The Day After The Election

Last fall on the day following the election of Donald Trump as president, Mark woke up in a hotel that didn’t have power in some of the rooms. The night before, he went to his room with his room key and flicked on the light switch. Nothing.

The hotel, an odd little place on the side of Old U.S. 22 in Shartlesville, PA, placed their room key envelopes fastened together with an elastic and sitting in an old coffee can. Mark merely had to go back to the front desk and pick another room key.

Sitting along what had once been a major east/west corridor, the interstate usurped this road’s importance. Like many similar roadways that once were important overland routes for travelers dating from the time of covered wagons up through the earliest days of Happy Motoring in America, most have fallen into disuse like much in a nation built around planned obsolescence. Mom and Pop lodging matching the place where Mark spent the night last fall struggle to remain solvent. Perhaps the owners had simply taken a page from the austerity playbook, implementing measures like asking guests to forgo electricity. Mark also noted that there were signs indicating to boil the water prior to drinking.

On his blog, following the election of the worst candidate we’ve ever called president (thus far), he made a connection between the new POTUS and what MAGA might actually mean when he wrote, “I hope the motel where I stayed isn’t an omen for the future of America. Some of the rooms didn’t have power and you couldn’t drink the water.” Continue reading

Free Wi-Fi

I am writing this post from a public library that rests along Main Street in one of Maine’s quintessential small towns. For what it’s worth, it could be a stand-in for Main Street, USA if producers truly cared about places removed from the population centers on the left and right coasts.

Driving “down” the coast from Woodward Cove, the morning’s radio waves were crammed with news of another shooting. Even sports talk wasn’t immune from the hosts adding their two cents worth of political grandstanding.

Libraries are always full of little treasures.

Where I live, if you want to know what the conservative talking points are for any given day, just head over to the AM side of the dial and WGAN will let you know the pulse of the angry, white (predominantly male) pitchfork-bearers in five minutes or less.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been repulsed by the ugliness of humanity. Mark would have had an antidote for me, but in case you’ve forgotten, Mark’s no longer with us. Continue reading

Trump Tic Tac Toe

Donald Trump dominates yet another news cycle. How often can one man suck the air supply from the room as illustrated by yesterday’s Trump/Comey media circus, masquerading as functional governance? We seem to have slipped into the political version of Groundhog Day.

Back when Trump was a reality star of sorts, it was kind of funny, in a late-night joke-telling kind of way. Now that he’s president, it’s become fucking scary.

What is it about America that empowers (and emboldens) stupid, doughy (and angry) white men like Trump? They continually feel the need to tell you how great they are, how rich they are, how smart they are, while downplaying the size (or lack, therewith) of their hands.

Dueling white men.

Continue reading

Our New President

We’re barely 24 hours into the term of our 45th president and it’s clear to me—the next four years are going to be one wild ride! It’s possible that life as we know it in America will have disappeared, with no guarantee that there’s a pathway back to restoring it.

I had to work yesterday, so I only caught snippets of Inauguration Day. I did see the swearing in of Pence and Trump. And then, I got to watch his address during lunch.

I’m not sure what I expected. Perhaps naively, I held out some glimmer that our new president was going to offer his plan for bringing together a divided people. Not even five minutes in, it was clear that Trump had no interest in unity.

No unity here.

Granted, as one commentator said, for followers of Mr. Trump, he serves as a “kind of Rorschach test” in that they tend to see him in whatever way they want to believe about him and various issues. I’d concur with that. Continue reading

Blame it on the Russians

I was in grade school during the 1960s. This was during the height of the Cold War, when all schoolkids were taught to be suspicious of the Russkies. Actually, American education does a great job of inculcating a fear of the other. The Russians were a convenient target at that time.

Blame it on Vlad!

Blame it on Vlad!

Fast forward to 2016. Apparently little’s changed over the past 45 to 50 years. Democrats are still trying to play “the Commies ate my homework,” or some version of it. Rather than own up to Hillary Clinton being a loser once again, it’s easier to lay the burden of Clinton and the DNC’s incompetence at the feet of Russia, and their current president, Vladimir Putin. Funny how that works—the more things change, the more things stay the same. Candidate Clinton—who ran a woeful campaign—can take solace. The Russians caused her to lose!

But I’m sick of that tune and I’m not going to play it today. Continue reading

The God People

We’re getting ready to move. It could be next month, or it might be next spring.

Mary has been going through piles of stuff that’s collected over the last two decades. She’s done a great job of winnowing down the clutter that grows over a lifetime of saving things, thinking that there might be a better use for them.

Some of what she pulled out over the weekend came from that period in our lives when we were God People. That was more than 30 years ago.

We actually moved halfway across the country to congregate with other God People at a place where we were supposed to learn new things about this God. The leader man sold us on his place by telling us one time that he knew more about God than anyone else.

The God place in Indiana

The God place in Indiana

Continue reading

The Real Corporate Candidate

A week ago, I received an invitation to attend a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton. It came from a relative on my wife’s side of the family. Apparently she figured I’d be an easy target, simply assuming I’d be supporting Clinton because of the alternative, Donald Trump.

This kind of thinking has galled me for months. The idea that we must vote for Hillary because of the specter of a Trump presidency is typical either/or thinking that I’ve been subjected to ever since I first started voting in 1980. It’s also more of the usual reasoning that you get from spineless liberals. More on that further down in the post.

Two pathologically-damaged choices for president.

Two pathologically-damaged choices for president.

I don’t run around touting faux socialists for president like some of my friends did prior to Bernie Sanders going in the tank for Mrs. Clinton. I’m also clear on Clinton’s neoliberal policies designed to further dash the hopes of working class people across the U.S., something that so-called working class advocates from Maine that I’ve written about on this blog seem to have missed. Democrats will be Democrats, however.

Oh, and do I need to do the usual kabuki dance and list all the Republican’s political peccadilloes? They should be fairly obvious, but then again, given the drivel I’m reading about “Hillary must win, no matter what,” I’m not so sure.

Hillary Clinton has long been seen as the heir apparent to an ineffective, two-term president. Mr. Hope and Change has delivered little and dashed any hopes thinking people may have had about America. What passed for change was negligible at best. Continue reading

Hot in Cleveland

I’ve never been to Cleveland. I did drive a U-Haul truck through the middle of the city on a couple of occasions between Mike Pence’s Indiana and Maine. They tell me that the GOP is having their convention in the place where rock and roll is lionized, at least by the arbiters at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I do remember a night from Cleveland’s past, filled with smoke and burning records. That took place at a strange intersection where baseball and disco came together—at a stadium by the lake that’s a mere memory.

Rock and Roll and disco are like oil and water.

Rock and Roll and disco are like oil and water.

Not much to say today, at least nothing that I can say that won’t get me on the wrong side of the PC fence from the real fascists and censors.

I did have the strangest of dreams last night. I was at the Democratic National Convention and I was supporting Hillary in the most lukewarm sort of ways. Oddly, she had morphed from the frumpy and shrill, to slender (in a female volleyball player’s body) and unassuming. All the attendees were pudgy white males and women worshiping their queen. Bernie Sanders’ gang were not present, so no graying ponytails. Continue reading

The 5th Always Follows the 4th

While the candidates for president were out and about on the 4th of July, lying to American voters, I spent the long weekend uncharacteristically relaxing, even attending a wonderful family gathering and cookout hosted by “the hostess with the mostest,” Aunt Tomato.

Alas, another work week’s begun. There are still a few jobs to be done in what remains of the Republic.

In this age of truncation and Twitter, I thought something I read in Jay Parini’s biography of Gore Vidal was fitting and Twitter-ific. It was also noteworthy enough to break my silence on politics here at the JBE.

Vidal (just prior to the nation’s Bicentennial year, working on his new book at the time, 1876) was being interviewed by Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes, and he gave an answer to Wallace about the reporter’s claim that Vidal was being overly cynical about the nation’s fate at the time, 40 years before we’d suffer from an election choice of Clinton vs. Trump.

Vidal explained that “cheap labor and cheap energy” were gone, and the results would be dire. He continued, “We’re never going to have that again. We’re going to have to have less gross national product, not more.” Prescient, I’d say.

Promising things they can't deliver.

Promising things they can’t deliver.

Continue reading

Claiming Your Deck Space

A month ago, I decided to take a break from writing about anything overtly political. I’m glad I did, as the last few weeks have allowed me to step away from the shrill pitch and tenor of our national debate about which candidate (s) is less tainted than the others. Today, I’ll covertly brush up alongside the topic, albeit briefly.

Be careful where you place your deck chair.

Be careful where you place your deck chair.

Whenever you frame things in an either/or paradigm, you severely limit possibilities for change. Merely mentioning “hope and change” won’t alter a thing, unless you open up a dialogue vastly different that the current one centered on maintaining the American status quo. To do so would require all of us (not just the “other side”) to dramatically reorient how we think and ultimately, how we live. No one (save for a few) are willing to do this. Instead, we’re left with re-arranging deck chairs, to reference one of my favorite writers/bloggers, John Michael Greer. I’d highly recommend this week’s post, about merely “rearranging the deck chairs,” once more. Better, bookmark The Archdruid Report, and spend some time working your way back through what I consider some of the most thoughtful writing out there on the interwebs, about our present malaise. Continue reading