Fly High the Flag

A crowd, maybe even millions crammed into the hanger in Florida, so many that they spilled across vast spaces. A feisty, pout-faced little man shouted about freedom and jobs and about disasters in Sweden. Never mind that no one in that country had a clue about his reference, we all know that a mere mention of Scandinavian Socialism  sparks vitriol in nearly everyone’s heart.

There was no ‘Hakenkreuz,’ no Swastika, but you could almost hear the drum-beat of the ‘Horst Wessel Song,’ the anthem of National Socialism until 1945. The words of the song were subtly alluded to:

Die Fahne hoch!
   [Fly high the Flag!]
Die Straße frei den braunen Batallionen.
   [Free the streets for the Brown Battalions.]
 Die Straße frei dem Sturmabteilungsmann!
   [Free the streets for the StormTroopers!]
 Es schau'n aufs Hakenkreuz voll Hoffnung schon Millionen.
   [Almost millions look with hope to the Swastika.]
Der Tag für Freiheit und für Brot bricht an!
   [The Day of Freedom and Bread (jobs) is coming!]

Our sad little man, like one years ago before him, would be a buffoon were he not in a position to wield such power. One can only suppose that like the moustache-faced, sad little man before him, our sad little man will precipitate his own downfall.

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The Great and Glorious Day

H.L. Mencken wrote “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” Ahh, Mencken was prescient!

Many almost-such-auspicious days have come and gone, I do not doubt, but at last, and alas, it appears that Mencken’s ‘great and glorious day’ has arrived in its fullest bloom. President 45 was elected by less than a majority of the popular vote, but that still leaves just under half of the country with their heart’s desire in office. Granted that is not all the ‘plain folks of the land’ but enough to cause a disaster. Granted also that Donald J. Trump has demonstrated acumen and some intellect in his life, he is nonetheless a moron in his current status as a political operative and President.

Nixon was much more politically savvy. He knew how to lie and manipulate public opinion to his benefit. Except that Nixon’s subordinates employed some amateur scofflaws to spy on Nixon’s political opponents, Nixon was able to surround himself with a staff fairly competent at focusing on his objectives.

# 45 is not so able. Yes, he lies and attempts to manipulate news, and even promulgates fake-news, but he cannot seem to do it successfully. 45’s staff are apparently among the least capable in recent memory to manage a transition into office effectively and in their elect’s best interest.

Were this moron’s only effect to embarrass himself, who would care? But this incompetent sits at the desk of real world power!

The future of a safe world and American democracy depends upon this ‘great and glorious day’ being an exceptionally short one. We can only hope that Democrats in office relentlessly push investigations, so that the sun sets soon.

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On Being Granted an Extension

During my professional education (post baccalaureate) there was a class for which I could not finish a final project. I requested an extension so that I could prolong my grading period to finish the work.

I’ve been pondering a similar strategy at this stage of my life. Having lived a bit more than three-quarters of a century, the final exam cannot be all that far into the future, can it? If only there were some possibility of a period of extension that I could count on before the finals!

My justification for such a request seems to me to make sense. Having lived to be seventy-six, soon to be seventy-seven, I was born during the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. That I began under FDR and have to end under DJT seems a great deal more inconvenience, even suffering, than a person my age should have to bear.

If an extension is not a possibility, I would be equally happy with an impeachment.

By the way, I did not finish that project for which I had taken an ‘Incomplete” all those years ago and as a result, failed the course. On taking the class the following semester, I ‘aced it’, but my GPA suffered.

Since there is not really a possibility for a new semester that is likely to be offered just because I want it, I really would prefer an impeachment.

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die Weiße Rose

Image result for White Rose Society

In 1943 a small group of student-activists known as The White Rose (die Weiße Rose), were arrested and summarily executed. Their horrendous, traitorous crime was to author and distribute pamphlets, in their university town and across southern Germany, in opposition to Hitler’s Third Reich. Twenty-two year old Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans were among the first beheaded.

Though the efforts of us bloggers and those of us who are organizing to resist the Trump administration agenda hardly measure up to the patriotism and courage of die Weiße Rose, it is not much of a stretch to liken the POTUS tweets to Adolph’s fragile narcissism.

When, with a friend, we first proposed a group locally to resist the Trump agenda, I put forward “Sophie’s League” as our name, after the 1943 martyrs, my friend helped me see that few would recognize the significance of the name and that I was inflating the significance of our group by reference to die Weiße Rose.

Agreed, compared to the historical significance of resistance to Nazism, our efforts pale. It is nonetheless an honor to step into the very long line of opposition to the megalomania of a tyrant and fool.

The square in which the memorial, bronze pamphlets scattered across the cobblestone, can be found now bears the name  Geschwister-Scholl-Platz (“Scholl Siblings Square”) in Munich, Germany. Here Sophie is said to have tossed a handful of pamphlets into the air as the Gestapo approached to arrest them.

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The View from Mt. Nebo

If you are at all familiar with the story of Moses in the Book of Exodus in the ‘Hebrew Bible,’ The Torah, you’ll know that Moses’ view from Mt. Nebo was a bit disappointing. It was there that YHWH informed him that he’d have to view the Promised Land from afar, that he wasn’t going to make it there.

In the past week, the longing that must have weighed heavily on Moses has been somewhat familiar to me. It is very possible that I too just might die before I can enter the land of my hope. I am 76 ½ years old and even without a second term on Trump’s part, I could die while he is in office. OMG, I was born under FDR and could die under DJT!

Not if I can help it! So I hear of INDIVISIBLE, an idea, becoming a movement, that invites/urges old-timers like me and, in fact concerned citizens of all ages, to resist the authoritarianism, racism, white-nationalism, misogyny, etc of the Trump administration, at my local level. I download the INDIVISIBLE strategy from their website. It really makes sense. It should; it is offered by ex-staffers from the Obama years who saw the devastating effect of the Tea Party offensive against each and every progressive idea and invites Progressives to organize in a similar way wherever we are.

So tonight at 7:00pm a dozen or so folks are going to gather in our living room with this mission: “on behalf of the citizens of the US 4th Congressional District, to plan for and take actions with regard to 4th US District Member of Congress, James Jordan, and our US Senators, Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown, to resist any and all anti-Progressive policies and actions of the Trump administration.”

I am determined to do all that is within my capabilities to assure that I do not die during the reign of the current POTUS. That he is POTUS, I neither doubt nor deny, but he is not my President. I pledge allegiance to the flag and its republic, not to its President. I was not born under FDR, did not cross the bridge with Dr. King the weekend that Viola Liuzzo was assassinated by the Klan, oppose the Vietnam War, only to live long enough to have to endure more than one term of Trumpism.

Of course, I am fully aware that I have nothing to say about when/where I shall die, even though my current health does not cause me alarm. But I pledge whatever healthy life is mine and my meager resources to resist Trump.

I was once a Protestant pastor, but that Church left me long ago, to be overwhelmed by christo-fascists. I will oppose them and resist them at every opportunity.

I may not get to the Promised Land and my view may remain from here on Mt. Nebo, but all my effort will go to seeing that you do not have to gaze from here long.

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A Fantasy

At last, I’ve realized what’s wrong with our president-elect! It is the only explanation for his childish behavior. Donald Trump is a victim of progeria, the genetic disorder that causes premature aging in children. He is really only a nine year old but just appears, due to the disease, to be almost an aging adult. I’d have to re-check the puckered gold-fish mouth syndrome to see if that is typical of clinical signs of the disease. There is hardly anything else to find as a rational explanation for his ongoing preoccupation with electronic game-playing (Tweeting at all hours of the night) and his incessant insistence that he is first and best and yugely important and successful.

Alas, children of all ages are fascinated with the wonderful world of Alice in Wonderland.” “‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.’ ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.” ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master—that’s all.'”

Oh Dear, I’ve just realized that Donald  Trumpty is really Humpty Dumpty. His words, in fact, his reality, is what he chooses it to mean!

TRMS, i.e., Rachel Madow, gave ample evidence last evening that the Trumpsters, i.e., Donald Trump supporters are living in an alternate-universe. Their universe does not admit to facts; they acknowledge only what they are a priori convinced is truth. Any contradiction to their pre-conceived trumpful-truthfulness, or truthful-trumpfulness, is prima facie evidence of ‘libral’ falsehood.

So, it should surprise no one that the release of information, by the CIA, that hacking from sources high in the Russian government to undermine the recent US election and nudge the election toward The Donald, will be tweeted aside as more ‘libral’ propaganda. So, ‘The Master of Words,’ Humpty Trumpty has spoken. The truth means, neither more nor less, than what he chooses it to mean.

Oh, what a fantastic administration this is going to be!!

 

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A New National Anthem?

[no little credit is due to a post last March – https://toritto.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/trumpism/]

 

Tweets front and center, all informing,

Trump-Pence are making us so great again.

Those left behind by liberal globalization

parade with us among our ranks to win.

 

Jobs and goods for all our left-out brethren,

voices not muted by political correctness.

Millions, full of hope, look up at our banner;

The time is now for better things to come.

 

It’s now or never, too soon our chance may disappear;

We’ll not give up our privileged circumstances.

Trump-flags must festoon every street and corner;

Foreigners must never ever triumph here.

 

Tweets front and center all informing,

Trump-Pence are making us so great again.

Fellows left behind by liberal globalization

parade with us among our ranks to win.

 

can be sung to “How Great Thou Art” or “The Horst Wessel Song”

not familiar  with “Die Horst Wessel Lied” of German National Socialism, i.e. Nazis

listen here      http://www.anesi.com/east/horstw.wav

 

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Drain the Swamp?

Well, maybe The Donald is on the look-out for alligators and other crocodillians, but he seems to have missed a few reptilian threats. Help me with this, will you? Nominating one of the DeVos clan, archetypal anti-public-school champions, to be Education Secretary is a part of a swamp-clearing effort? Apparently one man’s swamp is another’s backyard water-feature. Or to switch homey metaphors, how could a fox more plainly be assigned to the hen house? And then there is Jefferson [Davis, Confederate States President] Beauregard [Pierre Gustave Toutant-Beauregard, Confederate General] Sessions as Attorney General. The “N-word” is a part of that man’s everyday vocabulary; he doesn’t bother confining it to the locker room. Of all the slithering varmints, I’d prefer to keep that kind of venomous creature out of my water-feature and swamp.

So, help me understand this! As one of the majority of voters who thought Hillary, though not the very, very best choice, was one hell of a lot better than The Donald, yes, as one of the defeated … how am I being encouraged to give this man, our President-elect some space? His choices, so far, seem to have much, much less to do with better wages and a better life for a forgotten and neglected middle-America and much,much more to do with forwarding an alt-right, racist, anti-democratic (note small ‘d’) agenda.

Calvin Trillin seems to have struck the proverbial nail correctly again:

The résumé shows Muslim-hating? Good.
Misogyny? That wins some points for men.
And bashing immigrants is quite a plus.
The model here is Jean-Marie Le Pen.  (The Nation, Nov. 17, 2016, ‘Applying for a White House Job’)

OMG, where is Rod Serling when we need him? Who would have thought that The Donald, when he said that he would serve ‘all of us,’ as our President, was really thinking of a recipe book?!

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We’ve Danced This Dance Before?

Don’t worry, ‘we have danced this dance before,’ contends Zachary Karabel, writer for the Washington Post in an article that drew my attention in the Sunday, November 20, 2016 Columbus [Ohio] Dispatch. Karabel denigrates the liberal hue and cry that this election portends the ‘end of our republic.’ (The Columbus Dispatch, Section H, Sunday, November 20, 2016)

He reminds us that the same liberal wail was heard following the elections of Nixon and Reagan. “And yet here we are, decades later, still enamored with the republic they were sure was doomed.” “If the past is at all prologue, we will find that the sum of all our fears amounts to far less than many of us now believe.”

Yes, we are still a republic after Nixon and Reagan. After Nixon, we are a republic profoundly changed by the ‘Southern Strategy’ of the Richard Nixon-Kevin Phillips campaign that reinforced the political South in its indelible racially biased stain. Apparently the normalization of racism is OK? I do not find such racism a norm by which I want my republic measured.

Yes, we are still a republic following Ronald Reagan’s role, playing a statesman and leader of the Free World. It was not however, an Oscar-worthy performance, and it left our republic a lesser institution. Are we a stronger republic for Reagan, as President-elect, actively undermining the foreign policy of his predecessor? Are we a better republic for Reagan’s having cooperated/approved supplying arms to Contras in the Nicaraguan war? Well, that is the normalization of our republic left in Reagan’s wake.

The Reagan Legacy is a republic with a norm that applauds/approves the invasion and destruction of a country and culture based upon lies and fabrications regarding weapons of mass destruction. That is not the normal that assures me that I have less to fear from a diminished republic.

Karabe says that Trump has ‘tapped into a dark anger to an exceptional degree,’ but doubts this will lead down the “ugly road’ of earlier times and other countries. As an assurance that such is a mere possibility but not a probability, Karabe ends on the cheery note that ‘we have danced this dance before.”

A danse macabre  is hardly a reassuring image. It is a rite to drive home our fragile mortality, as individuals and republics.

 

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Whence Bends the Arc of Justice

Populism is a political construct in which it is asserted that ordinary people, regular people, have the right to order and control their own lives. Such an idea is not a bad one, with a provision or two, i.e., that regular people are committed to the common good and that this commitment is expressed by a homogeneous populace.

Ours is not such a populace. We are an amalgam of nativist, racist, self-interested, uneducated, educated, non-nativist, non-racist, other-regarding cultures, enclaves and geopolitical groupings. There is no such thing as American exceptionalism. We are like every other human population, a motley collection of diverse morals, abilities and interests struggling for 240 years to become a nation the ideal of which always looms beyond our reach. We do, from time to time, make progress in moving closer to that ideal but we also easily achieve a retrograde motion. That such inching backward is possible is now the threshold on which we stand.

The campaign rhetoric of our president-elect gave permission to nativist, racist and sexist elements among us regular people to voice fear, anger and bias and in doing so revealed the ugly truth about us that we’d prefer lay hidden. When we awakened Wednesday, November 9th, the only thing that had changed was that we could no longer deny America’s embarrassing identity. But no one familiar with Howard Zinn’s “People’s History of the United States” should have been all that surprised or shocked. Ours has always been an uphill effort to find the moral high ground. The arc bends toward justice only when we pull the bow in that direction. To suppose otherwise is magical thinking.

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