Epitaph

Cover of In The Court Of The Crimson King. Art by Barry Godber

Confusion will be my epitaph. These words, written by Peter Sinfield, and found on King Crimson’s first album, perfectly sums up 21st Century life. All we had believed in the past is now wiped away as society changes around us.

Women being able to govern their own bodies? Sorry, that is now obsolete. It is necessary for the State to coerce women to have children with no options for surgical solutions. See, it is all about saving the life of the unborn. Of course, coming up with solutions to enable         women to combine a working life with a family life is beyond the capacity of any politician, so undoubtedly the result of restrictive abortion laws will be more child abuse, more child poverty, and an increase in those who violate the law coming down the pike in about 16 years.

Confusion will be my epitaph. I believed it impossible for politicians to repudiate their own words caught on tape. That was before the current generation of politicians found it possible to disown their own statements of the recent past. Same holds for commentators on cable news shows who preen to the camera with unparalleled ability to regurgitate positions completely in opposition to what they said a few days or weeks ago. All in order to chase elusive voters or viewers, depending on which profession they practice. In all of these cases, their disdain for the public is palpable, since they believe only their current utterances represent their beliefs. Anything they said in the past is no longer germane, or even rational, and they definitely should not be held responsible for any past comments. And if anyone took their words seriously, and acted on them? Well, the politicians and commentators didn’t actually pull the trigger, so linking their words, and the actions of others is not fair.

I had a faith that the increased ties of commerce would assist in consigning international war to the trash heap of history. That faith was shattered with the invasion of Ukraine. So we are now to believe only in the force of arms which enables those with power to impose their will through the miracle of explosives. We may marvel in the ability of the people of a country to resist overwhelming odds, in order to retain their freedom. Maybe too many of us who marvel, no longer have beliefs we would die for. And no, wearing a surgical mask is not tyranny. An invading army consisting of soldiers who have no compunction against killing civilians is true tyranny.

 Confusion will be my epitaph. I did not hear the words spoken that deemed hatred of others as a Christian virtue. I was not prepared for a society where racism was considered a virtue, fully consistent with Christian principles. I was not prepared for a society where celebrity is worshiped as the only value worth celebrating, and those who have obtained celebrity are incapable of doing bad things, since, after all, they are celebrities. I was not prepared for a society where all values are deemed relative, and only the end matters, especially when it benefits me. I was not prepared for leaders who embodied the worst human attributes, and were proud of those pitiful attributes.

I believed advances in science would always be valued. I had forgotten how bitter the struggles were in the past for new scientific truths to be accepted if they challenged the status quo. I see echoes of Copernicus and Galileo in current issues around global warming, and humanity’s role in altering our planet. I realize now how difficult it is to convince others of facts they cannot verify through their own experience.

Confusion will be my epitaph. When the original Soviet Union fell, I believed mankind had dodged an enormous threat by removing the danger of nuclear conflict. I was not ready for the rise of an autocrat, who could threaten the use of what was considered unthinkable. I now realize that even if we escape this round of conflict without nuclear detonation, it is inconceivable we will emerge from the scourge of nationalism without some exchange of nuclear weaponry. Certainly the political discourse heard in many countries leads me to believe this exchange will happen sooner, not later.

I can go on, raising other issues where the promises of a brighter future now seem dimmed by the intransigence of the human race. But I want to leave the last words to Peter Sinfield, who penned them back in 1969:

Confusion will be my epitaph
As I crawl, a cracked and broken path
If we make it, we can all sit back and laugh
But I fear tomorrow I’ll be crying
Yes, I fear tomorrow I’ll be crying

No Easy Answers

My church is home to Manna Meal. This is a ministry in Charleston WV which has provided 2 meals a day (breakfast and lunch) for nearly 50 years to anyone who comes by. As you may expect, this service has always been controversial, since many respectable people feel uncomfortable when confronted with those who inhabit the underside of society.

Lately, though, it has become an acute problem. With the pandemic, human need has increased. At the same time, the city of Charleston cleared out the encampments of the homeless, responding to complaints from landowners about property damage. As a result, the church grounds have become an alternate site for camping out for homeless people. A dispute between individuals led to a fire which destroyed a small building used as a clothing distribution site. Now we have a metal fence surrounding the space where the building used to stand, and the homeless have set up their tents along the periphery of the fence.

One other issue with the pandemic has been the elimination of serving meals in a common room. Instead, Styrofoam containers enclose the take-out meals, and litter outside of the church has become a more significant problem. That’s one reason why the existence of this service has come to the forefront of the concerns of the parish. People are scared of encountering the larger crowd of homeless people around the rear entrance to the church, and are tired of the seemingly intractable litter problem.

Is there an easy solution to these problems? No, as with all social problems, the causes are many. The Manna Meal service is trying to decentralize its meals by the purchase of a food truck in order to reduce the stress at the church. Funding for this food truck is being provided as part of the fund dispersal from the pandemic relief funding from the Federal Government. But another potential preventive measure, building a tiny home development for the unhoused, is currently in civic limbo, falling victim to NIMBY concerns. If it is ever approved and built, it will surely become obvious that the supply of housing will be insufficient to take care of the demand. When you draw your supply of the underclass from those who are unable to sustain themselves in the market economy world, you will always find more need than society can provide for.

The social programs of our church are one main reason we became members (that, and the magnificent organ sustaining our music program). Yet even I, a long-time liberal, can see the current situation is unsustainable. I can see why there are NIMBY concerns, but we are currently the epicenter of the problem. All we can do is pray that we do find a solution, one that reduces the demand we see daily while improving the lot of those who currently camp out on the grounds of St. John’s Episcopal church, Charleston WV.

What It Takes To Get That R

The Scene: Local office of the Republican Party in Useless County, WV

The Players: Secretary of the local party Hugh Jim Becile; Applicant Seeking Office E. Ger Beaver

Secretary: So you’d like to run under our party label, right? Which position are you seeking?

Applicant: I want to run to be the dogcatcher for Big Ugly West Virginia.

Secretary: Is that so? Well, there are a few questions I have for you before we can allow you to share our label. You ready to hear them?

Applicant: Sure. I’m willing to do anything within reason.

Secretary: Ok. First, are you now or have you ever been associated with the Communist Party.

Applicant:  Of course not. Boy, I hope the rest of the questions are as easy.

Secretary: Do you believe that the Presidential Election was stolen in 2020? Do you pledge fealty to Donald Trump’s position?

Applicant: Uhm, I’m not sure. Didn’t Trump win this state by about 40%?

Secretary: We’re not going to get very far if you reject the core principles of the Republican Party. Let me ask you again, do you believe the Presidential election of 2020 was stolen?

Applicant: Sure, I guess so. If you say so, it must have been.

Secretary: Good. We can proceed with the rest of the questions. Do you think the inflation we are currently seeing is solely the responsibility of Joe Biden?

Applicant: Yeah, I can see that. Put me down as yes.

Secretary: Correct answer. Now, do you agree that LGBT is bad, and anyone who supports any aspect of LGBT is just another groomer preparing our precious children to violate their covenant with God by choosing to become homosexual?

Applicant: Now wait a minute. I’ve got a nephew who you could tell way back when he was 4 he was going to want to be a girl. Do you mean I have to denounce him or her to get your approval?

Secretary: Yes, that is exactly what I mean. Someone must have put that idea in that little boy’s head and turned him away from God way back then.

Applicant: Boy, I don’t know about that. Seems to me he was always that way. But if I have to in order to get approval, then yes, I agree.

Secretary: I’m not so sure I like your attitude. We’ve got a lot of folks who don’t hesitate at all in order to get our sign-off. Let’s see if you can show me how much you really believe in Republican principles now.

Applicant: Ok, go ahead and ask the rest of your questions.

Secretary: Do you agree that the media is attacking God-fearing Republicans like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, Jim Jordan, and Madison Cawthorn, and because of that bias, they should be banned from covering any Republican events?

Applicant: I’m not sure I even know all of those folks. Are they Republicans?

Secretary: I’m losing patience with you. Of course they are Republicans, they are the up and coming stars of the Republicans in the years to come. You can’t bear our flag if you don’t recognize our leaders.

Applicant:  Oh, yeah, sure. I’ve heard of them. Yeah, those media folks are real meddlers. Keep ‘em out.

Secretary: Almost done. Do you believe that Donald Trump was divinely selected to be our leader, and anything he has done in the past doesn’t matter, because he only has our best interests at heart?

Applicant: Well, he doesn’t fit in with some of the folks I learned about in church. Seems to me he has a lot to be forgiven for. But yeah, I do agree with you.

Secretary: Great. It gives me great pleasure to give you the endorsement of our Republican party to run for, uh, which office was it again?

Applicant:  Dogcatcher of Big Ugly.

Secretary:  Yes, our endorsement for this office. You can have it as soon as you write us a check for $2500 so we know you are serious.

Applicant:  I ain’t got any money. I wanted to be elected dogcatcher so I could get a pay check.

Secretary: So let me understand, you refuse to donate to the Republican party? I’m sorry, this discussion is over. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

Applicant: I wonder if there still is a Democrat party in this county so I can get on a ballot. I need a job.

Let’s Focus on Important Things

We are alone. Alone among the vastness of space. You may believe we are divinely ordained to be the only sentient species in our galaxy, and the entire known universe came into being just a few thousand years ago. I myself do not believe that, yet I do profess a belief in the organizing entity responsible for the act of creation. But there is no doubt we have not seen positive proof of other species letting us know of their existence through electronic signals. That should be humbling to us on Earth, and lead us to a greater admiration of our uniqueness and an appreciation for our commonality, rather than our differences.

Yet once more, we seem to find commonality with the hordes of different colored ants you can find on occasion battling to the death on sidewalks and in our grass lawns. Long ago when I was walking home from school, I saw one such battle between red and black ants. The combatants were flowing across the sidewalk, each ant playing a part in a war they neither started nor had any opinion about. All they knew was of the necessity of their battle. Knowing what I do now about the mental processing capabilities of ants, I assume they were driven to battle by chemical signals, and there was no conscious thought about why they were engaging in this mortal combat.

Humans have once more shown they are no more than ants, seeking to dominate other territories. Only now we have tools to make the horrors of war omnipresent and impersonal. The days when the horrors of warfare were only visited upon the participants in the battle are long past. Now you can launch precision guided munitions, and lately we’ve seen those weapons used against train depots, apartment flats, and nuclear power plants. So we end up creating generations of ants who will want to battle against each other as time goes on.

We still fight for territory, although we are bound upon a globe which limits our absolute powers. Somehow we are convinced that our differences are greater than our similarities. Who knows if we will grow past our beliefs that no one other than true citizens are able to participate in our piece of the world. All I know is the possibility of a single day bringing our civilization to a close has re-emerged. It has been nice not having to worry directly about nuclear exchanges, although as the years have gone by, it is clear that we as a species will have to deal with this existential menace. For we as a species have not grown past our foolish desires to use these weapons as we feel our options grow more and more limited. And since these weapons have proliferated over time and across nations, it is only a matter of time until such weaponry is used by a non-state actor as a tool to accomplish a goal that is abhorrent to those who believe in the sanctity of life.

When I was young, it was the heyday of space exploration. We as a species were able to place our marker upon another celestial object. Looking back, it seems the accomplishment was more an opportunity to display the superiority of one nation state over another instead of an effort to expand the bounds of our species. For nearly 50 years, we have rested upon our laurels on celestial exploration. Only recently have we developed a sub-species of humanity with the means and desire to resume human exploration of the cosmos. Vast egos of individuals have combined with the vast fortunes brought about through globalization to create a new era of exploration in space. Yet even if we are successful in placing our marker on Mars, we still are barely extending our little toes beyond the Earth. Only when we can envision exploration beyond our solar system will we begin to place our imprint on the galaxy.

All of this will come to naught if we are unable to rise above the ants and eliminate our species innate drive to conquer other ants and take their things. The Drake equation describes the number of intelligent species in our galaxy which are detectable by our species. During my lifetime we have made great strides in establishing bounds on some of the variables in that equation, like the number of stars with planets, and soon we will have estimates on the number of planets that show marks of life (an atmosphere with oxygen). Yet the one variable in the Drake equation we can only slowly work on is the last one, the length of time a civilization is able to send signals into space where it can be detected by other civilizations. We have only our own example to extrapolate from, and the nearly 100 years we’ve transmitted electronic signals from our surface is dwarfed by the age of the universe. Small wonder we’ve not discovered other civilizations, and also it is no surprise we’ve hungered as a species for confirmation we are not alone in the universe.

Many of our species do not care about such questions. They are content to be bound by their belief system into worrying only about their own nation’s or religion’s status. I myself hope we can actually detect another signal coming to us during my lifetime, and such a discovery can serve as a unifying occasion for our species. Before we end our time as one of those who are sending signals out into the vast cosmos we inhabit.       

A Glimpse Inside His Skull

Poor widdle Donald. No one understands him. All he sees is hatred out there. That’s why he has to reinforce his ego through regular injections of rallies. Even those, though, are somehow failing to satisfy the black hole of an ego. Not even the false accolade of being the person who brought Osama Bin Laden to justice could make him feel better. No, we need to schedule another rally in North Carolina.

Let us peek into the inside of his damaged mind to discern his thoughts.

No one can understand how math works. Why can’t they see that 74 million votes is so much more than 81 million? Why, 74 million is so much more than the 63 million who voted for me back in 2016. If I got 11 million more than before when I won, it was impossible for Sleepy Joe to beat me in a fair fight. Yet there are still folks who are not convinced of the massive, massive fraud that took place in 2020. What more do we need to show people? They actually believe other media? What idiots they are.

They call me a liar. The wicked technology companies actually kicked me off after my perfect calls on January 6. No, you can’t see those logs. They are important for national security. But trust me, they were all perfect calls. Well, I’ll show them. I’ll come up with my own social media company. You say it’s been up since February? I’ll bet all of those who have bought into this are just waiting for my words of wisdom. I do have words of wisdom. They show how it is possible to self-deceive so completely that I actually believe what I say. Believe me, that takes some doing when the entire rest of the world is so deceived. Except for those who watch me when I’m on TV. And there are so many ways I can express myself nowadays. I really limited myself when I used that Twitter thing. One thing I have to remember, though. Never book another interview on NPR. Just wait till I’ve gone through my next coronation. NPR will find themselves so far out from public funding it’ll make their head spin. Imagine the audacity of trying to ask me real questions. Better I stay where I can direct the talk.

Just wait till my power shows itself. All those candidates I endorsed, marching to victory in their primary races. Of course, that’s the only race that matters. No way the loser Democrats can compare with my wonderful record, best President ever. I’ve got to check with those folks in South Dakota, see whether they have enough room for my glorious face up there. But why fool around with those other losers. There’s a blank slate up there in Yosemite, you know, that blank canvas made of granite? How much better it’ll look when it is filled with my glorious face. I deserve my own place, not sharing one with others.

South Dakota. They’ve got a pretty good governor up there. Sooner or later I’ll need to think about who I want up there with me when I’m coronated again. Don’t know, it may even be possible to get a larger crowd than my first coronation. I’ll have to look up that Spicer fellow, he may be able to convince those stupid media folks. Have you ever seen such hatred? They don’t believe me when I say I am the greatest. What did Cassius Clay have that I don’t have? They all loved him. Why can’t they show me that same love? I oughta send Mike Tyson out to bite off their ears. Then they might believe me.

Don’t you love hearing Herschel talking about his grades? I haven’t heard so much talk about grades since I was talking about all of my academic awards in college. What? You want to see them. Nope, can’t release them. Matter of national security, after all. Those grades are still under audit and I’ve been told (I have the best advisors – I always do what they tell me once I’ve let them know what’s right) to not ever release anything under audit.

But everything is unfair. They won’t even say anything good about my hole-in-one. I know the best places to play golf. So good to get out there in the sunlight and drive my cart the length of my golf drives. No one can drive it as good as me. So much better for me to golf than for that loser to ride a bike. Who’s he trying to impress, anyway? I just bet that they’ve got the double out there riding the bike, while Sleepy Joe is taking another nap. Look at me. You never hear me talk about taking naps. I’m the one who knows what’s coming next. You want to know what Putin will do next? You’d better hope I’m back there and am the one talking to Putin. See, he just doesn’t respect Sleepy Joe. Putin would never have tried to invade Ukraine if I was in charge. I know just the way to talk to those guys. Look at Kim Jong Un. Firing those huge missiles up in the air. He never did that when I was talking to him. And he wrote such lovely letters to me. Of course I wanted to take them with me. Wouldn’t you?

No, I’ll still be around. Since I’m back on my old diet, I’ll be around for a long time to come. You’ve got a lot to look forward to.

A Delight of Daffodils

Front bank

Spring appeared spontaneously in March. We went from total winter inertness into a delight of daffodils almost instantly. Plus the bonus of flowering trees and Lenten Rose in full display. Even the brief interruption of 8” of snow a couple of weeks ago couldn’t stop the procession of the seasons.

Our daffodils represent 30 years of living in the same house. I’ve managed to spread the daffodils not only to all niches of our yard, but pass the bounty on to many others in the Charleston area, and establish outposts in Ohio, Richmond Virginia, and near Ft. Worth Texas. It is easy to be generous when you only have to dig up the bulbs that are crowding the surface and replace the lot with a few of those I’ve extracted. Now is the time – the 3 or 4 weeks in the spring – when all of the past work shines in its glory. Soon will come the jonquils as the last blooms of the spring, with multiple flower heads making up for the lower numbers of bulbs.

Daffodils below fence in back

Then all that will be left are the green leaves of the flowers. If you merely leave these in place, until June when they tend to blend with the dirt after they’ve fertilized the bulbs below, you will be guaranteed of flowers next spring. And for us, the added benefit is that the deer will not touch them. They dislike both the daffodils and the Lenten Rose, so we’ve cultivated both of these species to colonize our slopes and shaded flower beds.

Cherry tree in front yard

With my knee now functional, I should have much less of a problem in getting down on the ground to weed the flower beds, and dig up those bulbs whose heads poke up above the ground. I’m looking forward to that, since for the last few years it has been a struggle any time I sank down to the level of the flowers. If I could only find flowers that bloomed later in the year that deer wouldn’t treat as their buffet, I’d be happy. We try lantana every year, and sometimes it does not get munched, but it is not immune to the deer predation. Plus it gets expensive to buy lantana by the flat. So far we also have found lavender that deer don’t like, so we’re going to try some more of it. Plants like coneflower have not done well for us.

At least I am only worried about the marauding deer disrupting our flower beds. I am grateful that I don’t have to worry about tanks and armored personnel carriers and the boots of the enemy tromping around. I feel for the people of Ukraine, who will find this year’s spring to be a hollow reminder of what should be instead of what is.

Forget-Me-Not

I really feel sorry for the memory impaired. Especially those of the Republican ilk who are having such a hard time remembering the way DJT sucked up to Putin during his campaign and presidency. This includes DJT himself, since he is confident that no one was harder on Russia than he was. Somehow the painful memories of the aftermath of the Helsinki conference, where DJT couldn’t think of any reason why Russia would have interfered with our election process, have disappeared totally from the frontal lobes of this ex-President.

But he’s not the only one suffering from near total amnesia. Let’s tale the examples of our local legislative representatives in West Virginia, who are bound and determined to continue to relive the mistakes of the past by cutting taxes on the wealthy while piling on costs to those who live on the margins. Can you imagine the cheek of those people who have lost their jobs, being upset because the 26 weeks of unemployment they used to rely upon now becomes 12-weeks maximum unless the state is suffering high unemployment? Fortunately, this bill was moved to the inactive status on the penultimate day of the legislative session. But the priorities of our legislative Republican supermajority was made clear, we have too many people who want to mooch off of the state, and I have no doubt this bill will resurface in upcoming special sessions, or no later than next year’s session. How these Republicans have forgotten the trauma our state and nation suffered at the beginning of the pandemic, when a switch was turned off and employment took an immediate nose dive.

Our legislators at the Congressional level also seem to suffer from acute amnesia. Maybe this is really a contagious disease, with carriers like Jim Jordan, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz, and Madison Cawthorn being vectors of forgetfulness. Of these, Jim Jordan is the most practiced, since he has forgotten everything that happened when he was an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State from 1987 to 1995. He would have been shocked, shocked to learn of inappropriate behavior taking place under his watch. Since he’s had so long to practice his lying, it was a bit disconcerting to see his recent performance when he couldn’t recall having called DJT, or when he called him, or anything about his phone logs of 1/6/2021. His stuttering and obvious discomfort at having to answer the questions were unworthy of someone who has practiced the art of prevarication for such a long time.

Ah, but we’re forgetting the large group of Republicans who have forgotten their purpose upon being elected to Congress. I had always thought it was necessary to make a good-faith effort to propose legislative solutions to problems of the nation. Foolish me. I didn’t realize the real purpose of being elected to Congress was to completely gum up the works if our tribe does not hold a majority. That way we can depend upon a unified party in Congress to work seamlessly towards a common goal, like the Republicans did when they replaced the Affordable Care Act with their own much improved version of health care. What? You mean they were ready to throw out the Affordable Care Act without having legislation lined up to replace it? And they were stymied by the actions of a single Senator who had his Roman emperor moment by extending his thumb down disapproval?

Right now, the Democrats are no different than the Republicans, in that they have allowed the actions of two Senators to hold up a legislative agenda. At least the Democrats have an agenda, instead of the Republicans who failed to put forth a platform in the 2020 election. It’s “whatever he’ll have, that’s what I want.” He, of course, being DJT. The subjugation of an entire party to the whims of an individual who has never known the common good stands as one of the most abysmal failures in governance since the inception of this nation.

So we are left to suffer. Nay, not suffer in silence, since we still have the freedom to speak out about our beliefs and feelings in this nation. At least we are not like Russia, where standing in a public place with a blank piece of poster board can get you trundled into the 21st century Russian version of a paddy wagon, likely your first stop on the way to a gulag. We can and should celebrate the rights we still have, before the wanna be autocrats decide to remove the uncomfortable nature of dissent from our nation’s shores.

Feeling Stronger Every Day

Held together with zipties.

It used to be they had you count backwards from, say, 100. You might have made it down to 93 before you found yourself waking up feeling fuzzy. This time they dispensed with that nicety. I had the bright lights of the surgical suite at 8 in the morning, and the sense of being inside of some high-tech enclosure, then I found myself waking up feeling fuzzy. My experience with knee replacement surgery may have been typical. I see that it is the most common surgical procedure in the US. Still, it is a little startling in that I was moved up to a room and was assigned a physical therapist to guide me in a very short walk outside of the room by noon. I found that the glue used was from a chemical I used to make (methyl methacrylate), so in some small way I felt a bit of pride as I began the transition from the before times (suffering from arthritis) to the after times (feeling the bruising in my quadriceps from the tourniquet that was applied). It is amazing how debilitating such a procedure can be. I went from someone who could walk and use a leg somewhat normally, to someone dependent upon a walker in what seemed like an instant.

I was grateful when the surgeon stopped by the next morning while I was still in the hospital. There he explained I had ground down two bone spurs into tiny pebbles. I wish he had kept them for me as I have an interest in all things mineral, but if there is an opportunity with the other knee, maybe I’ll be able to grab onto a souvenir from my own body. He explained in more detail exactly what the surgery entailed, a scraping away of the damaged bone and replacement with a metal alloy glued to the bone. Then a polyethylene piece glued onto the metal, and voila! A joint expected to last the rest of my life without further complications. I hope so.

Incidentally, I found it very interesting when the woman came explaining that I was not truly an in-patient at the hospital. Instead, I was classified as an out-patient kept over for observation. Somewhere in the bowels of medical coding, I’m certain that little distinction makes a great deal of difference in the reimbursement. Since I’m now on Medicare, I don’t have much concern about the cost. We’ll get the reimbursement from Medicare, then my Medigap insurance should handle most of the rest, and this will be followed by me having to take care of the rest. Given prior experience it may be months before I send any checks to any of the providers who will show up on the bills.

Now my focus is on rehabilitation. Four weeks after the operation, I have recovered much of the range of motion I had prior to the surgery. I can swing my leg in and out of the car with ease now. Strength in the quads is also improving. Pain is still present, but I have gone to double doses of full strength aspirin and given up the opioids. The key thing is being able to sleep and not wake up at 4 AM.          Of course, our nearly 18-yeatr-old cat has his own time frame in mind. He’s been my companion, and sleeps in the other twin bed in this room. He’ll not want to go back to normal where no one sleeps on the main floor, and the door to this wonderful room is closed.

The rest of the world definitely is mixed. You’ve got the battle for Ukraine going on at the same time as the first daffodils, the Lenten roses, and the crocus are all blooming outside. It’s good to be able to focus on the things around me, rather than the evil things happening half a globe away.

Stale? No I Won’t Believe the Act Is Stale!

Still the unwashed hordes celebrate the words of their master. Those who are absolutely convinced shenanigans were used to make it appear their savior had lost the election, when it was clear in their minds it was impossible for him to lose. After all, if all you hear day after day is an insistent drum beat about cheating, sooner or later you become convinced there was cheating. So as of today, he still can announce a campaign style event, pass out some t-shirts with pithy yet stupid slogans (Blacks for Trump), convince some of the few members of minority groups to don this new apparel, and direct them to sit in a photogenic position where they provide a totally unrealistic vision of the true diversity of the crowd, then he can recite the greatest hits of his displeasure (the election was STOLEN), and maybe intersperse some new statement like he’d pardon the January 6 Patriots, and his crowd will go home satisfied.

Yet now and then, around the fringes of the crowds, some are beginning to peel off. Maybe the human cost of standing around for hours, when the age of the average attendee is nearing 60, is testing the devotion of the true believers. We will see whether later in the year if he can keep drawing these overflow crowds, where those who are willing to drive for hours just to set up and camp somewhere so they too can see their savior. Will there be enough of them to keep coming and feed the large man’s swollen ego?

Perhaps some of those he has anointed in primary races end up losing, and the stain of their losses starts to stick to their endorser. Perhaps it is when the parade of prosecutions results in indictments against the man, his family, and his company. Although the veiled threat to his true believers to march against anyone who would dare to accuse him of illegalities stays above his prosecutor’s heads like a sword of Damocles.

There will always be a core of believers who are willing to overlook any physical evidence as being tainted, brought about by biased individuals who don’t drink the cult water. They are numerous enough to cause disruptions in multiple cities when the indictments are announced. And I do believe the indictments are coming. You can only do so many illegal things in plain view before the remnants of uncorrupted justice systems react. For four long years, he had immunity from prosecution, since the Justice Department believed it improper to charge a sitting President. That immunity has long gone, and the last shreds of it will vanish in the wind when final rulings are made about the lack of Presidential immunity in his conversations around January 6. I have a vision of the man dissolving into shards like Voldemort did at the end of the Harry Potter series.

Then, finally, we can deal with the fallout from this period of incivility caused by the lout. There is no doubt about the causative correlation between the era of hostility brought about by his words, and the actions of mobs at school board meetings across the country where the parents who do not want their children to feel discomfort are more than willing to threaten the lives of anyone who disagrees with them. We can appropriately deal with the human vermin who self-identify as Nazis and taunt society perched overhead on an overpass. We can actually deal with the humanity wishing to enter our country, and come up with an immigration system that works.

But until we get the human blob to exit the stage, we cannot deal with the problems he either created, exacerbated, or ignored. So however we need to proceed to let him know his act has gone stale, we must act and make that happen. Of course, he will never believe his act is stale just like he cannot accept that 80+ million voters repudiated him in the election. So unfortunately, he must forcibly be removed from the stage (unless we can figure out a way to cause him enough embarrassment so he voluntarily leaves). Once and for all, we need to figure out how to make the label of loser to stick to him, and by extension, to all who still stand by him. I’m not optimistic it will be possible to humiliate the man, and as long as his echo chamber only recites the greatest hits, many of his followers will remain willfully ignorant of his flaws.

You hear talk about an upcoming civil war enveloping the US. It is difficult to believe this could happen, but when one group of people believe anything they see on the air or on their Facebook feed, and willingly ignore all evidence to the contrary, you find the difficulty is in reasoning with those whose minds are closed. So the only hope I see is that people will come to their senses in ones and twos, unable to swallow the falsehoods and fantasies peddled by Fox, and Newsmax, and Q. The false beliefs must begin to lose traction, else we may indeed find ourselves with a simmering insurgency. Think about the violence at the end of the Vietnam war, only an order of magnitude worse. That to me is the danger we are seeing with the ongoing schism between those who see the world as it is, and those whose eyes have Trumpian scales tainting all they perceive.

Five Years of Blogging

It is now February 2022. Five years ago, in 2017, I began blogging. I don’t know what percentage of bloggers ever make it to five years of writing, but I have. If you scroll back through my writings, I hope you can see the writing has improved over the years. At least I believe it has.

The best part of blogging is starting out with a blank piece of (electronic) paper. Especially since the topic of my writing is often not apparent until after I begin writing. I let the words flow as they will. Now, I have dabbled in fiction, and got along just far enough for me to appreciate authors who say their characters take on a life of their own, they just give voice to these fully-alive entities who exist only in the imagination of the author. I’ve tried it, and discovered the voice I gave to my characters was wooden and stale. So I’ve no doubt that I’ve found the perfect medium for my writing, roughly 1000 words on a topic I choose only after I’ve begun filling the screen.

That’s not to say I’ve not used these pages to express satire, and even to come up with recurring characters. Slimey the D.C. swamp monster comes to mind every now and then, when satire seems the best way to comment on the events of the day. I’ve also had fun in exaggerating the characteristics of the Trump cult over the past few years.

A target-rich environment. That is what we had for several years. Actually, I started my blog just as the Trump administration came into being. I had to express my revulsion at the man and his entourage and am proud that I was able to identify trends in behavior well before I saw them discussed in the media. Like the attempted neutralization of certain governmental entities via the extremely effective technique of just not nominating people to fill legally-mandated positions. Fortunately, he was relatively ineffective at knee-capping the overall Federal government, mainly due to his own incompetence and due to his unfamiliarity with how things worked. My fear is that during the upcoming elections, he will be more equipped to effectively wield the power his position commands. Either that, or one of his underlings who gained office during his reign will use Trumpian techniques, but with someone whose mental capacity exceeds that of Wile E. Coyote. Many, many similarities between The Donald, and the cartoon image of a mangy mongrel who cannot help but extol his own intelligence.

Just as there’s much more to life than politics, I’ve used this forum to share slices of life as I observe the world, especially in summer from my front porch. I’ve reminisced about college days, as I realize that attending college in the early 70’s gave me a perspective folks today just cannot match. I mean, going with my sons to tour colleges, and seeing the make-to-order food expected by today’s students vs. the single-line, take it or leave it, offerings we had at our dorm. The contrast is incredible. At least both of my son’s had to share in the experience of not having air conditioning, although I doubt whether their heating system in winter was so effective one had to open the windows to let in some sub-zero air to temper the excessive steam heat.

For the first two years of writing, I participated in the WriterBeat community. This was a wonderful community sponsored by an individual where my writing was guaranteed readership and feedback. I would post in my blog, and immediately post the same piece in WriterBeat. This was an environment where wildly divergent points of view were all equal, and you were mandated to comment on other’s work in order to retain your privilege of posting. Alas, the owner of this community never found a way to monetize it, and so it died. I’ve considered going to Substack, but am still willing to keep this a totally free site, where once per year I have to pay to feed my vanity. I greatly miss the feedback I got from WriterBeat. If folks here would feel freer to comment on my pieces, I would appreciate it and will respond.

I started off by saying my writing often surprises me, since I had no idea I would end up discussing something not even in the front of my mind when I started. Sometimes it is the act of writing that unleashes the thoughts that must have been swimming in my cortex just below the surface. This piece is the exception. I looked back at my five years of writing, and realize I had to discuss just what I get out of keeping up a blog. I’ve worked it out so about a post a week is what I like to do. Just enough to keep my feet wet in the writing world. I hope you enjoy this.