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We are a nation of immigrants…

January 31, 2017 1 comment

In the midst of all this constitutional carnage, I’ve had precious little time for reflection. Life gets in the way of a good think. We get crushed with the mundane, the ins and outs of survival. It’s been early mornings and late nights and two jobs and greeting the door like a marathon runner hitting the tape. The last thing in the world I want to do when I finally make it home is flip on the TV to see Donald Trump butt-fucking our democracy. It’s not like he didn’t promise he was gonna do so, mind you. It’s just that it’s all too depressing for a degenerate liberal like myself to stomach. Watching this fat tiny-fingered spray- tanned intellectual basket-case sit at the same desk as Lincoln and FDR, flexing his prick like a 13 year old sitting behind the captain of the cheerleaders, makes me feel like I have bugs crawling all over me.

If you don’t laugh you’ll cry. So try to laugh. Really. The good thing about collective national psychosis is that eventually it ends, and history subsequently paints you as a withered fool, and your grand-kids sit on your lap and say things like….”Poppa….how the fuck did you manage to elect a Nazi President of the US?” Think on that moment, bubba. Where were you when the world changed? And what did you do about it? Remember, after Hitler shot himself in the face in that bunker, every German with his hand raised in that silly salute developed amnesia….and subsequently claimed Hitler was a madman. Uh-huh.

Last night Trump fired Sally Yates, the Attorney General of the United States, and called her disloyal, because she defied his migrant travel ban. Her job is to enforce the nation’s laws, not to carry out the mad twitter-isms of the child in the Oval office. It was a heartening reminder that checks and balances work….or at least they can work, that is if anybody left in DC has any stones. Trump, oblivious, simply reached for the closest toady, a non-descript white guy obviously, and carried on with his illegality. But this little historical footnote will be taught in school someday. Dana J. Boente is the new Robert Bork, the type of legacy that doesn’t get you invited to any parties from now until forever. And Yates is the first martyr of the Trump presidency. The first of many I suspect, although counting on Democrats to grow melons can sometimes give you crows feet.

hqdefaultWe are a nation of immigrants. Unless you’re a native American, you sound like a fucking idiot when you grow all nationalistic. My family came from Ireland. Yours too. Or maybe Italy or Scotland or Africa or South America or Mexico or Germany or England or the Balkans. If Trump was the President in the 1840s one million Irish would have starved to death, instead of assimilating and making the nation greater than it was before. Because that’s what happens. It’s a melting pot….of customs and religions and music and language and cultures. What we eat and what we drink and what we wear. It all comes from someplace else and gets swept into a vortex, and comes out red white and blue. It’s the blues and country and bluegrass and rock and roll and hip hop and power pop and punk and Mozart and the Beatles. It’s Eugene Debs and Martin Luther King and Hunter Thompson and Smokey Robinson and Bob Dylan. It’s Jews and Catholics and Muslims and atheists, gays and straights, girls and guys, men and boys. It’s a big, glorious mess and it’s not always pretty and it doesn’t always fit together like a jig-saw puzzle but it has survived assholes like Donald Trump before and will do it again, because hate is like a match…it burns hot but it doesn’t burn long. And if you hold it too long it will singe your finger. You’ve got no choice, bubba. You gotta blow it out. Or shoot yourself in the face in your bunker. Alone.

I’ve got faith in my country. It’s your constitutional right to be an asshole, so I’ve no illusions that you’re going to disappear. But there’s more of us than there are of you. An asshole is one who judges a group…who refuses to take men one at a time, the way they arrive in this world. An asshole is one who expects a helping hand but won’t offer one. An asshole is one who erects barriers, and refuses to tear them down. An asshole is one who hates. An asshole is partisan and hypocritical. An asshole is racist and ignorant.  An asshole is disloyal. An asshole is un-American.

An asshole is one who doesn’t believe in the better angels of our nature.

So there.

In a bit..

–tf

 

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized

It’s the final countdown….

January 17, 2017 1 comment

We’ve only got a few more days with an adult in charge, so enjoy the security while it lasts, bubba.
donald-trumpRationality is about to leave the building, replaced by the arrogance and whims of a petulant, overweight, tiny-fingered man-child with a giant hard-on for shirtless dictators and the vocabulary of a 4th grader who spent two years in 3rd grade. Don’t blame me. I didn’t vote for this preening shithead. But in a democracy, or whatever it is you call it when you can get the most votes and still lose, this sort of thing can happen. Welcome to America. Or as it will soon be known, the place where nobody has any health insurance because those who need it the most vote for the guy who promises to take it away from them. We may still be the greatest nation on earth, but we sure as shit can’t lay claim to being the smartest. Before Trump, George Bush was universally regarded as the dimmest bulb to ever light the Oval office. In comparison to the guy about to move in, Bush was a fucking Rhodes scholar…a shining beacon on a hill. And I actually miss him. He was, at least, a grown-up.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Toby Keith are ready to rock the capital, followed by some kid who didn’t win America’s Got Talent….and a band called 3 Doors Down, whom I’ve never heard of but I presume are way better than Ted Nugent, who for some reason wasn’t invited. Neither was Kid Rock, another talented performer. Not sure who’s in charge of entertainment, but if Trump makes waterboarding legal….this person might be a great pilot program.

Even the people who voted for Trump are starting to hate his guts. He enters the White House with approval ratings already between his legs….and with his astounding propensity for making bad situations worse, inauguration day is really shaping up to be nothing more than the start of an inevitable death march. He’ll either be impeached or quit. Anybody who thinks this guy is gonna lay around his tower for 4 or 8 years, surrounded by the Secret Service, eating taco bowls, watching Fox, and tweeting about rigged polls while his angry white base makes do with self medicating and beating up the odd Mexican….well, they don’t understand the average dumb American voter. Fool me once. Hell…fool me twice. But….as George Bush once sorta tried to say….”well….we won’t get fooled again”. That’s wall is gonna be expensive Jethro….but try not to pay attention to that tax collector behind the curtain.

Truth be told, the man is fucking doomed. American history is filled with bad Presidents. Rascals. Rogues. Criminals. Failed actors. But never has such a certified idiot taken the reigns. Never has a man been more innately unprepared for a job that requires, if not intellectual brilliance, at least a modicum of intellectual curiosity. I know lots of people who voted for him. They did so for a variety of reasons, none of them exactly noble, but if propaganda didn’t work all the propagandists would be out of work. And while they are loathe to openly admit they made a mistake, that day is gonna come, believe me. As sure as the day Mexico returns the bill for the wall with the words “fuck you” scribbled next to the “return to sender” stamp on the envelope….or the day they get sick and can’t pay their medical bills. Trump voters these days seem confused and stunned, like a duck hit over the head. It ain’t everyday the guy you just voted for is alleged to be such a fan of golden showers. It’s not the most promising of beginnings. More like the guy who trips and face-plants on the first hurdle in the Olympic final.

Enjoy the shit show bubba, ’cause it ain’t gonna last.

That’s the good news….or the bad news, if you think…say….three years of a brown-shirt like Mike Pence is gonna make America great again. If so, I’ve got some lowered health care premiums to sell you….

It’s the final countdown….which reminds me of that Geico commercial with the band “Europe”……rocking the lunch room with their latest hit, looking all the world like potential Trump inauguration headliners. How nobody picked up on this is beyond me. I wish someone had asked me.

In a bit..

–tf

Categories: Uncategorized

Christmas Eve, 2016

December 24, 2016 Leave a comment

It’s Christmas Eve. Santa rides this evening….and in the wee hours when the kids are down it’s a great night for reflection. The house dark except for the tree lights…and maybe a gas fireplace roaring at the flick of a light switch. Drink in hand….we can ponder. We can conjure up all the lost dogs and mixed blessings of the past year, and vow to do better. We can stop taking for granted those we love, and maybe pledge to right any wrongs we’ve done. We can, for a few quiet moments at least, allow all the accumulated weariness to fall away. We can talk in whispers and hold onto each other for dear life and sleep the sleep of wounded but grateful survivors. Because we made it one more lap around the sun.

18905_show_landscape_large_01Feelings this warm never last long, of course. But the key to not needing medication is to recognize them as they happen, and harness their power the same way the bloodstream harnesses a .5 benzo.

This past year has pretty much sucked. Too many great ones have died and too many assholes have remained alive. We somehow managed to elect Donald Trump President. We’ve lost loved ones and jobs and health benefits and gotten sick and not gotten better. Safety nets are being dismantled by angry rich white men, who of course don’t need safety nets. We’ve grated on each others nerves and made fools of ourselves in Facebook and Twitter comment wars. We’ve spent way more time binge watching Netflix than we have talking to each other. And we’ve done all of this with heads buried in our phones. I have to think 2017 is gonna be better, if only because the thought of it being worse is unbearable.

So the glass is either half-full or half-empty. The optimist or the pessimist. We choose sides. But when you’re really thirsty that glass is gonna be empty with one swig, and what we’re left with is something we can all agree on. Thirst is coming soon. And then we panic and start hitting each other over the head. Because that’s what panicked people do. They hit each other over the head. And when somebody asks “why are you hitting that man over the head?”, instead of saying “because I want his drink” we say “because he’s different..and he doesn’t belong”. Hate is insidious, but it’s not hard to understand.

Maybe we could take the pessimist and the optimist and put ’em together…with their glasses….and pour one into the other….so they have a single glass filled to the brim. And then they can share it. How’d that be for a cool 2017 eh? Some solidarity. And when the glass was emptied, they’d walk together to the river and fill ‘er back up again. Certainly expending less energy than trying to kill each other first, then heading to the river alone and having to wipe away the evidence.

Yea, I’m a dreamer and those last two paragraphs are a bit over the top and borderline incoherent. But still. I’ve always thought it was easier to help somebody up than to keep them down. Being nice to someone is a lot simpler than being a dick. I’m 50 years old. I adore simplicity.

We always make all sorts of resolutions as the year ends. We’re gonna hit the gym and stop eating weekender bags of Middleswarth barbecue chips in a single sitting, or at least switch to light beer. By mid January the gym membership is dusty, the couch is coated with chip residue from mindless hand rubbing, and the Budweiser 6 pack has turned into a Miller Lite 12 pack. And so it goes. These types of resolutions rarely stick because they’re not simple. Life is hard enough without making it harder.

But being a better humanoid IS simple. It really is. You don’t have to go to the gym or give up chips and beer. You smile and say good morning and excuse me and you let that car in that’s trying to merge. You tip your waitress and bartender a few extra percentage points. You help the new guy at work and you say you’re sorry when you mess up. If your neighbor is laid up you shovel his sidewalk for him. If you see folks don’t have enough, and you have some extras, you quietly pass it along. You let the people you love know you love them and you try like hell to hate with less intensity. If you can’t think of something nice to say, that’s the cosmos telling you to shut the fuck up. Sit with your family and watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas….and then leave the house thinking “what would Linus do?”

Man, the world would be a better place then, eh?

Merry Christmas bubba.

In a bit..

–tf

Categories: Uncategorized

What did you expect was going to happen?

December 14, 2016 Leave a comment

What did you expect was going to happen?

donald-trumpThe climate. Gay and Women and minority rights. Health care. Social Security. Immigration. Black Lives Matter. Government regulations. A roll call of progressive causes (and right wing pet-peeves). All are gonna be gutted like dead fish. And that’s before the Apprentice gets his hands on the Supreme Court. Each cabinet pick is more ghastly than the last….a steady stream of mill-billionaires being chosen to lead agencies they would prefer to abolish altogether. His most recent pick is Rick Perry, who in 2011 pledged to get rid of three specific government agencies, but could only name two of them when pressed as to what they were. The one he couldn’t conjure up was the Department of Energy, not so coincidentally the department Trump now wants Perry to oversee. So it’s not like the President-sorta-elect doesn’t have a sense of humor.

You could make this stuff up…but nobody would believe you.

Meanwhile the President-elect continues his 3am alternative reality tweet-storms, distracting the shit out of a media that reminds me of my dog when she hears food wrappers being crinkled. Never has the term “circus”seemed more appropriate. Meanwhile, Trump deals with the fact that the election he claims to have won in a “landslide” may have been compromised by Russian government hackers….by meeting with Kanye West….while at the same time calling himself too busy  and too smart for for daily classified briefings. As the world turns.

60 million people voted for this man. The fact that close to 63 million people voted for his opponent doesn’t matter because, well, America. Thems the rules even though nobody can really explain them. But still. That’s a lot of people who are gonna be expecting a whole lotta shit. Like the coal mines re-opening and that wall going up and stuff like that. So far they seem quite willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. His promises to “lock her up” and “drain the swamp” went away like deleted tweets….but thus far, judging by his victory-lap speaking tour at least, he seems as popular as ever with his deplorables. Republicans in Washington have either debased themselves already, or are still in bed with the covers pulled over their heads. I wouldn’t expect much opposition there. Democrats are hampered by the fact that they are…you know…..Democrats, and are still trying to come to grips with losing to a man who managed to offend every group in the country except for pissed off white people (who have shown themselves incapable of being offended as long as there is a neck to stand on). For the time being Democrats are in danger of extinction. Like the giraffe. Or Howard Dean.

So what to do? Trump thrives on chaos. On people screaming at each other. It’s the white noise that allows him to sleep like a baby. As long as I blame his ascension to the throne on 60 million dumb people, he’s got me by the balls. He’ll just stop watching late night TV for a few seconds, call down his people’s wrath in a tweet  with half the words spelled wrong, and wait for the fuse to catch. Game over. No, there’s gotta be another way. We’re broken for sure, but it’s not because we’re a nation of degenerate bigots. It’s because we’ve lost hope in the better angels of our own nature. I want to be inspired. When’s the last time you felt that way? For me, Bernie Sanders had that ability. But up against an entrenched, super connected ball-snipper like Hilary, the poor guy never had a chance (as backroom deals have proven). He’s lucky he didn’t end up in some landfill somewhere. The cake has already been cut up and divided…..and all we can do is kick each other in the teeth over the crumbs. We need a bigger cake. Or smaller slices.

What I should be troubled by is the fact that Democrats have taken so many voters for granted for so long. We’re a nation of have-nots, essentially.  It’s 99 to 1….99 of us living from paycheck(s) to paycheck(s). You tell me you have my back…but you’re sipping cocktails at a fundraiser at George Clooney’s house. That’s not cutting it any more, Bubba. Get you ass down here and explain to me what you’re gonna do so I can afford my child’s medication.

Or what?

Or I’ll vote for guy who’s not at George Clooney’s house. Even if he’s a guy who brags about sexually assaulting women and mocks handicapped people for the laugh. Because maybe that will get your attention.

Lesson learned, eh?

I’ll say this for Trump. The bar is so low that when he says something that’s not wildly offensive, or something that’s not completely made up bullshit, something Presidential even, it’s italicized all over the world. And people say, “see…he’s not that bad”. He’ll usually ruin in a few hours later by taking a handful of uppers and making shit up on Twitter, but still. He has a golden opportunity to actually get things done because he gets a pass simply for not being an asshole. That’s the very definition of house money, isn’t it?

But will he get anything done? Or is his goal simply to destroy what’s already been done?

His health care “fix” seems to be “get a job with a company that offers benefits”. While definitely easier to understand than Obamacare, it’s not exactly inspirational leadership. He’ll deal with foreign policy by asking an oil executive what Putin wants. Domestically, how a guy who won’t leave his ivory tower is gonna (as Nixon termed it) “build outhouses in Peoria” is anybody’s guess. We’re all still awaiting what exactly he knows about ISIS that the Generals don’t know. And on and on it goes…..the world’s financial markets holding their collective breath over whatever the next 140 characters his brain can process will be. It’s not a very seemly way to run a railroad.

All we’re left with is knowing that, now that it’s happened once, it can happen again. And until we control the fear that brought all of this on….and learn to hope yet again, this is only the beginning. Because behind every cartoonish blowhard like Trump, is a battle-tested wild-eyed hater like Mike Pence….who can do irreparable damage. Trump is the mirage in the desert. Guys like Pence are dry springs people crawl towards to drink….only do die of thirst at the trough.

In  a bit..

–tf

Categories: Uncategorized

Change

December 5, 2016 1 comment

I’m not much good with change. It’s a strange thing. We yearn for it at times. We often look back on it with fondness. And yet, when we’re in the midst of it, all sorts of wires seem to get crossed. Our balance is thrown off. We miss what we never planned on missing….and we appreciate what we had, if only because it was familiar. The grass isn’t always greener of course. Most of the time it’s sorta the same brownish hue it was before. But we’ve got new attitudes to treat with. New buzz words to learn. New routes to take to get to the same places we all need to be. Above the water line….one step ahead of the bank’s warning letters. And most of the time is all sorta works out…somehow. In retrospect that is. At the time you’re constantly convinced you’re in the midst of a disaster.

The world’s number one fear, so I’m told, is public speaking. Death is number two. I guess I’m just as afraid of dying as the next person….but I never had an issue with public speaking. I’ve given all sorts of talks, eulogies, presentations, not to mention just standing on a stage for 4 hours armed only with an acoustic guitar. For me, change trumps (no pun intended, I swear) the dying thing. Change of any kind. A new job. A new location. A new task. A new route to a new store. A new payment process at a parking garage. You name it. If I’ve been doing something, anything, one way and you come and tell me that I have to start doing it differently, my very first instinct is to panic. My second instinct is to panic more. And then one reaches for the benzos.

I’m sorta kidding about the last part because change often comes with no immediate health insurance…but you get the idea. As a kid I assumed this sort of thing would ease up as I got taller. But no…all growing up allows you to do is not toss yourself on the floor at the mall and pitch a fit when your Mom asks you to do something you don’t want to do. I still feel exactly the same way, but as an alleged adult I must mask these moments with at least a thin veneer of maturity. So while in my head I’m still banging my head off the floor of JC Penney’s, outwardly I continue to resemble a male version of a Stepford wife. In other words, I’m acting all middle aged and respectable and exceedingly boring. The kind of person who gets invited to parties, but nobody really notices when they leave.

Sometimes we do things because we want to. Sometimes we do things because we think that’s what others want us to do. Sometimes we’re just bored, and treat day to day stuff like we’re sitting in front of a bunch of buttons and thinking….”I wonder what this big red one that says ‘DO NOT TOUCH’ really does…” Once you hit that button…..there probably ain’t no re-do, Bubba. But hell….sometimes they tell you not to look into the sun, and you know damn well that’s where the fun us. I think Abraham Lincoln said that. Or some ragamuffin from Jersey.

It’s amazing how much time we spend in this life forced to do things we don’t want to do. Time is precious, and not because there isn’t enough of it. Time I got, and the amount’ll do me just fine. What I ain’t got is the freedom to spend it doing what I love to do. As a kid the nuns used to blame all of this on Adam eating that damn apple. If only that snake hadn’t tempted him, we’d all be lolling around in gardens playing guitars and writing songs, mercifully free of the 40+ hour work week. But alas, ’twas not to be. We must suffer through insufferable co-workers and mandatory overtime and incomprehensible computer code due to the vanity of some ancient fool with a hard-on. It wasn’t much to go on but it seemed reasonable to a seven year old. Religion is awesome that way.

So that’s that for now. Sometimes you’re the windshield, and sometimes you’re the bug. And sometimes love IS the answer. Because if it wasn’t, why the hell would we bother?

In a bit..

–tf

Categories: Uncategorized

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

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

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