Tuesday, November 3, 2020

The last mile

     Today? You don't have to be Nostradamus to see what's coming. Joe Biden is going to win by a wide majority, the Democrats might even take the Senate too. Whether or not it's "official" by midnight will be a matter of state-by-state logistics. Besides, we'll have the sideshow beginning at 7:01 p.m. EST Donald Trump will throw the mother of all tantrums and dispatch his lawyers all over to, oh, I don't know, sue the United States people for not re-electing him.
     That's what Trump does. Sue and threaten to sue. It won't work this time, but it'll kick up dust.
     Yes, my prediction isn't a 100 percent certainty. All those Americans jamming the polls could be people who simply love what the Donald has done with the coronavirus, all the denial and bumbling, and want four more years just like this. I mean, it's possible. I like to fancy my fellow Americans aren't capable of that. I try, like Anne Frank, to think that people are good at heart.
     Of course look what happened to her.
     I'm most interested in Trump's exit. I keep seeing, in my mind's eye, something like the end of "Angels With Dirty Faces." You might not remember, the 1938 movie where Jimmy Cagney plays Rocky, a tough guy gang leader condemned to die, and the local priest, played by Pat O'Brien, convinces him that, instead of going haughtily to his doom, to fake cowardice, so the kids won't look up to him anymore and follow him into his life of crime. So he trashes his reputation, groveling and begging—"I don't want to die, oh please!!!"— and clinging to a radiator. (At about 3:34 into this clip, if you want to see it).
     It isn't a perfect metaphor, since Cagney is doing something noble, and for Trump nobility is almost a physical impossibility. It'll be the opposite, something venal, genuine groveling and begging and clinging to the radiator of power.
     I can't imagine it otherwise. Trump never for a second considered what is good for the country, and won't start now. The odd thing is, once defeated, leaving with a shred of dignity would ultimately help him. But it's too late for that now.
     The strange thing is his fans will cling to him. They've accepted every whine, whimper and complaint. I heard from enough of them yesterday to know it just flies past them. I kinda feel sorry for them. If things work out the way I anticipate, this will be a frightening and confusing time for them. I hope they work through it. As for the rest of us, well, notice the faces on the press gallery as Rocky starts his act. I figure, watching Trump, our reaction will be something like that. Give the man credit; he will retain his ability to amaze to the bitter end. 


  1. Neil has a bigger heart than I do; not sure I could feel much sorrow for his cult of worshippers if Trump is indeed ousted from the throne. It would be a blessing for them.

  2. Neil, I fear you may have activated the Evil Eye with your boastful comment about the outcome of the election. If Trump wins, it's your fault. I have a nazar (I think that's what they're called) in the form of a necklace which I am wearing today to try to ward off the Evil Eye on your behalf.

    Although I love Cagney and Angels with Dirty Faces, my film comparison is more along the lines of Scarface: Trump as Tony Montana barricaded behind the Resolute Desk piled high with Big Macs, KFC chicken and Diet Coke. Instead of automatic weapons, Trump would be throwing pop cans and chicken legs at the Secret Service as they break in and drag his whiney ass out of the White House.

  3. I won’t feel sorry at all for the trumpers

    1. Me, either!!! Neil, are you out of your mind?? Trump and Trumpers, one of the worst cults, if not THE worst, to come forth in our times!!!

  4. I just hope that the biggest chicken you just counted hatches.

  5. To play Rocky, James Cagney drew on his memories of growing up as a street kid in New York's Yorkville, a tough ethnic neighborhood on the Upper East Side. He was handy with his fists and it shows on-screen. Both Cagney and his Irish father were amateur boxers. His Norwegian mother was the daughter of a ship's captain.

    I first saw that movie as a teen, and Cagney’s performance blew me away. It’s among his best. Father Connolly (Pat O’Brien) pleads with Rocky to "turn yellow" on the walk to his death. Rocky refuses. But just before his execution, he breaks down and begs for his life.

    Viewers have always wondered whether or not Rocky really turned yellow before he was strapped into the electric chair. It is deliberately left unclear whether this cowardice is real, or just feigned for the kids' benefit. Cagney always refused to answer, insisting he liked the ambiguity of it.

    But the New York press buys his act, and they label Rocky Sullivan as nothing more than a blubbering, whimpering candy-ass. Which apparently works, as the kids are scared straight. In 1938 Hollywood, slum kids regularly read the front-page headlines, and not just the box scores.

    In the unlikely event that Trump ever goes to prison, he will need regular changes of clothing, as he will be soiling his orange jumpsuits frequently. The blustering bully will be begging for mercy, as he reverts to the sniveling, whining coward he really is, and always has been. The media could either mock him for the rest of his sorry life, or he could be ignored. That would be much better, as it would hurt his ego the most.


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