That’s a purely rhetorical question. I really don’t want to know. Unfortunately, it is far more than rhetorical for others. For others, how I cast my vote is a defining factor on my worth as a human being. Me not caring how you voted, nor using your voting preference as a means to define, pigeonhole, and classify you is a good thing. If you are one of those who classify folks in that manner, you are engaged in a tragedy you commit against yourself.
I am one of those people who marked a ballot for Donald Trump. That does not mean I like Donald Trump, in fact, I loathed him until such time as it became apparent that I would need to vote for him. I still don’t like him. I regretted having to mark a ballot that favored him, but I disliked him less than Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Dynastic machinations, and the idea that the Presidency of this nation is something that belonged to her by some right of passage, as if it were a hereditary trophy. The idea that, “It’s Time” is abhorrent to me. The truth was and is, “It’s time, if you can get elected.” She believed her own press so much that she neglected the very constituency she expected to elect her. She became the candidate of big banks and Wall Street. She ignored the working class people whom the Democrats had as their base since FDR. She took too much for granted. She got her signals crossed. She deplored those irredeemables she needed to elect her. The popular vote notwithstanding: to suggest that Hillary was ignorant of the electoral college and how the election process worked is to do her an injustice. Yet, she campaigned like the popular vote would get her elected. She had no message. She had no program other than a logo that looked like “This way to the hospital.” As a veteran politician and campaigner, she knew better. She spent too much money on all the wrong polls and believed them. No one understands that better now than Hillary Clinton.
Many people I know and love have made their position clear. Since I voted for Donald Trump, their position is that I am a racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, anti-science, anti-earth, deplorable, irredeemable, fascist, prime example of white privilege, unworthy of the good fortune of having them as a friend. I am a bitter clinger. I am one of those who didn’t build that. Everything I have is actually a gift from government, but I am too ignorant to understand that, and so ignorant that I vote against my own interests. Others are far more capable of knowing what it is that I really need, and I am a dullard who lives in a shit-hole of a town, community, and state and need to move to the big city and abandon this fly-over area I call home. Such is what I have heard from those smarter and better educated than me. I am not in a position to argue rationally against them. I am a simpleton. I am discountable. I am demographically obsolete.
Donald Trump is still the President-Elect. He is not the President, yet, though I read an op-ed by the clairvoyant savant, Paul Krugman, of the failure of Trump’s economic policy. Mr. Krugman, we don’t know yet that Trumps’ economic policy has failed, or that it will fail. Trump has no policy in place, yet, to succeed or fail. Paul Krugman must stay relevant, or at least he wants to stay relevant as he sees irrelevance gaining on him. Every glance in the rear-view mirror brings him terrifying visions of irrelevance…the worst possible fate for any pundit.
The twists and turns of this election cycle, and post-election season are remarkable. The things I heard decried yesterday are embraced today. They things embraced yesterday are called dastardly today. It’s hard to keep up. It’s bewildering to keep up. It’s impossible to keep up if one has a memory.
I don’t care who you sleep with. I don’t care who you are married to. I don’t care what religion you are, or that you have no religion at all. God does not require us to believe in Him. He allows us that choice, or we allow ourselves that choice…you decide which.
I do care which restroom you use, but the easy solution is to make all future restrooms unisex singles. I think women would prefer this. I think men would prefer this. I do not know what transsexuals prefer, other than they are bound to prefer to be treated with the respect due all human beings. I will grant them that. They are due that. If they want more than that, then they are on their own. If there is truly anything such as a safe space, a rest room should certainly be among the top of the list of the safest.
Some of the best friends I have ever had are politically diametrically opposite of me. We are all still friends, at least those who count. The acquaintances, those I don’t know so well…well, they don’t matter much at all since I have little or no intercourse with them. It is puzzling to me, though, that among those I do know and love, that they would hold such an extremely intolerant position as to publicly state that we can no longer be friends, that for them to remain my friend means that they are supporting fascism. I reject that notion. I think in their heart of hearts they do, too. They haven’t thought this through. They need to sleep on it and give it another whirl in the morning.
The success or failure of a Donald Trump Presidency remains to be seen. There is no doubt that Donald Trump’s buffoonery will keep him in hot water with the media, but he is destined to be stewing in the media cauldron anyway, particularly since his apparently thin skin forces him to take to Twitter to denounce every perceived slight. There is too much media if you ask me…too instant, too easy to make permanent gaffes, too easy to go off half-cocked, half-baked, overwhelmed by the underwhelming.
Perhaps this is one thing wrong with the country…the media has unlimited access to the President, and he to it. Perhaps it were better if the media only had access to cabinet heads and White House spokespersons, with the President reserving media access to occasional press conferences, particularly when major events unfold. Perhaps we would fare better with a less visible president. Perhaps we would respect the office more were it a bit more inaccessible. If I were the President, I’d keep the media at a distance, since the main goal of the media is ratings, not veracity. Sometimes the truth will fit in one paragraph and is not nearly so interesting as the falsity of speculation that surrounds it. As for the media traveling with the President on Air Force One, I’d stop that immediately and permanently. I’d say, “Get there the best way you can.” A free and independent media is important to the health of the nation. Furnishing the media jet-rides to every presidential event is not. In former times, the media used reporting from their local affiliates on the scene, but this does not contribute to the cult of media stardom. When reporters become stars, they want to remain so. They can only do that by keeping their ratings up. They can only keep their ratings up by making headlines, themselves.
Welcome, diverse Americans. I appreciate your diversity as long as there is room in it for me, for any diversity that excludes me is not very diverse; it is the inverse of diverse. Diversity that excludes dissenting voices is not diversity at all, and to claim it as such is a Machiavellian invention, a colossal Orwellian double-speak. We live in trying times, but we live in these trying times together. Honest men have honest disagreements. We should welcome them, not stifle them.
Good luck Donald Trump. Good luck nation.
And Best Wishes, Rosie O’Donnell. May you never experience the martial law you are calling for. The idea that if things don’t go my way, a bit of convenient martial law will straighten them out is at the very core of fascism. There is no convenient martial law…ask Robispierre. Rosie O’Donnell is not a fascist. She is, however, at best, confused. I hope 2017 brings her some peace and clarity.
The pendulum, having reached it’s nine o’clock zenith, now begins its swing back towards three. Maybe while it’s near the six, we can get some things done as a nation. Maybe for a short spell we can all be Americans again. Maybe then, I’ll no longer feel like I need to start identifying myself as an Anglo-Southern-Scots-Irish-American. But America is demanding tribalism even as it demands globalism, an oxymoronic dichotomy of gigantic proportion. If we are not careful, tribalism is what we will get. No one really wants that to go any further down the road than it already has. It has gone so far as to be nearly beyond recall now.
I don’t want tribal. I just want American.
If being an American with his own mind makes me unfit for your friendship, then you have fewer friends than you thought and more than you deserve, and their number is shrinking. Look around….where did they go? Being a member of an invented micro-tribe is filled with the all the wonders of self-congratulatory accolades that have as much significance as a little league spirit award. Shine yours up and place it on the mantle for everyone to see. The Hollywood folks whose lives differ so much from yours, who claim to speak on your behalf, will invite you over to their house for dinner, asking you to bring your trophy over so they can compare it with their Golden Globes, their Grammys, their Oscars. You won’t even have to go to Canada to visit them. Madonna has a palace in Britain (Why does she not stay there?). George Clooney has an estate on Lake Como in Italy (Why does he not stay there?). The formerly American/turned-citizens-of-the-world still depend on America for the bulk of their income. And the attendees at Davos really care deeply about you and your personal problems as they divide the world up among themselves, carving out their favorite pieces, devouring them and leaving us consigned as subjects in William Blake’s Pandemonia, the palace reserved for Hell’s worst demons and we little people, the unpretty, the unwashed, ignorant deplorables. You might be surprised to find yourself there, thinking yourself immune. I suspect a lot of the citizens of Pandemonia never thought of themselves as candidates for its free housing program. The thing you long for can be the very thing that consumes you as it consumes others. The wood chipper cannot differentiate between a gum tree log and your leg; either is easily consumed if caught up in its feeder.
Leona Helmsley, before she passed away, traded a palace for a federal detention center. “Only the little people go to prison,” she likely never said, though it is recorded that she said, “Only the little people pay taxes.” My what hubris! And Hillary will likely be offered and accept a pardon the last day before Obama leaves office, not for the unauthorized e-mail server and mis-handling of classified information, a mere distraction, but the far more nefarious pay-to-play activities of the Clinton Foundation. If no pardon is offered, then Obama will be telling the world what he really thinks of Hillary Clinton. I am curious to see how this plays out, but no more curious that Hillary, I suppose.
Thank you, thinking friends of non-like minds. I am a better person because of you. Let’s go and get a hot dog and a beer, and bemoan all the assholes who are too sanctimonious to join us. When we go for the beer, I don’t want one of the trendy, skunky craft beers that taste awful to me, similar, perhaps, to the taste one might expect of mule piss, or that of Russian prostitutes. I’d rather have a plain old-fashioned, cheap Miller High Life, a Budweiser, or even better, a full pint of tepid, slightly flat, draft Pabst Blue Ribbon in a paper cup, the paper walls of the cup so thin that you have to drink the beer in a hurry lest it leak straight through.
The nation’s exceedingly dark troubles seem to have coincided with the decline of Falstaff beer and radio broadcast major league baseball on hot Saturday afternoons. The American spirit died with Dizzy Dean, Curt Gowdy, Red Barber, and the three dollar stadium ticket. We now move at the speed of internet whimsy, not at the speed of a well-managed, bull-pen emptying late-inning baseball game.
It is the bottom of the ninth. The bases are loaded. The score is tied. There’s two outs and a full count. I wonder just how many more balls the batter can foul off before the game is over. Apparently, several more. We’re just a wild pitch or a true swing of the bat away from winning or losing, or a swing and a miss for another inning. Who are you rooting for?
I’ve got my money on the home team.
I go back to Houston on January 29. The ruxolitinib is doing its job remarkably well, as least as far as how it’s making me feel. The bio-chemistry of it is another thing entirely. We shall see.
I am thankful to be a witness to 2017. May it be a year of tolerance for the things that should be tolerated, and rejection of those things which are simply intolerable. It sure is a matter of great debate about what is and isn’t. There should be. May there always be.
Now, pour up another Pabst as we get set to enjoy the second game of the double header.
©2017 Mississippi Chris Sharp