Monday, December 16, 2019

Don't despair


     Now I'm as proud a liberal Democrat as they come. "The king of left-wing lunacy in the Windy City" Breitbart News called me waaaaay back in 2010, to my button-popping pride.
     But we do have a defeatist streak, no doubt developed after, you know, losing so much. Every victory from the Civil War to Civil Rights carries with it its own jaw-drawing backwash, a Thermidor where advances are undone, achievements are blunted, and if things don't quite entirely go back to where they were before our supposed triumph, they get damn close. Barack Obama being the latest example, the avatar of cool American intellectualism and weep-with-you compassion, the living embodiment of our national triumph over our grim racist past, ends up the midwife delivering the viscous monstrosity of the Trump era, squalling and puckering, flapping and flailing, half human, half your worst nightmare made flesh. Thanks Obama!
      
     So perhaps it is natural, particularly after Trump's English doppelganger, Boris Johnson, crushed his opponent last week, that a certain By The Waters of Babylon We Sat Down And Wept quality has entered into Democratic discourse, the crux being that we're staring four more years of Trump in the face as the Democratic field of contenders try to decide if they're imitating a Three Stooges short or the final scene of a Keystone Kops two-reeler.
    If he wins again, the logic goes, the American Dream is Over. The fabric of civil society, permanently torn asunder.
    "When I contemplate the sort of illiberal oligarchy that would await my children should Donald Trump win another term," Michelle Goldberg writes in the Times. "the scale of the loss feels so vast that I can barely process it."
     Really? Because last time I looked six of Trump's closest allies are either in prison or on their way. I'm not saying that the election of Donald J. Trump, by 3 million fewer votes than were cast for Hillary Clinton let it never be forgotten, was not a terrible thing for this country, or that all sorts of terrible repercussions are not taking place. What I'm saying is, this isn't our first brush with trouble. We've endured shit before.  
    Like what? Take your pick. Attacked by an axis of Japan, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. That looked bad, in 1942. A grim McCarthyite witch hunt 10 years later. A bloody war in Southeast Asia 10 years after that, in which—in case you forgot—57,000 young Americans died. That's a lot of Americans, and as visceral a shame as Donald Trump represents, and as much as I hope that every supporter lives to kneel weeping and clawing his face on the rail of regret for so mindlessly backing a mendacious moron, it ain't as bad as those young lives snuffed out. Ten years after Vietnam began ramping up, Watergate, and a president we thought was the nadir of loathsomeness at the time, the respect for government that hadn't been killed by Vietnam snuffed out, ushering the mushy moralizing of Jimmy Carter.
    What I'm saying is, the United States has been through a lot, and might have a bit more resilience than we are giving her credit for. And we still have a lot on our side. The free press is still free. All the "fake news" horseshit that runs out of Trump's mouth in a diarrheal stream hasn't changed that, yet. We've still got laws. The rest of the world sees our shame very clearly—even his buddy Johnson kept Trump at an arm's distance, worried about his fatal embrace. Let's not throw in the towel quite yet.
    I haven't given up on 2020. I'm hoping that the Dems offer up a candidate able to withstand the blast of the worst Donald Trump and his Droid Army of Treasonous Twits can throw at him, or her. But if America loses again in 2020 and an all Republican Congress changes the Constitution so that Trump can serve a third term in 2025 and his disembodied head preserved in a jar of nutrients can serve after that, then America will somehow right itself and recover. Germany got over 12 years of Hitler. We'll get over four or eight or however many years Trump will continue to hold 42 percent of the country in a mesmeric trance. 
     What's the alternative? And besides, if a few Twitter bites from a human flea like Trump can infect the entire American system, then we weren't that hardy to begin with. I don't believe it.  Being liberal, I believe in truth, honesty, courage, democracy, government, patriotism, diversity, compassion, and I believe in the essential bedrock durability of the American dream. They are hardy and will survive. We will hock out this mouthful of poison, one way or another.  Be patient, work hard and don't give up.

14 comments:

  1. I need to hear these thoughts every so often. Thanks.

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  2. And buy a cheesecake for crisakes.

    john

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  3. "How small, of human hearts endure,
    That part which laws or kings
    Can cause or cure." Dr. Johnson

    Tom

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  4. Amen!

    And to quote from the Simpsons,
    Bart: This has been the worst day of my life!
    Homer: So Far!

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  5. Thank you. This is a tonic and a call to arms. If we concede the Executive branch, mistrust the Judicial post Kavanaugh- let's bear down on the Senate for some checks and balances. If the dems are happy playing whack a mole- let's go rogue and end McConnell's majority reign.

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  6. I cannot agree that Germany got over 12 years of Hitler. Europe, in fact, has never been the same. Not that I have any idea what it was like in 1933. Having lived in Europe, from time to time, I have only seen glimpses of the beauty that had been, and that will never be again. The mountains are still in Bavaria. I'm not sure what I believe in anymore, but I am certain that each day Trump remains in office he is a grave danger to our nation and the world. We must not give up; we must never give up when evil reigns.

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  7. Good column.

    I remember when Ronald Reagan was considered a right-wing nutjob, a buffoon who thought pollution is caused by trees and that the solution to the Vietnam War was to pave North Vietnam and put parking stripes on it. I remember being horrified at his election and wondering if the Republic would survive. It did, which makes me more benign about the Age of Trump.

    OTOH, there's a direct line from Reagan to Trump (entertainers as presidents), so Reagan managed ongoing harm to America in that way.

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  8. Where are the Conservative leaders of stature, with no further electoral future, to speak loudly with reason about the idiot dragging down their party. Bush I can almost understand the traditional Presidents lay off Presidents tradition. Colin Powell though owes it to the American public to speak out, if only to atone for his WMD lies for W.

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  9. Germany didn't get over 12 years of Hitler without being liberated and occupied by allied forces in the West and totalitarian Russia in the East. If the same happens in the U.S., I only hope my sector is occupied by Canada, France or Germany. I would have included Britain in that list but not after Bojo's horrifying victory in the election.

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  10. I think some of your postings on this subject were made with you in a bit of a dark mood, so I was happy to read today's offering. I also have a tendency to drift off into the morose and need a kick in the pants every now and then. Mark me as kicked. Thanks, Neil.

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  11. Face it...most folks who call themselves Democrats are in a dilemma that needs to be resolved very soon. Our hearts are not young and gay, so that eliminates Boot Edge Edge. And Sanders is too radical, a New Yorker, and Jewish, so there goes Bernie. The rest of them? Just an afterthought...if that.

    That leaves us with either Warren-Biden...or Biden-Warren. The first choice will alienate too many voters, who will see her as too far left and something of a Hillary Lite. Biden is a decent and good man, and he has the experience...decades of it. While Biden has plenty of negatives, I cannot help but see him as Obi-Wan, our only hope. Of course, I'm more than a wee bit biased, as I've been ridin' with Biden for a good five years now. Me love you long time, Joe.

    And putting Warren on the ticket might just keep the Bernie Bros and the ultra-progressives from repeating 2016, when they either stayed home, voted for T-Rump out of spite, or threw their votes away by wasting it on some fringe candidate. If they do that again, they'll cost the Good Guys just enough votes to keep this nightmare alive until 2025, or worse.

    Can Good Old Joe withstand the barrage of shit that the GOP would fling at him? I believe he could...and would. He would not only take it, but he'd throw it right back in Filthy McNasty's orange face. Joe vs. Schmoe, if it happens, will be the dirtiest, sleaziest, most violent, and worst campaign of our lives...and I'm including 1968 here, which I lived through and took part in, at 21, and which was pretty awful. There will be blood.

    And I really have to wonder what will happen if the GOP wins again. People laugh at the idea of Version 2.0 and say that the tires that still hold the American bus on the road will not blow out, or skid over a cliff, because of one lunatic driver at the wheel. But I'm not laughing a whole lot. Twenty-twenty could easily be eighteen-sixty, all over again.

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    1. I'm not laughing either, Grizz, here's why. Republicans don't just disagree with Democrats, they do not believe in democracy.

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    2. There was a story going around that Biden promised he wouldn't seek a second term if he won the nomination and became POTUS. He has since denied ever saying that, but if he did it, his chances for victory would substantially increase.

      Four years of a return to normalcy, with 46 trying to clean up the wreckage, followed by someone more liberal, like V-P Warren, or even Pete. Then perhaps there'd be a lot more hope that our trolley won't leave the rails.

      The alternative is four more years of drinking Orange Crush--or worse yet, if he's finally carried off in a rubber truck, Forty-and-Sixpence.

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