So I go to the corner to buy a racing form. On my way home, a neighbor runs up, shouting: "Your house is on fire!" I smile and tell him that no, it can't be on fire. He is just trying to alarm me, reflecting his lingering malice because my tea roses placed higher than his in the All-Cook County Tea Rose Competition last summer.
"No!" he cries. "Look at the smoke!" And sure enough, big billows of black smoke are rising from the direction of my house, a couple blocks away.
"That's not smoke," I chuckle. "That's just dark clouds. Or if it's smoke, how do I know it's not the house behind mine that's burning? Eh? Besides, what's so bad about a little fire? Happens all the time."
Welcome to America, 2017. As satire does not always scan in a daily newspaper, I hasten to observe that I do not buy the daily racing form, nor cultivate tea roses, and my house did not burn.
It's our nation that is burning. Try to find an area that isn't on fire. Congress pours gasoline on health care for millions of the neediest Americans and keeps striking matches, hoping for a bonfire that'll warm rich people. Our recent presidential election was manipulated by our staunchest enemy. Our nation is grilled by global ridicule, our institutions smeared with soot. The president set in power by that corrupted electoral process is a liar, bully and fraud — and since readers sometimes object at that trio of terms, let me point out that they are not insults, nor even disrespect for the office of president, but dry journalistic description, supported by facts. By "liar," I mean a man who continually tells untruths. By "bully," I mean someone who continually abuses those too weak to defend themselves. And by "fraud," someone who represents himself, again and again, now and in the past, as something he is not, profiting from the gullible, selling empty promises that he cannot fulfill.
If you don't like that description, well, I'm sorry. I don't like it either. But what I like, and what is actually going on in life are two very different things, and it is possible to perceive situations at odds with what you wish were true.
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