Wednesday, November 25, 2020

"I've got a BAD feeling about this..."



     The "Raiders of the Lost Ark" quality of the Trump ordeal, how it keeps coming at you—deadly spikes bursting out of tunnel walls replaced by giant boulder rolling toward you leading to Amazonian tribesmen shooting poisoned arrows—means that the president finally admitting the obvious, that Joe Biden will be sworn in as president Jan. 20, brings only a small frisson of relief and the immediate question, "What's next? What peril is right now zinging in our direction?"
     Will Trump consolidate his stranglehold on the Republican Party? Build his own media juggernaut and stride toward the 2024 campaign? Defect to Russia while babbling secrets? A thousand days of rallies and tweets and rhetorical boulders tossed into the political pond? Or will he, could he possibly, begin to fade, Cheshire-cat like, until there is only that horrible hairdo hovering behind some neglected podium?
     Nah, not that. That isn't how these things work. "Oh look Indy, I guess we got the priceless statue, got away clean and are home free..." Won't happen.
     Will some other Republican lunge to take Trump's place? Is that even possible? That's the question I've been chewing on: Is Trumpism transferable? Can Ted Cruz simply put on a red baseball cap and be worshipped like a little toy god too? That is a risk, but very hard to imagine. Then again, all of this was hard to imagine. But my gut tells me no. To get the momentum Donald Trump did, the running start of Manhattan megalomania and years of reality TV, you have to be Donald Trump. Marco Rubio can't do. Donnie and Eric Trump can't do it. There was a Fox News in 2012, but nobody was shrieking because Mitt Romney touched their hand.
     Then again, all that frenzy, the illusion-based calliope they've built, has to go chugging off in some direction. Conservation of mass, energy. Nothing vanishes in a puff. They aren't going to look at each other, blinking, and suddenly wake up. "What? Where are we? Who? Joe Biden is president? How can we help him move the country forward?" That ain't happening either.
      Earlier this year, I cast Trumpism as an addiction, a damaging compulsion clung to by broken people in full flight from the world of facts. If we keep the addictive mechanism in mind, then the concept of growing tolerance for the substance of choice might be useful. Don't let our craving for moderation, for relief, blind ourselves to how these people function. The dullness of normality, policy, programs is what they're fighting. They need more insanity, not less, to raise a tingle in their blown-out senses. Trump will be replaced with something wilder, grosser, more destructive. Not Ted Cruz but Alex Jones. The crazy will give way to the really crazy.      
     That's fairly terrifying. And a reminder that prediction is pointless. Nobody could have seen the Trump juggernaut in the spring of 2015. Whatever giant spider or six-headed cobra is hurrying our way, we can't really prepare for it, much.
     So, speaking for myself, I plan to enjoy this moment of calm, the part of the movie where the China Clipper is flying along a little dotted line over India, a breather, the naming of governmental officials who aren't bumblers, fanatics and children of president. Given how horrified we were when it seemed like it was never going to happen, we owe it to ourselves to be pleased, for a little while, that it has happened. To sigh, smile, and await what comes next—a dozen assassins with scimitars raised, shouting "Aiyeebah!" and rushing at us from all directions. That sounds about right.

13 comments:

  1. I think Trump's greatest advantage was his absurd, overweening self-confidence, born of overwhelming self-regard. His kind of overconfidence just can't be faked.

    Think about it. Could anyone say that they've done more for "the Blacks" than any president except maybe Abraham Lincoln if they didn't, deep down, believe it? No one could fake a belief in a ridiculous utterance like that. It takes a special personality to say things like that, sincerely believe them, and not come off like the nut who hangs out at the bus depot, bragging about himself to anyone who listens.

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    1. But he *does* "come off like the nut who hangs out at the bus depot, bragging about himself to anyone who listens." The fact that so many Republicans are taken in by his mania doesn't change that. It really seems like many in his cult are experiencing some kind of mass delusion.

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    1. Okay, you're naive. "Public health, immigration..." Are you just not paying attention? It isn't that attempts aren't made to discuss this. It's that the Republicans have hardened into a nihilistic anti-government party that doesn't want the government to do ANYTHING. Don't hate me for being the one to tell you. So in answer to your final question, no, there's not. That's what this crisis is about.

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  3. I really like this quote of yours from about five years ago: "I'm sure, in 500 years, they'll have joined the modern world -- that's what this terror business is all about, the complaint of the sad end of the faith as it's dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century -- and this will all be another ugly bit of history."
    I think the idea could be applied to some folks in the U.S. today. Instead of "terror business" it could be "trump business" or "anti-science stupidity" or something like that.

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  4. Well, Neil, you've outdone yourself by accompanying this post with that photo. When I saw it last night, before the post was up, I thought how interesting it looked -- fortunately, before realizing how it's reminiscent of a certain traitor's coiffure. Didn't really expect that to be what it was doing there, but there you have it. It's cherce, indeed. "Or will he, could he possibly, begin to fade, Cheshire-cat like, until there is only that horrible hairdo hovering behind some neglected podium?"

    "Nobody could have seen the Trump juggernaut in the spring of 2015." True. What's more shocking to me is that, even three weeks ago, I wouldn't have believed some of the recent polling showing how few Republicans are accepting the election results and don't want their American Idol to concede. I mean, I know it's a cult, but sheesh -- how do these people deal with other aspects of reality, for crying out loud?

    That's a fine response to FME, who kinda surprised me with his comment. Evidently, decades of having the goal of your party be to make government small enough to drown it in a bathtub makes some people despise government. Who knew?

    Amazing how the Charlatan-in-Chief has ruined even the relief and enjoyment that should be paramount in seeing him defeated. That being said, the election was decisive enough that his efforts to steal it seem futile. He said that we'd get tired of winning, but when it comes to the victories against him in dozens of court cases, I haven't found that to be the case...

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    1. Thanks Jakash, I was hoping somebody would notice. As for FME, he wants to act like a jerk but not be treated like one, and I'm not letting him have it both ways. I'm all fine for dialogue, obviously. Just not from rebarbative assholes with an axe to grind. He's actually more annoying than the genuine crazies whose emails never get read, because they're talking to themselves, like psychos in a locked ward, which is not too far from the situation. Certain people just skate over the line of acceptability, taking advantage of my generous nature. I don't write this so jerks can reflexively and continually carp at me. I wish FME would understand that.

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    2. Neil if my memory serves you foretold the election of mr. Trump in 2016 at least the possibility . While many others discounted it completely.

      He lost , by 6 million votes. Half of the people that voted for him in 2020 accept the validity of the outcome of the election. Why can't this be a time to put aside the rancor both sides exhibit hear the words of the president elect and move towards a less contentious relationship with others?
      Is that really so aggravating to hear?
      I'm sorry to have the baggage of my previous comments paint every interaction. I am not what you imagine me to be

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    3. Your 10:17 response seemed pretty civil to me. FME asked to be called naive, said something that was naive, and then was called naive. Unfortunately, he's apparently withdrawn his posts, so I imagine this reply to them may not see the light of day. But...

      While I appreciate the concept of working together for the betterment of the nation, Mitch McConnell quite demonstratively does not. And his minions in the Senate continue to kowtow behind him. He still has not acknowledged that we have a new President-elect. How's that for an "us vs them" tone?

      It may be hard for civic-minded folks to imagine that there are few issues that Republicans will compromise on, but it's a fact. And quite an obvious one at this point. How about freaking Merrick Garland, for instance? That choice was actually an attempt by Obama to select a "compromise" justice. How did that work out? Or dozens of lesser judges that were stonewalled, as well.

      When McConnell is willing to say the quiet parts out loud, 2010: "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president." and 2017: "One of my proudest moments was when I told Obama, 'You will not fill this Supreme Court vacancy.'" it's pretty evident how interested in compromise he is.

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    4. There's only one rule here. Don't throw shade on the proprietor. FME doesn't get that, and keeping thinking if he is subtle, or whatever, it'll fly by, and it doesn't. He sent me exactly the kind of aggrieved cri du coeur I don't want. I'm not letting some moldy Bernie Bros. lecture me about political practicality. The rules are simple—you seem to manage, while pointing out bone-headed errors of mine on a daily basis that I thankfully accept and fix. If you did it with an attitude, it would be a different story.

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    5. "you seem to manage"

      Seeing as how I'm more of a jerk than FME, it ain't easy! :)

      "... on a daily basis" LOL!

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  5. So, Mr. S, what exactly is that stuff? Some kind of ornamental grass, from the looks of it. I have some in my yard, and it reaches a height of about five feet.Stays yellow and dead-looking until early June, and then turns green. Gets yellow in the fall and off-white in the winter...but never orange. That's a nice shade of orange. I had a sweet old orange tabby whose fur was the color of that grass.

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