Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wayfaring Stranger

In Trump's America, I am poor Wayfaring Stranger, traveling through this world of woe.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Same Old Story

After 8 years of obstructing Obama at every turn and denying his requests for economic stimulus funding, the Trumpublicans are planning to a) infuse massive federal funding into infrastructure projects, particularly those that benefit their donors, while simultaneously b) providing massive tax cuts for the wealthy. In other words, they’re planning to run up the national debt sky high. Accruing debt was anathema to Republicans when Obama was in office, but apparently it’s OK now that they have their puppet in place.

Their trickle down madness always ends the same. It starts with a short-term bubble, during which they brag about the effectiveness of their policies, followed by a massive crash, which they manage to blame on something or someone else.

Obama used the limited tools granted by the Republican congress to dig us out of Bush’s financial crisis.  He has achieved strong, steady economic growth while avoiding another financial bubble. If he had received any support from the Republicans, he would have made bigger investments in infrastructure projects, which would have resulted in more robust growth. Despite their intransigence, he achieved reliable, stable growth.  Now that the Republicans are in charge, they will start spending like drunk sailors while cutting taxes, just like they always do. It always ends the same, with a giant financial bubble followed by a spectacular crash.  Does anyone remember Ronald Reagan? George W. Bush? 

The trick for those of us in the middle class is to accurately time the crash without getting burned. I’m tentatively planning to take my money out of the market before Trump is inaugurated.  I may miss the highest of the highs, but I hope to avoid the inevitable, massive crash. I’m pushing 60 and don’t have time to rebuild my savings.  

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Greatest Generation

I find it extremely puzzling that the same cousin who never misses an opportunity to mention her father's service in WWII voted for Trump, the darling of national socialists and white supremacists everywhere.

What the hell does she think her father was fighting against?

For the record, Smitty fought in WWII and he would have hated Trump. I don't know if he would have voted for Obama or Clinton; there's no denying his racism and sexism.  But, he definitely would not have voted for Trump.  He hated blowhards and poseurs.

I think Mom would have voted for Obama.  His intelligence and courtliness would have been right up her alley.  And, I think she would have voted for Clinton. She was a proto-feminist, even if she would not have applied the term to herself.  She was the only pro-choice Baptist I've ever met.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

What If?

Thinking of Trump and the apocalypse again tonight and playing the "what if" game. What if Al Gore had been president on 9/11 instead of George Bush? The Iraq War might not have happened. The Middle East would probably still be a mess, like it has been my entire life time, but thousands of lives could have been saved. What if Jimmy Carter had defeated Ronald Reagan? His solar panels would still be on the roof of the White House. He would have invested in green technology technology infrastructure that might have delayed or even prevented the climate catastrophe. What if Bobby Kennedy had lived to defeat Nixon?  What a different world we would live in today, on so many levels.  For one thing, the suffix "-gate" as in Watergate would not be affixed to every scandal, including my current favorite, Pussygate, in honor of our President-elect.  

How long will it take before I have to play the "what if" game with Donald Trump?  How long before I have to look at his inevitable damage and think about how it might have been different under Hilary Clinton's management?

Elections matter. I've seen it too many times.

Monday, November 14, 2016

New Normal

In the seven days since election night, I have avoided almost all news coverage of President-elect Donald Trump, and I am normally a news junkie. I have avoided engaging on social media. This isn't a bad thing; I consume far too much media, particularly around politics. But, it does indicate the depth of my shock and despair. That man and everything he stands for are utterly odious to me; he makes me nauseous. I will never understand why anyone would consider voting for him and yet half the country did. I'm related to several of them, one of whom referred to people opposed to Trump as "fucking pussy-ass liberal hippies." Another called Hilary Clinton a cunt. Nice, cuz; do you kiss your mother with that mouth?

Social media is a strange place. I know much more about distant relatives than I used to and that is not necessarily a good thing.

I have to believe that the human race will survive Donald Trump, at least in the short term. We survived Reagan-Bush and Bush-Cheney. Those elections felt apocalyptic and alienating, but I survived. Hell, I lived through the last days of Richard Nixon, drunk and delusional with his finger on the nuclear button. Trump and his ilk don't want to end the world, they just want to own it outright and siphon it dry. He will definitely immanentize the eschaton, but I don't think he will bring on on the end days, at least not in his first term.  Who knows?

After each of those previous political reversals, I took my lumps, pulled up my socks and went back to work. I don't know if I can do it this time. I don't know if I have another protest movement left in me. I don't know how to change people's minds. I don't know how to reach them.

Whitman thought he knew.
  • This is what you shall do: love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning god, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.
Sheesh Walt, that's a lot to ask, even of a pussy-ass liberal hippie like me, and I sincerely doubt that my cousins will ever crack open Leaves of Grass. I think I'll just sit quietly for wait for whatever happens next.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Rabbit Hole

Kiva found this letter to the editor I wrote in 2004.  The more things change, the more the stay the same.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Shock and Awe

Thus it is revealed: this is the country I live in.  These are my fellow citizens, my countrymen and women.  This is the world they choose for themselves and their descendants.

Donald Trump. They chose Donald Trump.

I am a stranger in a strange land.