Discussions of, without radicalism, various beliefs and belief systems, Hopelessness, Politics, Religion, social interaction, Uncategorized

What Do We Do About Police?

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I have to start with a confession: in January it will be seven years since I had a confrontation that profoundly changed my life.

Back in those days I was a high school english teacher at a bad-reputation campus in north Philadelphia, which was nowhere near as tough as they pretended to be. I was pretty good at my job, or at least I had most of the students’ attention. I was a showman, my classroom discipline so lax it would sometimes lead to fistfights. Many of the children were mentally ill, broken by the disconsolate backgrounds they would never have a chance to overcome. The abused ones were mostly either sexually exploited and/or emotionally wallopped, their lives reduced to doubt, hopelessness, shame and rage. These children were ignored except when a parent was lonely and needed a friend. Sometimes, when they were younger, they might instruct their children to throw themselves down the stairs of their school to get a big district paycheck, the child a lottery ticket hoping to avoid serious damage. Yet there were these few moments, overjoyed, maybe listening to the same song or rooting for the same athlete, a few times over a year that these broken children believed they could understand love.

Of course most of the students weren’t anywhere near so bleak, their lives the same ordinary, dull, mostly lower-middle class yearning mixed with dreams of stardom in the future, like any 21st century teen. My style in the classroom, however, was confrontational (‘Confrontational learning,’ I would sometimes arrogantly boast in a staff meeting to nervous, by the book, endlessly boring fellow teachers, ‘is how you teach these kids to find themselves.’)

I told myself that it was my job to challenge every one of my students to consider exactly what it was they actually believed. In writing assignments I would declare “no censorship.” I would tell them, academically, “that your opinion might be this is the worst piece of shit I have ever read the first four pages of,” and I’d say that was “a valid criticism. But your job here is to tell me why. . . .” I taught them the style of writing I have learned and tried to develop, self-assured enough to call myself a writer: beautiful language and no hope; a terribly blunt assessment of everything that bothers me. I tried teaching them to find their own voices, to know who they were. It was a remarkably satisfying experiment, occasionally even successful.

I had this one student — a 9th grader, barely literate. He was a cool little kid: genuinely nice and funny enough to keep his angrier, bigger friends from taking out their rage on him.

Now this kid, this kid, he was a horrible yet very active student. He was wracked with some difficult sort of learning disability, which my wife could explain being the truly masterful middle school special education teacher that she is, a master at diagnosis. He was a smiling dope who knew little more than Kobe Bryant’s season average and how to get high.

Anyway, the assignment given, coming correspondent to the latest end-of-the-world craze, 2012 and the Mayan calendar, was meant to be fun. We were going on Christmas break, and I gave them an until the New Year’s assignment to “write at least five entries — I don’t care if each is five years apart! — telling of your first person experiences in a post-apocalyptic world. Make it a diary, draw a comic book if that’s your will. You have survived and the world is very different — go!” I had to add that I didn’t want any zombie stories. I received a few, a letter grade lower no matter how good because they didn’t listen.

So we get back to school and this sweet, barely literate boy is excited, bouncing around. “Mr. — — -! Yo, I got it!”

What he offered me was a hand-written scribble, six plus pages, the text filled in microscopically, the symbols indecipherable. He got an A. His story went up on the “Best” papers I had posted in the classroom (along with the usual and required “Good work!” pasteboard, and the sneering space I selected once a week for “Worst,” a thing good-natured students would try to avoid because I would humiliate them). He told me a little about his story and he had clearly worked incredibly hard, perhaps taking the whole time over vacation to devise his masterpiece. He got an A. This is one of my proudest moments as a teacher.

Anyway, I was tired, exhausted, not a morning person, one who has to arrive at work before seven AM to claim a copy machine in the office to make 120 slow-moving copies to distribute the new syllabus for the next unit’s requirements (there is a submitted rigid curriculum one is required to outline, quoting a basic education degree textbook with uncertain code numbers like 3:1 and & 7.4e, defining the academic standards that the state imposes. Most of us just repeated lesson plans, the same thing over and over, shifting the numbers, the only thing our superiors looked at).

So you scribble out your corporate document, then return to the classroom and do anything you want. One doesn’t teach morality — for this they get fired. One can only teach, at its most controversial, a cold middle ground — what is right and wrong? You decide —

Yet why? That has always been the question. Why do things happen? There is no use to descend into secular margins and suffer the endless theories of who and what, sometimes where, while why is disappointingly answered with ‘because god told us so.’

This is a question we tend to avoid, all of us. Why do things happen? Is it a conspiracy against only me?

Because that’s what we think, in those frustrated moments, our selfish generation coming to a head, then saying ‘fuck you’ to the rest of the world; leaving whatever mess we’ve made for our children; those frightened, desolate, survivors of childhood. The misery we leave is tremendously cluttered, all with our shouting and certainty and conflicted faiths. Those kids we’ve never taught how to pick up the pieces of their lives then go out into an uncertain world and wonder what to make of it. Our lives, just like our parents’ lives before us, become wasted.

So I was coming home from a late post-Christmas/New Year’s work party, sobered up, and a work mate sat in the car beside me, driving to a close to my home train station where he could get a different ride home. Neither of us liked the other, yet each felt a professional responsibility to make sure that our workmates were protected. He sort of nodded at me as he left. He shook his head and said to himself “he’s no longer my responsibility.” And I get that too. I was done with him as well. Why would either of us want to be part of the drama of another person’s life?

I was clear-headed by this time — my earlier drinking was pretty minimal: four-fifths a glass of terrible wine, nursed through two hours, and maybe a third of something weak with vodka I had before everyone arrived. This was hours before the ride home. I lived about a mile from this train station. I just wanted to go to bed.

So I sat there, at least considerate, watching to make sure my coworker got into the station unmolested. As I was waiting I noticed some flashing lights behind me. Now I was probably parked illegally, motor running, waiting to pull out into the silence of the night. I avoided the police car, pulling over further to let them pass.

Only they didn’t. They pulled up behind me. One of them rapped on the driver side window while the other peek-a-booed through the passenger side door. I ran down my window. I was a white guy in a suit, a teacher and therefore at least physically respectable-looking. I was in a sports jacket and tie. I had been dressed for my role at the party.

“Got any heroin in the car?” the officer barked at me as we faced each other.

This was baffling. Heroin? I’ve never tried heroin. I’ve only ever seen it in movies, or whatever brown sugar mix simulated it. Did he think I was a junkie? Or maybe a drug dealer? What the fuck, dude, I thought. It’s 10:46 on a Friday night in shittown. What makes you think that some douchebag like me could have any part in anything that at any time has to do with you? Why would I even know them, from another neighborhood, none of the same circles, public contempt for each other, we “pussy-ass teachers,” mouthing our liberal craziness to savages. To us the police were savages. They were savages. Savages.

Now sometimes proving a point is incredibly dangerous, and I guess that’s what happened, because my smiling and witty presentation of my non-drug dealing self ended up getting my head smashed into the roof of a metal car. Repeatedly.

I was dribbled twice, that I know of, hard, then as hard as this giant could. Of course I blacked out. He could have whacked me five more times until his partner finally told him enough. It is possible. It would be consistent with the physical damage I suffered.

So I was asked if I had “any contraband?”

This confused me too — huh? What’re you? — oh. Oh. Do I have any drugs? He is rephrasing the question politely. He wants to know if I’m high.

Now I’m a white guy, as I said before, (and I was thinking about getting high after I got home to shrug off this unpleasentness),and the sense of danger to myself over this exchange was minimal, I figured, the worst that was likely to happen being a threatening warning. “I’ll just tell this bastard who I am,” I thought to myself, “and then they can fuck off and I can go home and go to bed.” There was no reason, I felt, for them to even be bothering me.

Imagine, if you can, being a black man in a suit in a shitty, junkie, whorehouse part of town, parked across the street from the train station, watching someone leave, or maybe waiting for them to come. Imagine this. I certainly couldn’t, there in that moment. They were wasting my time. Come on — fuck off you idiots!

I stood there patiently, knowing nothing was wrong, being perfectly honest and making sure they felt no threat. They would imply whatever they wanted on their paperwork, which I thought likely resembled the bureaucratic torture of a teacher’s lesson plan (not so different after all, fellow city employee!)

“Well,” I said, “I’m a type one diabetic, and I have an insulin pen and two twist on syringes in my inside jacket pocket.” I asked if I should show him. He nodded.

Now the other guy, a tall, bulky fellow, certainly too old to be trolling around such a dangerous neighborhood, in uniform, merely the heavy for his partner’s higher ranking decisions to investigate. He was at least six-foot-four, maybe 270 pounds, some of his brawn gone to fat. He was balding, probably forty-five, a pock-marked face and an appearance of seething disgust for the humanity.

He was fiddling around my car, this other guy, throwing papers out of the glove compartment, checking the rear seat pocket, then tearing up carpet from under the driver’s and passenger’s seats. I expected him to produce a pen knife and then slice up the backseat too, ripping with glee, seeing the stuffing as bubbling intestines.

I went for my pocket. The guy questioning me was watching calmly, expecting nothing. The other guy, perhaps looking for the affirmative praise he had received over his last few beatings, geared for action. Never a promotion for him, but a certain avoidant admiration, this guy ‘did good’ to the hoodlums rampaging around, he had been told. There were winks and pats on the back. A whole round was bought by others at the cop bar, the place he found himself more and more, his wife probably gone, his children grown and wouldn’t talk to him anymore. He would sit there getting drunk, rambling wildly with a group of other unhappy, drunken cops. They would talk about arrests, and tell adventure stories; tales of joyful pain inflicted, and some exaggerations about just how bad the true villains ruling the community were. They would toast and rant. They would yell “nigger!” and “spic!” and more from the cheap variety of slurs they used to classify people. They talked about Jews in city government, and women who acted like men, and the whole fucking Chinese and Arab massacre. And those white pussies — oh those goddamn limp-wristed faggot liberals — they were the worst! They would vent their anger at the world, seeing all civilization against them. They had denied the once noble slogan “To Protect and Serve.” Now it was kill or be killed.

So the big guy saw me going for my pocket and he instinctively reacted, a product of his police training. Now I don’t know if the first cop looked at his partner grabbing me with horror (or at least concern), but I’d like to think he did. I know that he broke it up, the end to pain giving me a motive to wake back up. I was dizzy. My head hurt. All I could see were dim, decreasing manifestations of light, shadows of what I was actually seeing. I was stumbling around. I know that someone was barking at me.

The next thing I remember (and I can’t be convinced that this is true, my memories of the next few days blurred, my attorney helping me define the narrative of the events leading to their letting me go) is getting back into my car. There was an echoey warbling, the better cop leaning in and talking instructively. “Wub wub wub wub wub,” he was saying. Then he looked away and pointed. Turning back he said what sounded to me like “Go home.”

I do not remember driving. I do not remember going into my house (although I did). I do not remember anything of what my wife told me were two days of crying and erratic shouting and talking to ghosts on the ceiling. I was bumping into walls. I fell down the steps. I began falling asleep at random moments — in the middle of dinner or playing with my children. My wife and I started growing distant. My children were suddenly robbed of the example of a father.

The next thing I remember — and I remember this vividly — was sitting on a desk in my classroom the following Tuesday. It was second or third period. I have no idea what I was teaching, or if I’d even been there the day before. I suspect I wasn’t teaching at all. Finally one of the students came up to the desk and shook my shoulder.

“Mr. — — -, Mr. — — -, yo? Yo, you okay? You been sittin’ on that desk and starin’ at the wall for, like, twenty minutes. Yo, you want me to go get the nurse?”

I realized I needed to go to the hospital. Something was clearly wrong. I had been afraid — I was still afraid of everything and I just wanted to forget about what had happened and return to normal life. I had continued driving since that first blocked memory of getting home the first night (although a number of increasingly dangerous smash-ups, over the ensuing years, has mostly cured me of this, running to a nearby store about my limit.) I got up from the desk quickly — have no idea if I told anyone I was leaving, and wound up at a nearby hospital saying that the noises in my head were killing me. It was my last day with a regular job.

My head was swollen. My face looked red. I guess I was making some sort of sense. I do not remember the day before, or the weekend. Perhaps the lesson being taught was displaying for my students that I was in need.

Lawsuit, blah blah blah, big city police, settlement. We moved into a new house. I sit here and write this to you.

But we were talking about the police. We don’t even need to list the seemingly endless number of people being shot in the back and killed in only the last few months. I avoid the word “murder,” in this context, because before we convict the violent individual of an individual murder, one must wonder if these continual events — even after all the rage and crazy shit in the news, during a scary pandemic, outrage trumping mortality, morality, and money — even after these horror stories that have finally expanded a movement that had been nascent for so many years in spite of their own spate of being killed — even considering all of this, and the videos for all to see of the commission of murder — blame, like for the guy who hires the hitman — has a very difficult face to reconcile.

Today there is a genuine state of confrontation, a “fuck the police,” that I cannot help but have great sympathy with. And you see these poor fellows flipping some terrified cop off, and the only option must be to shoot him as he walks away: a dangerous revolutionary.

But is this really all those nervous kids’ fault, these cops? Think about the stress in just paperwork of the job (teachers can get fired — even in a union job — for not turning in or completing their documentation). They are always getting yelled at by their superiors, sometimes the demands made upon them beyond comprehension. These people have miserable jobs, the other side being that the people no longer trust them. “To protect and serve’’ is taken seriously by no one on any side. A police officer is forced to perform all sorts of humiliating tasks too. “Scoop the shit up that the guy who got away left behind. Take it to the lab. Wait for the results and then come tell me. That’ll be all —”

This is a common task for police, one they’ve never been trained for. I imagine that getting in that car and roving around your beat is a real treat after confronting the stultifying everything else in your life. Many of these officers selected this option for a career out of loyalty, or about revenge against schoolyard bullies, or a disgust with what the world has become, attempting to be an agent of change, trying to stop it. Of course many come from police families, having been raised on the cynical sense of duty so pervasive in the police force these days. And others just need someone to blame for their rage.

Some believe in service — to protect and serve the public. But then their training gets in the way and transforms them, as with every lifestyle choice, making them into people they never thought they would be.

No doubt many police were the bullies themselves, perhaps grown bitter as they watched the weaklings they used to torment grow up and move on to bigger and better lives. There is a certain rage to the decision to join the force, be it political or social anger, very strong views, a simmering hatred for humanity, an organizational sociopath, fully aware of how to sort criminal activity without recognizing the concepts of good or evil. Others just sullenly want to help. These are the good cops, the publicly sad ones, usually a little bit older, prematurely graying or bald, who take pity on the desperate and those poor, tragic souls who find themselves homeless. These are the guys friendly with prostitutes too, sometimes taking them out for a three AM breakfast, other times sleeping through the morning together at a two-star hotel. They shake their heads and take the joint out of a thirteen year old’s hand, then tell them to scat. Often they take a pull or two, sucking up enough to start coughing. They go back to their cars, take deep breaths, and maybe make a phone call to somebody in their life while they wait there, on watch, ignoring all of the minor crimes going on outside.

When I was a teacher I probably encouraged some of the fights. My classroom was loud, sometimes peppered with my own impatience exploding on the goddamn teenage bastards shouting and running around the room, a few of them in such bad moods they disrupted everything, making everything about themselves. And I would yell them down perhaps as hard as they had ever seen. I would go classroom personal, tearing open the flaws of one of the loudmouths, viciously inflicting damage that I hoped wouldn’t linger. I would look to the great students for support, and the two that could face me would be nodding. I would scream longer than I had to, playing the part of the crazed professor, ranting his gospel on the meaning of Animal Farm.

And I would urge them to learn, sometimes to our mutual detriment. I had turned my classrooms into social experiments, something that a guy trying to influence people into more worldly lives must take responsibility for when chaos overtake your tiny world.

So police are nervous people, mostly — nervous or arrogant, some big tough guy, maybe a former soldier missing the gig, and sometimes they are high school failures, a losing football team stand-out, a girlfriend who left him before graduation, a dead mother, a drunken cop father, a few girlfriends or boyfriends they now hate. A few cop friends. Secrets to keep and be held. Some genuine horror stories they never talk about yet remember every night of when a black man truly was the danger, some hardass TV watcher wanting to live life like a character in a movie they just saw, or a TV show they’d been following for years. Often it is video game reality: shoot your way out, kill all those motherfuckers. Such people exist, pretend gangsters gone crazy, always desperate to prove their worth. Cops tell stories of this and it inspires those who have never experienced it to see a threat in the darker races, seeing all the crime in the city — especially in the black neighborhoods, where more than half of the police force nightly roams. These guys are eagle-eyed, scared, taught by their teachers that every person might kill you.

This comes from an actual police training transcript — one of the lectures where they’re supposed to take notes:

  • . . . your life . . . may depend on [having freedom of action]. . . . [A] police officer must not hesitate. If he does . . . the security and safety of your family may be jeopardized.

Now this isn’t entirely wrong, this rant. It is one of the terrifying prospects of a job as a police officer. The whole new world young officers are entering is unknown, random chaos. Instead of teaching them how to deescalate a situation they are taught to be on their guard, always. There are definitely times when they need to be.

But then there are mothers believing that their young children are going to be gunned down by a posse of yee-hawing cops, whether realistic or not (and, at least in public exposure, we all know such things happen increasingly). And a frightened cop and a horrified mother is not a good recipe for peace.

Yet does this instruction of shoot first excuse them for their actions? Plenty of courts aparently thought so. Does the fear imposed upon officers by the city and state and press and public, not to mention, more than anyone, their union, does this somehow excuse their actions of shooting a belligerent person who isn’t interested in talking with police? Is there a reason for them to be talking with them? If there is, if the person is unarmed, if they are merely telling the cops to go fuck themselves, there are certainly other ways to arrest someone (sometimes physically) beyond crushing their windpipe or shooting them seven times in the back.

One can understand a worried mother’s anxiety over her children, the police actually killing someone up the street a few days before, and the general tone when randomly pulling people over is more like a prison guard calling for inspection. When we talk about systemic racism, this is it with a spotlight, a satellite projection to the world that even those denying such social evils as racism feel stupid for saying. They offer weak asides about, “A few bad apples,” or admit that “that one cop shouldn’t have done that. He deserves to be fired.”

The political hierarchy in a large city allows the chief of police to consider running for mayor and governor after improving statistics like an athlete learning some new tricks. Crime goes up or down, there is an easy way to fix it. Under report. Cover things up. Make excuses. Deny police brutality. Blame the victims. Lie to the press. Give speeches igniting a fearful social divide that will eventually lead to protests and riots.

Such ambitious politicians are the accountants balancing the books — the experts “predicted this number of violent crimes this year and if we don’t reach our goals — or, worse, if we go over them — then some of our funding is cut. You guys better make something or cover something up because the city’s out to get you too!”

And then, once the budget is fixed, it is time for improved weapons, for making training fun, ripping a target to shreds with a single shot. There is an awesome supply of left-over military guns and clubs and missiles and flame-throwers sold at big discounts to larger cities so that they can “keep the peace.” Some cities are armed much better than entire units in, say, Afghanistan, and in the states it has become increasingly common to use them.

Police are trained to be soldiers, no longer saving the innocent, but executing bad guys for rattling the public. They are better equipped than ever before, even armed with cameras to document and then edit their reasons for feeling threatened. They can cause damage and then have some partial report shoved into a file, wishing it all away. If something gets too egregious, yeah, throw that guy away. He was crazy. Nobody liked him. He shouldn’t get away with what he’s done, they can tell the public.

But the public has also evolved into a military state, armed with cameras to document and then edit their reasons for feeling threatened. Far more often filmed than the jagged shapes from an officers blurry chest protection, which release generally pointless excerpts of a victim stumbling drunk. Or maybe or scared based on recent television that they only want to get away. Perhaps there is a struggle and maybe the panicked guy even throws a punch. And this is where the edit stops — he tried to hit me. I had no other choice but to repeatedly shoot and shoot and shoot (also like a video game) because he was going to get away and the boss would be pissed.

The public, contrarily, waves around their cell phone cameras, documentarians watching events unfold. While most see sympathy and are too frightened to get involved (how many of you would take that step forward when clearly there is no limit to what the officers might do?), many more are even excited — this is a great moment for me! I can release this to the press and make some money and get interviewed and I can be a star!

The social chaos is never ending.

So what do we do about police, as society unravels and revolutionary movements pop up in all directions like Russia before the First World War? It is true, as sacred mementos of a past that has hardly been fair to anyone, that people on every side of the issues have a right to be scared. You may even justify the comedic cowardice of some

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or the genuine horror others experience

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But does that mean that all those demanding social justice — that a fundamental change needs to take place and it should start with the police — does this mean that such people shouldn’t be afraid too?

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And so what do we do about police? How can we cure this world, this violent realm of distrust and paranoia? How do we fix the police, so often, and often justifiably at fault, the cause of terrified alarm, or righteously held up by other violent people as the symbols of oppression of whomever the feel should be oppressed? Can better police training help? Can we teach dignity and respect in school? Are we even allowed to in this contentious and divisive age where everything is politicized (including, no doubt, the eventual implementation of such initially worthwhile progressive plans)? Can we make a difference just by facing the issues head on, by confronting the ills with our passionate minds?

How the fuck should I know? The police bashed all those thoughts out of my head years ago.

Uncategorized

How Does a Paranoid Work? (Dispatches From the Fly on the Wall)

It is true that the more we see some connection in what happens to us, the more we are confirmed in the opinion we have about the reality of our appearances; and it is also true that the more we examine our appearances closely, the more we find them well-sequenced, as microscopes and other aids in making experiments have shown us.

— Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, 1666

The popular methods of getting into our hearts today are cruel. Wracked by anxiety, fear both natural and imposed, we are open to many suggestions. So much is in doubt, and we’re paranoid, and everyone is searching for some form of truth, a one-way system where everything always remains the same. All we can see are phantoms — monsters swirling in our midst, and anything and everything going wrong with our lives becomes somebody else’s fault.

Take anything you read on social media, randomly — news articles and commercials with blanket political statements; crazy ranting from one of us, a surly voice looking to make itself heard — read all of it and see what people believe.

A study of online persuasion seems in order:

Supposedly Eric Trump, giving fundraising a shot:

  • The dishonesty from the media and their attempt to demean, harass, and slander anything related to my father and his administration is truly mind-boggling.

— first of all, the grammar and sentence structure —

  • They’ll never stop coming after him, which is why we were really disappointed to see that you neglected to help us reach our End-of-Month Goal.

AUGUST END-OF-MONTH DONOR FILE
SUPPORTER: (You!)
END-OF-MONTH DONATION: NONE

— now here we get to the heart of things. Donald Trump is disappointed in us. Take it from Eric Trump — he knows when his father’s disappointed. And there’s that big red NONE telling me that for the past month I have given the Trump campaign nothing —

* We need you right now. It’s going to take EVERY Patriot stepping up if we want to CRUSH Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s dreams of turning America into a BIG GOVERNMENT SOCIALIST Nation.

— so let’s try something: EVERY CRUSH BIG GOVERNMENT SOCIALIST. CRUSH EVERY BIG GOVERNMENT SOCIALIST. BIG GOVERNMENT SOCIALIST CRUSH EVERY Patriot —

* I convinced my father to give you another chance, which is why he’s decided to EXTEND your PERSONAL 700%-MATCH OFFER FOR 1 MORE HOUR.

— wait a second . . . Eric Trump intervened, on my part, to let the President of the United States give me another chance. I get 1 MORE HOUR to EXTEND a 700%-MATCH OFFER! Jesus fucking Christ! What joy has Eric Trump granted me, seeing the prince at his alter who takes me in to see the King! If I give some kind of money then whatever funnelling or money laundering or otherwise efficient and effective scheme, usually barely legal, the lawyers taking care of anything that gets in the way of making money. 700%! Wow. Damn. I don’t want to disappoint the President that a large swath of the nation elected.

* We won’t extend your match offer again. Don’t let the President down.

* Please contribute ANY AMOUNT within the NEXT HOUR and have your gift 700%-MATCHED. >>

700%-MATCH: NOT USED
DEADLINE: 1 HOUR
CONTRIBUTE $5 = $40

CONTRIBUTE $20 = $160

CONTRIBUTE $15 = $120

CONTRIBUTE $10 = $80

CONTRIBUTE $5 = $40

CONTRIBUTE ANY AMOUNT

Please contribute ANY AMOUNT RIGHT NOW and your gift will be 700%-MATCHED.

Thank you,

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Eric Trump

CONTRIBUTE $5 = $40

So I really better get in on this, apparently. It’s a limited-time-offer — I only have the NEXT HOUR to give my money! And I can CONTRIBUTE ANY AMOUNT!

There can be zillions and zillions of dollars offered — I can give them five and it somehow magically transforms into forty! That’s the Donald Trump magic, Eric is telling me. And he hopes you don’t disappoint his father again. Then he’ll be disappointed in me too.

Let’s look at another, real quick, before getting back to belief.

These ads tell us to be outraged. We are supposed to be outraged — you hearin’ what them liberals is sayin’ ‘bout my daddy?

  • . . . slander anything related to my father . . .

Does this make you angry? No matter your side, does something about this make you angry?

“They said what about your father? They really are a bunch of lying jerks — !”

or

“Lookit these lies! Fucking liars always lyin’, and fuck you and how dare you and why don’t you all just go fuck yourselves you fucking fucking assholes — !”

Or maybe you’re just cynical: exhausted. You have given up hope and accepted that everything’s corrupt and what’re you or any of us gonna do about it? Everything’s fucked! And some of them are so goddamn pretentious:

  • Your side isn’t any better. They are all corrupt, but it is a matter of relative scale. You see, Gottfreid Wilhelm Leibniz said that with everything comes nothing. We have everything and so we are nothing. And while we fret and moan and shrug our shoulders, we blame those, on THE OTHER side, they’re the ones who are actually evil. I mean look at the ways those people operate. “Crush all competition! Ruin their lives forever . . . !”
  • Like Leibniz said,
  • as far as we are capable of knowledge we sin in neglecting to acquire it.

People say things like this all the time, online; (this was me, giggly and painfully drunk) those trying hard to sound smart, or those urging themselves beyond the clear and obvious dishonesty they are buying into to still believe they support their nation. Or maybe some of us are just assholes.

Sometimes it’s easier to let someone else, someone from the past, make your point for you.

Gottfried Leibniz was a fortune cookie-sounding philosopher, a tiny aphoristic gospeler who also said things like:

  • Why is there something rather than nothing?
  • Nothing is necessitated whose opposite is possible.
  • It is unworthy of excellent men to lose hours like slaves in the labor of calculation which could safely be relegated to anyone else if machines were used.
  • Nature has established patterns originating in the return of events, but only for the most part. New illnesses flood the human race, so that no matter how many experiments you have done on corpses, you have not thereby imposed a limit on the nature of events so that in the future they could not vary.

A real conservative, this 17th century German mathematician, and an all around genius who boasted of inventing a “hand-cranked calculation machine.” He spat philosophy too, preaching for the early cult of capitalism. He said stupid things —

  • The present is big with the future.

What the fuck does that mean? Big? How is it big? I understand that this translation is probably terrible, but here is still the essence of the thought. Something like “Big things can happen in the future.” Not his finest line.

Leibniz’s vision of God was selfish and weird too. There was something about “monads,” a term which today refers to ordered and organized computer programming, but back when Leibniz thought it up and preached, he considered this certainty of order to be literally part of the human body, a spiritual internal organ, the soul even removable or mended. The monards were spiritually moving parts of a person’s being which guided every thought, feeling, emotion, and action:

  • God, souls, and atoms.

So here’s what Gottfreid had to say about God:

  • It is the knowledge of necessary and eternal truths that distinguishes us from the mere animals and gives us Reason and the sciences, raising us to the knowledge of ourselves and of God…

“ — knowledge of . . . God.” It sounds like acquiring this wisdom (tree of good and evil and all) raises you to a peer of God, knowing everything. No longer needing it.

  • He who does not act does not exist.

Poignant.

There’s this thing that we hear, a sidestep to real conversation:

  • But what about Obama?
    or
  • What about Hillary?
    or
  • There is/isn’t a God.

Some movements have gotten so quick that they’re asking “What about the American Revolution?”

So this is what somebody said, a light puke green post grabbing the passing eye’s attention:

Now this was meaningless to me, so:

  • I get it, you think that Trump never trashed soldiers or the military. it’s false, you say. But why? It sure sounds like something Donald Trump might say. And the Pelosi thing . . . A haircut? She’s a hypocrite, yes. But we already knew that. We all know that Donald Trump lies too. He is a notorious, inveterate liar known for dishonesty long before he ever got anywhere near the White House. He has never gotten over being a fifth grade bully, his power absolute, yet now whose playground insults have lost their value. Which is worse, in your mind? Would you decide to get a good haircut — a public figure, given the chance to do something privately one-on-one? Or would you snarl and sneer and laugh, then play solemn older gentleman when caught. Would you rather someone giving a big tip under the table to a hairdresser, or do you prefer to have the “Commander in Chief” wonder why anyone would ever want to be a soldier. If this does not tell you about love of country when this man puffs out “PATRIOT,” then you despise this nation too, and what it was meant to be.

In response:

  • Nancy Pelosi is a liar, hypocrite, corrupt. Evil 👿 and disgusting.

It didn’t make any sense. Why? Why avoid the big questions?

What I said:

  • This is hardly a response. What about hopeless denial on every side? Like some on the left refuse to see (the bulk of them are gutter cynics), they deny the numerous inadequacies of their chosen leaders. They support while shaking their heads in private. The politicians do the same thing, shaking their heads about the people in private. They know that what they are doing is wrong, but how much damage could it cause, they ask themselves, counting numbers in their heads.
  • Those on the right . . . well . . .
  • Many of them are eels for attention. They latch on and suck every bit of blood they can take before backing off, settling down, and getting roasted. On the right they go straight for the throat, a rattlesnake striking. They say things they don’t believe themselves, and they are convicted by friends and foes alike. They don’t care that whatever they said was wrong: cruel, mean, intentionally harmful. It’s all about winning. This isn’t party politics. It is victory. We vote for winning. Our video game, fantasy sports, radical home team fan culture, wants to win whichever vague and purposeless game we are playing and then sit back, dry off, and watch the chaos coming.

Here was the next response, from a different person:

  • Bingo!!!!!! Get ready cuz election soon! Shit about to go Democratic chaos crazy!

I wanted to ask, but the fly buzzed on, what was meant by “Democratic chaos.” I believe that they are being merely partisan, but isn’t it possible that they mean the collapse of Democracy as a whole? Or are they one of those smug intellectuals on the right who prefer to define us as a Republic, a parliamentary controlled nation, those on the majority side setting the rules for everybody else. They see it as Party Rule exclusively (Donald Trump, a useful idiot?, saying awful things and enjoying ripping society apart. Or maybe not. Perhaps he is simply an efficient dirty-dealing business guy, paying people off to earn a greater fortune.) — but for the people who will be around after the ringmaster goes, the supporters of a Republican government, really only want to have partisan bandits keeping everyone else in check — letting them live and giving them occasional surprises. These partisan delinquents come in every stripe and shade and color. They come for all viewpoints, and from the highest to the lowliest fashion statements, swasticas and hexes and fuck the police message-wear on parade. Hipsters’ sarcastic commentating, or those violently crazy followers of Q or Z or 666 or whatever. Partisans fester everywhere, and in a time of trouble these groups gain massive recruitment. It really is like joining an army, or a cult. And yet the tragic deconstruction of even this cultish perception is equally damned down as yet another conspiratorial lie:

  • You guys are the cult! You Libs — you retards need to get your dick out of your ass and see just how far your radical hategroups like Antifa and BLM, terrorists all. You’re either a retard or even stupider if you believe all of those trump is racist lies!

It is a general response, one version or another; this same tired old song:

  • You stupid trumpsters! Ha! You guys are losers and you’re so fucking stupid if you think that asshole is going to win. And you white nationalist racist assholes are the real problem. Black Lives Matter! Say it! Only White Assholes lives don’t matter anymore!

Some like to talk about history, about the Confederate States of America. For the past four months your fly-on-the-wall has been hovering around a great deal of just-prior-to-the-civil war history. There are some fascinating parallels between then and now, and several are recognizable and truly frightening, but that is a horror story for another episode. The point is that the reduced topic of this discussion, this ignorance of history, is about the destruction of statues, of both traitors to the nation and otherwise. This, strangely, has become a passionate distraction. Standing for the flag. The national anthem. Living in a world that’s free to do whatever the fuck you want to anyone.

All idolatrous missions like this, empty gestures pretending that they’re somehow saving history (have you ever looked at a statue, walked away, and feel that you’ve learned anything you didn’t forget within the next few steps? And of course such things go too far:

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The study of history, my passion:

  • It is about more than the Confederacy today, as it is perceived (with the coming partisan civil war the loser will no doubt replace the greedy and soulless 19th century south as the new definition of misguided ignorance.
  • Yes, these people are fucking stupid, the idea of a memorial to anything their anathema. Some people don’t care anymore — tear it all down! This comes on every side of the socio-political spectrum. It doesn’t matter who it is — Martin Luther King or Tupac Shakur. If nothing else these will be defaced as a perceived justice to the stupid white and black people in America, to the stupid thoughts in all of us. We no longer consider what we’re tearing down. Civilization is unraveling, a real Renaissance/Reformation age of man, whole new social philosophies and principles taking over the world. Do not make this partisan because people are stupid. That would make you stupid too.

So they talk about statues. And not the social issues that at first inspired the rage, the uninformed vipers embracing random destruction, outraged gun-toting, hoping desperately they can find somebody to kill:

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Of course looting plays a part:

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Images plastered everywhere as partisan bullets:

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Nobody says this except foolish revolutionaries, but you wouldn’t get that from this report. Everything is wide-spread — America is under siege! Tucker Carlson is preaching to the masses, an evangelist of the new religion.

Of course:

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Extreme, absolutist views are being supported. The stupid things people do and say, blind opposition to people they refuse to hear:

  • Donald Trump would never say anything against the military I won’t even listen to the fake news he is a brilliant man who loves America and loves his military more than anything the best president we’ve ever had he will be reelected God has put him here to save America from the disgusting Democrats.

and

  • Trump says nothing worth hearing. Why would I bother to listen to that racist?

Such silence breeds internal rage, or the indifference that allows people to believe in anything. They hear things and debunk, dispute, call it a threat or transform it into something far more devious and complicated than its original intention.

Conspiracy theories, now a pejorative because of all the clashing ones bouncing off each other today, and all the suggestions slivered out by public figures out of every belief, or maybe for their own amusement, are rampant. There have always been crazy ones and there have always been a number with a tabloid kernel of truth that might go much deeper than originally suggested. Some of them are even true. But:

Q:

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*

A counterpoint:

  • They have the cure for COVID and they always have because they INVENTED it in labs with their Russian masters! Trump is using this, spreading fear, making everybody nuts because it knows it’ll make his fans go nuts — giving them warrior minds, a battle for whatever type of freedom they want. Just wait until a few days before election day when Trump releases a “cure.” Oh, they’ll flock to him like the messiah they already see him as. But what about the million people he murdered throughout the world? Or, since he and his “thugs” don’t care about the rest of the world, what about the almost 200,000 in the US! Just wait, just wait — Trump is going to use how scared everybody is and how racist he is and how much he doesn’t care about anyone to try and get himself elected again! VOTE!!!

Crazy shit. Or maybe you believe one or the other — maybe both, as the QAnon post is pretty vague other than

  • Your President needs you.

Are we even sure that Q considers Donald Trump is president in the reality they live in?

The word “patriots” is, of course, not one reserved to any partisan ideology, no matter how much they have always tried since selling leadership to the public began. Fighting a divided war within a single nation one claims to love isn’t patriotism. It is treason, destroying your society in order to rebuild it from the ashes; taking up arms against your neighbors.

And so our leaders, either seeing or desiring such a future, take up arms themselves:

The Trump Campaign asking for more money:

  • The Liberals are funneling money to their candidates at an alarming rate to try and take us down. They think they can intimidate us with their MAXED-OUT contributions in the hope that they can buy their way into the White House. They couldn’t be more wrong.
  • They may have Silicon Valley and HOLLYWOOD ELITES, but I’ve got something better. I have YOU.
  • It’s the MOB, THE MEDIA, THE HOLLYWOOD ELITES, THE DEEP STATE and THE SWAMP vs. YOU. Let’s remind them that AMERICA IS NOT FOR SALE. This is YOUR COUNTRY NOT THEIRS.

This ad, so dire, the MOB and THE DEEP STATE and THE SWAMP versus me? It openly calls for division, YOUR COUNTRY NOT THEIRS.

And why do they always destroy the movies? Not the hollywood folks or the mouthy actors and athletes and singers — they do fine and work their hardest. But why do the stories get ruined? Here’s me and my father:

Me, a phone call:

* I really think the Lakers are gonna win. LeBron is going to get one with his third team.

Dad, his mind made up on everything years before:

* I won’t watch basketball anymore. Those guys all hate America. I’m glad they’re rich enough to take a day off.

Me, as usual, aggressive and annoyed when talking with my father:

* Some things aren’t about money. It doesn’t matter that they’re rich. They know that people look up to them. This is what they believe. They are trying to set an example for their fans, just like all the politicians you see on the news.

Him, annoyed too, talking down to me like the little boy I guess I’ll always be:

* Well that’s what Jared Kushner said and he’s pretty smart —

Me, reverting to character:

* Why would you think that?
* What?
* That Jared Kushner’s smart.
* Well . . . he went to good schools and he speaks well . . .
* Plenty of stupid people go to good schools. I went to a good school. Plenty of people were stupid.

There was a pause, a beat

Dad, maybe a little confused:

* I . . . well I have to go . . .

And yet they continue to ask for money:

* I want to give you something.

* I’ve been thinking back on my first (but not last!) term as your President, and I came across some photos. One in particular stood out to me, and when I saw it, I immediately knew that I wanted YOU to have a copy of it.

* But, I didn’t want to send you JUST a photograph of me — I wanted to make it unique. So, I told my team to put together a list of my TOP supporters so that I could give them a personalized, signed photo.

BIG NEWS: YOU WERE ON THE LIST TO RECEIVE ONE OF THESE ICONIC SIGNED PHOTOS.

* I only have a few of these photographs left, and I really want YOU to have one. Claim yours NOW before they’re gone.

* Just contribute at least $75 TODAY to claim your PERSONALIZED photograph signed by yours truly. >>

CONTRIBUTE $105

CONTRIBUTE $95

CONTRIBUTE $85

CONTRIBUTE $75

CONTRIBUTE ANY AMOUNT

Thank you,

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Donald J. Trump
President of the United States

CONTRIBUTE $75

Look at those prices! A limited edition signed picture of Donald Trump? And I can have one! Let me see. Seventy-five dollars is the minimum and I can get the picture but I wonder if he’d think I’m cheap and never offer me these collectable souvenirs again. Maybe I should give more. I can CONTRIBUTE ANY AMOUNT.

There are plenty of these:

  • If you’ve been thinking about buying one of our ICONIC Trump-Pence 2020 Flags, now is YOUR chance.
  • In honor of America’s hard-working men and women this Labor Day Weekend, President Trump authorized us to put a limited supply of these flags on SALE for only !
  • He requested we ONLY reach out to his TOP supporters with this information so they can take advantage of this exclusive offer. All you have to do is contribute ! we’ll send you one of our Trump-Pence 2020 Flags.
  • Supplies are extremely limited. Don’t wait.
  • Please contribute $35 $25 IMMEDIATELY and we’ll send you one of our ICONIC Trump-Pence 2020 Flags. >>
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A sale! Ten whole dollars off and I can have that pennant to hang on my wall or fly from a pole outside my house for only twenty-five dollars? How about two!

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This ad effectively targets both our paranoia and our partisan patriotism and outrage.

  • American Way of Life.

But what is the American Way of Life, and why isn’t this answer known? And what is the Trump campaign offering?

  • Together(ness)
  • the American Dream

Those are the concepts not capitalized.

FIGHT(ing), DEFEND(ing), PROTECT(ing) and PRESERVE(ing) things. Like something is out to get you. Fighting them off. The world has grown predatory, and if we could only claw into the past when things seemed safer, and we were tirelessly in the womb, back to the 1980s, for example, when coming billionaires were taking over the world in any cruel way and destroying each other.

Imagine you’re a billionaire — a greedy person who has acquired as much as possible without thinking about who gets hurt. You have to be that way to earn your fortune. Many of these drastic success stories approach their comfortable aging in repentance — founding charities, giving back, trying to help, yet still getting accused of doing shady things behind their charities, a CORPORATE ELITE that sometimes really does steal from the needy. Such people, those with half a heart, approach retirement realizing they have more than they could ever need, no matter how broken the outside world may become and how much is lost.

Not Donald Trump. He wants more. It has always been about more with him,

Donald Trump, running for President:

  • My whole life I’ve been greedy, greedy, greedy. I’ve grabbed all the money I could get. I’m so greedy. But now I want to be greedy for the United States. I want to grab all that money. I’m going to be greedy for the United States.”

He said that in 2016. He says we want to grab hold of everything and keep it and defend it and kill if we have to so somebody else doesn’t get their hands on it. Possessiveness. We want that money grabbed out of someone else’s hand, given our cut, and we’ll deal with the consequences later. We’re tough, right? I am protecting my bank account.

This has turned us into monsters.

From a loyalist pro-Trump newsite:

  • Black voters matter… and based on these latest tracking polls, Trump’s current approval among likely Black voters is through the roof and more than sufficient to see victory on the horizon …

This is the tagline on an email I received from WND.com, a hard-right conspiracy website. It promotes itself as Christian. It features other headlines like:

  • Rush Limbaugh calls out Washington Post column for threatening America.
  • Doctors’ group: HCQ-hoarding FDA care more about power than Americans’ lives.

or, for fun:

  • Who’s for lunch? Meet the most likely predators to eat humans.

This last one, considering the publication, which once promoted Alex Jones’ Infowars enthusiastically, is rather troubling considering the general apocalyptic tone of this tabloid rag. Jones once said:

  • I’ll admit it. I will eat my neighbors. I’m not letting my kids die. I’m just going to be honest — my superpower is being honest. I’ve extrapolated this out and I won’t have to for a few years, because I’ve got food and stuff. But I’m literally looking at my neighbors now going, I’m ready to hang them up and gut ’em and skin ’em, chop ’em up. You know what, I’m ready. My daughters aren’t starving to death. I’ll eat my neighbors.

Yet there’s always more destruction, more paranoia that nothing is fair and nothing is as it seems and that some amorphous entity, a force of nature preying on people’s minds is trying to control us — to change everything —

* Why does Facebook keep blocking my posts?
* They’re trying to control free speech.
* They’re in the pocket of the Chinese!
* Or the Russians.
* They want Trump to lose and they’re doing everything they can to —
* Or they want him to win.

The coming election has already been destroyed, the worry over the virus, the mutual exploitation of our fears —

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There is too much uncertainty; too much doubt. No one believes that either side will be fair and I might as well go out and load or buy a gun and get ready because it’s coming and oh God I can see it coming because they’re all cheating and they’re both cheating and the other side is cheating WORSE and NO ONE’S IN CONTROL and EVERYTHING is chaos Chaos CHAOS and I will BATTEN THE DOORS and LIVE IN A CAVE downstairs and EVERYTHING IS MINE and MINE and MINE and MINE and IF YOU COME FOR ME and TRY TO COME and GET ME I’M GONNA SHOW YOU BECAUSE I CAN SHOW YOU BECAUSE BECAUSE BECAUSE . . . i know things . . .

And this is how a paranoid works.

Uncategorized

The Democrats versus . . . (Part One) (Dispatches from the Fly on the Wall)

Howie Carr: Joe Biden needs a nap

The concept for this two-sided piece is to display ‘con-propaganda,’ the negative responses to the celebration of one candidate or the other in the face of a Presidential election.  Here we discuss the opposition to the Democrats.  Next week, after the Republican convention, certainly a looked-forward to event for a political junkie and commentator such as myself, where missiles may launch and a civil war might erupt, we will see how the Democrats tries to scathe their remorseless opposition.  The social media quotes appear exactly as they were submitted to their site.  Names are changed not to protect, but to exemplify familiar online characters and personas.   As always, “Fuck those people–”

In the past I have compared Presidential elections to a boxing match, a championship fight.  I adore boxing in its rawness, the primordial focus, bent upon destroying another.  The election of 2020, that hateful year damned into history forever, is already a bloodbath.  These electoral events have been getting bloodier ever since 1860.  We can recall 1800 if we want, old friends Adams and Jefferson using ever sinister secret they knew to ruin the other, but let’s get to a more immediately dire moment in US history.

Here is a quote from David M. Potter’s masterful 1974 history The Impending Crisis: 1848-1864 (https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?isbn=&an=david%20potter&tn=impending%20crisis%201848-1861&n=100121503&cm_sp=mbc-_-ats-_-used), which won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for history in 1974, back when such honors still mattered:

As politicians have understood better than historians, most voters are swayed less by reason than by emotion, by their group affiliations, by artificially generated excitement in which they can participate, and by the desire to be identified with power as personified in a man who projects a strong and appealing personality. Therefore, a successful campaign may totally omit attention to the most serious question of the day, but it must not omit group activities, excitement, a stereotype of victory, and an attractive image for the candidate.”*
*These remarks refer to the actions of the political movement in the south to secede from the nation before the election of 1860, their fear-mongering directed primarily at the poor who would suffer most from disunion.

 

I present the 44th President of the United States’ (45th if you choose to count Grover Cleveland twice) almost immediate response to Joe Biden’s passable delivery of an extremely well-written platform speech.

 

Trump says,

  • They are sending out 51,000,000 Ballots to people who haven’t even requested a Ballot. Many of those people don’t even exist. They are trying to STEAL this election. This should not be allowed!

 

Facebook, offering an attempt at a judicious response:

  • Visit the Voting Information Center for election resources and official updates.
Get Voting Information.
There is a website listed, Facebook’s own hired experts on a variety of things running the page, but I will not provide a link.  Facebook is getting enough advertising from this piece already.
This post, in less than two hours, achieved this:
  • 26K Comments
  • 21K Shares

Comments

Me, horrified by every last bit of it:

  • You need a more forceful warning, Facebook. People have already started aggressively labeling you censors, instead of the thoughtless algorithm you actually are, catching and removing potentially objectionable words and phrases.  I know that I have been willfully offensive in the past, and only a few times have I ever been snagged in the mildest form of censorship, punished, retrospectively for mostly valid reasons.  This has taught me how to avoid the language of theft.
  • But here you simply say, “Check it out–!” the rage of more than one biased partisan on any side ignoring a numerical study of blandness like the blank pages offered, in the end just another theory, no more relevant than the ridiculous claims the President is making above. There is a crushing, gleeful cynicism to his post, unlikely actually written by the President, just one of his sneering, nasty minions scribbling pretend outrage over whatever issue the opposition is currently riled up about.  I will go outright and call his words a lie.
  • But here’s a counterpoint, every bit as possible as whatever exciting conclusion Donald Trump offers to his fans.  After all, anyone can make up anything and call it gospel, then get some idiot to argue with, a style of victory, nevertheless.
  • The reputation of Facebook, most of the time already disgraceful, is now being slurred by the same radical partisans it once defended, angry now; their favorite toys being taken away.  “Here, look–!” you could have said (here: medium.com/@asphlex7, use me as an answer sometime . . .)  You could have said, “we know that this doesn’t correspond with facts, and that clearly it is some garbled whistle whose numbers, more than anything, everyone knows are absurd. 51,000,000 ballots? Is this a combined total of the ballots sent out with his face on it, as well as the ordinary, unsurprising up tick in people applying for them?  Is that the fifty-one million ballots?  Are they false ballots?  Is he claiming that this is the number of fake votes that will be tabulated the election? Since the world is so dire and probably more people will choose to vote (in 2016 over 138 million people voted, slightly more than half of the voting age population in the United States.  It was the largest numerical turnout in our history, although the percentage still hovers too chose to 50/50, closer to the bottom of presidential history.
  • Trump snorting meaningless nonsense reflects a last ditch effort, like a pro-wrestler wrangling one last betrayal, trying to crush the enemy and not caring if they are good or bad. That is Donald Trump–that is all that’s there for all of us. He doesn’t care about us. He doesn’t care about you, about our America. I doubt he much cares for himself, any longer, shouting like a bitter old man at his television set, suddenly given the superpower to influence the action broadcast across the screen. It’s a cartoon, a TV show, a mean-spirited chortler laughing when somebody else falls down. That is Donald Trump. This is all there is.
  • So Facebook–FACEBOOK!!!–please try a little harder. Don’t ignore the dire truth of the President inventing such a fairy tale, nor all the fairy tales from every side which come in response.  Offer the public opposing tabloids, because that is all we listen to anymore; heavily biased shim-sham about everything and anything, shouting lies for all to denounce, eventually growing tired of war and momentarily exhaling back into the center.
Other responses, trying to prove the truth of these claims:
  • People I know are receiving letters in mail from the Democrats offering to “assist” them in voting through mail. In addition to robo calls and emails. They are working this election HARD, people! We have to work HARDER!

 

  • My neighbor had a ballot sent to THEIR CAT!  How does this even happen?  The Devilcrats are trying to steal this election.  TRUMP2020!!!!!!!!

 

These sketchy comments, are too simple to possibly be true in such an aggressively conspiratorial world.  Each shrieks of both blind fear, a humble acknowledgment of the value of hard, silliness so toxically cynical that they believe the stupidest things are possible.  Did that person count their cat on the census?  Isn’t that a crime too?
It is almost charming, this innocence, only corrupted by a sad belief that problems are so easily solved.  What they are talking about are the cheap political advertising emails received by anyone who’s signed up for some partisan newsletter.  I get a lot of them, right and left, Republican versus Democrat.  Donald Trump’s campaign itself is the most active–way more active than the offers that names the stars on the other side asking for your money.  Here’s a few examples:

I have exciting news for you.

My father wants this iconic HAND-SIGNED 2020 Make America Great Again Hat to go to one of his top supporters, like YOU,

There aren’t many spots left on the entry list, and I really want the President to see YOUR name when it’s time to pick a winner.

We can only accept 100 more entries today so be sure to act fast!

Please contribute ANY AMOUNT by 11:59 PM TONIGHT and be entered to win your very own HAND-SIGNED 2020 Make America Great Again Hat. >>

Signed 2020 Make America Great Again Hat
 

CONTRIBUTE $20

CONTRIBUTE $15

CONTRIBUTE $10

CONTRIBUTE $5

CONTRIBUTE ANY AMOUNT

Thank you,
Eric Trump Signature Headshot
Eric Trump
  CONTRIBUTE $5

He’s selling a hat.  Why only a hundred entries?  Do they refund or decline the payment from number 101?
They are beating us! they claim.  We need money!  We need your money!  Money money money!
CONFIDENTIAL CONVENTION SPEECH DETAILS

DO NOT SHARE

 

On August 27th, I will stand before you and the rest of the Nation and formally accept the Republican Nomination for President of the United States.

This acceptance speech will be unlike any other. Your President is in the middle of an all-out POLITICAL WAR with the Radical Left, and they are working overtime with the Fake News media to TAKE ME DOWN.

I promise you that I won’t go down without a fight.

But, before I get on that stage, I want to get your input. I’m requesting the help of Patriots across the Nation to help me prepare for my Presidential Acceptance speech.

Please take the Official 2020 Presidential Acceptance Speech Prep Survey before 11:59 PM TONIGHT so I can review your answers in my office. >>

 

SUPPORTER: ———————-
SURVEY ID: —————-
SURVEY RESPONSE: 
PENDING
DEADLINE: 11:59 PM TONIGHT

Who do you believe is more fit to lead our nation?

O President Trump

O Sleepy Joe Biden

 

Before I go up to that podium and give one of the most important speeches in the history of our Country, I need to know what you think, Asphlex.

I’ll be reviewing ALL RESPONSES tomorrow. I’ll be looking for your answers because your input is critical to my speech.

Please take the Official 2020 Presidential Acceptance Speech Prep Survey RIGHT NOW to help me prepare for August 27th.

Thank you,

President Trump Signature Headshot
Donald J. Trump
President of the United States

TAKE THE SURVEY NOW

Again, laughable.  Are there any more options on the survey than his royal, titular name and his slurs against everybody else?  And why does he need our help writing his speech?  How does he have the time to review ALL RESPONSES in one day, you know, being President?  Is he looking to see what the crowd wants to hear?

*500%-MATCH ACTIVATED TO DEFEAT LINDSEY GRAHAM**

 

We’ve launched a fool-proof campaign to DEFEAT Lindsey Graham, but we only have 48 hours to fund it. Chip in $5 right now and we’ll 5X-MATCH it ➞

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Lindsey Graham is only ONE POINT ahead of Jaime Harrison — AMAZING!

Lindsey Graham 43%, Jaime Harrison 42%

AND HERE’S THE DEAL: Lindsey Graham’s campaign is SCRAMBLING to reclaim their lead. So we’re doubling our efforts to END his Senate career.

BUT HERE’S THE BAD NEWS: We thought this incredible news would have donors LINING UP.

BUT YOU DIDN’T DONATE!

So now we have 48 hours to raise $34,670 or else we’ll have to cancel our South Carolina plans and let Lindsey Graham WIN. ABSOLUTELY NOT!

can we count on you to rush $5 to help fund our campaign to Defeat Lindsey Graham? →

 

5X-MATCH $5 NOW ➞
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5X-MATCH MORE NOW  ➞

 

Thank you for your support,

Congressional Black Caucus PAC

A solid, surprisingly honest, give-us-money-so-we-can-afford-to-do-this commercial.  Standard Practice with a monetary boost from white liberals feeling guilty for the sins of their brothers.
Our wonderful First Lady, Melania Trump, will address the Nation this week during the 2020 GOP Convention.

She knows that you’ve been such a strong supporter of the President and his critical America First agenda, so she wanted to do something special to show you just how much you mean to the First Family.

During her speech, while MILLIONS of Americans are watching, the First Lady wants to broadcast the names of the President’s TOP supporters, like YOU.

Only 100 names can be added to the First Lady’s 2020 GOP Convention Livestream Roster today. Most Patriots step up in the first 5 minutes, so don’t wait.

CONTRIBUTE $20

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CONTRIBUTE $5

CONTRIBUTE ANY AMOUNT

Just contribute ANY AMOUNT by 11:59 PM TONIGHT and we’ll broadcast your name LIVE during First Lady Melania Trump’s speech at the 2020 GOP Convention.

Thank you,

Team Trump 2020

  CONTRIBUTE $5

Wait . . . this looks familiar . . . does Donald Trump . . . do the Trumps . . . and the Democrats . . . do they hire the same advertising consultants?  Is this . . . are we expected . . . how . . .

 

–This is worse than I imagined.

I emailed you.

Mitch McConnell.

Karl Rove emailed.

Newt Gingrich emailed.

We all tried to warn you, and we were all ignored. I am extremely disappointed, but I am reaching out ONE FINAL time. 5X MATCHING has been extended 24 hours. Please don’t let us down again. Make a 5x-matched donation immediately to defend our Republican Senate Majority!

Chip in before the timer runs out!

Democrats are just FOUR seats away from stealing the Senate. The Left has invested millions into key battleground states, and ratings are shifting in Democrats’ favor! We could face a MAJOR BLOWOUT in November.

By ignoring our urgent pleas for help, you’ve put the Senate Majority in serious jeopardy. You’re a dedicated patriot, I am counting on YOU. Step up now and make a 5x-matched donation to defend my father’s Senate allies!

Don’t let us down. We are running out of time to make up the ground. I need to know if you’re with us in this fight before midnight tonight. Make a 500% matched donation to stop a liberal takeover.

Thank you

Scare tactics . . . bribes and scare tactics . . . we need your money now, or else!
Wait, do the Democrats . . .
Heidi Heitkamp emailed.
Nancy Pelosi emailed — twice!They both emailed because Monday’s End of Quarter Deadline is make-or-break for us.FIRST: We told you Trump’s national Republicans raked in a record-setting $23.5 MILLION last month.THEN: We told you Trump will use every single cent to ATTACK Nancy Pelosi and WRECK our Majority.NOW: We don’t know what else to say other than we still need 23,452 grassroots Democrats to step up before the End of Quarter Deadline hits in 48 hours.We need to stop Republicans’ massive wave of cash and momentum dead in its tracks.Please, Lance — with just 48 hours to go, we really need you on our team.Will you rush in $19?

48-HOUR DEADLINE: ALL GIFTS TRIPLE-MATCHED
Triple match your $19 >>
Triple match your $25 >>
Triple match your $38 >>
Triple match your $63 >>
Triple match your $150 >>
Or triple match another amount >>
Thank you,DCCC
Are the Democrats are losing?

—The latest numbers are in and I’ve just got a bad feeling.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $15.4 million in August.

That’s $15.4 million to try to stop President Trump and Conservatives from winning in 2020.

And, if we don’t get enough donors to step up before Conservatives reach TONIGHT’S critical FEC deadline, Democrats will keep outraising us every month until Election Day.

EOM Clock

That’s why I’m personally reaching out to you.

Every single dollar counts in this fight. There is no donation too small. Will you step up before tonight’s midnight FEC End of Month deadline?

Please, Fellow Conservative, help Conservatives reach their critical deadline.

Our nation’s future depends on it.

Thank you,
Karl Rove
Karl Rove

Wait . . . the Republicans are losing?  I don’t under–
BREAKING: JOE BIDEN IS OFFICIALLY THE DEMOCRAT NOMINEE FOR PRESIDENT

Did you watch Joe Biden’s speech?It was a complete disaster. He is the most incompetent Presidential Candidate in American history and is nothing but a puppet for SOCIALISM. Joe and Kamala would DESTROY our great Nation and everything President Trump and Vice President Pence have built.The President recently launched the2020 Presidential Defense Task Force and asked us to personally reach out to you because he noticed your name is MISSING from the roster.This Task Force is made up of ONLY President Trump’s top supporters, like YOU, who are committed to FIGHTING BACK against the constant LIES and DECEPTIONS coming from the Radical Left.President Trump set a MASSIVE $10 MILLION goal for today. There’s not much time left to help us CRUSH it, which is why we’ve been authorized to EXTEND YOUR PERSONAL 600%-MATCH OFFER!We’re so close to hitting our goal, . . . But, we won’t do it without you.Please contribute ANY AMOUNT TONIGHT to become a member of the 2020 Presidential Defense Task Force and your gift will be instantly 600%-MATCHED. >>

 

SUPPORTER: ———————

ACCOUNT NUMBER: ————-
600%-MATCH: NOT USED
DEADLINE: 11:59 PM TONIGHT

 

CONTRIBUTE $20 = $140
CONTRIBUTE $15 = $105
CONTRIBUTE $10 = $70
CONTRIBUTE $5 = $35
CONTRIBUTE ANY AMOUNT
The future of our Country is in YOUR hands. President Trump really needs you to step up and join the 2020 Presidential Defense Task Force.
We’re giving him the FINAL list soon of EVERY Patriot who contributed to this email and we know he’ll be looking for YOUR NAME. Don’t let him down.

Please contribute ANY AMOUNT IMMEDIATELY to get on the list and your gift will be 600%-MATCHED.


Thank you,
Team Trump 2020

  CONTRIBUTE $5 = $35

They all . . . –let’s get back to what people think of Donald Trump’s claims about 51,000,000 fake ballots:
A Choral Reaction:
  • exactly
  • EXACTLY
  • EXACTLY

 

There’s plenty more in varieties of the same meaning, as well as the predictable childishly cheap slurs against either sides’ stereotypes, calling one another idiots.  This is a verbatim back and forth breaking out over a terrifying suggestion of massive corruption; true or untrue, this should probably be taken a little more seriously by individuals.  The voices between them are indiscernible, yet the team they root for is painted different colors all over their faces:

 

 

  • l don’t understand why trumpers can’t see trump saying lies upfront. Are you that close minded yo u can see the person trump really is. I am so sorry for you trumpers. NOT

 

  • wrong! Trump has come thru on his promises, more so than any President! Also he does not lie like you say. Prez Trump has been more transparent than most Prez, esp the last one!

 

  • you’re really confused dear. I guess it’s hard to see truth through the smoke being blown up your ass 🤷
  • hahaha!! You’re ignorance is entertaining

 

The puerile nothingness of these exchanges, a discouragingly widespread dialogue, displays the same bipartisan blindness alluded to in David M. Potter’s quote from above.  It is a right versus right, my-god-is-better-than-your-god argument between people unable to listen to each other.  I did not say ‘unwilling.’  I said unable.  There is a massive trend where people’s minds are so shut off from outside of themselves that the sound of any changing wind forces them to shiver back inside more tightly, the woods dark and the stars out to get them.
Of course there are those who take things far too seriously, such radicals proving to be the sort of people truly fighting for all the change so many of us fear:
Believer in a Grand Conspiracy, one going back to the caves, seeing shadows creeping off the walls, organizing madness:
  • The democrats are trying to steal the election illegally. Not unlike what happened in traditionally republican districts in California that were turned by democrats in 2018, President Trump will probably be in the lead on election day, but . . .

 

Less sincere although every bit as intense.  This is one of the cynical masses, a fed up drone seeming to enjoy their belief that everything is irreparably broken.  They transform the world into movie good guys and bad guys, their theories abrupt, action-packed, and not particularly well-plotted:

 

  • Because killary’s popular vote had dead people voting, illegals voting, people crossing state lines, and anything else she could think up that was illegal!

 

I don’t know what to make of this statement.  It’s a ramble, a cheap cold call phone sales script, trailing off obliviously into whatever else somebody can think up.  Here, let me try:
and Hillary also chopped the hands off the dead people–and gorillas too!–and used them to vote twice, thousands–hundreds of thousands of times!  And she forced the children she was selling to get their pedophile buyers from China to vote, giving them ballots pulled right out of her ass, and I’ll just bet she fucked one or the other of those corpses with a big black strap on, and  . . .
And so we hear the theories, the frightening proclamations from the President on Facebook:
Our President, full of boasts, taunts, threats, whining, mean-spirited cruelty, while making a lot of shit up through exaggeration:
  • A “Favored Nations Clause” against Big Pharma, which I signed last week, means that the USA gets a price on Prescription Drugs that matches the price of the Country that pays the lowest price anywhere in the World. 50%, 60%, maybe 70% reduction. No other President would do this!
  • Despite biggest ever job gains and a V shaped recovery, Joe Biden said, “I would shut it down”, referring to our Country. He has no clue!

 

  • Representatives of the Post Office have repeatedly stated that they DO NOT NEED MONEY, and will not make changes. This is all another HOAX by the Democrats to give 25 Billion unneeded dollars for political purposes, without talking about the Universal Mail-In Ballot Scam that they are trying to pull off in violation of everything that our Country stands for. Vote NO to the Pelosi/ Schumer money wasting HOAX which is taking place now. Then fight the $51 million unasked for Ballots. Only ABSENTEE BALLOTS are acceptable!

 

This is a curious transference from 51,000,000 fake ballots to $51 million versus twenty-five billion.  But Donald Trump has always prioritized money over consequences.
  • In New Jersey they want you to certify that you asked for the Universal Mail-In Ballot that they sent you. But you never asked for it. Disaster in the wings!

 

Which is followed by Facebook’s same warning: to find the answers go to . . .
  • The deep state, or whoever, over at the FDA is making it very difficult for drug companies to get people in order to test the vaccines and therapeutics. Obviously, they are hoping to delay the answer until after November 3rd. Must focus on speed, and saving lives!

 

  • Why would Suburban Women vote for Biden and the Democrats when Democrat run cities are now rampant with crime (and they aren’t asking the Federal Government for help) which could easily spread to the suburbs, and they will reconstitute, on steroids, their low income suburbs plan!
He says, essentially, ‘while you are dying at home blackie is coming to rape you’ or, ‘guys, not only will they rob you, but steal your women because they all like . . .’ or this by implication.
  • Biden and the Democrats have greatly disrespected the Great State of Wisconsin by not even paying a small visit to Milwaukee, the designated site of the DNC. The State & City worked very hard to make sure things would be good. Not nice. Vote Trump Wisconsin!
  • The Democrats took the word GOD out of the Pledge of Allegiance at the Democrat National Convention. At first I thought they made a mistake, but it wasn’t. It was done on purpose. Remember Evangelical Christians, and ALL, this is where they are coming from-it’s done. Vote Nov 3!
These two remarks feature the same warnings from Facebook that maybe not all of this is true.  Having watched every minute of the four days of convention (with four more days to come of whatever violent action movie the Republicans decide to play, with the costume drama of the Democrats trying for substance having already taken the stage, to generally good reviews,) the second is absolutely untrue (while the first removes any context whatsoever).  Now clearly I exude a negative perception, but it must be admitted that several moments of the four nights were extremely effective.  God was mentioned A LOT throughout the whole thing.  Some of the Democrats are extremely religious people.  Some praise their God for everything, they kneel in humility (Trump doesn’t play that game, but expresses outrage at a specific target group with his comment, then rages that kneeling disrespects the flag).
  • Another bad night of Rioting in Portland, Oregon. A small number of Federal troops there to protect courthouse and other Federal property only (great job!). Wanting to be asked by City & State to STOP THE RIOTS. Would bring in National Guard, end problem immediately. ASK!

 

 

Ha ha ha, hoo . . . hoooooooooo . . . oh, I’ve been laughing too much.  The things the president adds are ugly, increasingly ugly, and the indifference he exudes is far more troubling than the menial harshness of his allegations.  Those things seem almost irrelevant, the president trying to sell actions to his crowd–‘What do I say, who do I attack in my speech?’ he wants to know.  ‘Do you want me to send soldiers into liberal cities and stop it, you know, ‘by any means necessary?  Just ask and I’ll start a body count!’  And I can hear him laughing and laughing and laughing and laughing . . . I can see his excitable greed–this is gonna be fun!–and he punches a few people in the face in a tweet, and then backs off when they slap back, pointing his finger and claiming ‘They started it!’  This is not counter-punching.  This is called being a whiny pussy.

But how does the public reply to such sentiments?
Single issue faux-liberal, taking every off-target claim to all be about what a creep they believe Trump to be:
  • but all of the above descibes trump guess you trumpers can’t see the truth. Why does it not disturb you hearing what he likes to do to women.

 

After a traditional “Love it or leave it!” styled lack of imagination,

Smug, condescending pretend activist, resembling what no doubt they were in 2016, shrill, and confident Trump will lose.
  • I don’t need to leave you trumpers are going to cry when he loses. I am proud to be an American and I don’t care for trump be the president.
Of course, more similarities right and left abound:
  • I can’t wait to watch all you lib-tards cry again when Gropey Joe loses!  MAGA2020!!!
One needn’t even bother considering which comment, or question being asked, the next replies are responding to.  You can find them on any political sports page.  It might be anger over a bland article about some Democrat or Republican, about a vague moment of courage, or a stupid misspoken mistake, or even something scary from a gruff, partisan rant.  It is this partisanship which interests me the most, that lonely blindness in the face of an indifferent earth, rotating with and without humanity digging on it.  It is the cheap biases that lead to fifth grade bullying taunts gone flat, the tantruming, foot-stomping frustration, reeking of desperation from someone who once mattered losing their cool.  Let’s just say the following statements are in response to a piece about Nancy Pelosi criticizing some (any) random suggested Republican policy:
Everything they say is a lie so therefore every claim they have ever made against Trump is merely an admission of their own guilt and I can take any allegation they’ve made against him and throw it right back at them not because I believe it or disregard the possibility that Trump is actually guilty, but because morality has become so confusing that I want my guy to be better than they are are being a criminal:
  • I can’t believe the dishonesty of the Democrats specially this woman! The Audacity of their Lies is unbelievable! They keep on pushing the Mail by vote which I know and most of honest people know could lead to fraud, specially their support of Illegals, there is a chance of cheating on Democrats lead cities! It is so obvious that they are pushing this, and still they are accusing President Trump of cheating, when President Trump wants you to show a valid ID that your citizen of this country, and we all know that the Democrats don’t want this! So are we that stupid to believe that President Trump will be the one cheating? So sad how they twists everything and they have an accomplish on this All The Fake News Media! Sickening, Pathetic and Dangerous! So help me God! Please help the American people, that the Good and the Truth will prevail! God Bless America!❤️❤️❤️

 

The most curious thing here, to me, is not only the chanting mantras fresh out of the Trump advertising agency, those “fake news,” and “fake IDs,” the the overall dishonesty of those rejecting the boss, and something about their version of “God,” (surely in no way resembling whatever floating Trump-faced spirit the man himself sees in the sky).  There is also a profound ignorance of their own hypocrisy.  This is one of those people who became radically pro-Electoral College when Trump squeaked past Hillary Clinton by having enough states favoring him, regardless of the numbers.  There is no doubt if Trump loses the electoral vote he and then his followers will call it invalid and demand a new election based only on the popular vote (something Democrats have been demanding feverishly since 2000).  Here they somehow believe that adding more votes to a “Democrat led city” will somehow change the foreordained result.  It’s a “Democrat led city.”  Of course they will win such a place.
So yes, yes, I say that this person is “that stupid” to believe that President Trump will not be cheating.  If they somehow believe that it is the Democrats alone expressing an “Audacity of . . . Lies,” and that their “God” can “help the American people,” and “that the Good and the Truth will prevail!” then there is no awareness in this person, merely a seething, mindless hive mentality, refusing to hear what does not align with their view of the world.  I suppose that is why they can only see lies and corruption, believing nothing positive about anything.  They see enemies everywhere, taking a page out of their tattered bible and begging some entity to intervene.  (by the way, is it intention, that “Audacity of Lies” jibe, transposing Obama’s reference to hope?  Of course it is.  Of course.  I wonder if they are even aware they are doing this.)
Arrogant, bathed in a world view of absolutism based solely on the handful of people they know who agree:
  • It’s times to speed up our campaign in favor of the most Popular president ever in the White House.
Trying to evoke moderation and taking a backdoor slam at the same presumed philosophy articulated as the enemy above.  A moment of conversion, a revival of an otherwise static belief in their disgust of recent times, coming to Jesus in revelation:
  • We all have to look closer at the people we vote for. I never knew democrats were socialist but then we all learn something new everyday. Trump 2020. Lord help every see how good his been for this country. He is fighting for our freedom. Even though he’s been bombarded by the news and democrats in congress.
Gonna throw the same bullshit back in your face and prove that you’re the one who is wrong:
  • When Obama took the office; he’s the one that divided our country and broke it. It was not broken when he was elected. I just can’t understand why anyone would vote for Obama and then turn around and vote that idiot in for the second term.

 

Apparently George W. Bush took some mild aim at a Trump-backed candidate for whatever office, or maybe at Trump himself, mostly smiling and shaking his head at QAnon or some other wildly implausible grand conspiracy that raves on street corners preaching the end of the world, and who now bay their truth in the halls of Congress too.
Breaking the last straw, moving on to the new political party, still called ‘Republicans,’ but really an entirely different face, preaching apocalypse if they do not get their way:
  • I loved President Bush but no. Not anymore. I am sad to say .It was great George, but not anymore. You wont see this message, but I dont really care. Happy good life in Texas…by

 

Such a comment has no real place defending Trump.  It doesn’t defend him, or even support anything.  There is no offer of something different, something which politics was invented to suggest a better way.  There is a painful, bleak anarchy in such a statement, but not the kind wishing to tear the whole world down and find a new way of living;  It is simply sour disillusion.  A belief in nothing.  It reads like the preface of an ideological suicide note.

 

  • “It is so much easier to hate your enemy than to find a compromise with a like-minded coalition of your brothers.  But people are lazy.  Hating someone makes them feel powerful, it makes them right every time because they know who their enemy is.  The enemy is (the Democrats), who hate the very idea of the union, and want to strip us of our rights.  They are the party of tyranny and their hatred knows no bounds.”
Wait, this one is misplaced.  I’m sorry.  This comes from a South Carolina congressman in 1860 telling the his peers in Congress that his state was leaving the union.  The parenthetical, I am sorry, should be “the Republicans,” because the right-wing Democrats of those days renounced the leftist Republicans, daring to make a claim against Southern slavery.  The man who said the above also said, in his memoir of 1876, “Those who chose to leave the union were ignorant of the treasonous folly they engaged in.  Every last one of them deserves the rope, hanged like every traitor to a good and just cause.”
Modern times seem to have far less eloquence in asserting the same thing:
A combination of people threatening to secede from the Union if they do not get their way:
  • 99.9 % of the country should suffer because Gropin’ Joe wants to be POTUS? I don’t think so . . . Biden is a crook, looking to open the door for the Demoncrats to destroy America forever! . . . He’s a socialist and a dictator wannabe! . . . Biden lies and people die! . . . I hope all Democrats get the China virus and die! . . . If Biden gets into office you better hold your guns tight, because those BLM rioters are gonna tear this nation apart! . . . I can’t wait for one of those black lives matter punks to try to break in my house.  I got an M-16 with their names on it . . . MAGA!!
Have you ever wondered if any of these comments are real, coming from real people who believe what they’re saying?  I’m sure plenty of them are, but that Tik-Tok trick really hurt the Trump Campaign (laughingstock, and all that).  Could a similar method be taken in response?  Will there be an “October Surprise,” of some rushed cure for Covid-19 to make fence-sitters think Trump is looking out for them?  Will it work?  How many people will die from it?  Will it be before or after the election?  What do the doctors think about it?  Is Putin’s ‘cure’ the model Trump is going to use, through his slavish devotees within the press who will help him claim victory?  Does he still expect an Nobel Peace Prize, regardless of the fact that every word out of his mouth creates unrest?  Are there any answers to these questions?
Coming up next, the Democratic reaction to Trump’s likely wild, violent action movie of a convention . . .

 

Uncategorized

Desecration, or an Otherwise Lovely Trip to the Finger Lakes

So we went to a place of joy and natural beauty, a tight, close, loving time, and I sat there watching the desecration man commits in the face of such wonder.

This sinister scribble was scrawled into a place that otherwise looks like this:

Sometime over many years, man came to town, dazzled and licking its lips, rubbing its hands together and seeing a way to profit off the earth.

This curious feature appears elsewhere throughout this park, smaller ones of interested people a few steps on, piling rock after rock in Jewish cemetery fashion, stacking the stones in celebration of what has been lost.  This tiny garden appears less than a mile before a mysterious graveyard, the tombs randomly marked with flags and banners, celebrating heroes from long ago, the grass overgrown, the headstones untended, names faded, the memories of deeds rotting into the shards of forgotten history.

Grave sites of African-American veterans preserved at Lincoln ...

Now this is my daughter:

And here’s my son, trying not to gape at beauty, his life grown complicated enough to devise numerous distractions.  He wants to be here–he loves us and wants to spend time, but there are so many other interests that occupy him, his irritable middle-teenage years souring his flavor for exploration.

So we are merely one of many, the invaders, people there to sight and see, wandering around on a rather difficult, mostly uphill several mile hike, seven-hundred some carved stone steps one way, more than eight hundred on the way back down.

But invaders we certainly are:

and of course,

But technology isn’t all bad, I suppose, as its coordinated beauty begins to influence nature:

 

But this freedom–freedom in general can sometimes be merely hurtful:

And the story of history, of the beginning of the world itself, gets lost, retold in various tales that various people wish to be true.  And they write their names into the text, sullying the record, elevating selfishness to the peak of our accomplishment.

I took several pictures of this noisy crowd of twenty-somethings, gawking and laughing and publicly getting high, posing atop the fences, a sexy pose, and making the most incomprehensible hooting noises.  This was not about an experience, but merely the blue-screen to post on Instagram, or whichever new phase posts our meaninglessness onto nothing.

One couple I watched while they scraped in their names, probably forgetting about it past the next corner.  I do not post them here because my snaps also contain several people staring at me, none of them looking happy, one even throwing it back on me with his own camera.  They are therefore not here, never was, and will now cease to be.  This has happened only once before, an anonymous subject claiming that their public domain picture was being used in an unfair context.  Their images were deleted immediately.

But there is another point, all of us taking pictures, posing ourselves, my morally superior tone outright hypocrisy.  There is so much fun to be had, the joy.  There is a feeling of completion, loving nature in spite of ourselves.

The Finger Lakes are wonderful places to go, filled with tiny-to-middle-sized towns, friendly people and the quiet sound of winds blowing.  The most hectic city you can get is Ithaca, centered by Cornell and it’s eponymous University.  It is a quaint, bordering on hippie town, with wonderful restaurants and easy access to the touristy space of plenty of the natural wonders.  Just beware.  Beware, however.  Every day things keep getting smaller.  They fade away, some civilized pipe bomb exploding the land into newly founded boroughs and growing communities.

Home - 322 Conchester Highway

Home - 322 Conchester Highway

Home - 322 Conchester Highway

And yet vacation, that moment we can get away and not have to face our everyday horror, isn’t this what vacation is meant to be?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Vacation in the Time of Corona

So most of us are sick, not of the plague, but of being boxed inside a limited life, trapped in a cloistered world of fear, every new story coming out contradicting another, the hope and the tragedy forming a nexus of confusion, a time of uncertainty, creating a world getting ready to explode.  How it will explode?  There are many solutions.  Revolution, tyranny, apocalypse, death, a parliament arguing the collapse of society, a repeated theme throughout the human adventure.

But we need to get away from this, spend some time at ease, exploring the world, drifting into that sandy sunshine that clogs the mind with sepia images of times you need to remember.  We need a vacation, a getaway, away from the virus, away from concern.  We need that same ordinary escape, that end of summer trip, the one that restores just a little bit of faith.

So the four of us are going to a place we’ve never been.  A luxurious place, only a standard retreat to those small town folks who are too used to the beauty to give it much thought.

We are going to the beaches, going away for a swim in the gurgling waters, the voice of Mother Earth damning you under the waves.  We want to see beauty, a more public isolation than the stagnant boredom of every day trapped at home.  And so we have selected our landmark, an exciting opportunity for all of us, the offer of fun events we’ve never shared before giving light to the terror of stepping out into darkness.

So we’ve gone every year.  Last year I wrote glowingly of Canada, a wonderful nation in its tourist spots, and I described the beauty that left each of us staggered, the glorious falls, the rightness of old world civilization, castles and ancient venues transformed into government offices and restaurants.  There are glorious things there, in tourist Canada, from the shops and games and friendly excitement, to the solemn abandonment of those 18th century churches, God is dead and the world is getting scarier.

That was last year, before the virus, and the prospect of heading out takes on a whole new set of complications.  Of course we don’t want to get sick, some bad luck inspiring us to live in a worst case scenario.  But the danger is real, an isolated spot still pocked with other abandoning travelers, in a town where we don’t yet know if they believe in masks.  The terror is genuine, the worry that all people suffer when the world is threatened.

I’d love to go into history and offer a soothing narrative of how people before have worked things out, but the differences between these eras is staggering, an unlivable confunction slipping into impossibility.  I love discussing history.  But the parallels are not solutions, and the days we live today have very little to do immediately with the past.

And so we need vacation, only some folks are shouting against it.  We have a nation living in fear, some choosing to express this with coverings and masks, racing around away from others, gathering the things they need, then escaping back into their fortress where they can watch the world die through the shade of their window.  Others, those refusing this, have jaunted to the other extreme where the loud-mouthed say they don’t believe anything is real.

Here are a few examples:

https://www.fox23.com/news/trending/man-shot-killed-by-police-after-fight-over-wearing-mask-reports-say/CE6ORWE6UVBBPGOLCZZTREBRQI/

Bullets Fly as Police Arrest Man Wanted in Shooting Over Face Mask Rule

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-07-09/gardena-security-guard-charged-with-murder-after-fight-over-mask

https://www.fox2detroit.com/news/bartender-berates-customer-over-face-mask-two-injured-after-hotel-shooting-bullet-misses-man-meant-for-deer

Early Research Links Coronavirus Gun Sales Surge to Increased Shootings

People Keep Shooting Each Other Over Coronavirus Restrictions:

People Keep Shooting Each Other Over Coronavirus Restrictions

This is a mere sample of the chaos fear inspires, the terror of others, the future world where our children may grow up unable to see anyone face-to-face, at the end maybe living through an on-line marriage, a nervous greeting with a person never met otherwise, mutual masturbation the replacement for the intimacy of lovemaking.  Will their lives with masks on their faces, the coverings so many fear as oppressive religions continue to spread (by the way, as we know, conversion thrives in moments of crisis), never letting someone see them smile?  Is this the future?  Is this the only thing we have to look forward to?

Of course such fear limits our ability to live in society, returning to the echoing madness of life in a cave.  And so we go on vacation, to topple our worries, to see beyond the terror thumping so steadily in our hearts.  And on vacation we can forget about struggle, live only for the moment, enjoy your family and seek out the life we have always wanted to live.  It is vacation.  It is a trip away from the real world.