Tag Archives: Hillary Clinton

Election Night, 2016

I remember Election Night 2016…searingly.

It was to be a coronation of Hillary Clinton, and a continuation of progress made over the previous eight years.

Ms. Clinton, perhaps, had not run the most inspiring campaign. She kept it civil. She didn’t lie every day. She kept it smart. She didn’t rely on help from a foreign country – a 70-year sworn enemy of the US.

Could she have done more? I guess you can always find more to do, but at the time, it seemed enough.

President Obama had not delivered on 100% of all we hoped. He had only provided health care for millions, prevented a banking meltdown, reversed the worst recession of my lifetime, hunted down the mind behind 9/11, sparked hope in my LBGTQ neighbors, and gave us eight years of no war and no scandal.

Could he have done more? I guess you can always find more to do, but at the time, it seemed enough.

Besides, look at the opposing candidate. The US would never elect someone who;

– Lied every day – about things large and small.
– Mocked the afflicted.
– Hid his tax returns after promising to release them.
– Lied every day – about things large and small.
– Selected a Vice –Presidential running mate that did not believe in evolution.
– Paid women to hide extra-marital affairs. The plural used to be superfluous but the bar has been seriously lowered.
– Lied every day – about things large and small.
– Referred to refugees from Mexico as rapists.
– Spoke of his primary opponent (from the same party, mind you) as having an ugly wife and a father who conspired to assassinate Kennedy.
– Lied every day – about things large and small.

And the US didn’t elect such a person.

But…
Part of the US did…the part that voted.

I watched that evening in November, 2016 with slack-jawed disbelief as John King on CNN puzzled over inexplicable returns from the Panhandle of Florida.

As Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin returns came in, it became clear what the eventual electoral outcome would be and the dread set in. Within six hours we had moved from being on the verge of a golden age of progress towards a world of our parents’ (The Greatest Generation) dreams to a possible end of the greatest experiment of democracy the world has known and a naked plundering of the nation’s treasure and ideals.

Much of my adult life has been spent being a manager of people, locations, money, time, and products. When crises emerge, they are challenges to be met and fixed. Thus, my first thought was; “How do we fix this?”

The next morning, as Janie learned of the results, the look on her face flickered from disbelief to fear to “Whose ass do I need to kick about this?”

That day and the next, I talked young people off the ledge. I had met them during rehearsals for RAGTIME with UK Opera Theater a couple of months before. They were excited about casting their first presidential votes. Now they were crushed.

It was a tough holiday season.

A friend who voted for Clinton openly wept at our dinner table.
Another friend, a teacher, a lifelong Republican, for the first time in his life declined to vote at all rather than vote for this choice of candidates. He was dismal and lousy company – pondering retirement and slouching towards hermitude (I don’t think that’s really a word, but it’s accurate).
One acquaintance had voted Green. A guiltier aspect I have never seen on a human being, though I do remember a similar look on Lilly, my former dog, when confronted with a seriously compromised Birkenstock sandal.

Since his inauguration, Mr. Trump has done little to ameliorate the fear and much to exacerbate it…and doesn’t seem to care.

All along the way, Mr. Barr has abetted Mr. Trump, with his votes and with his silence.

How do we begin to fix this?

In Kentucky, in 2018, we can deprive Mr. Trump of Mr. Barr’s vote and his permissive silence.

Plus, we can replace him with a bright, energetic Kentucky voice, who seems less interested in party affiliation and personal power than doing what’s right for the country.

Yes, I’ll be voting on Tuesday.
Yes, I’ll be voting for Lt. Col. (Ret.) Amy McGrath.
And yes, I’ll be voting for her replacement in 2020 if she can’t meet expectations.

That’s how we begin to fix things.

I’m old. I fear we will not be able to repair the damage done in the last 21 months to the environment, to our world leadership, to our security, and to our civility in my lifetime, and yes, I’m bitter about that.

But the old hippie in me growls we must begin.

We begin on Tuesday.

The Further Adventures of Ben

Yesterday, I related to you an occurrence in my day…

“I just got a call from ‘Ben’ at ‘Appall sek-yoor-rah-tee’. Ben says my computer is ‘sending a vi-russ ah-lert to the main serrrverrr’. He seemed concerned.
I asked Ben ‘What server – where?’
(pause)
‘Noo-Jerrzee’
‘Is that where you are, Ben?’
(click)

As Jules Feiffer says in his clever play ‘Little Murders’; ‘If they’re that easy to destroy, you have to ask yerself if yer gonna miss’em when they’re gone.’

Waitaminnit!
What if Ben’s tellin’ the truth? Maybe my Dell elected Trump!
……I anticipate a sleepless night……”

 

Well, it was.

So, I got up this morning, blearily called one of geeky friends, and we investigated the Dell. Yes, before you ask, we notified James Comey of the impending investigation.

On the hard drive we discovered;

  • 331 emails from Hilary Clinton – mostly recipes and ambiguous limericks
  • Snatches of Noel Coward lyrics from unpublished songs – not so ambiguous, but quaint
  • A video of Citizen Trump in a Russian hotel room (sign on the door in the background stating room rates and check-out times in Cyrillic) – not even in the same area code as ambiguous
  • An offer to forgive my student loan in exchange for a small deposit – who says this is not a kind world?
  • An interactive map of coffee houses in Raqqa.
  • George Martin’s next installment in The Game of Thrones.
  • The football playbook of Davidson University.
  • The rest of Coleridge’s “Xanadu”
  • Lesson plans from the University of North Carolina (these were blank pages).

I felt pretty good when we had finished. Our discoveries were bizarre and vaguely unsettling but that seems “de rigeur” in today’s world. I couldn’t see anything that suggested my computer moccasins had scuffed the planet any more than others I could name.

Thus encouraged, we explored further; actually opening the box of the pc.

Oh my…

We found;

  • Al Capone’s whiskey bottle
  • A floppy drive (no, my younger friends, this is not something Viagra can fix)
  • Nixon’s missing eighteen-and-a-half minutes
  • 14 pounds of cat and dog hair
  • The Maltese Falcon
  • A chord, previously mislaid
  • Pluto (the former planet, not the pup)

Though it seemed we could go on quite a bit further, we stopped there. As intriguing as our discoveries were, they seemed benign compared to what I could see 24/7/365 on CNN under the heading of “Breaking News”.

Also, I was feeling a bit antsy proceeding in this wonderland without Carl Sagan or Joseph Campbell as a guide…or maybe Robert Langdon.

I did want to call Ben at “Appall sek-yoor-rah-tee” and thank him for opening a hidden world to me.

Is this how the archaeologists of the future will spend their time? If so, perhaps the City of Lexington’s computer dump facility on Versailles Road will be the Egyptian pyramids of the 22nd century.

Cool.

Please file this under “alternative facts”.

“You Nugatory Nullifidian!” – Walt Kelly

It seems the primary news topic (nay, make that the only news topic) of the last week is the litany of peccadillos and self-inflicted crises of the Trump campaign, all of which auger impending doom, whether we elect him or don’t – doomed if you do, doomed if you don’t.

I’m as fascinated (a useful euphemism for “terrified”) by all these revelations and speculations as the next guy, but I wonder if in the maelstrom of threats to the Trump campaign, we’re not missing a couple.

A friend of mine posted today about the very real possibility of Mr. Trump running out of voting groups to insult. Oh sure, he has yet to attack Eskimos or the Amish, but at the rate he’s proceeding he’ll get to them within days and then what? I have no good suggestions to offer on this quandary…except…meekly, mind you…to suggest terminating the insults and attacks? It’s just an outré thought.

And there’s also the problem of the sameness of the insults themselves, from everyone. I weary of hearing about people being “dopey” and “losers”. I’m tired of hearing Mr. Trump describe everything Trumpian as “incredible” and “huge”. I glaze over hearing his detractors describe him as “narcissistic” and “misogynistic”. We have 90+ days to go before we vote. If vocabularies don’t expand, we’ll all go nuts. If that happens, we’ll vote for a nut. That can’t be the best business plan.

Sometimes, when faced with a serious consideration like this, I seek outside guidance. Unlike Doc Ricketts in Steinbeck’s CANNERY ROW, I can’t go visit the Seer, and Oracle of Delphi is not on my speed dial. But, I do have a shelf-ful of Pogo books from the 50’s and early 60’s. In the Pogo strips, two of the denizens of the Okefenokee Swamp are the Cow Birds. These unsavory critters are uber-critics of everything wholesome and have a tortured vocabulary with which to express their views. I’m not encouraging any plagiarism here, just looking for inspiration. Imagine Mr. Trump referring to his myriad enemies as; “lesser pipsqueaks”. Or Ms. Clinton casting; “a pox on absentee landlordism!” Or Anderson Cooper decrying Mr. Trump’s answers to his questions as; “benighted paternalistic infantilism.”

Now THAT would lively.

And would keep me running to my dictionary.

Dictionaries.

Remember those?

A Tale of Two Conventions

After watching two weeks of political conventions. My head is not spinning. I have a plethora of thoughts but they seem pretty clear.

  • It was the best of conventions: it was the worst of conventions. I confess I plagiarized and paraphrased that.
  • I enjoyed seeing Paul Simon and Carole King while flinching at hearing them. Gettin’ old sucks.
  • The Trump family is lovely to look at – sans pere.
  • One of the things I enjoy about traveling is hearing languages and accents I rarely hear in Lexington. It humbles me a bit (always useful in my case) and reminds me I’m part of something bigger than the blissful bubble Janie and I live in and cherish.
  • In his late eighties, my grandfather was taken hunting by one of my cousins. When they emerged from their hunting ground, they were confronted by a game warden waiting by their car. He asked for my grandfather’s hunting license and in the ensuing confusion about the existence of such a document (not to mention any relevant emails, birth certificates, or tax returns), the warden said he would need to have my grandfather’s gun/rifle/bazooka/whatever. My grandfather responded by cocking his gun/rifle/bazooka/whatever and saying “I don’t think so.” I think my mom had to bail him out on that caper.

I relate this to point out that I, like many of us, come from a culture of personal weaponry that is not even in the same area code as rational thought. I, like most of us, would like to see some improvement in the number of weapons of mass destruction currently in the hands of dangerous people (toddlers and terrorists alike). But I also think this is one of the two “third-rail” issues in US politics today. This issue will be tough for Democrats.

  • By the way, the other “third-rail” issue is Social Security. Republicans might want to tread warily here. This geezer would respectfully suggest/bellow they get offa my lawn.
  • A wall. Really? A wall? Didn’t Russia try that in Berlin? If we’re gonna build something, let’s RE-build our infrastructure. Bridges, roads, and airports – yes! Wall – not so much.
  • I’ve witnessed history-making things in my lifetime.
    • Humans bounding on the moon.
    • Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech.
    • John F. Kennedy’s assassination.
    • Barack Obama’s election to the presidency.
    • Hillary Clinton’s nomination for the presidency.
  • I’ve also seen a good many balloon drops in my lifetime and I always like’em. Yesterday’s Democratic Convention balloon drop was the best.

Finally, I’m watching a couple of films by Danish director Carl Theodore Dreyer. In his film GERTRUD, one of the characters advises;

“Two things have been and still are more important to me than anything else. These two things are love and thought. You’ve spoken about love. As far as thoughts go, we should have courage to think good thoughts for the good thoughts bring us to the summit of truth, and truth is the only thing worthwhile.”

Michelle Obama might have said that more succinctly; “When they go low, we go high.”

No, my head’s not spinning…I’m goin’ high.

A Pragmatic Proposal for Peace (Mine)

“Pragmatism! Is that all you have to offer?” – Tom Stoppard (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead).

I have always enjoyed presidential campaigns. The first I remember paying attention to was the 1964 race in which Lyndon Johnson, riding a tide of popularity as he succeeded the recently assassinated John Kennedy, resoundingly defeated the radical (by 1964 standards) conservative Barry Goldwater.

Then in 1968, at the Democratic Convention in Chicago, I died in Grant Park along with Phil Ochs, Jerry Rubin, the yippies, and Pigasus. Oh, I was home watching convention and the demonstrations on the tube in Lexington, but I died. I was crushed. It was the last time I failed to vote. Nixon was elected. Lesson learned.

I was avid in following subsequent campaigns. I lived for every daily detail. Of course this was before the cable TV 24/7/365 news cycle (glut) and well before the internet. Daily details had to be gleaned from the evening network news half-hour or the morning newspaper. Smoke signals and tea leaves were a poor plan B.

It was the ultimate reality show before reality shows became a reality. I thrilled to it.

This year…not so much.

I’m looking ahead at the next four-plus months at a campaign between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. TV, newspapers, Twitter, and my Facebook feed will be flooded with pictures, information, pseudo-information, out-and-out lies, pundits, and idiots. Stupefying amounts of money will be spent. Friends and acquaintances will share their opinions and their memes. Too often that sharing will not reflect well on the mental acuity of the sharers. I will be dismayed by that.

To what end?

Do we really think anyone’s mind will be changed?

All that money, all that noise, and all that vituperation…what an ordeal.

May I posit an alternative?

Let’s don’t.

Let’s simply stipulate to the logical outcome of the presidential race, save that campaign money (or use it in races for other important elective offices), and give ourselves a peaceful autumn to enjoy the changing leaves and the resurgence of University of Kentucky football (hey, we can dream).

There are clear realities in this year’s race that I believe make this a pragmatic choice.

  • Trump will be the Republican nominee. I know 20% of the population will disagree, envisioning a convention miracle. I also know if you ask the population which coin is worth more; a quarter or a dime – 20% will choose the dime. This is willful contrariness – we can move on – nothing to see here.
  • Clinton will be the Democratic nominee. I know 20% of the population will disagree, envisioning a mathemagical Sanders miracle. See above.
  • Clinton will win the general election. I know 20% of…you know the rest.

I’m not commenting on the rightness, fairness, or wisdom of these realities. They are what they are.

Let’s stipulate the results and spare ourselves…and maybe heal ourselves.