Losing Our Republic

From a Google Image Search – Take Back Our Republic

Democracy will die slowly. We still feel relatively free and that illusion will persist day after day until one day the illusion will evaporate into a dismal reality. Our Republic is dying and it will one day dawn on Americans that they have lost something very great. They have lost a limb, a lung, a heart, a leg. 

We are losing our freedom to speak everyday but in such a freaky way, such a 1984-doublespeak way, that it continues to seem that we can still say what we wish. But the truth is that regardless of what truth we think we are expressing, someone holds a different truth ‘to be self-evident’. If all speech is cancelled out by another’s speech, there actually is no free speech, just babbling. Government doesn’t have to use muscle to shut down a newspaper.  It doesn’t have to turn off news channels that defy it. We will kill our own media by starving it. One of the cornerstones of a dictatorship (or a monarchy) will have been accomplished without giving those who have lost something any one key event to point to as the exact moment when the freedom to speak was trumped by the fact that there is no longer any such thing as a lie. Twisting our brains into thought pretzels, gaslighting, playing games with logic, these are the tricks that nullify free speech.

Speech is so key to a democracy that losing this right will basically mean that our founders tried but did not protect us well enough. Even as the ability to make a cogent argument that will resonate disappears our Second Amendment rights to carry a gun expand. It is fairly easy to see that the cocksure and primed-for-violence GOP base might have difficulty sticking to using words, however killer their name-calling might be, and decide that a few people need their brains blown out. Trump’s base are far better at activism than the rest of us are. They are absolutely loyal and cannot be swayed by any logic at all. The rest of us are wrong and that is that. These people feel that they have always been the straightest and truest Americans and they have been shafted (although most of them are quite comfortably middle class) and Donald is their deliverer. They fight so viciously for their absolute right to own any and every gun they wish to own and there is a frightening edge to their insistence. If anyone could be pushed over the edge it is those who Trump has empowered, however unreal that power actually is. They are empowered to herd the rest of us into camps or split the nation into factions and those of us who are not Trumpers, it seems, will just look on in astonishment because we are not yet radical enough to feel like an avenging army – and setting our government back to rights will be misinterpreted as a liberal takeover of America.

Trump’s base, by enabling an all-powerful Chief Executive, are actually destroying the very freedoms they think they are defending. They accuse those of us who cannot pledge our loyalty to Trump of being the ones who are corrupt and they honestly believe that all people are so tainted that our government is irredeemable. They do not realize that they have been turned into instruments of the corporations and the wealthy. They were betrayed by their corporatist overlords and yet they defend Capitalism as the all-American institution that saves them from (horror of horrors) socialism or communism. Since socialism and communism have now been defined as using any tax dollars on social programs or benefits, the capitalists have achieved their main end of turning Americans loose to sink or swim in a transitional age, which many are unequipped to stay afloat in. Small government means that the corporations have totally won; we will subsidize businesses that no longer feel they hold any stake in America because their families live elsewhere. Trumpers believe they are treasured by their tainted leader; they are actually the tools of their own destruction.

When we emerged (were ejected) from the Industrial Age we lost our footing. The world became less predictable, less comprehensible. The belief that if you took care of your employer they would take care of you disappeared, poof, when manufacturing moved South and then basically out of America. The information age is too abstract to offer stability for the entire nation. Stuff happens in clouds, for heaven’s sake. Most of us are not prepared to see what happens in the digital world as real. It is all toys, games, virtual reality. Most of us cannot make a living in this digital world. We are set adrift. Education becomes the key to holding a good job. And yet educated people are denigrated. If you don’t know and understand a technology that requires certain engineering types of skills you are limited to service jobs – long hours with low pay, or having to have several ‘gigs’ to make ends meet. Since you are not a billionaire you have no importance in the world that you find yourself in. Jobs in alternative energies could provide the kinds of jobs people used to seek, jobs that offer stability, but those corporations do not see a way to make their profits without continuing to use fossil fuels. So our Trumpers fight for fossil fuels and they do not accept that alternative energies might give them back their footing, take them out of the clouds and ground them again. Oddly enough, speaking of being grounded, if space travel were to become a viable field for business, good jobs along the whole spectrum from physical to mental would multiply and “ground” us once again.

It just does not look like our American democracy/republic will survive this unsettling transitional age as we flounder about to save our planet from overpopulation, from climate change, from social and political uncertainty. We are in the midst of a massive anxiety attack which may turn out to be overblown, but could also be totally justified by what is going on around us. Some of us want a father figure, a tough-love father figure, who insists that he will use economic prosperity and geographic isolation, the importation of geniuses, and the end of social support systems to keep America, if not the American people, afloat. Our Trumpers, our beloved sisters, brothers, neighbors do not realize that idolizing one man, turning him into your savior, is the way you lose everything. Now we will not only have lost our lifestyle security, we will have lost our national security. We will be subjects, serfs, and I can even foresee a day that anyone who cannot be productive will be expendable. But I cannot convince those who disagree that this is where we are headed.

Rep. Katko, Facebook, Impeachment, and Me

CNYCENTRALCOM via Facebook

On my Facebook page, Thursday 1.23.2020, appears an entry with a picture of John Katko, the elected representative in the House in Washington, DC from NY 24, my district. Above the image it says, “Rep. Katko worries that the ‘sloppy’ impeachment process will mean more impeachments in the future.” Below the picture it says, “Rep. John Katko calls impeachment process ‘sloppy’ as trial begins.” Well, of course I just had to say something, and then something more. I had to take the temperature of the nation and see if Republicans still had ‘the fever’. (They do.)

Every time I get into one of these comment wars on Facebook I swear that I will never do that again, then I do. I remind myself of Sally Fields in Soap going to malls to take in the remnants of her fame (except I am putting myself out there to be linguistically annihilated). Or perhaps it’s like Trump going to a rally of his cult whenever the reality of his unpopularity gets too obvious. His rallies restore him; my forays on Facebook remind me that my reality is not everyone’s reality. Did I give good answers? Probably not. But the interchanges are certainly informative and I always lose; there may be no way to win.

And so it begins…

Me: You are saying the Dems were sloppy and I am saying the Senate trial is fake. Your reasoning is twisted by your ambition, Mr. Katko.

Josh to Me: your opinions are not facts….  (1 like emoji)

Me to Josh: Didn’t you know? There are no facts anymore. (1 angry emoji)

Josh to me: hence the impeachment (skull emoji) (1 like)

Dawn to me: It was the houses job to get the guilt in their inquiries/investigation they failed and cannot prove their case with what they have (1 angry)

Me to Dawn: I thought the evidence was very convincing. He did it. The evidence would have been better if Trump did not think that he is a king and block them from talking to many of the witnesses they wanted to call or documents they should have been able to see. Trump sent his minions in to traipse around a sovereign nation, Ukraine, and he used bribery on a brand new president who was just taking office. But Trump knows how to use the courts to delay and delay, by appealing and appealing. He laughs at our courts and then he uses them. He is a criminal with tons of practice covering his tracks. And he cheats. (1 like)

Dawn to me: What are they covering up??  The house did not get the job done. It’s not the Senate’s job. (1 like) (2 angry)

Me to Dawn: If you won’t allow any witnesses in a trial you are covering up something. This is not how our republic does things. It’s not our government. I don’t know what this is. (1 like) (2 angry)

Debbie to me: Do you want socialism? Is that what you’re saying because that’s what you’re going to get if a democrat becomes President. Nothing is free, nothing and they’re peddling this bullcrap on a daily basis. What’s yours is theirs and what’s theirs is theirs. I work too hard to share my paycheck with anyone who is not working just as hard.

Me to Debbie: I am getting very tired of saying this but I will say it again. Democrats are not socialists. Spending our tax dollars on ourselves through the regular budget process is not socialism. It is the way our Republic works. Stop watching Fox. (2 hahas)

Paul to Debbie: she’s a teacher. Teachers are unionized and all for socialism, little do they know the recourse (1like)

Me to Paul: You found out our secret, all teachers must sign the ‘socialist pledge’ (not)

Dallie to Me: video of Nancy Pelosi – she has been working on impeaching trump since she came into office. LOL what about those gift pens (pen emoji) for such a serious time.

Me to Dallie: He’s a terrible President and turn about is fair play if she is doing that. Mitch McConnell swore to make Obama a one term President and he tried every trick in the book to make it so.

Debbie to me: yes, he’s horrible, unemployment lowest in 50 years, lowest ever for Hispanics and minorities, over 266,000 job created in November and December, booming economy. You can hate the man but you can’t possibly hate what he’s doing for America in spite of democrats blocking him at every corner. As far as you saying ‘stop watching Fox’ I don’t watch any news and haven’t for a very long time, the media loves to cause division I’d rather watch the Senate hearings Now on to socialism, every democrat running is screaming FREE, FREE, FREE. Again, NOTHING IS FREE and Bernie is more of a communist than he is a socialist. Every democrat talks about how great socialism is, are you living under a rock? Stop watching CNN, MSNBC, CBS,ABC, NBC? Smh (1 like)

Me to Debbie: Almost all of that job momentum comes directly out of the Obama administration. Check your facts. Money isn’t everything. Deregulation, guzzling oil and gas, not believing in climate change, overturning climate protections. I know you believe these are good things but I don’t. If we elect Trump for four more years there will be repercussions as we watch the world melt and burn. There is no way you can convince me that having a terrible businessman like Trump as our President will turn our well.

Debbie to Me: Just because Pelosi went on every station she possibly could and said “he will be impeached forever” doesn’t mean diddly to the SANE people who know what a farce this was and what they’ve done to future Presidents. They’ve been wanting to impeach him since the day he was elected, what does that tell you. He won’t be removed, believe me; this hurts the democratic party big time (1 like) (8 loves)

Me to Debbie Well I’m just as angry as you because so many people can see that this person wants absolute power and that is not democracy. I can see that this trial is a sham, Trump will not be removed and he will claim to be exonerated. But it won’t be true. (1 haha)

Dawn to Me: They are also deciding on acquittal (2 likes)

Me to Dawn: It’s a done deal (1 haha)

Me: Boycott the Senate trial. It’s bogus. Trump is already impeached forever. Watch the food channel, go to a movie. Let them talk to no one.

Jann to Me: Go back to Civics class, that’s not the way it works. Flag, Flag, Trump 2020 Flag Flag (1 like) (4 loves)

Me to Jann: It is exactly how it works. The Senate is deciding whether Trump should be removed.

(When taking notes after the fact it is sometimes difficult because Facebook does not post comments in strict order. There were more exchanges but the order got difficult to follow.)

Me to Facebook people: Am I all alone in the universe? Aren’t there any other people out there in Central NY who find this president lawless and are worried that he is swelling the powers of the executive branch to proportions that make the President either a king or a dictator. Aren’t there any other people who think this guy is very wrong for our republic and that he abuses his powers all the time?

Peg to Me: You definitely are not alone. Millions of us feel the same. (5 likes)

Michael: Nancy you certainly don’t speak for me?

Me to Michael: Surprise, surprise, apparently the millions who agree with me don’t use Facebook.

Later this same day, Katko was on local news declaring that he will back Trump in 2020.

Boycott Bogus Senate Impeachment Trial

From a Google Image Search – NBC News

Let’s boycott the impeachment proceedings. The Democrats deserve our close attention because they are following regular order in this impeachment process, but the trial in the Senate does not. We might as well be tuning in to two different universes, the actual government of the United States. of America, and an alternative universe, which is Trump’s America. I cannot be expected to listen all day and night to liars, who are pretending to be lawyers, repeat the same nonsense over and over. I cannot be expected to watch the Republicans run the Democrats out of town with their verbal tar and feather routine. The Senate impeachment trial is just a massacre all done for show. If it’s a show, no one should watch it until it is done properly. Trump is already impeached. As for this disgustingly biased display in the Senate – this has nothing to do with governance. This shows that the Trump/Fundamentalist/Republican coup is almost finished and the only ones who don’t know about it are the Democrats.

We can all see that this is not a real “process” at all. This is a bogus construct of an immoral political cabal that will sell their souls to protect a man who is totally unworthy and who has weaseled his way into a position where he does not belong. This man has committed many acts that abuse his office, but so far we have only enough evidence to find him guilty of two articles of impeachment. Does he think we cannot see how he covers his tracks, how he gets henchmen to do his dirty work, and then how he disavows any relationship with them? I guess he thinks he has a string of those spies-without-portfolio whose governments will be unable to protect the men they send out into the clandestine world should they be caught. Except these men are not sent out on government business, they are sent out on cheap, bully-boy Trump election-fixing business. Our government has been corrupted by money and influence for some time. Now we are corrupted by thuggery and bribery and cover-ups. 

Boycott the Senate Impeachment proceedings. Do not serve as any part of an audience for this ‘trash’. Find other ways to show support for Democrats. The 2020 election is looming and it couldn’t be more important to fill every seat possible with a Democrat.

MLK Day: Racism and Memory

From a Google Image Search – WSFA.com

There are a couple of things I would like to say on this Monday in 2020 as we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s day. Since MLK and I lived through the same times he loomed large in the news, and he still looms large in my memories of those days. So first I will tell you a little story and then I will tell you something I read in the newspaper today that would, if he were still alive, inspire MLK to fight on, because sadly discrimination is still all too real. 

I was, as a young adult, a hippie. Weird word, hippie, I guess it was supposed to refer to how “hip” we were. I did not wear flowers in my hair, but I went to concerts in the park and danced to the music and I learned. I learned about the military-industrial complex, and about losing our guys in a war that was not our war. I learned that women were tired of being second class citizens and that from now on we wanted to have our needs and rights taken into consideration. And I learned about racism, which I knew of, but had not seen close up and ugly. 

Martin Luther King was a bit older than me. By the time I was 20, he was 34, five years away from his death by assassination. America was in the midst of displaying racial ignorance all over our TVs for the whole world to see. I did not take a bus south. I had my own apartment and had to work. I did march in a demonstration or two. And no matter how much I wanted to I could not take my eyes off my TV when I was home from work. 

Here are well-dressed, peaceful people just walking together in their dignity to ask for their rights as American citizens; not separate rights that were supposed to be separate but equal and weren’t equal at all, but just to be left alone to work, live, eat, and travel as freely as any other American. The difference between what America stands for and how America betrays its ideals was never as clear as when those powerful streams of water pouring from fire hoses hit those brave marchers, knocking them to the ground, ruining their best clothing, putting some in the hospital, and striking fear in my heart because something was happening in America that was incomprehensible.

In the midst of all this show of hate, one of my friends decided that we should spend a Sunday in a local storefront Pentecostal church. She was a braver girl than I was, I secretly felt we would be intruding and might not be welcome. But we were welcomed in that church. We were accepted and then petted and called out as “pretty flowers who wandered into the midst of the congregation.” We were blessed and encouraged to go forward and let the minister lay his blessed hands upon us. It was an enlightening experience, an experience that lives vividly still in my memory. And it was impossible not to contrast our warm welcome with the hate playing out daily on my TV. I mourned the sins of the white people in my nation, a nation I had always been proud of – until living in a diverse neighborhood as a hippie girl, opening up my mind to things that never impacted me growing up in my safe suburb. Perhaps we don’t all have these moments of revelation, but I did.

You would think that watching this racial hate play out would have given vent to all the negative prejudices arising out of nothing except the color of one’s skin and that we would have been left burned clean of hate and embracing our differences. That is not the case as we know. Here, at the beginning of the 21st century we see how deeply we have nourished the roots of our racism. We have watched black men killed for the thinnest of reasons and we have seen that there are Americans who must proclaim that ‘Black Lives Matter’. Why would an athlete who has achieved his dream of sports stardom, feel the need to take a knee when he hears the Star Spangled Banner? If racism were not alive and well there would be no need to face white derision by seemingly disrespecting America, when you are really just asking for what should already belong to you. 

That’s the story I promised, and here is the news. In today’s New York Times is a story about what Ben Carson, as Trump’s head of Housing and Urban Development is doing these days. We have been made aware of redlining and how it was used to keep some neighborhoods white and some neighborhoods black, to keep us separate. But today my own city was mentioned in this national article as a city that has refused to reassess homes in black neighborhoods, that has left these houses with assessments that are too high and which have allowed the city to collect more tax dollars in this segregated neighborhood than they do in wealthier sections of the city where, inexplicably, assessments are lower. 

Now Ben Carson plans to make it more difficult to fight these outdated assessments, to go before the city and present a case for reassessment. It is quite technical and diabolical. In order to make a case for reassessment you must present a list of every reason the city could give for turning you down and then you must refute each argument. In other words, you must now possess some kind of assessment ESP that, of course, does not exist. You must read the city’s mind, a city that can just invent new reasons for why they cannot offer you a reassessment. This directly affects the wealth that should accrue to black homeowners, and does accrue to white people every day from owning a house. 

The article also discusses “balloon loans” which make an initial mortgage payment affordable and then raises it out of reach at a later date. All this creativity expended to keep black people from succeeding in America – no wonder we are becoming a decaying nation. We are putting our creative talents to use in the service of the wrong tasks. Martin Luther King, Jr., you left us way too soon, the battle not nearly done, and I’m sorry if your sadness at the evils in the world will not allow you unalloyed enjoyment of the joys of the afterlife. 

The Stonewall King of All Time

From a Google Image Search – The Daily Beast, “The Madness of King Trump”

Trump may be having trouble getting his pricey steel wall-that-is-not-a-wall along our Southern border, but he has managed to build a living wall around himself right there in Washington, a wall that can travel with him and for him. Seems a living wall is far more useful and impenetrable than a physical wall. 

The Republicans already had extreme chops as wall builders, building human stonewalls. After all they had the NRA, with Wayne LaPierre at the helm, that madman who inspires fear in gun owners, fear that any regulation amounts to nullification of the Second Amendment rights of American gun owners, as interpreted by right wing nut burgers. Republicans also have that master of stonewalling, Mitch McConnell in the Senate who figured out how to stonewall even when he only led the Minority.

But when the Republicans got Trumped they ended up with the Stonewall King of All Time. He treats our government as his own personal fiefdom and he keeps hiring and firing until he has the perfect Order of Portly Knights and less portly vassals who swear fealty only to him. These people, most often male, not only resemble stone walls but know how to shut down any opposition with an ominous glare, an emphatic no, or a stubborn opacity. William Barr, with the misleading title of Attorney General, is a member of the Order of Portly Knights; so is Mike Pompeo. Mitch McConnel is a loyal vassal, as are all the Republicans in Washington. Did you see Martha McSally snarl as she dismissed one intrepid journalist as a “liberal hack.” It wasn’t pretty,  Martha, I guess being pretty is not your superpower is it? You are a handmaiden to the powerful patriots loyal to KingTrump. 

It is clear when you approach these experts at stonewalling that they will shut you down with a glance or a growl. This is so far from what we expect or have usually encountered in our democracy/republic that we are rendered speechless. These walls are living walls. You can’t climb over them, you can’t tunnel under them. You have to out-strategize them but liberals are not set up to design an effective attack on the fortress that Trump is building. Not only does he have his legitimate government-approved Knights but he owns a posse of less palatable actors that he can use for illegal activities: people like Rudy Giuliani and even the talkative Lev Parnas (no longer recognized as one of the posse), Michael Cohen who believed, to his chagrin, that loyalty went both ways, Paul Manafort and many others – this posse can expand in size when needed. All it takes to win over a member of the posse is to make them think they are included in the inner circle, that they are courtiers with access to the king.

Trump has learned how to bend the courts of the land to his will and he can do whatever he likes as long as he takes it to one court and then another court, locks up judgement in endless appeals and skates back behind his human wall of thuggish knights. Now he is on trial in the Senate, but it is highly likely that he will skate once again because the doors of the courtroom have already closed out anyone who is not a loyal member of the fiefdom, including all those pesky serfs in the neighboring kingdom, those democrats, who are deluded enough to believe that they still have powers they no longer have. Is this what the American Dream has come to? It is the most frustrating thing to have a government run by an entitled bunch of bouncers who think they are knights.

Dem Debate – “In the Room Where it Happens”

Debate #7, Iowa, Washington Post

“In the Room Where it Happens”

The Democratic debate in Iowa, hosted by CNN was two days ago, a lifetime, I know, given our rapid-fire news cycles. But, before the Senate Impeachment proceedings occupy us entirely, there are things to say. Six candidates were on the stage: Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, and Amy Klobuchar. There are several more candidates who did not qualify by DNC rules: Michael Bennet, Mike Bloomberg, Deval Patrick, Tulsi Gabbard, John Delaney, and Andrew Yang. So we had six on the debate stage and six who did not qualify. This was the last debate before the Iowa primaries, much maligned for their lack of diversity and their use of caucusing, which is unfamiliar to most Americans.

The criticism of the debate that I heard most often was that the Dems who make it to the debate stage are too bogged down in policy and are not speaking enough about their ideals and what they will do to inspire and unite Americans. Clearly the six debates in 2019 already covered policy quite thoroughly, and although this debate, the first of six in 2020 did add some discussion of foreign policy, responses to the recent assassination of Soleimani in Iran, how each candidate sees the role of the President relative to war, and whether or not each would bring troops home from the Middle East, exactly which troops and from what countries, health care still took up a lot of oxygen once again. I don’t think we can actually expect the Dems to hammer out the health care plan they will finally design right there on the debate stage with strict rules about the duration of any spoken answers.

The issues of whether Bernie Sanders actually said to Elizabeth Warren that a woman could not be elected to the Presidency, and whether he meant in 2020 or ever, remains a moot point since only the two were present when he said it or didn’t say it. Elizabeth was castigated in the press for going after Bernie in public, but there is also the point that someone who does not back away from confrontation might make a good Chief Executive for the United States of America.

So perhaps it is time to be a bit more abstract and ‘airy fairy’ about the political ideals candidates bring to the table and how they perceive the role of the American federal government. And perhaps it is time to present some of the policies of the current occupant of the oval office that are less than acceptable to those of us who think of the republic as ours rather than Trump’s. Perhaps it is time to highlight the ways in which Trump’s policies have favored white supremacist views that most of us find abhorrent, or at least as something we must guard against, rather than revel in. Perhaps it is time to show why, although his economic policies seem to have America booming, dark clouds could be on the horizon. It is definitely past time to keep letting him skate by as a climate denier in order to allow the wealthy oil and gas investors to keep using old and dangerous energies, thus holding back the innovation of newer, cleaner energies. These new energies may someday prove to have their own dark sides, but right now we need them to fight the global warming which could make our children’s lives dystopian. There are so many Trump policies which make many Americans squirm that I’m sure any panel of debate hosts can come up with quite a list of topics to discuss along these lines.

But what I did enjoy about the debate on Tuesday was all the wonky arguing about policy, the very thing the press deplored. The arguments about health care plans interests me, and how to lower drug prices, and how to help working Americans, and the schooling of Americans, and how all-out to go on fighting climate change and pollution. In a way it felt as if the Democrats were already in charge of the Presidency and Congress and we were all ‘in the room where it happens” with them. It felt like a glimpse of a post-Republican dominated government, and it was a good feeling not to be shut out or insulted, talked down to and demonized. The Republicans used to all have the same list of “talking points” and speak of them as if they were the new ten commandments. At least when Democrats disagree on policy we can see that we will not get a party that has sold out its soul to win, but instead, a party that still values creative process and discussion, things at the heart of a healthy democracy.  

2020 Election: Money, Racism, Misogyny, Brutality

From a Google Image Search – Big Blue Tent – Travel Wisconsin

Today, 1.13.2020, Cory Booker dropped out of the 2020 race. America lost out on Kamala Harris. And Julian Castro. The press is pointing out the ironies of a “big tent” party, a party that would like to back so-called “minorities” like Americans of African descent and Americans of Spanish descent and women (not a minority at all but still classified as such). In fact any Democratic candidate who is trying to run a grassroots-funded campaign will continue to be in trouble in the race for office in 2020. 

Democrats are strong opponents of the Citizens United decision which, in a sense, gave votes to corporations, to money (not an organic life form) and to wealthy Americans (they can buy votes with ads and deeply-strategized ground games). If you saw Rachel Maddow’s wall graph showing the campaign war chest for each Democrat in the 2020 presidential race (except Mr. Deval) then you saw the enormous funds backing the billionaires and you saw the puny amounts raised from individual voters. Our donations are small and they still impact our personal budgets. It begins to seem ridiculous to even bother sending in our ones, tens and fifties. We are each a David fighting a Goliath and it is becoming clear to us that even hundreds of thousands of us are unable to make even a dent in what the Goliaths can come up with. And, although they may feel pained by their enormous expenditures, we know they will not be poor when this is all done.

So it is interesting to note that there is not a pool of Americans of African Descent who can run as billionaire candidates even though African Americans have been in American longer than most of our ancestors. Racism and its effects on black fortunes couldn’t require any clearer evidence than this. Nor is there a pool, or big enough pool, of billionaires of Spanish descent, or billionaire women to try to buy the Presidency. This election looks difficult enough without trying to inject financial purity into it.

There is also the Trump factor infecting all of our decisions about the perfect 2020 candidate, and it is hardly inconsequential. Trump has the charisma that Jack Nicholson displayed as the Devil in the film Witches of Eastwick, which some of you probably did not see because you are too young. For a while that devil charmed us all, until he didn’t. (The analogy seems to fall apart because some of us have never been charmed by Donald Trump, but it is apt in many ways.) Time marches on and we have now seen many sides of Donald that never bothered us much as long as he wasn’t our President. One of his worst sides is his belief in white supremacy and another is his misogyny. Lying of course, and cheating are also sins that have served him well in getting elected.

Because Trump runs a very duplicitous, alpha male, white-Europeans-rule kind of race Democrats realize that he would, most likely, have greater success demonizing minority candidates than he would against white male candidates, although they have not proven better at standing up to Trump’s patter (which should not work). We worry that with all the racist undercurrents being called forth once again in America and all the anti-immigrant feelings being whipped up and with the fact that Trump empowers white men (who knew they needed to be more empowered) a “minority candidate” could be brutalized in the 2020 election and that however hard they punched, Trump’s long years of practice with counterpunching and his lessons from expert counterpunchers like Roy Cohn and his dad, would leave these opponents bloodied and would give us four more years of a ruinous Trump presidency. Perhaps we are simply being protective of the members of our party most likely to be obliterated by the meanest old man we have ever encountered who isn’t spending his senior years in a recliner.

I’m still reading David Blight’s biography of Frederick Douglass (it’s a long one). Mr. Douglass’s long career as a warrior who used words to fight slavery, which he understood intimately having been a slave himself, made him feel a bit despondent at the actual unfolding of the Reconstruction which was bloody and deadly for freed slaves in the south. But he immediately recognized that many white slave owners feared reprisals. He also recognized that the South never had to feel the real sting of losing the Civil War. These slave states were welcomed almost immediately back into the Union and as soon as the war was over many southerners returned to serve in the Senate and the House. By then Douglass could see that being set free did not mean that southern hearts had been changed. They still saw black folks as inferior to whites and they certainly did not want them to vote or own land or amass fortunes. Douglass would be saddened to know that these racist elements still exist in America, and be appalled by the amount of time that has passed, as time should have changed such prejudices far more than it has. He rejoiced when the 15th amendment gave freed slaves the vote, but despaired at the horrific backlash in some southern states. 

It is such a sad commentary on American progress with respect to acceptance and tolerance, that in what could be America’s  “space age” (if we aren’t too engrossed in simply trying to survive), we are still fighting the Civil War and battling for equal rights for Americans of color and for women (who achieved the right to vote last).

Don’t be too hard on the Democrats right now because we can only conjecture, run the numbers, employ a great ground game and accept what a tough road it could be to beat this bad man who is still an incumbent and who has both the Republicans and the Fundamentalist vote-getting machinery behind him.