Weary Pilgrim – The Summer of Our Discontent
This seemed to be the first summer in memory when summer actually started on June 22nd, also known as the ‘first day of summer’…… in years past it always seemed to start at Memorial Day ….it doesn’t seem right that Climate Change should result in us correcting our expectations to coincide with the calendar, so maybe everything has just been out of sync for the last 67 years of my life, and now it’s all going to be fine…….maybe…..
The Donald has certainly made for a number of changes……Stephen Colbert is no longer in 2nd place in late night ratings; we think fondly of the days when this country was led by reasonable men like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney; when you discuss politics in a bus or subway car, you keep your voice down, because the Crazies are everywhere, they are passionate, and they frequently are Carrying Concealed; we used to take the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans for granted – now we realize we are so lucky to have them, because our immigration crisis only involves Central Americans who have to get through Mexico first…..if you want to get here from Syria or Libya or anyplace remotely Muslim, it takes about 4 years of vetting, and that’s OBAMA vetting…..once the dust settles on the Immigration Ban/MaybeBan, it surely won’t be faster or easier.
I have a funny problem with the whole Donald J Thing…..never mind the fact he doesn’t read, that he sends tweets that sound like he is on his seventh beer, that he really, truly made up a Time Magazine cover for a poster ( I swear to you, if I had thought of that in College, it would have been so cool), never mind the fact that apparently nobody actually works at the White House or in the Executive Office Building, and so on and so on…….
Here’s my beef: if his base wakes up to the fact that they have been systematically lied to since the day he descended that Golden Escalator, that the Coal Mines are not going to re-open, that nothing he does will replace robots on the manufacturing lines with humans, that health care will never be more affordable than it is now (unless we go to Single Payer , which he will never do, because he heard somebody call it Socialism), that basically, there is NO FREE LUNCH……if his base gets that memo, it will be like the resignation of Richard Millhouse Nixon….my Dad was a lifelong Republican, and after Watergate he was just plain furious….he had placed his trust in a man he voted for, and that man lied to him…..he became disgusted with the government for the rest of his life.
If Donald Trump’s base realizes that he is just another Salesman, a really, really good salesman, which means he can sell himself best of all…. they will turn on him…..and on the Republican Party…..and that’s the danger here, as I see it.
This country is great, has been great, and will be great, as long as we have two parties…if the Republican Party collapses, what will take its place? Several parties? Whigs? Tories? Mugwumps?
Which leads us to Gerrymandering…..the proud product of the Great Commonwealth of Massachusetts ( hey, the Cotton Gin was already taken )…..Drawing congressional districts to benefit only one party has led to extreme partisanship. Think about it - if you want the nomination in a district where your party has a lock on the election, you go WAY to the right or left…..it’s all about the primary….so much so, we have a new verb – ‘Primaried’, which is what happens when the primary electorate vote out an incumbent because he or she hasn’t been radical enough for the far left or far right that traditionally votes in the primaries in great numbers. Then when all these elected rep’s get to the congress, they can only hold their job by leaning way to one side…..bi-partisan legislation is an invitation to getting torches and pitchforks show up for your next campaign rally. Bi-partisan legislation is like the Do-do, only deader.
I remember watching Paul Ryan calmly explain the importance of having only Republican members of Congress draft and pass the new Health Care law…..I simply could not believe my ears: was this law only for Republican Citizens? Mind you, when Obamacare was passed by the Democrats, they did exactly the same thing, so let’s not cast stones only in one direction.
Here’s how cockeyed everything has gotten: you know what country suddenly has its act together? France….FRANCE! The last time America looked up to France, men were wearing corsets and wigs, sail power was the fastest available route of transportation, and the funniest man in Congress was Benjamin Franklin….actually, I’m kidding – we NEVER looked up to France…..but right now they are unified by a mammoth margin in their leadership, and are frequently compared to….wait for it….Canada. Yup, Canada is the other really cool, really stable, really together Western Nation.
What do they have in common? Young, smart, committed leaders. Unencumbered by a history of corruption and shady deals, bolstered by optimism and energy, and backed by the faith of their citizens.
Sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it? It has happened before in my life – his name was Jack Kennedy. The revisionists have tempered our view of those days, but I so remember how proud and confident we all were…..and this was after a close election, mind you (so close, one view of history is that Kennedy’s father made a deal with Richard Daley, the mayor of Chicago, to steal the election). You’ll have to take my word on it how things were, because if you weren’t around then, there hasn’t been anything like it since.
We have enemies, and they are having the time of their lives, because we are a nation divided…divided by gerrymandering, by fake news, by elections that can be bought by soft money, by hacking, and by our own leadership. A leadership that has forgotten that when we act together, we are unbeatable…….
So before Climate Change (that horrible hoax from China, or Russia, I keep forgetting which) ruins our summers, enjoy this one…..and think about how we can get back on track…..together…..it’s not too late. See you all around.