The Excess Mass Equivalency

[A repeat post from January, 2012. My blog met an untimely end in January 2016, and I plan to repopulate with some of the old entries over time]

Anyone else ever deal with big bottled water? No, not the pints and quarts and liters of non-returnable plastic whose very existence we would have scoffed at if someone suggested forty years ago that buying water the same way we buy soft drinks would ever be commercially feasible, much less wildly popular. No, I’m talking about replacing tap water in your home or office with those five gallon behemoths, hauled in from the car or truck or wherever you haul them in from. We started drinking water this way about the time our middlest girl (Ruthie) was born, being not at all pleased with certain, ah, “peculiarities” in the odor of Decatur tap water. And much too aware of the incredible profusion of toxins that had been dumped upstream in the Tennessee River over the decades. It seemed (and still seems) a completely warranted substitution, given the importance of our precious bodily fluids. (No, Jack, I’ve never seen a Russkie drink tap water. Only vodka, Jack.)

But this missive is not about the quality of water or its fluoridation or lack of. In fact it’s not about water at all, other than as a mass reference point. A gallon of water is the mass equivalent of 3.8 Kg, or 8.3 pounds. So five gallons of water weighs 41.5 pounds. If you go to Lowe’s you can buy either the 5 gallon bottle, or the 3 gallon version. Three gallons weighs in at 24.9 pounds. If you’re ever there, try picking up a 5 gallon bottle and a 3 gallon bottle, one in each hand. They make it easy to grab, the bottles have handles built right in. Now stand there a moment, one bottle in each hand: A total of 66.4 pounds. Try walking down the aisle, maybe saunter over to the Tools area or take a look at plumbing fixtures, 66.4 pounds of excess poundage swinging along with you.

Here’s a point of reference: That’s how much I am carrying around as excess poundage in my body, every day, every minute, 24/7. Roughly 65 pounds above the tiptop limit of someone my height and age. If you actually do this experiment, you’ll be astounded that I am even able to walk from the den into the dining room on a regular basis. Though it’s pretty obvious that I must have indeed walked to the dining room. Often. And spent far too much time in there.

If you don’t want to experiment with water bottles, next time you’re in the grocery store, try picking up a 50 pound bag of dog food and walk down the aisle (walking down the aisle seems to be somehow critical to this experiment). If you really want equivalence, get a helpful passerby to throw another 10 pound bag and a 5 pound bag on top of the 50. Hell, get a whole bunch of people to try the experiment, make it a party! Marching up and down the aisles, chanting the Song of the Volga Boatmen. You’ll probably be doing a public service by making all those people aware of this mass equivalency, because chances are many of your fellow shoppers are also lugging 50 extra pounds or so of excess mass. It’s a national epidemic, you know. We’re pretty much all in the same Volga (or Tennessee) boat, which is struggling pretty hard to stay afloat, as you can well imagine.

Twenty-three years ago (or, as I like to measure things, about 60 pounds ago), I played the Scarecrow in the Giles Heritage Theatre production of “Wizard of Oz”. I sang and danced around the stage, falling on the floor and leaping back up as the Scarecrow is wont to do. If I attempted that today, I’d likely do damage to the stage, much less the terminal damage to my body. Oh, how I’d love to be able to prance around like that again! Alas, I fear that is not to happen. But I do have a goal. No, not to reprise my Scarecrow role (though I will always remember it fondly). Rather, to diligently remove the 8 gallons of hydro-mass equivalency from my body. Not so I can dance, necessarily. I’m just tired of carrying this extra stuff around. To quote the Grateful Dead (from “New Speedway Boogie”): “If the horse don’t pull you got to carry the load/ I don’t know whose back’s that strong/ Maybe find out before too long.”

Maybe I will. But I’d rather lose the load, thank you very much.

© 2012 Chuck Puckett

When Will We Hit the Trump Bump?

In the movie, Inception, a band of sleep invaders experience common lucid dreams, in fact, dreams within dreams, diving so deep into the dream world that nothing can get them out. It is only a physical “bump”, occuring in the real world in which the dreamers sleep, that wakes everybody up. Falling into a tub of water. Or running headling into a wall.

At some point, the poor, deluded slobs who elected Drumpf, most of whom after the election turned immediately back to watching pro wrestling and football, and shooting things, will experience the “Drumpf Bump.” They will waken, look around, and suddenly discover that there are no new jobs for them to march in to work, nor any reduction in the number of immigrants living in their city, and a host of other broken promises. Broken, because they were impossible in the first place.

Worse than that, this guy who was gonna “drain the swamp” has hired some of the worst alligators to ever inhabit those murky waters. A Treasury secretary who was Wall Street’s “king of home repossesion” during the housing crisis, who put more of them out on the street and homeless than anybody else. A Health and Human Services secretary who will certainly work to abolish Obamacare, but who has also adamantly opposed the provisions that disallowed rejection for previous conditions. Who like Speaker Ryan, wants to privatize Medicare, hopefully by next summer. Who denies that women’s health, including birth control, need any special considerations. These considerations will immediately affect the Trumpsters who fell for his demagogic spell.

Other appointments are more evidence of swamp trawling, but most Trumpsters won’t have any clear idea of what these people do, or why it matters. For instance, a Defense secretary who is a retired Marine general nicknamed “Mad Dog”. Another retired general for National Security Advisor who denies that Islam is a religion. And on and on and on.

And meanwhile, the Romneys and the other mainstream GOP figures, people who less than a month ago were screaming that Donald Drumpf was a crook, a fraud, a huckster, and lacking every possible qualification to be President, all these hacks come groveling to Drumpf Towers, looking for a bone, something to gnaw on when the Rape of America gains a full head of steam. It’s amazing how disingenuous and pathetic these sycophants behave. And one has to ask: what sensible person would actually want to be associated with an administration that is guaranteed to go down in history as one of the worst and most corrupt to ever hold power? A sensible person would run as far and as fast as they could in the opposite direction, lie low until the shit flood had passed completely by, then re-emerge, looking for whatever opportunities would present themselves in that bleak and post-apocalyptic landscape.

I confess: I wake every morning with fear knotted in my gut, realizing what real and present dangers every American faces as long as the Orange Buffoon remains the President. Knowing that there is every chance in the world that the Medicare I rely on could very well disappear into a privatized hell within a year. That the health care my children depend on could vanish just as quickly. That the financial system will almost certainly gallop headlong toward another cliff, with nothing to check it, and no one even concerned.

When the Drumpf Bump happens, and the silly geese who blindly believed all the Trumpian hogwash open their sleepy eyes and gaze on the results of his betrayal, it could get very ugly in the Red states.

Or perhaps they’ll just go back to sleep. Or watch television. Until the power company cuts off the electricty.

© 2016 Chuck Puckett


Trump, the Tweeting Twit

It has become petty evident that the post-Disaster* universe we inhabit has another “we’re not in Kansas anymore” wrinkle in the fabric of space-time: Donald Drumpf obviously intends to replace the tried and true form of the “Press Conference” with his tweets. Rather than providing news media with structured press events (he has not held a general press conference in foru months, and shows no intention of holding one in the near future), Drumpf has reverted to the only form of communication his tiny hands and mind can focus on: the 140 characters allowed in a tweet. Any longer form is clearly beyond the grasp of his “intellect” (I use the word in its broadest possible sense).

Furthermore, the “substance” of his tweets (again, the broadest possible sense of the word) has not been modified one iota from the garbage he unleashed during the campaign. From the grossly inappropriate (for a POTUS, or even POTUS-elect) “Fidel Castro is Dead!” to the paranoid delusions about “professional protesters” (who filled the streets in major cities denouncing his election), to the most recent idiocy that he would have won the popular vote if it hadn’t been for all the illegal voting by immigrants, Drumpf continues to reveal his mental instability and childish temperament.

The thought that this imbecile will actually sit in the Oval Office, humming to himself while composing such tweets, rather than attending to the business at hand, that thought, while comical, and worthy of many SNL skits, is simultaneously terrifying.

We only thought our national nightmare was finally over when the election was finally over. Our true national nightmare is only just beginning. And we will watch it played out 140 characters at a time, unfiltered and straight from this deranged mind, day after day.

*Disaster will, for the time being, remain for me a synonym for the 2016 Presidential Election.

© 2016 Chuck Puckett

Why Are They Arguing Nuances?

I have become wearily amazed at the pundits, left, right and center, who continue to suggest that Donald Drumpf is going to somehow morph into a responsible, reasonable human being, capable of being President of the United States. That he is going to strike a balanced pose, suddenly become capable of speaking and acting like a President is supposed to speak and act.

The time for dreaming is over. He will never achieve even a modicum of the temperament and grace required for this office. Not gonna happen.

This man has written off the daily security briefings. Just ignores them. How the hell could anyone expect anyone with such a blatant disregard for what is arguably the single most important source of information a President needs, how could anyone expect a man who simply ignores that information to ever become a responsible, mature leader?

Drumpf has surrounded himself with white supremacists and racists in the persons of Bannon and Sessions. If you don’t understand that the movement, together with its most successful mouthpiece, Breitbart, are blatantly white supremacist entities, then you have not looked at even the smallest piece of evidence or visited the site. Jeff Sessions, who, as a member of the Senate Old Boys Club will certainly be confirmed as Attorney General, couldn’t get approval to a federal judgeship because of his history of racist language and actions. These people, like Drumpf himself, are not people who change their life-long beliefs and backgrounds and personalities simply because they have gained a national spotlight.

For Secretary of Education, Drumpf has nominated Betsy DeVos, a religious fundamentalist and believer in school voucher programs as opposed to public school support. He has indicated a climate-change denier for EPA. His Defense nod is a Marine general with the nickname “Mad Dog”, and National Security will be manned by another general who has publicly criticized all Muslims.

Drumpf is not going to suddenly find nuance and diplomacy as traits he has somehow hidden from public view. He has shown he will actively ignore reasoned counsel, preferring the opinions of his son-in-law whose background is in real-estate. He is actively flouting even the semblance of avoiding conflict of interest, and will essentially be running Drumpf Enterprises from the West Wing.

Given all of this, I am truly curious as to how exactly Drumpf supporters think they are going to benefit when he is sworn in? What exactly do they expect a Drumpf presidency to do to make their lives better, which is supposedly why they voted for him in the first place?

  • Do they expect manufacturing jobs to suddenly reappear? The only jobs the untrained will have recourse to are likely the service and farm jobs left when the Hispanic immigrants have been deported.
  • Do they expect a wall to go up to keep those same immigrants out? That’s already been walked back. And you can bet Mexico won’t pay for whatever excuse for a wall (if any) Drumpf manages to get through Congress.
  • Do they expect the repeal of Obamacare, to be suddenly replaced by whatever sleight of hand Drumpf and Ryan can create? With provisions for kids on the parent’s care until age 26 and no refusal for pre-existing conditions? It was these factors, compounded by so many red states (like Alabama) refusing to join the pool, that were the main reasons for the increases in premiums predicted for 2017. And if Ryan has his way, he will dismantle and privatize Medicare, putting a whole generation of seniors on the skids. (BTW: seniors vote more consistently than any other bloc, so any such action is likely political suicide).
  • Do they expect Muslim bans and watch groups and registration lists? These are, unfortunately, real possibilities. But what do they say about the American spirit and our legacy of freedom and acceptance?

Donald Drumpf is not going to suddenly burst out of his cocoon and blossom into a legitimate President. He is going to continue to embarrass the nation in the courts of world opinion, and to frighten our allies with his bullying and bombastic rhetoric, and astonishing lack of comprehension and capability. And his supporters, people who have already shown bad judgement and a dangerous predeliction towards anger and hatred, will not take long to realize how they’ve been had.

The results will manifest with extreme lack of nuance.

© 2016 Chuck Puckett

Democratic Gonads

The day before The Disaster, there was almost universal agreement that the Republican Party had made itself irrelevant. That it was the party itself that had prepared the ground for the abomination that was Donald Drumpf, and that such recklessness was almost criminal neglect. That the GOP had nothing but itself to blame for the impending national embarrassment that this election would provde, and there would be some deep soul-searching at the RNC to try and rectify this disaster. That even the future existence of the Republican Party was in serious doubt.

24 hours later, the entire debate had shifted 180 degrees, and it was the Democratic Party that was in shambles, utterly distraught and near collapse. It seems odd to me that no one in Punditville has remarked on this flabbergasting reversal. Admittedly, the progressives in America are still in a sort of numb shock, and the scythe of history plows on, as Drumpf sets the stage for what will undoubtedly be one of the HUGEST fiascos of an administration in American history. And of course the focus is now on the circular firing squad that is the Drumpf transition team. But the empty shell that is left in the Democrat ranks is worth noting. Because, when Trumpism inevitably plummets by virtue of its own ineptitude, something better be in place to hold the net and recover from whatever implosions and explosions the Orange Bozo generates.

At the grass roots level, there began almost immediately a focused determination to lay the groundwork to reverse the field, starting with 2018 midterm elections. Pantsuit Nation is an example of what is happening in FB world, but all around the country, groups have already started to organize and plan. The realization is that the Left must incorporate a fifty-state strategy, must target down-ballot and local races to have any hope of recovering the moral high ground and the political intiative to push an agenda that profits everyone in the country. Fear, angst and anger are powerful motivators. It is already clear that this country will suffer significant setbacks in health care, voters’ rights, and personal liberty as the Drumpf machine kicks into gear.

The main question before the Democrats, on the other hand, is whether the party will have the gumption to withstand the legislative and executive onslaught that is about to be unleashed on this country. Not only the Affordable Care Act (which may actually be repealed with nothing but a vague promise that the GOP Congress will “get around” to replacing in “the very near future”), but Medicare, Social Security and other programs that have long been considered the third, electrified rail of modern America, are under assault. Drumpf has revealed nothing coherent in the way of policy, on any front. But Paul Ryan definitely has a policy ready to put in place, and that definitely includes privatizing both Medicare and Social Security. Seniors, even those who voted for Drumpf, are in tremendous jeopardy of having their safety net either pulled out from beneath them, or else having the net slashed and torn.

Supreme court nominations will eventually come to table. We can only pray that the liberals on the court can somehow live another four years.

Then there’s the famous Wall. There’s strong talk of reinstating the Muslim Registry, a post 9/11 abomination that the courts struck down. Even Net Neutrality, a fight many had thought was already won, is again in jeopardy, the likely FCC chairman nominee an adamant opponent. And please don’t even mention the EPA and global climate change. The United States, and the world, is about to suffer a horrible reversal in intent and action. Plus the whole regulatory world that has done so much to reverse the pollution catastrophes of the late 20th century is soon to be dismantled. We can certainly trust big business to monitor themselves. And on and on.

The only legislative recourse, indeed, the only recourse left at all as any potential deterrent to this coming tidal wave of destruction, is in the Senate. Sixty is the new majority in the Senate. The Democrats must find the will to resist and defeat the worst of the laws, and to deny the most ludicrous and dangerous of the nominees. In the past, Democrats have never been able to mount any cohesive front. It is, after all, a party of true diversity, and the lockstep mindless obedience that the GOP has shown over the last few decades has eluded them. As it should. But mindful resistance is critical now. A dedicated conviction to put the nation above re-election is paramount.

Much of this starts with the DNC. The new leadership must have a laser focus on the future. It must be dedicated, and that starts with the chairman. I blame Debbie Wasserman-Schulz more than any other single individual for The Disaster. Her ridiculous priorities led her to undermine Sanders and to insure that the most flawed candidate possible was the Democratic opponent to Drumpf. What should never have been in the slightest contention (and would not have been if America had to chose between Sanders and Drumpf), was always a razor-thin contest, ultimately with the razor slicing the Democratic jugular.

Keith Ellison seems a nice enough fellow. But being a fulltime member of the House of Representatives precludes being a fulltime chair. And don’t forget: Wasserman-Schulz also suffered the handicap of dual responsibility. I like a lot of what the South Carolina contender Jaime Harrison has to say, but he comes across as too accomodating and less likely to make the tough decisions. I personally prefer Howard Dean, who, when he last held the post, emerged with the Presidency and majorities in both houses. He is brilliant, focused, articulate, and knows what need to be done and how to do it. But whoever wins the chairmanship, they must be a force of nature in resisting the Republican bulldozer and implementing a fifty state, take-no-prisoner strategy to regain sanity in America.

America needs Democrats with gonads to stand before the tank in the square, and willing to sacrifice themselves in order to say, “This far, and no further.”

© 2016 Chuck Puckett


The Calm Before…

In the days following The Disaster (I think I will henceforth refer to the 2016 election simply as “The Disaster”), progressive American humans did what most humans do in the wake of a calamity: they inevitably began to accept and move on. The signs of continuity are all there to reinforce this adaptive behavior: the sun rises and sets, the alarm goes off, they go to work, come home, watch some TV, read the news. Obla-di, obla-dah, life goes on. This calamity, like all calamities (save some cometary impact or nuclear war), failed to terminate the cycles of life, and those cycles soothe us and reassure us that all can be coped with.

And yet, beneath the calm cool surface of the sea, a completely new reality is quietly forming itself.

In the aftermath, The Donald has made (for him) what appear to be superhuman efforts to sound almost “reasonable”, to offer a demeanor that wants very much to appear “presidential”. Nevermind that his natural demeanor is that of a foul-mouthed bully, the fact that he can go for a few days without insulting whole swaths of the populace is viewed as a victory, proof that he has somehow finally acquired acumen and aplomb. He met with President Obama and managed to avoid sounding like a complete asshole. Voila! Drumpf can talk good. Proof positive that the election actually changed him somehow.

Poo. Donald Drumpf has repeatedly has proven himself incapable of changing, either his behavior or his character.

And don’t forget he still has his finger on the Button. Not the nuclear button, the Twitter button. One wonders if Drumpf will even hold press conferences as President. Or if he does, if he thinks its okay to limit what members of the press are invited, as he did for his rallies. But maybe he’ll just communicate by Twitter, a twit who tweets.

(Btw, I urge everyone to watch his tweets. Sign up, get his pronouncements. This is the only way to stay informed on what he really has in mind. I did. And I admit, to do so was, for me, a very difficult, almost sickening action. But absolutely necessary. If you want the ammunition he’s going to provide, you’ll have to listen to what he says.)

The world indeed did not end, nor even react very much to The Disaster. But remember: Drumpf is still only the president-elect. He cannot yet affect directly the nation nor the world by his “policies”, whatever those eventually evolve into. This calm period is when he gathers the brains that will guide whatever happens over the next four years. And as this process plays out, the real dangers of the coming tide become apparent.

When fellow loud-mouthed bullies like Guiliani, Bolton, Gingrich and Christie and complete morons like Jeff Sessions are serious contenders for major cabinet positions, the writing is etched on the wall. We can certainly expect a climate-change denier for EPA. We’ll see reversals and dismantling of the whole federal regulation edifice, in whatever areas they exist, save immigration. Naming a political insider like Priebus as Chief of Staff will do nothing to inhibit the three ring circus of insanity that is about to descend on Washington.

But the piece de resistance is undoubtedly naming Steve Bannon as “chief strategist”, sort of like he was “CEO of the Campaign.” Bannon ran Brietbart. Bannon is an unabashed supporter, even the figurehead, of alt.right, which is the new “classy” clothing that white supremacists have taken to wearing. But it’s nothing but robes and hoods trying to look acceptable. Having this piece of human garbage run his campaign was bad enough. To install him in the West Wing, just a few doors down from the room where it happens is the single most insulting, and dangerous, action taken by the Drumpf transition thus far.

Be prepared for many more like-minded hallmark moments to follow.

© 2016 Chuck Puckett

An Early Tally

Let’s keep an account, shall we?

  1. Thursday, two days after the election, Drumpf met with Obama in the White House. He acted reasonable, it seemed. Not raving and ranting. But it seemed to me he had a look of fear in his eyes,  a look that was the opposite of confidence. Like, “Oh, shit. What do I do now?” I guess that’s to be expected having just gotten some real information about the world he’s now got to deal with. And having no idea what he’s going to do about it.
  2. Also on Thursday, Drumpf apparently got his tweet account back. His tweet? “Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!” He claimed that all the anti-Drumpf protests were being paid for. By the media.
  3. Here’s the kicker, the real piece of stunning news. Immediately, the day after the election, news outlets all over the world reported that Russia had publicly admitted that they had definitely been in contact with the Drumpf  campaign during the election. That they were still in contact. So the Wiki Leaks that they provided were orchestrated. As Rachel Maddow pointed out, that kind of puts a big question mark on how you deal with Drumpf’s (now) daily security briefings. If the Drumpf team is coordinating with the  Russians, how secure is the information you give to Drumpf ?
  4. Friday:  Drumpf names Pence to lead transition team (and neatly gets rid of the liability that is Chris Christie). Other members of the team include Dr. Ben Carson (a Creationist mentioned for Education), Rudy Giuliani (everyone says Attorney General. Seriously?), Newt Gingrich (Secretary of State? Newt?). Then it’s the inner, trusted circle, the dons of the family: Donald Drumpf Jr., Ivanka Drumpf and her husband, Jared Kushner. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who was considering whether to investigate Drumpf University but declined, is also on the list. Nice payback. Wonder what bone she’ll be thrown. Did poor good ol’ boy Jeff Sessions get stiffed?
  5. Still no tax returns. Worse than that, he still plans for the Drumpf business, not to be placed in a blind trust, but to be run by his children. The same children that are key members on his transition team. Drumpf supporters probably don’t know what “nepotism” is (and certainly can’t spell it), but they should at least understand (massive) “conflict of interest.” Even Dick Cheney put his Halliburton (and other) holdings in a blind trust. So Donald Drumpf plans to run the country without full disclosure of his finances, or where he makes his money. And the country, according to Ivanka, should just trust the Drumpfs, because they’re going to be, like, “super responsible.”
  6. Word comes out today (Sunday) that Drumpf doesn’t plan to live in the White House full time. Maybe weekends in New York City. You know, for the golf and everything. Nothing like keeping your finger on the pulse. In fact, this is nothing like keeping your finger on the pulse.
  7. Drumpf has now said, post election, that he may not want to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He wants to perhaps keep it, but, you know, fix it. Like the Democrats have been trying to do since it was enacted, in the face of adamant Republican obstructionism that, rather than working to fix it, voted 50 some odd times to simply repeal it. With nothing on the table to replace it. Drumpf almost certainly realizes that, in violation of his campaign promises, he can’t simply remove it without putting something in place. No one will stand for a return to “pre-existing conditions disqualify”, and all the other pre-ACA horrors. But he doesn’t have anything to replace it. Tough position.
  8. in a similar vein, Drumpf is back-pedaling renegeing on the Iran deal. Again, someone probably explained he cannot simply act unilaterally. He must now deal with international realities, and he cannot simply declare things to happen by fiat.

That’s enough for now. As I’ve said elsewhere, the minority of the electorate that managed to get him elected, those raving non-thinking, non-critical tools, many voting for the first time ever, who have been so easily manipulated, are not going to react pleasantly as Drumpf encounters political realities that will force him to renege on his favorite promises. Drumpf has no “deal” that he can subsititute for the economic realities that caused manufacturing jobs to be sent off-shore. They won’t be coming back. He may slow the hemoraging by getting Congress to impose massive penalities on any more jobs leaving (good luck: Congress knows who pays their salaries, and it ain’t the government). But he won’t bring the lost sheep back. Drumpf will build no Wall, certainly no Wall that Mexico will pay for. Will Congress enact such a measure, knowing how much it will costs? No. And on and on.

Don’t get me wrong, we face almost certain Trumpish horrors. There’s a lot that can be done (and undone) via executive order. And the question of the future Supreme Court makeup is the 900-pound gorilla in the room. But it is heartening to remember that Republicans used the “60 Vote Is a Majority” reality in the Senate to endlessly deny progress for years. Now it’s time for Democrats to have the political will to do the same.

But the early tally of post-election activities mainly reveals that Drumpf is a small-minded man overwhelmed by a reality that he never really expected to be laid in his lap.  A small man who made himself look big by completelely ignoring civil norms of behavior, by resorting to endless bullying, name-calling and other cowardly actions, the sort of actions that, in all the stories we read as children, resulted in a come-uppance when the story ended.

Here’s hoping for “and they lived…”

© 2016 Chuck Puckett

Boy In the Bubble

The boy in the bubble
And the baby with a baboon heart

I have decided to take a Facebook hiatus. And yes, this decision is a reaction to the results of the election. Facebook, like so many things in our present culture, has an overwhelming tendency to put me (and many people, I suspect) in a self-sustaining bubble. The viewpoints we agree with are enforced, those that we oppose are demonized. I need to walk away, at least from contributing. I’ll read through the posts, like I read the news, once or twice a day. I’ll Like things I like. But I need to find, as the signs in the Smoky Mountain Nat’l Park say, “A Quiet Walkaway”. So no posts, no comments.

For awhile, at least, I’ll make my contributions to the discourse, such as they are, here on my blog. It’s been strongly suggested that my FB posts are too long. True. So I’ll use the longer format of my blog to express my thoughts.

The bomb in the baby carriage
Was wired to the radio

The election revealed something much deeper at work than I realized, though my suspicions were certainly there. The endless contention, the lack of circumspection, the vitriol, the knee-jerk reactions are now part of the woof and weave of our national fabric. Engaging these forces has not been productive. Disengaging, while not having any active effect, will have the definite and positive effect of allowing my focus to move elsewhere. And my focus definitely needs to do that.

Because we are in Trumpland now. They (and I use the pronoun in a very specific way), have the keys, and They will drive the bus, basically unhindered, except of course by the requirement that almost all of Drumpf’s “agenda items” require Senate approval. Perhaps it is the Democrats’ turn to obstruct, using the new “60 votes is now a majority” convention. If the Democrats have the spine, always an open question. And that could, for instance, prevent a lunatic Supreme Court appointment. We’ll see. In any case, the environment is screwed (EPA is fundamentally executive privilege and action), and certainly any possibility of climate change amelioration is (figuratively speaking) toast.

Trumpland is now the landscape. That’s a done deal. It will be interesting to see the reaction when no manufacturing jobs suddenly return, or when no wall is built nor paid for by Mexico. Perhaps that guaranteed disappointment will be the impetus to turn things back the other way. Disillusionment on that scale, in a society now conditioned to instant gratification, may get ugly.

On the other hand, Drumpf’s electorate will not be affected at all by the outrageous embarrassment he will generate by his bombastic bullying and inability to behave as a decent human being, much less the President of the United States. They may even applaud it. “Damn right! Give those fancy bastards hell, Donald!” The rest of us will have to grit our teeth and endure it. But even that will pass.

These are the days of miracles and wonders
This is a long distance call

I think I will just watch for a while. From a distance. Watch and write, and build a house and make our garden grow. This is the time for gaining perspective and heeding the advice of the Serenity Prayer, especially the part about having the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. And then, when it is again possible, the courage to change what I can.

The way we look to a distant constellation
That is dying in a corner of the sky.
These are the days of miracles and wonders
So don’t cry, baby, don’t cry, don’t cry.

It’s far too easy to cry and gnash one’s teeth and moan about the stupidity of it all. Those negative modes have a secret attraction for most people, myself included. In a twisted way, wallowing in self-righteousness feels good. But it doesn’t change anything. In the end, a stoic acceptance for the short term disasters, with a long-distance perspective on what will one day be again possible, that is best strategy.

If the Orange Fool can manage to avoid waking up some night, his paranoid megalomania offended to the point where he launches a first strike against whoever pissed him off… if we can just avoid THAT, then we’ll get by it and through it. The advantage of living long enough is the understanding that, “this, too, shall pass.”

Fare you well, fare you well
I love you more than words can tell
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
To rock my soul.

© 2016 Chuck Puckett