Lindsey’s Looming Loss: A Lesson on Loyalties

Whatever traits Lindsey Graham may possess, character, integrity and honesty are NOT among them. Our friend Jerry over at On the Fence Voters compares him to a ‘remora’, sometimes known as a suckerfish, and the comparison is apt, as Jerry will show us. Thanks, Jerry, for this spot-on post!

On The Fence Voters

Poor Lindsey Graham; he’s facing a legitimate—and downright tough—challenge for his seat in the U.S. Senate. The Republican senior senator from South Carolina recently bemoaned on a Fox News interview, “I’m being killed financially. This money is because they hate my guts.”

Graham’s Democratic opponent, Jaime Harrison, has raised $3.5 million in campaign support.

Why might Graham, a three-term senator, be facing this unfamiliar uphill battle? Why do so many South Carolinians hate his guts?

Loyalty: The Absent Attribute

Graham is a conservative in a solidly conservative state; he should cruise to victory. In 2002 he gained the senate seat by a 10-point margin, then he won by a nearly 16-point margin in 2008, and by 10 points again in 2014. Yet, in this crucial election cycle, polls show Graham tied with Harrison, his Democratic rival. What happened? Might Graham’s slide be tied to his gross miscalculations on the character…

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Get Mad!!!!!!!

Much has been said in the past two days about the fact that Trump seems poised to reject the results of the November election and to plant himself in our government as an autocratic leader, ala Adolf Hitler or more recently Vladimir Putin.  Here’s what he told a reporter in response to a question of whether he will commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the election …

trump-caricature“You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots and the ballots are a disaster. Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very … there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There’ll be a continuation … the ballots are out of control.”

Now, this isn’t really anything new.  Your blood probably reached a boiling point when you heard this, as did mine, but after a while I realized what this all is.  First and foremost, what his little tirade tells me is that he is scared, that he is fairly certain he will lose the election to Joe Biden.  As well he should be.  But he is a bully.  All his life he has gotten his way by being a big playground bully, by lying, cheating, and making inane threats … by instilling fear.

So, what does he hope to accomplish?  He hopes to make those of us who have a desire for a fair and honest election, those of us who believe in the U.S. Constitution, afraid.  He hopes we will panic, for people in a panic tend to act stupidly.  One thing he hopes to achieve is to reduce the number of people who vote, especially those who plan to vote by mail.  He hopes people will assume their votes, their ballots, won’t be counted, so why bother?  Some may fall into that trap, but frankly I like to think that those of us who stand against authoritarianism are smart enough to see through his rhetoric.

To set the record straight, there is no evidence whatsoever of voter fraud either in 2016 or 2018, and there is zero evidence that any is likely to take place in this election.  Trump makes things up.  He lies.  He is a habitual liar who says whatever he thinks will help whatever his cause-of-the-day is and who wouldn’t recognize the truth if it smacked him in the ass.

Second, I was pleased to see even congressional republicans deny that Trump could seize power in denial of the election results …

“The president says crazy stuff. We’ve always had a peaceful transition of power. It’s not going to change.” –  Senator Ben Sasse (Nebraska)

Even ol’ Mitchie had to weigh in on the side of justice this time …

“The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th. There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792.” – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Kentucky)

“No question that all the people sworn to support the Constitution would assure that there would be a peaceful transition of power.” – Senator Mitt Romney (Utah)

“Well, Republicans believe in the rule of law, we believe in the Constitution, and that’s what dictates what happens.” – Senator John Thune (South Dakota)

“As we have done for over two centuries we will have a legitimate & fair election It may take longer than usual to know the outcome, but it will be a valid one And at noon on Jan 20, 2021 we will peacefully swear in the President.” – Senator Marco Rubio (Florida)

“Throughout America’s history, the peaceful transition of power has been a hallmark of our democracy. This year, both candidates must commit to abiding by the results, no matter the outcome.” – Senator Rob Portman (Ohio)

It should be noted that none actually had the cojones to condemn Trump for his seditious rhetoric.  The question arises … will they find a pair in order to do the right thing in the event that Trump actually attempts to deny the election results?  I don’t know, but frankly folks, we’ve got bigger things to worry about for the next five weeks.  We need to work on making sure every eligible voter either votes absentee or gets off their asses on November 3rd and goes out and votes!

This is the key.  Trump’s approval rating is in the 40% range, and is likely to dip again soon, as the number of coronavirus cases rise and the vaccine that he has been promising either doesn’t materialize or is not approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).  If every person who doesn’t approve of the job Trump has done, who sees the demolition of the nation, who rejects his authoritarian regime, goes out and votes for Joe Biden, there can be no doubt who is the clear winner of the November election.

But if we let his hate speech, his purely delusional rhetoric reduce us to a state of fear and panic, then we will not have the strength left to do what needs to be done.  Forget him!  (I actually wanted to use a different “f-word” there but bit my fingertips – thanks Keith!) Don’t play into his hand!  Laugh at him.  Treat him as he deserves to be treated – like a recalcitrant toddler.  Remember that he is naught but a hired hand, a paid public servant who serves at the pleasure of We the People!  I don’t know about you, but personally I’m ready to fire this bastard (sorry, Keith).

Yes, there is reason to be concerned by this sort of authoritarian talk, but if we let it paralyze us, then all is lost.  Let’s address the situation calmly and rationally, in contrast to Trump’s own demeanor.  Meanwhile, let’s keep our eye on the ball, meaning convincing everyone you know that they simply must vote this time ‘round.  That is the main thing we can do.  The other thing is keep those letters, emails, and phone calls to your members of Congress going, let them know that you expect them to uphold a higher standard and to uphold our right to have our voices heard as per the Constitution.

Briefly, don’t get sad, get mad!  Be angry!  But don’t let it paralyze you, and don’t give up.  Together, we are strong, we can overcome the evil that has overtaken our nation for the past four years.  And if you need something to smile about, picture in your mind the Metro police leading Trump out of the White House in chains on January 20th!trump-prison

Wake up America

Blogging friend Brosephus is an intelligent, reasonable man, not given to conspiracy theories or rumours. When he speaks, I listen … and what he’s saying today, I’ve seen said in several places over the past couple of days. Just something to think about, something to be aware of, for we all know that Trump is not an honest person and there is no low that he won’t stoop to in order to hold onto his power and unlimited source of funding. Thanks, Brosephus … let’s hope it never comes to this.

The Mind of Brosephus

I’m typically not an alarmist, and I’ve gone back and forth on writing this post because I hate sounding like a conspiracy theorist. However, I honestly think that Americans need to open their eyes to  all that’s happening around them.

This tweet made me really think about the context of what this would imply. This implies that a significant population of America would be perfectly okay with shredding any and all semblance of constitutional rule.

In ordinary times, you’d be hard pressed to convince me to even think about something of that magnitude. However, we’re not in ordinary times anymore, and conservatives have more than communicated their intent.

For example:

This screenshot from a Trump follower tells you all you need to know. It’s not about anything other than hatred that drives conservatives now. He tried to clean up his statement the next day, but the statement is clear. It’s…

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Letter To Republican Senator

What follows is the letter I wrote this morning to the republican senator from my state, Senator Rob Portman.  Feel free to amend and use as a template to send to your own senator, if you feel so inclined.


21 September 2020

Dear Senator Portman …

I am writing to you today to ask that you withhold your vote on the confirmation of any candidate for the Supreme Court between now and January 20th.  I’m sure you have received many such letters, as well as some by those who hold the opposite view, but please hear me out.

First, in February of 2016, after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, when President Barack Obama nominated a very moderate judge, Merrick Garland, to fill Scalia’s seat, you stated in part …

“I have concluded that the best thing for the country is to trust the American people to weigh in and to have the confirmation process take place in a less partisan atmosphere. Awaiting the result of a democratic election, rather than having a nomination fight in this contentious election-year environment, will give the nominee more legitimacy …”

To change your mind about that now, when the country is even more divided than it was in 2016, is the ultimate hypocrisy and I must question your motives.  I know that Mitch McConnell is an unconscionable sycophant of Donald Trump, as are many of your other colleagues, but I always thought you were better than that.

Throughout your nine-year tenure as a U.S. Senator representing Ohio, I have seen you as a moderate, and while I disagree with you on some things, I was proud when you changed your mind and came out in support of same-sex marriage and voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.  Granted, I’ve been disappointed by your stance on climate change … too little too late … and other issues such as abortion, but overall you have always seemed one of the better republicans in Congress.

Now, however, you appear to be willing to compromise the integrity of the United States Supreme Court, and I must ask you why?  Do you not realize the implications of a court divided 6-3?  Do you not realize that not only will Roe v Wade be endangered, and thus women’s rights, but also Obergefell v Hodges, thus endangering the rights of the LGBT community?  Do you remember that the Court is supposed to provide checks and balances on the Executive branch, not simply rubber-stamp the president’s wishes?

I would like to remind you that you were elected to represent ALL the people of not only Ohio, but the United States.  Donald Trump appears to believe that he is obligated only to those who slavishly support him, but I would like to think you are a better man than he is.  Please remember that your constituency includes both democrats and republicans, as well as those like myself who are independent.  Your constituency includes people of all races, and people of every and no religion.  You do not solely answer to white, male, republicans, but to every man, woman and child, regardless of party affiliation, ethnicity or religion.

In closing, I ask you to seriously consider what I have said, seriously consider withholding your vote on Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, in order to give We the People an opportunity to have our voices heard.  Thank you.

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison, citizen, taxpayer, voter

The Choice

Blogger friend Annie posted this post earlier this month (where has September gone???) and it is an excellent and timely reminder for those who may still be sitting on the fence about the November election. Please take a few minutes to read. Thank you, Annie & Infidel!

annieasksyou...

[Note from Annie: I feel the post below, written by my fellow blogger Infidel753, is so thoughtful and persuasive that I’m featuring it here.Infidel’s highly informative, provocative, and often entertaining blog may be accessed at infidel753.blogspot.com.]

————————-

This November, one of two things will happen. Either Biden will be elected president, or Trump will be re-elected. Many people fervently believe there should be some third option. There isn’t. It’s going to be one of those two.

This post is addressed to those who, for whatever reason, don’t like Biden. Maybe you consider him too centrist or too old or too old-fashioned or “Republican-lite” or whatever. Maybe you think the Tara Reade accusation has credibility (though there are good reasons to believe otherwise). Maybe you think the process by which millions of rank-and-file Democrats chose the nominee (from among a remarkably large and varied group of candidates) was tainted…

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How The World Sees Us Now

We know about the divisiveness, the chaos, the hate that is dominating the headlines here in the U.S.  We are fed a steady diet of daily abominations, accusations, and ignorant spew.  But how do people in other countries see us?  Until four years ago, we were largely viewed with respect … sure, we had our flaws, but we tried to do the right thing … most of the time.  We helped our allies and others around the globe.  We were doing our part to promote solutions to climate change, nuclear disarmament, and to contribute to a global defense structure.  And then, came Donald Trump, riding the waves of the populist movement all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, occupying a chair that he would never fit.  So … how are we viewed abroad today?

From an article in The Guardian back in June …

The coronavirus crisis has caused a dramatic deterioration in the European public perception of the US, extensive new polling reveals.

More than 60% of respondents in Germany, France, Spain, Denmark and Portugal said they had lost trust in the United States as a global leader.

A report based on the survey’s findings argues that the shock of the pandemic has “traumatised” European citizens, leaving them feeling “alone and vulnerable”.

In almost every country surveyed, a majority of people said their perception of the US had deteriorated since the outbreak. Negative attitudes of the US were most marked in Denmark (71%) Portugal (70%), France (68%), Germany (65%) and Spain (64%). In France, 46% and in Germany 42% said their view of the US had worsened “a lot” during the pandemic.

On Tuesday, PEW Research released a new poll of 13 foreign countries that reveals that perceptions of America have dropped drastically in recent years.  I strongly encourage you to take a look at their data.

PEW-chart

Let’s hear directly from some of those people, shall we?

  • Have you tried turning your country off and then on again?
  • I think Mexico is probably now in favour of that wall
  • Sad. Disappointed. We used to think pretty highly of you, but now we just feel sorry for you. You are so divided we’re not sure how you can ever come together as a country again. Your guns are out of control. Your racism is dividing you. Your politics are a disaster. Your healthcare system is a joke. Your pandemic is out of control and you will soon be in the depths of a depression, with more than 30m people without jobs. How do you feel so far?
  • Being an Italian and knowing roman history, I can say that in my opinion America is showing the classic symptoms of an empire in decline
  • The US always appeared like an older, stronger brother – now it feels like this brother started using meth.
  • Being in the U.K. right now kind of feels like being a little boat that has broken down and everyone’s too busy being mad at the captain to fix anything. But then you look to the left and there’s a big cruise ship burning as it sinks with people fighting on every deck, and the captain’s throwing gasoline on everything, and you feel a little bit better about the s***** boat you’re in.
  • I used to really admire America. The last few years have changed that perception drastically. The blatantly corrupt politics seem to have the whole country in such a tight grip that from the outside it looks like a 3rd world country. Your president is lying constantly and obviously yet he has outspoken followers in the millions who just disregard his lies. There seems to be no safety net for the average person at all and you seem to rely on luck to get through your life.
  • I live in Germany. When I was younger, I always wanted to live in America. I thought it was great. Now, not even for a million dollars, I would never move there
  • I knew there were lots of idiots, but the sheer quantity is mind blowing. And how so many Americans just can’t handle a view that’s different to their own or at least allow others to have a different view, is crazy.
  • You’re a country blessed with diverse land, money and democracy. But you have become your own worst enemy—healthy patriotism has turned into extreme nationalism and xenophobia, freedom has turned into anarchy. Also guns, like howww are they still a thing? Sad.
  • The Second Amendment is there to protect your precious democracy from tyrants. Ironic who the gun owners support the most.
  • What saddens me the most is how the basics, such as universal healthcare and social support are so reviled by so many. Worst is that those who are the most vocal are probably not far from those who would benefit the most.
  • I keep wondering why the “richest” country in the world still doesn’t have national free health services.
  • I can’t believe how Americans can politicise EVERYTHING?! Wearing masks, postal service and before these newer topics universal healthcare, free (or at least vastly cheaper) uni, higher taxation etc. are a reality in most developed countries, but in America it seems like you can just scream socialism and people are against everything. From my German point of view the two party system and electoral votes is seriously f**ked up and even the moderate democrats are pretty right-wing.
  • With the economic divide larger than ever, I don’t believe the majority of Americans, who struggle to live decently, pay for healthcare and their kids education, still buy the freaking “american dream” BS.
  • Trump is an Emperor, with his princess and princes. Everyone with any insight or brains can see it, but there are a lot of supremely uninformed Americans in the Rust belt, the south and parts of the north who have been fed the line from Fox and Facebook that he is their saviour.
  • I’m a Canadian, living in Mexico since 2014. I seriously can’t wrap my head around it from either vantage point. It’s like watching a slow-motion car wreck – it’s horrifying and you know nothing good is going to come of it but it’s fascinating at the same time.
  • As a Millennial from Toronto, I grew up thinking America was awesome. I thought it would be cool to live in New York when I was older. The past 5 years have been such a s*** show, I am so thankful to be from Canada. I dont think its Trump that is the main problem (although hes a huge one.) Its his legion of supporters that feel the same way he does. They will not go away once he leaves office. The problem is more permanent than some realize. Its been sad to see the US deteriorate.
  • I feel sorry for the sane people over there.
  • Sadness
  • I genuinely feel sorry for you people.

Remember when we were mostly respected by people in other countries?  Remember when Trump said he would “make America great again”?  Remember when we thought of this as a country of equal opportunity for all?  Remember when we had a president, not a tyrant in the Oval Office?  Think long and hard about it between now and November 3rd, for your vote could help save this country, or it could help sink it.

While The West Coast Burns …

The West Coast of the United States is on fire.  Property is being devoured by the hungry flames, lives are being lost, people are being uprooted with nowhere to go, having lost everything.  Surely the nation’s leader must be on top of this situation, must be worried and seeking help from all venues to assist in the firefighting, yes?  Well, no … not exactly.  In fact, he hasn’t actually mentioned the fires since a few weeks ago when he taunted California’s Governor Gavin Newsom for not … um … raking the forest properly and threatened to cut off funding to the state.

fires-5Oh, but the so-called leader has many things to draw his attention away from the disaster that is taking lives and leaving thousands homeless!  He is busy throwing away his campaign money on such foolishness as limos and paying his businesses for his own profit.  And he’s very busy watching Fox ‘News’ for 6-9 hours per day, and denigrating Democrats and thinking up new nasty names for us all, but especially his likely successor, Joe Biden.  Oh, and holding mask-free campaign rallies even in cities that have banned large gatherings.

While the nation burns.  The fires that started in California, then spread to Oregon, have also now spread to Washington State.  Consider, if you will, that those three states account for 16% of the U.S. population total, as well as some of the most beautiful natural resources in the nation.  So, why is the person in the White House ignoring the fires in those three states?  For starters …

All three states have Democratic governors:

  • California – Gavin Newsom
  • Oregon – Kate Brown
  • Washington – Jay Inslee

Trump seems to have some misguided notion that democrats are not his problem, that his job is only to represent republicans, and especially those who “like” him.  Another reason …

fires-4The fires are largely a result of climate change.  Trump can still be heard calling climate change a “hoax” (one of his most favourite words) and during his 45-month tenure, he has done everything possible to add to the destruction of our environment.  He has rolled back regulations … nearly every one that was in place to help repair and protect our planet … he has pulled us out of the Paris Climate Accords, letting down every other nation on earth.  He has signed “executive orders” to virtually destroy the planet by the end of the century.  So, to spend time focusing on the fires would be to open himself to intense scrutiny and criticism in his handling of all environmental issues.

And the third reason, I think, is that to care about what is happening on the west coast would require a certain level of empathy, of compassion, and Trump is an emotional black hole when it comes to caring about any but himself.  Even his children and grandchildren are judged by him and found wanting, they may get financial help from him, but they will never receive love or compassion from him.  So, how can we expect him to care about Jacob and Jamie Hyland who just lost their one-year-old child to the wildfires in Washington, while they themselves both suffer serious burns?

fires-7fires-6Or Blake Campos who just lost his house and the family farm to the fires.  Or Dewey and Anabel Bratcher who lost not only their home, but all five of their kitties.  Jesus Mendoza, a 42-year-old tree-trimmer who lost his home, truck, car and all of the equipment he uses for his gardening business. Eileen Menzies Gram, age 78, who lost her ranch, all of her possessions and several of her animals in the fire. The list is endless already and there is no end in sight.  Do you believe for one minute that Donald Trump cares about any of these people?  If you do, please contact me, for I can give you a great deal on a bridge – practically new, barely used!

fires-1fires-2fires-3I have a number of friends who live on the west coast, who are potentially in danger of losing their homes, their livelihoods, perhaps even their lives.  In fact, our friend Jeff Marzick (Brookingslib from On the Fence Voters) lives in Oregon, not too far from the site of one of the fires.  Never having been up close to a wildfire, I can only imagine the trauma, based on the pictures I’ve seen.  For the “leader” of this nation to shrug it off and put all his energies into his re-election bid, his hate campaign against the 60% of the people in the nation who do not support him, is beyond unconscionable.  It is criminal.

We learned this week that Trump intentionally downplayed and blatantly lied about the coronavirus pandemic, calling it a “democratic hoax”.  His greed and corruption, his self-dealing, cost thousands of lives in this nation.  And now, we have wildfires out of control and all he can do is shrug his shoulders and … “Nothing to see here, folks, let’s move on to the Trump Family Circus Show”.

When Trump took that oath of office on January 20, 2017, he swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution and he took his office to support all 330 million people in this country.  Not just whites.  Not just males.  Not just Republicans.  Not just people who “like” him, for whatever reason.  But he has let us down … has let us all down.  Congress cannot step up to the plate and fill in the gaps Trump is leaving, because the majority in the Senate are paid to do Trump’s bidding!  Oh sure, We the People pay their salary, but they are paid much more by big corporations and lobbying groups that see an advantage to keeping Trump in office and therefore they care NOT ONE WHIT about the people in California, Oregon, and Washington.  They care NOT ONE WHIT for the Black people who have been killed by police for no reason other than the colour of their skin.  Like that ‘man’ they have sold their soul for, they have only their own self-interests at heart.

To all our friends on the West Coast … keep safe, and know that you are in my heart and thoughts.

America’s Wake-Up Call — Jeff & Jill Are Baaaaack!!!

The date for the re-start of mine and Jeff’s project, September 11th, came about quite by accident … to start with, that is.  We counted back eight weeks from election day, picked the first Friday in those 8 weeks, and … were stunned to see that with this logic, our first post would be on the 19th anniversary of 9/11.  Nineteen years … wow.  In some ways, it seems like only yesterday, doesn’t it?  The building I was working in, a publishing company here in Cincinnati, has since been demolished, but I remember the exact place I was standing when one of my staff called me over to tell me that a plane had hit the World Trade Center.  The rest of that day is a blur, but that single moment in time remains frozen in my mind.

For a number of reasons, 9/11 is very personal to me, as it is to many of you but that isn’t my focus with this post.  This is the final leg of mine and Jeff’s project, started back in January of this year with the goal of helping our readers understand the importance of this election year, the issues, and why it is so crucial that each and every one of us do our part.  It just happens, though, that this anniversary of the events of September 11, 2001, provides us with a good lead-in to jumpstart our project.  The title for this second half of our project is “America’s Wake Up Call”, and by the time you finish reading this post, I think you will understand why.

On September 11th, 2001, terrorists flew planes into the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and one that we believe was headed for the White House that was brought down by heroes in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  In under two hours, our lives were changed.  At that time, President George W. Bush was at the helm.  No matter what happened later, no matter what mistakes or poor decisions he made in the months and years that followed, I will always remember him for what he did in the hours and days that followed:  he united us.  He comforted, he understood, he grieved along with us.  His was the voice of caring, of compassion, of intellect, of … calm and reason.

This is the text of his address to We the People on the evening of 9/11 …

bush-2Good evening.

Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes or in their offices: secretaries, business men and women, military and federal workers, moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror. The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge — huge structures collapsing have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong.

A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining. Today, our nation saw evil — the very worst of human nature — and we responded with the best of America. With the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could.

Immediately following the first attack, I implemented our government’s emergency response plans. Our military is powerful, and it’s prepared. Our emergency teams are working in New York City and Washington D.C. to help with local rescue efforts. Our first priority is to get help to those who have been injured, and to take every precaution to protect our citizens at home and around the world from further attacks. The functions of our government continue without interruption. Federal agencies in Washington which had to be evacuated today are reopening for essential personnel tonight and will be open for business tomorrow. Our financial institutions remain strong, and the American economy will be open for business as well.

The search is underway for those who were behind these evil acts. I have directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.

I appreciate so very much the members of Congress who have joined me in strongly condemning these attacks. And on behalf of the American people, I thank the many world leaders who have called to offer their condolences and assistance. America and our friends and allies join with all those who want peace and security in the world, and we stand together to win the war against terrorism.

Tonight, I ask for your prayers for all those who grieve, for the children whose worlds have been shattered, for all whose sense of safety and security has been threatened. And I pray they will be comforted by a Power greater than any of us, spoken through the ages in Psalm 23:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil for you are with me.

This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before, and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.

Thank you. Good night. And God bless America.

Now, fast forward to 2020.  Can you envision the current occupant of the Oval Office, whom I refuse to refer to by the title of “president”, giving such a speech or acting in such a rational manner as G.W. did on that day?  Try to imagine, if we had a similar crisis in this nation today, how Donald Trump would react.  He would screech, he would point fingers, his face would be twisted into a hundred contortions.  He would blame … he would blame Democrats, he would blame Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer.  He would blame any and every one of us in one way or another.  Would we feel comforted as we did nineteen years ago?  Hell no!  We would be terrified! 

Bush-1George W. Bush united the people of this nation … he brought us together in our shared grief, and helped us to understand that we needed to reach out to each other, that we were all in this together and that together we would get through the days ahead, the loss of loved ones, the shattering of our lives.  Donald Trump is not anywhere near the man that George W. Bush is and was on that day.  Donald Trump would use the crisis as a means to drive the wedge that already exists between the people of this nation just a little bit deeper, to cause us to fear one another instead of reaching out and offering comfort, just as he has done with the current pandemic.

I can offer at least one hundred reasons that Donald Trump must be defeated on November 3rd, that Joe Biden must be elected, but this may well be the best reason … we need a leader who leads, who cares about us, who has the intelligence and demeanor to remain calm in the midst of a storm and unite rather than divide.  We do not have that leader today … let’s make sure that next January we do.

Discord & Dissent Table of Contents

What We’ve Been Missing …

I started out seeking humour for this post. I felt a deep need for something to make me (and you) smile instead of scowl and utter some choice words.  I searched for a recent Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert, or Don Lemon video to give us some chuckles this Sunday afternoon, but found none that made me even crack a smile.  I turned to Alexandra Petri who writes humorous, satirical columns for The Washington Post, and instead of a humorous piece, I found one that moved me, that summed up part of what I and the people in this nation have been missing for the past three-and-a-half years.

jollyI apologize for letting you down with no humour today, but take heart, for tomorrow is Jolly Monday!


Want a president who seems capable of human emotion?

Alexandra-PetriOpinion by

Alexandra Petri, Columnist

August 21, 2020 at 11:29 a.m. EDT

Remember the little things? I barely do.

Remember feelings? Remember having a president who could express a recognizable human emotion? Remember prepared remarks?

Remember when you could make plans for the future? Plans that did not include a step where “a miracle occurs”?

Remember sending emails that did not include the phrase “How are you holding up?” Remember when someone said “How are you?” and you responded “Fine!” automatically without thinking? Remember when you could delight in the sight of the lower halves of strangers’ faces? Remember when there was only one thing that was horribly broken about America that made it potentially terrifying to send your child to school?

Remember time? I barely do. The days since February have been a kind of primordial tar-slick where months melt together and hours vanish in the blink of an eye. To say this year has been not great would be a grotesque and cruel understatement, like “It is what it is.”

Everything in 2020 is so bad in enormous ways that sometimes you forget that it is also bad in small ways. But it is also bad in small ways. And on the final night of the Democratic National Convention, as Joe Biden accepted his party’s presidential nomination, I remembered.

It’s 2020, and after nearly four years of Donald Trump, the bar for what might conceivably be presidential is so low as to be lodged somewhere in the Earth’s mantle. The moles who were sent to dig it out died of pressure and fumes, and then Elon Musk sent a robot in after them, and the robot also died. So when the Democratic nominee for president said something that sounded like what a human would say to another human in a time of grief, I was actually surprised. It has been so long since I heard anything like that from the current president, or anyone around him, that I had stopped even hoping for it.

We are a nation grieving and in shock, at the point where the number of lives lost has become so big that the brain deliberately breaks rather than contemplate it. We are at the point where people have taken to waving away these preventable deaths as an inevitable fact of life, competing to see who can sacrifice the most grandparents on the pyre of a Speedy Recovery. But by denying that anything is wrong, Donald Trump’s administration also has denied that we have any need of comfort.

“I know how it feels to lose someone you love,” Biden said in his acceptance speech. “I know that deep black hole that opens up in your chest. That you feel your whole being is sucked into it. I know how mean and cruel and unfair life can be sometimes.” These are simple words.

Yet Donald Trump has never said anything like this. “He knew what he signed up for, but when it happens, it hurts anyway,” is what the grieving widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson reportedly heard from President Trump in response to her husband’s death.

When Trump lost his brother last week, he mused, “He wasn’t a jealous person, he was a very smart guy. You know, he would be there and he’d be behind me and … if I had the No. 1 show, if I had big success, no matter what I did, even if it’s real estate deals or anything else, he was right there and in many cases helped me very much.”

“It is what it is,” he says.

To be a human being is so ordinary that we forget it is also a miracle. I hate that there is the possibility that we might have to spend four more years with a man who seems to have no idea what this small miracle is like. The first time in these past six months that we heard someone say “I know how it feels to lose someone you love” should not have been from Joe Biden’s acceptance speech.

It’s the little things. It’s the little things that break you.

Musings From The Rabbit Hole – A ‘Shared National Identity’????

As I am still inhabiting the rabbit hole – I swear, the rabbits are digging it deeper and deeper by the day – I cannot seem to stop my mind from wandering.  Well, in truth, it is aided and abetted by the chaos that would seem to have become the definition of Donald Trump’s tenure in the Oval Office.

One of Trump’s statements I read yesterday set the current train of thought in motion:

“The only path to unity is to rebuild a shared national identity focused on common American values and virtues of which we have plenty.”

I’m not sure what country he thought he was in when he got out of bed and later uttered that inanity on Monday morning, but it is the furthest thing from the truth here in the formerly United States.  A shared national identity?  Who is he kidding?  This country is the most divided it has ever been.  EVER.  On the one side there are those who seem to value “ethnic purity”, who are white-skinned and feel threatened by any who aren’t.  Those who support police killings of unarmed black people.  They applaud taking young children from their parents and keeping them in cages simply because they weren’t born in this country and their skin is not pale.  They support a madman in the White House who basically promises to give preferential treatment to their white-skinned friends & family.

And on the other hand, there are those of us who believe that “All ‘men’ are created equal”, even though the original author of that statement, Thomas Jefferson, had a more narrowly defined view of ‘all men’.  Those of us who understand the significance of “Black Lives Matter”, for far too many in this country seem to think Black people are somehow of lesser value.

And then there are the divisions of wealth.  There are those on the one hand who would argue that the right to earn and keep money supersedes the responsibility to others who are less fortunate.  They eschew higher taxes on the wealthy millionaires and billionaires, put profit ahead of the environment and ahead of people, and have the basic attitude of “I’ve got mine, you go get your own.”

On the other hand, there are those of us who have little, but believe it is our responsibility to do everything in our power to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and our natural resources.  We believe we all have a responsibility to help feed, clothe, educate and provide health care to those who are unable to do so themselves.

I have come to realize that these ideological, humanitarian differences have always existed, but in the past they were tamped down by leaders who understood there is no place for bigotry in this relatively new nation.  Today, though, we have a leader who sees this ideological gap as a wedge that he can use to drive us further apart than ever before, for his own political benefit.  And We the People are letting him do just that.

Much of what divides us seems to have its roots in bigotry of one form or another.  Immigration, guns, religion, abortion, health care, programs to help the poor, climate change, civil rights … all trace their roots back to discriminatory views, whether against Black people, women, LGBT people, immigrants, Hispanics, Muslims, Jews, atheists, or other groups.  And it is ripping this nation apart.  No, that is not an exaggeration, not hyperbole … it is a fact.  And we are letting it.

Our politicians feed on the divisions between liberals and conservatives, the wealthy and the poor.  They pour gasoline on the racial unrest that is a logical result of the systemic racism that exists in our police departments.  And Donald Trump, the so-called ‘president’ of this nation, is among the worst, for by his denigration of minorities and immigrants, his refusal to condemn racial killings, his support of white supremacists, he has turned this nation into a tinderbox just waiting for the right spark.  And yet he is the one who says we have “common values and virtues” and that we must work to rebuild a “shared national identity”?

He has done less than nothing to bring the people of this nation together, to help each side understand the other, to find common ground and a meeting of the minds somewhere in the middle.  Instead, he has encouraged violence since before he even took office.  If Hillary Clinton had been inaugurated in 2017, do you think that Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old punk who killed two people last weekend, would have been in Kenosha, Wisconsin, armed with an assault rifle and looking for trouble?  We’ll never know for sure, but probably not, for a President Clinton would almost certainly have followed through with the police reform measures started during the Obama administration.  In fact, in all likelihood, Jacob Blake would not have been shot 7 times in the back by a rogue police officer in Kenosha and there would have been no protests, no violence.

As I sit here pondering, it seems to me that the United States is truly two nations.  Until we learn to respect each other’s opinions, to listen to others, to put away the damn guns and use our brains to solve problems and resolve our disputes, there can be no “shared national identity”.  Can that ever happen?  At the moment, I think not.  A lot of things will have to happen in order for us to resolve our major differences, and it for damn sure is not going to happen with a person like Donald Trump at the helm.  I think it more likely that this nation will actually become multiple nations at the end of the day … if, that is, we don’t continue to be the single worst polluters on the globe, for if we continue down that path, life on this planet will cease to exist and it won’t really matter who had how much money or what colour anybody’s skin was.divisive