Monthly Archives: June 2018

Civility Is Not A Smiley Face

We do not now, and we never did live in Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. Though he tried very hard and we parents of the late 60s and early 70s give our kids over to his tutelage for hours each week, the world of Brockett’s Bakery is in the World of Make Believe and Mr. Trolley can no longer transport us there.

There is no zip-up cardigan for us to slip into as we don our blue sneakers to leave our work-a-day world to create a world safe for children. We live in a world where children are forcibly taken from parents and kept in chain-link enclosures. We live in a world where the bakery down the street can refuse to bake a wedding cake with two men or two women atop it because the marital status of the customers offends the religious sensibility of the baker. We live in a world where parents need to explain to their children what the President means when he says on TV that he has grabbed them by their ‘pussy.’ We live in a world where it would take Mr. Rogers several episodes to help the audience understand that when the President tells things that have no basis in fact, that he is telling a lie. No, we do not have to pretend that Prince Tuesday is having scary dreams. The nightmare a substantial number of us are having is not pretend.

And no, Donny, we do not “like you, just the way you are!” One of Fred Rogers quotes is simply not true when it comes to you; “One of the greatest gifts you can give is the gift of your honest self…” Your honest self, Mr. President is an embarrassment, and an offense to decency and civility. I am not talking about conservative policies with which many of us disagree, I am speaking about you, you as a person.

It is true that we did once have a President elected from Ohio who had a private nom de guerre for his penis, I think he called it ‘Jerry,’ and it is true that one of our assassinated leaders is reported to have had affairs aplenty, but you sir, ‘take the cake.’ A minority of us in this country elected you, Donald, to the highest office in the land, but now all of us are stuck with a moral low-life.

But to stop the ad hominem nature of this piece and get back to the nightmare, your policies are as immoral as your character. Your tax bill feeds the bloated wealthy. Your foreign trade ideas undermine American industry in the short and long run. Your flirtation with foreign oligarchs and despots is egomania disguised as foreign policy. Your immigration policies are counter-productive to the future of our society, contrary to our national principles and inhumane.

Come mid-terms, Mr. McFeely and many of us, I hope this time a majority, will not be singing to you and yours, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.”


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Recurring Parasite Infections

My local newspaper carried an interesting account this morning. Guinea Worm, almost obliterated by the Carter Foundation’s eradication program, except in a couple of countries, is back and dangerous. In an African country or two, apparently dogs are being infested, perhaps from drinking water infested with Guinea Worm eggs or eating entrails cast aside from fish taken from infested waters. The worry is that it is nearly impossible to eradicate such a parasite from an animal vector as it can readily spread to other animals and then back again to humans.

As I read the article, the implications took on a metaphoric meaning.

What the Trump Cult reveals, I think, is that an ugly Fascist, racist, nationalist ideology we had hoped had been eliminated, like an almost eradicated parasite, has reappeared and is infesting or has lain dormant in a significant number of the populace.

This ugly ideology that we hoped had been severely curtailed in our American society in recent years, seems to have a public outbreak again. It would seem that its incidence had been lowered, at least in polite society, until the Big Dog in a kennel on Pennsylvania Avenue in D.C. has given evidence of being infected. The feces tweeted by the Great Golden Canine has infected a tribe in our society, apparently genetically prone to such outbreak.

Ninety percent of the Republican Party applauds and supports the Top Dog. Yes, they admit, he is unruly, does not heel readily and is not quite house-trained, but they love him anyhow. He is after all, their Best-of-Show breed and he does perform as they expect in the show arena to the roar of crowds. It seems that they really expect there to be a Red Wave of parasitic infestation to follow in the months ahead.

Apparently total eradication of painful parasites is nearly impossible. It is too bad there is not a political analogy to The Carter Foundation that can focus on ridding our country of this plague.



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Credit Where Credit Is Due

“That’s the real news here, a profound example of risking peace instead of war, and it should be celebrated in a nonpartisan spirit as a victory for sanity in world politics, whatever one’s prejudice against President Trump.” So says Robert Sheer, editor in chief of Truthdig. It is very difficult for me to get beyond my prejudice against President Trump (my keyboard even trembles when I try to write those words), but Sheer is insightful. I didn’t like Nixon either, but he did open China to the West in our time.

If I thought that Trump’s purpose was to risk peace, I’d agree wholeheartedly with Sheer. There is little evidence though, from observing past behavior of Trump to think that his motive is the achievement of anything but his own aggrandizement. There is nothing to indicate that Trump has any goal or purpose except to bolster his own wealth and his sense of self-importance.

If the recent photo op in Singapore is the beginning of a significant change in the 70 year old oppressive regime of the Kim family in North Korea, a measure of sanity may well characterize the summit. There have been other beginnings with the Kim regime, only to result in their being seen for their lack of trust and fidelity. If this time it is different, perhaps the latest Kim is a sign of change for the better.

So far though the people of North Korea and the world are being given the picture, through Kim regime news sources, that the latest Kim is a peer in the arena of super powers and diplomacy. His family has coveted that status for the seven decades of its existence. Let us all hope that there is more than personal aggrandizement on the North Korean side of the Singapore weekend.


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