Bad Trump Good

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

Ninety seconds into his first press conference it seemed certain this guy was an empty suit; a billionaire buffoon puffed up with self. If America in her infinite wisdom does the unthinkable, again; a Nixon or a W, to satiate the dark side of her heart, the opposite of her better angels, her worst devils, we’re in for a rip-roaring revolution revisited.

I am, in fact, in complete denial this wave of nausea like heartburn from a bad hotdog is even possible; so I’m already examining the detritus left in its wake. The bad news first I suppose, the lowering of the bar for our collective public conversation I fear may have forever been tsunami swamped and we are, in this regard, on an escalator to hell. Where, pray tell, is the line of the new revulsion? What can not anymore be said in polite company? How naked have our fears and prejudices been laid?

The good news seems clear; seeing decent men like McCain and Romney and grandpa Reagan eclipsed and savaged by a real life menace has enraged the conscious and stiffened the spine of the opposing forces unlike anything we’ve seen in American politics. The unleashing of this firebomb thrower has untethered our better angels and they are about avenging. Trump and his acolytes have done more, not only to cause good men on the left to rise but also good men on the right. Trump may well have done more to bring us together than any politician in the last fifty years.

The painful, gaseous eruptions we feel in our gut and the noxious smell we leave in our wake from that bad hotdog reminds us to never again swallow a thing that hasn’t passed the smell test; no matter how much it incites our senses. Our experiences with bad decisions, like the selection of supposed strong-men like the morally scrambled Nixon and the guy-like-me intellectually challenged W, reward us with the knowledge not do that bad thing again.

The scientific axiom goes thusly; It’s all good, there is no bad; since bad is the steerage mechanism to good. The rocket fired into space rotates and revolves, bouncing off the error to drive it in a straight line. Without crime we would not know a problem existed and society would not be served by ignorance or ignoring. We must be able to identify the error in the system, the sand in the ointment, the bad man from the good; so we can steer ourselves, our best chance for civilization to evolve, America, onto the right course. Therefor, bad trump; good.

Now comes the inquisition each man and woman must endure under their own hand. It’s a game of whats-wrong-with-this-picture? Which images do not belong, which rhetoric does not fit. Which milk is sour and which one will sustain and nourish us and our children? Alexis de Tocqueville, among others, like Abraham Lincoln, opined that “In a democracy people get the leaders they deserve.” sixteen days from now; we will.

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Vigilantes and Me

” A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.” K –  Men in Black

The fears of my youth, unlike many of my contemporaries, were not handed down from the paranoid 1950’s cold war vision of Russia’s Sputnik circling overhead. I feared what I watched on TV Saturday mornings in the same way president Lyndon Johnson feared the communists would drop bombs on America “like kids dropping rocks onto cars from freeway overpasses.” In 1960, when Eisenhower handed over the reins of power to JFK, I was twelve years old; the height of Hollywood’s B Movie westerns. Back then I only feared two things besides my father; quicksand and lynch mobs.

After a fevered trip to my local library I quickly learned that drowning in quicksand, as long as you didn’t panic and struggle, was nearly impossible. Having done so I jettisoned my unwarranted fear of it. But ever since those westerns put the fear of vigilante lynch mobs in my impressionable head, unless I joined them outdoors at a Hippie rock concert, I have avoided crowds.

America faces, now and in the coming months, a new Ox Bow Incident moment. For those who have missed this passion play on Turner Classic Movies, that film was an authoritative indictment of angry mob rule and violence that lead to a brutal lynching of three suspicious outsiders – all innocent of the “trumped-up” charges. When seen by American audiences in the early 1940s during the progress of World War II, the implication was obvious; Hitler’s evils in Europe could also inhabit the ethos of the sacred American/western frontier.

This stark anti-Western’s valid observation is also stuck in the chewy center of the recent fascination closest to the dark, fear-filled hearts of right-wing, white-wing FOX News acolytes; those fanatics screaming Build The Wall at Trump’s Nuremberg style rally; better known as the Republican National Convention; ethnic-nationalism. The idea that by looks alone we can describe and define as criminals the Other.

Yet tomorrow begins the counter-argument the Democrats will make, sanity will return and we can all breathe a sigh of relief. John Wayne in the disguise of Hillary Clinton, white pants suit a substitute for the John Wayne leather chaps, will ride to our rescue and protect the innocent, threatened by the angry vigilante lynch mob we’ve been forced to endure nigh these last few months. There’s a new sheriff in town and she don’t allow no lynching. America for the better is a country of laws not men and certainly not strong men. We tried this once before in our recent past when eight years of Richard Nixon spawned America’s bloodiest modern war and on the domestic scene incarceration rates soared; from 300,000 then to 2.3 million today.

I’ve been predicting, and waiting now some 50 years, for the new generation to replace the old; for the party of old white men to die off and a new global awareness take hold. Now I wonder if I’ll live to see it. The Bernie Sanders revolution has given me some hope but alas we’ve been here before and though his is as big a movement as I’ve yet seen, inexplicably, to those that know me; I back Hillary.

Maybe, just maybe, I’m the problem I seek to solve. It’s the contagious attraction to our American brand of social capitalism that co-opts the ambitious and the aged. Once we have stock in the apple cart, we no longer wish to see it overturned.

Dream

The other night
I had a dream
it was not the first.
I dreamed of an alternative
universe.

News Barkers shouted that
I’d been made king for a day.
The Press came a callin’
asking me
what I had to say.

I said stand back
hear me loud and clear
put up your potions,
your weed and your beer.

Now since you all
have made me
king for a day,
lock and load
if you want to
or knell down and pray.

Whichever you do,
decide to leave or stay,
I’m comin’ strapped
to take your guns away.

Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary Fireworks Celebration

Summer Women

Nick Masesso, Jr.

“I knew a girl who was almost a lady; she had a way with all the men in her life; every inch of her blossomed in beauty, she was born on the Fourth of July. She slept in an aluminum house trailer and she worked in a juke box saloon; and she spent all the money I give her, just to see that old man in the moon”. – The Great CompromiseJohn Prine

We met the Fourth of July in a small kitchen in Berkeley that succored the cream of intellectual hippies of the day; the academy kids from Goddard and Yale who were working off their guilt trips by sharing their trust fund purchased educations with the less fortunate but infinitely happier inner city minority kids from neighborhoods that supported their high schools; savants who’d  exemplified themselves enough among their peers to be selected to…

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