way was red meat to middle America. If he could get rich off gays he’d tweet-storm praise for the Indigo Girls.  People like Pence actually believe gays are lower life forms. That should concern you more. You’re giving the keys of government not only to a petulant child, but to professional, hard-core haters. Daylight savings was nothing, Set that clock back 75 years, Bubba.

You gonna keep teaching kids that they should respect women? That they should be tolerant of those different than them? Why should they believe you now? Every bully in the nation has just been vindicated.

I have daughters. Their President has bragged of sexual assault. How am I supposed to feel about that? I’ve been told I need to “get over it”.

How, exactly? Any ideas?

Does it bother anybody out there that a large group of Americans now fear their own President? A Mexican student at my daughter’s school has to spend her Thanksgiving break trying to convince her parents that they (probably) won’t get deported.

It’s good to be a white person, isn’t it? Even better…a white male. You get to be pissed off without being able to intellectualize why. How badass is that?

Where do we go from here? The thing about electing Donald Trump President is that you’ll eventually have to elect somebody else. Trump is the toothpaste out of the tube. He is fear and loathing personified…..a real live boogeyman.The unthinkable is not only off the table, it’s slithering between your legs in the dark like a snake. He’s saliva in the face of every man and woman who ever fought and died to make this country what Reagan once called a shining city on a hill. The glass ceiling that Hillary spoke of remains, but a guy like David Duke is foaming at the mouth right now to put his head through something. Maybe that sounds crazy now. But a year ago Donald Trump being President sounded crazy too.

Enjoy your wall and your higher taxes (when he said he would lower taxes, surely you didn’t think he was talking about yours, did you?) You got what you asked for….and now the best you can hope for is to be completely ignored, like you’ve always been. The only chance he’ll come to your town again is to ask to borrow your sons for one of his Putin-esqque wars….after he informs the Generals all he knows that they don’t about ISIS, of course.

For some reason, I’ve been remembering the line from the movie “Wall Street” lately. “That’s the problem with money….it makes you do things you don’t want to do.”

Hate is like that too.

We’re better than this. But then again, maybe we’re not.

Lincoln said that a nation divided against itself cannot stand. We are a nation divided against itself. And we are teetering. The fact that Donald Trump now sits where Abraham Lincoln once did could very well be the republic’s three-legged chair.

Maybe that’s the silver-lining.

But maybe….just maybe….we can overcome. For our fathers. For our children. For the ghosts that sit on our shoulder and represent the better angels of our nature.

In a bit.

–tf

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Categories: Uncategorized

Tomorrow….

November 8, 2016 Leave a comment

It’s election night. I voted on my way home from work. My daughter, who is a freshman away at college, voted for the very first time today. She was pretty excited about it. She now has a speaking role in our democracy. That’s a pretty big deal when you stop to think about it. Her role now is the same as mine and yours. She’s the future. And I trust her judgement.

polling-station-900x500The polls will be closing in about 30 minutes. Like most I’ll be following the results….taking deep breaths and maybe deeper gulps, hoping that our form of government is elastic enough to bounce back from the barrage of distortions, racism, misogyny, outright lies, and general tomfoolery it’s been subjected to this entire election cycle. I have to believe that it is. I won’t be the guy who thinks a narcissistic asshole with a bad comb-over can destroy a republic. I would, however, forgive you if you thought otherwise.

My polling place was filled up….but quiet. Everybody went about their business. No nonsense. Orderly. Polite. As I deposited my ballot into the machine the volunteer stationed at the door said “thank you”. I smiled at him and said…”right back at you”. I had to park maybe a hundred yards away because of the crowds. I walked on the fallen leaves on purpose, like a kid, kicking them up in the air….the unseasonably warm breeze providing a lift. One could almost forget, in the midst of such serenity, that our nation is teetering on a moral precipice.

I’ll admit that I’m not much of a hater. In times such as these this puts me at a social disadvantage at least. While others are railing about killer immigrants and welfare cheats and kneeling uppity NFL Quarterbacks, I have little to add to the conversation. The only people I don’t like are the ones who treat me shitty…and I take these people as they come at me, one at a time. I do not judge a group or a race as a whole because that would make me a pea-wit. That’s not the way I was raised. And it’s not the way I raise my own children.

I’m not much of a cynic either, because only those who don’t have the balls to strive valiantly into the arena have time for something as vapid and cheap as cynicism. The only people who get rocks thrown at them are the ones who stick their heads above the parapet….which is easy to forget if all you’ve been worrying about is finding the stones with the jagged edges that can do the most damage….and your plan is to toss them from the cowardly safety-net of the mob.

Sometimes the hardest part of my day is listening to the hatred spewed by others and trying not to get lock-jaw.

Where does it come from?

Hate springs from fear. And too often fear is driven by ignorance. And increasingly as a nation the more ignorant we are, the more sure of our own ground we become . It doesn’t matter that more people die falling out of bed every year than die from Islamic terrorism, or that immigrants aren’t taking your jobs away or that nobody is coming for your fucking guns. It doesn’t matter that election fraud is virtually non-existent. The truth has become pesky, like flies at a barbecue. The truth has become a distraction. It gets in the way of the agenda we’ve become slaves to. It’s “us versus them” for a reason. If you can’t blame somebody all you got left is what staring back at you in that mirror. Americans are good at lots of things, but self-reflecting ain’t one of them.

And so it goes. Tonight puts the period at the end of very long sentence. Which way will we go?

I’ll wake up tomorrow and my goals will remain the same. I’ll continue to strive to be a good man. A good friend. A good father. A good neighbor. A good musician. A good songwriter. If somebody falls I’ll help ’em up and if I fall and somebody offers me a hand I’ll take it and say thank you. In short, I’ll do whatever possible to not be a dick. The golden rule, simplified.

I hope to continue to be bad at hating.

I hope my new President strives for the same things. It’s no longer just about America. It’s about the inherent decency, and/or indecency, of Americans. You can’t lead from behind, and I fear we’re in danger of setting the clocks back 50 years.

Think I’m overstatin’?

In a bit..

–tf

Categories: Uncategorized

It will all be over soon. I promise.

November 4, 2016 Leave a comment

It will all be over soon. I promise.

Hold your nose. Pull your lever. Go home and shower. Then go out and, to quote that self professed erotic politician Jim Morrison, get your kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames.

This means you have to hurry, obviously.

We’re in agreement on one thing at least. We can’t take much more of this nonsense.

72860It’s Hillary’s hubris, her randy hubby, and her bad pant suits versus Trump’s whatever you want to call it. Intellectual vacancy? Irredeemable dumbness? Untreated aspergers? This is America, 2016. The rest of the world watches in fascinated horror, knowing that the person sitting in the oval office can still ruin their day faster than just about anybody else in the cosmos. And I’m not just talking about the potential for bomb dropping and wall-building. A stupid comment in the White House briefing room can send financial markets reeling. Hillary is supposedly out there using a hotmail account to conduct foreign policy and Trump is grabbing pussy’s by the score. What could possibly go wrong?

(And before you start hurling partisan invective my way bubba, know that I voted for Bernie Sanders. So none of this is my fault. You wanted change? You wanted to send shudders through the halls of power? A wild-haired liberal democratic socialist would have burned that place DOWN. But no……so….not it.)

Bernie was the Democrat in this race. Hillary is the Republican. And Trump is the….well…whatever it is he is. Fascist? WWF heel? “Puck” from MTVs “The Real World”?

Last night I sat in front of the TV as 4 political ads ran back to back the back to back. The first one attacked millionaire Katie McGinty for being an elitist with her heel on the poor middle class. The next one attacked her millionaire opponent Pat Toomey for being an elitist with his heel on the poor middle class. Both ads featured diabolically outraged middle class white people/actors explaining how a vote for the other would bring on a sort of cultural Armageddon. And I swear the narrator was the same for both ads. Before I could take all of this in, an anti-Trump ad blared, using his own words against him (most were bleeped out….he’s not exactly a majestic orator…). Then some anti-Hillary fare…something about her creating ISIS in her basement because she was pissed at Monica Lewinsky. Or something like that, I wasn’t really paying attention by that point.

Mindlessly, I pulled Facebook up on my phone and was greeted by some of the dumbest political commentary that’s ever been typed with two thumbs. The entire ghastly cycle just repeats itself over and over. I feel like Indiana Jones in that hole with all those snakes….watching as his torch flame gets lower and lower.

I haven’t unfriended anybody on Facebook over politics, so yay me, right? The fact that most of my Facebook “friends” aren’t friends at all has something to do with it, but not all. I think Trump is an ignorant, dangerous, sexist boor. In America I’m allowed to think this. At least for now. A lot of people in my feed think Hillary is a wily murderess with stacks of dead bodies in her basement. They are allowed to think this. At least for now. Embrace such freedoms. Because….well…..you know.

Life will go on. Somebody will be declared the winner. Pundits have asked Trump if he will “accept” the outcome if he loses, which might be the stupidest question in an age of stupid questions. Last I checked he doesn’t really have a choice. Ask Al Gore. Or the ghost of Anton Scalia. One thing America despises is a loser…sore or not. Ask Mike Dukakis. Or John Edwards.Or Mitt Romney.

Trump could be our next President (If he does win he should give Comey use of the Trump Plaza penthouse suite for the duration of his term. That would be 2020 or impeachment, whichever comes first. But I digress). Never underestimate the power of hate….both the kind he spews and the type that Hillary generates. At this point, it’s a push.

If Hillary wins she can look forward to obstructionist tactics that will make the current congress look like Obama’s beer buddies. And I don’t even want to think about how Bill is gonna spend his days irritating just about everybody.

In other words, and for vastly different reasons, we’re fucked either way. I no longer care.

I have to trust that our form of democracy is flexible enough to survive this type of paranoia fueled garbage. Once he can no longer pull off that wretched orange comb-over, Trump will crawl back into his personal tower…maybe he’ll show up on “Dancing With the Stars” in a few years. The Clintons will become extinct. Chelsea has way too much sense to get involved with politics…..so in 4 years we’ll all have a new demagogue to treat with. American is nothing if not wildly inventive when it comes to providing lip service to the unwashed masses.

With the bar so low…..we’re gonna have to dig to get under it pretty soon.

So just hold on a few more days. When the polls close I’ll meet you in the bar. And we can buy each other drinks.

And when, in four or eight or twelve years, when Michelle Obama runs for President, we’ll all look back on this campaign as being positively civil.

Hatred, squared.

Think about it.

Then do something about it.

Before the whole shithouse goes up in flames.

In a bit..

–tf

Categories: Uncategorized