It’s not a political issue


I saw this and right away thought, damn, one more reason to defeat Trump. The sign — in case it’s hard to read or you haven’t already seen the story that goes with it — marks the spot where Emmett Till’s body was found nearly sixty years ago.

After thinking about it for a few minutes, I changed my mind. Not that defeating Trump isn’t a good idea, not that defacing the sign isn’t a symptom of deep and abiding trouble in our society, but that Trump’s loss will not help solve the underlying problems.

Prejudice, suspicion, mistrust, untethered animosity and hatred are not changed by an election, or by lectures, or by laws. They are deep-seated and enduring, and while some of them, some of the time, in some situations may be amenable to education or to argument, most of them are not.

Change will not come in years or in decades. It will come in generations.

The penny drops…

We should have recognized what was going on, shouldn’t we? I mean, why else would a man like that do such improbable things — and do them so badly — if he really wanted the job?

Whatever else we may say about him, even if it’s good, the underlying — oops, accidental insult there — image is Harold Hill, not Abraham Lincoln. So why did we….

It’s too embarrassing to go on. Just get ready for it. Come the Ninth of November, when he gets national, even international attention for a big public announcement, he’ll acknowledge that, yes, Mrs. Clinton will indeed be President. He, for his part, will be starring in a brand-new TV series called…

I don’t know for sure. But it will be great. No, make that GREAT. And everyone will laugh. Except GOP leaders and a bunch of down-ballot candidates swept away in the flood.

Maybe it won’t be so bad after all.

Then again, maybe it will. My early-morning bright-eyed self wrote the above. My mid-morning post-coffee wide-awake self is writing this.

Coffee does stimulate the brain.

Maybe I’ll feel better about it if I go back to bed.

I Get It

I really do. Most of it, anyway.

A lot of people have been screwed by the Establishments — legal, financial, social, educational.

  • They couldn’t afford a good enough lawyer to avoid prosecution even when they were innocent.
  • They believed the bank which suckered them into a no-win mortgage on an over-valued crummy house.
  • They were edged out of a job or an apartment by someone whose neighbor was on the Board.
  • They sent their kids to the nearest public school which was underfunded and hooked into lead-pipe water system.

I understand that they are pissed off at everything which seems to have an Establishment label. When a candidate comes along who brags about his separation from the Establishment, his opposition to it, his own fear of it, they’re interested. When it become apparent that this candidate has collected billions of dollars by side-stepping and swindling the Establishment — that’s not how he presents it but they’re smart enough to read through the blather — they figure maybe he’s The Man.

What’s to lose, they say. It can’t possibly get much worse for us. Let’s support The Man. Maybe he can pull us out of the rut.

I get it, all of that.

What I don’t get is how the un-screwed population buys into this man’s message. How they do so, I mean, without abandoning whatever dignity, decency, and honor they may have laid claim to. The governors and senators and corporate big-shots and generals and media stars and so on. Don’t tell me they distance themselves, that they refuse to endorse him. If they don’t denounce and oppose him, they’re on his side.

Sorry. Didn’t mean to go so far in the national miasma. Hard not to run screaming into the streets. What good would that do? Ease my spirit? Get me a couple days free room and board at some institution? Not enough.

Yeah, I get it all right.

Wait a minute, you say, shouldn’t I rejoice? The Man’s current chance of making it is reported by the media at about one in twelve. (They wouldn’t lie about that, would they?) He has an eight percent chance of winning. Why not rejoice?
I don’t and won’t rejoice. The Man has demonstrated before the election, and will surely continue after his loss, that we are a deeply flawed democracy. It isn’t, as I began to write, that his candidacy is proof of the flaw — his candidacy is rather proof that we still are an open democracy.

What proves the flaw is that he continues — he escalates — his attacks on so much of what we boast about as proof of our own goodness, and none of those governors and senators and generals I referenced above come out to denounce him. They didn’t, back when it might have made a difference, and it’s too late for them to have signifant impact now.

The Man will lose the election, but our troubles may continue for a long time.

Now it begins

It’s been there all along, but we figured it wouldn’t really happen. After all, we are good people. We sympathize with refugees, we speak out against barbarism in the Middle East, we encourage our political leaders to urge UN relief efforts.

We are good people. We wouldn’t do any of that nasty terror kind of stuff. That’s for… well, for people who live in strange foreign countries, people who don’t know any better. Us, we are good people, all of us. Just look around.

So how come three men in Kansas are being charged with planning to bomb a housing complex where a large number of Somali refugees live?

Must be a mistake. A misunderstanding. Couldn’t happen here.

Not us.


It’s your choice

You have four of them, five if you count write-ins and six if you count not voting at all. No matter which you want, you’ll get one of the dominant two.

That sounds to me like a flawed system, even more so if you take into account how money and back-room finagling influenced who got to be the dominant two.

Oh yeah, one other factor.


Our political system depends mightily upon two phenomena which fly in the face of true democracy.

  1. Large amounts of money from people who want the government — people elected to determine, interpret, and enforce the laws — to act in their favor.
  2. Polls which claim to inform government officials, political parties, and the general public exactly what the public wants, and how it will react to actions taken by those in office and those trying to win office.

Both of those phenomena raise questions which need to be answered if we are to cast informed ballots, and only one of them is currently in the public eye.

  1. We don’t know and cannot determine what effect the flow of money has on political parties and persons.
  2. We do not know and cannot assess the effect of political polling. It is an unacknowledged elephant in the room. We know nothing about the accuracy, integrity, or motivation of organizations which claim to conduct those polls.

Conduct a poll of your own. How many of your friends and family members have ever been contacted by pollsters?

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Well, why not?

Is literature confined to novels and plays? To the kind of poetry college English majors have to trudge through?

It is not. And here now, a major acknowledgment.

For a detailed study of the reasons Dylan won, you might check out an op-ed from The New York Times three years ago, one which argued then that Dylan should get the prize.

For me, this is also one big step — and perhaps the Nobel people had it in mind — toward compensating the world of logic, decency and good sense for that grotesque Peace Prize of 1973 which went to Henry Kissinger.

In fact, when I heard the bulletin that Dylan had won, my first thought was, can’t be, this year’s Peace Prize has already been awarded.

I think Dylan could have got that one too.