Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Celebrate!

"I, Joseph Robinette Biden, do solemnly swear."  With those words the sun comes out from behind the clouds and I smile.  Finally.  The day that sometimes seemed would never come.  Finally.  Celebrate!

I know that miracles won't happen overnight.  I know that this divided country won't magically heal.  I know that.  And I know that my default position in recent years - cynicism and anger at never ending bad news - will not instantly be disabled.

But let's not let the good news go unacknowledged.  The good guys got the White House.  The good guys got the Senate.  The good guys kept the House.  The evil one got impeached again.  There is reason to cheer.  There is reason to Celebrate!

And after the Celebration, then what?  Is it possible that America can again be a place that makes me proud?  Maybe.  I'd like to say "of course it can" but I'm not there yet.  While it doesn't look like a sure thing, I am willing to say "it's possible."  I'd call that a step forward.

So, onward . . .

Thursday, January 14, 2021

On Edge!

The mood is nervous.  Wherever we look, people are on edge.

Will there be violence leading up to the Inauguration?

Will there be violence on Jan. 20?

What will happen after the Inauguration?

Washington is like an armed camp.  Troops and their gear sprawled everywhere.  First we heard they would be bringing in 10,000 national guard soldiers.  Then they said it would be 20,000.  Now I hear  there may be 30,000.  And warnings to all 50 states that they should prepare for trouble.

Will there be armed conflict as we move forward?  After the events of Jan. 6 it would be foolish to bet against it.  Domestic terrorism has always been with us.  But what is different now is that it has come out of the shadows and is flexing its muscles.

Those who are alienated enough to want to tear this country apart do not need a Trump to spur them on.  They are all in and ready to fight, to die and kill, in the name of their cause.  They are not a short-term threat.  They will be with us for a very long time.  Any other conclusion is just wishful thinking.

This is the final nail in the coffin of American exceptionalism.  What is happening here has happened elsewhere.  In that respect we are not unique.  But it isn't a lost cause.  If there is to be a war to preserve what we tell ourselves America stands for, we can beat back the enemy.  But it has to start with telling the truth to ourselves:

About systemic racism.

About economic inequality.

About the lack of equal opportunity for those who are born poor.

About housing and education and health and wages . . . and more.

In the meantime, good luck to us all!

 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Humpty Dumpty Time!

Its Humpty Dumpty time.  Its broken in too many pieces.  We can't put it together again.  Rummaging around in the past for guidance about how to create a better future is a thankless task that won't work. 

What am I talking about?  I'm talking about the events of the past week and the countless opinions by the pundits about what to do now.  Are the Democrats moving too fast or too slow?  If he doesn't resign, impeach.  If we impeach will that alienate too many people?  If we don't impeach are we making it OK for similar behavior in the future?  Will taking strong action get in the way of Biden's agenda?  Etc., etc.

The country is deeply divided and it will stay deeply divided for a long time.  Nothing that Democrats, independents or Republicans do will win over the Trump lovers.  Not now, not ever.  A new era is in place and has been for some time.  The puss-filled sore that got lanced this week isn't new.  Its just that now no one can hide from it as it continues to fester and ooze evil.

So Republicans, don't try to put your Humpty Dumpty party together again.  Those 30% or 40% of you who have opted for fascism are gone.  Let 'em go.  Put together a viable conservative or right-center party that has ideals consistent with American democracy and be a loyal opposition.  That would be a good thing - for you and for the rest of us.

And Democrats?  Don't worry about the fallout from strong action.  As the bard said:

This above all: to thine own self be true

And it must follow, as the night the day

Thou canst not then be false to any man


Thursday, January 07, 2021

Ugly Day!

Yesterday was a very ugly day.  Commentators struggled to label it:  Insurrection.  Sedition.  Domestic terrorism.  Riots.  Whatever the label, it was like sticking a poker in the eye we call America.

It got our attention, that's for sure.  How could this happen here?  This is America, not some Banana Republic.  That's right.  This is America.  And this America isn't pretty.

We're kidding ourselves if we think that when Trump goes we will magically be different.  Won't happen.  We will be rid of his daily craziness and his headline grabbing antics, and that's good.  But we are a broken country, deeply divided politically, racially, economically.  The divisions were there before Trump, and were ready-made for him to exploit, but they will be just as deep on Jan. 20 with Biden as they are today.

So now what?  Is the country of my boyhood, the country I proudly served, gone forever?  A better question might be, did it ever exist?  I never bought in to the notion of American exceptionalism.  That was too arrogant for me.  I did buy into the notion that even though we weren't perfect, we were an example that others could look up to and try to emulate.

I had a noble dream, which is now gone.  Should I feel betrayed or should I realize that time has moved on and I need to see today's reality for what it is, whether I like it or not?

There is no foolproof prescription that will cure America.  But there are a few things we should consider:

How about some humility?  We aren't better than everybody else.  We're fallible human beings.  

How about some real equality?  Are all men created equal, like the founders said?  Maybe, but they are not treated equally.  Not much equality if you are black or brown or poor.

How about some tolerance for the views of others?  Political views.  Religious views.  Sexual orientation views.  Social views.  And more . . .

My advice to myself?  Take a deep breath, Dan.  It is easy to focus on what's wrong, but it ain't all bad.  There is much to be grateful for.

Friday, November 27, 2020

I Don't Think So!

These days a favorite topic for the pundits has to do with what Trump will do as the leader of the Republican Party and figurehead of the Trump Cult.  Most of those with a view focus on the power he has going forward and maybe setting himself up for another run in 2024. 

I think they're wrong!  I don't think he has the interest or ability to be a long-term political leader.  The game bores him.  Politics is an unwelcome distraction for him.  He cares about making money and self-aggrandizement.  For sure, he will want to continue to be in the spotlight and he will want to have people think he is important.  But politics?  No way for this guy.

He has power at the moment because his Republican followers are afraid of him.  As such, they are sycophants and enablers.  The fear factor will diminish over time and so will his influence.  Sooner or later some of them will challenge him and the facade will begin to crumble.  In the face of this, a saavy politician would take steps to stop the demise.  But Trump won't do that.  Why?  Because politics ain't his game.

In the meantime he'll probably promote the idea that he'll be back in 2024.  So there will be the illusion that he is to be taken seriously.  Don't buy into it.  It won't last.  And history will be clear that he is a master of fomenting debris and chaos, not leadership.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Still Uneasy!

I've been paying close attention to the post-election process that has dominated the news.  Even though there is an overwhelming consensus that Trump's efforts to stay in office are ridiculous and will fail, I'm still uneasy.

I'm uneasy because I don't trust the system and I don't trust that Trump's enablers who still have power will honor their sworn duty to serve the Constitution.  They, like he, will go to extreme lengths to keep him in the White House.  My only surprise at this point is that we are not closer to an all-out civil war, which is still not out of the question.

What will it take to ease my uneasiness?  Maybe when the Electoral College votes and ratifies Biden's victory.  But even then I may be uneasy.  So I'll say that I'll relax when the Inauguration happens on Jan. 20.

On a positive note, I am pleased at the prospect of the many changes that will happen once we're on the other side of this craziness:  A national Covid plan.  Rejoining the Paris accord.  A constructive relationship with our allies.  Economic relief for people and businesses that need help.  An end to the lies and rebuilding trust among our people and institutions.  And so much more . . .

Until then - keep your fingers crossed!

 

Sunday, November 08, 2020

Celebrate!

It was like the country took a deep breath, let out a sigh, and went to the streets to celebrate.

At last he will be gone.  Let's party!  And so the horns honked, and the people cheered, and the cowbells clanged, and the party went on.  A long, national sigh of relief.

What next?  Biden will move quickly to deal with our most pressing crisis - the pandemic, and will begin to put the team together that will govern with him.

As for Trump?  Will he concede?  I doubt it, but it really doesn't matter whether he does or not.  He has lost.  And in the future?  Some are saying that he will want to keep the spotlight on himself and cement his hold over the Republican party.  I say yes to the egomaniacal part.  I say no to wanting to stay as a political leader.  

I don't think he is interested in the party or in the policies that are important to others.  He is interested only in himself.  If it doesn't feed his ego he is not interested.  So I don't think he will stay in the political arena.

One caveat:  If he wants to run again in 2024, a stupid idea but a possibility, he will take a different course than I've outlined.  But if he goes down that road I think the Republicans who want to regain or stay in power will, slowly at first but with gathering momentum, desert him.

Le'ts hope so!