Sunday, November 20, 2016


Up until now, I've had little to say about the election of Donald Trump to the office of President of the United States. I suppose something like this has been a long time coming. We haven't exactly followed the credo of this great country and allowed any true free speech in a long time. I've been watching and waiting carefully and I've not been idle.

For years, I've written on my own blog about the abrogation of our personal freedoms as they are lined out in the Bill of Rights, under the Constitution of the United States. I've watched as Amendments III, IV, XIII IX and XIV have been repeatedly abrogated by local law enforcement, and time and time again, the officers have NOT been brought to justice, but have been let off with either minor sentences or fines, or just declared innocent, when countless video tapes tell us this is not so. Our Writ of Habeas Corpus has been violated and where is the outrage that the transgression of this most sacred of our rights should have spurred?

Despite the calls to justice to remedy the situation, there's always a lot of palaver and nothing is done. Then, more blood is shed, and it continues. I'm not just calling out the law enforcement agencies, although they do a shockingly bad job of following up on leads as was the case in Orlando, Florida, where the unholy massacre of so many innocents took place last summer.

This wasn't the first time the FBI had been warned of an individual who was a danger to society. But lest I get off the main track of this post, let me keep going.

With the election of Donald Trump and now, a Republican House and Senate, and the empty Supreme Court Justice seat, Trump has in his hands the power to do many of the things he said he would. So far, his actions, statements and choices for his cabinet are nothing short of hair-raising.

Firstly, we have collectively been told by America that We (rhetorically speaking) hate women, Muslim, Jews, LGBTQ, people of color; basically anyone who is NOT a white male and in one stroke we have made White Supremacy legitimate. It's now called the alt-Right and has left the forests and the huntin' dogs behind and wears a pin-striped suit and a tie and speaks in more scholarly terms, but it's still a pig; it just wears lipstick now. Whatever it looks like, it's still the same old racism that just hid, when we all thought we were being progressive.

I read an article by Masha Gessen called "Autocracy: Rules for Survival" and I believe the woman knows what she is talking about and it's another reason I'm not one of these people who are saying "Give Donald Trump a chance, blah blah blah". No chances am I giving to someone who talked and acted the way he did. I'm a woman with a Movement Disorder. How out of my mind would I have to be do such a thing?

But back to Masha's article. I'll boil it down for you, and provide the link, as well. 

Rule #1: Believe the autocrat. He means what he says. We tend to rationalize his extreme statements because we're reasonable people, but he isn't. Several million Jews, Communists, Trade Unionists and others did the exact same thing in 1933 and look how that turned out.

Rule #2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality. Hitler loved his dog and we saw plenty of pictures of him playing with her. Also, consider the fact that even though the markets tanked overnight, calming speeches from the Clintons and Obama smoothed things over considerably.

Rule #3: Institutions will not save you. Putin took over the Russian media within a year of his election and within 4 years, he dismantled the electoral system; their judiciary system fell apart without a whimper. Turkey's so-called Democratic President, who was celebrated for taking them into the EU, worked even faster in capturing the institutions that would safeguard the populace, and sadly, Poland has in less than half a year torn apart any democratic gains made within the last thirteen years.

Naturally, the United States has had a much longer history with the Democratic process than the aforementioned countries, but we also rely on not just the process but also the political culture to do the right thing. If all of the actors are not abiding by the law, then it means nothing. Reince Priebus' "Loyalty Oath" was supposed to put an end to Trump, but it backfired; Trump "became" GOP and then, anyone who couldn't endorse him, or agree with him, was being "disloyal to the oath". Trump isn't a stupid man; he's very Machiavellian in his political moves.

We also witnessed our three branches of government go completely off the rails, shortly before the election, At the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, the GOP-led House informed our lame-duck President that it was "tradition" that a President in his final year of office wasn't "allowed" to nominate a Supreme Court Justice. This was just made up bullshit on the part of Mitch McConnell and the GOP and there is no such "tradition". So, basically, one branch of the government hijacked another branch of the government, and the third branch of the government stood there like the house by the side of the road! Our institutions are only as strong as the people who will defend them and uphold the laws.

Rule #4: Be outraged. If you follow Rule #1, and believe what the autocrat-elect is saying, you will not be surprised. But in the face of the urge to normalize, you will have lost the capacity to be shocked. It is essential to maintain this, although people will call you hysterical and/or unreasonable and accuse you of overreacting. I'm sure there were plenty of people in the 3rd Reich who had reason to wish they had been accused of overreacting, when they found themselves in the Camps. Certainly the Lutheran Reverend Martin Niemöller had huge cause for regret (initially for Hitler, he later had doubts; as Head of the Lutheran Church, he remained silent), and expressed it beautifully* when freed from Dachau in 1945 by the allies.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me-and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Rule #5: Don't make compromises. I'm already sick and damned tired of hearing "we have to give him a chance". No, I don't. You may think you have to, but I think he needs to go away. He is unfit for the office of President of the United States and he is dangerous, simply because he doesn't know when to shut his mouth. If it were only that, he could be outfitted with handlers, much like Boris Yeltsin, who would regularly have to have a total "oil change" before meeting heads of state, because his BAC was pushing 70% or something ridiculous. At least, Boris was courteous.

Lastly, Rule #6: Remember the future. Nothing lasts forever, certainly not Donald Trump. I hope his days in the Oval Office are in the single or double digits, maybe. He is not going to be good for this country; he's already bringing out the worst in people. I heard this story from my better 2/3s, who's a friend of a preacher man, who is also a singer/songwriter and is Afro-American; this involves a family in his congregation. 

A white couple went into a restaurant, where a black family were finishing their meal. The white couple went up to them, and said, "You need to hurry up and leave. You KNOW who OUR President is now!" This kind of divisiveness will only continue to spread; the hatred will fester and we will once again, become a weak, divided nation, as we were during the McCarthy era. We can all turn each other in for crimes imagined. I might be here, or more than likely I won't. I'm not sure this country is worth sticking around to try and save. 

I'm not even going to address the "Hamilton" mess or Pence's penchant for torture and waterboarding; I'd be here pounding on this keyboard all night. But, if this is what America wants, so be it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


Coming on the heels of the Tampa Bay Symphony's fall concert series at the St. Petersburg Palladium of MacDowell, Richard Strauss and Anton Dvorak and winding up in a pub a few blocks away after a wonderful concert to watch the Cubbies, now helmed by the former Tampa Rays' Manager Joe Madden, beat the Indians, in a 9 to 3 drubbing, and slurping down some Guinness Ales, gobbling up pizza (thank you Paul for treating us all!) and being driven home by my friend Julie at 1 am, only to have her completely electric car run out of electricity, and then sitting rather alertly now, waiting for the “Supercharger” to “Supercharge”, so we could get the hell outta one of the worser places in Tampa, and flying into my house like a commando dropped in a war zone; locking all doors and then, collapsing for the evening, it wasn't until today that I realized, oops.

I almost did it again. Missed a check in. So, here's what I did over the past month. Fought with insurance and dental companies and Medicaid; summation. They're all on the take, or complete idiots, or both. I wrote another short story for #StoryTime BlogHop, called “9-1-1”. I'd had the idea for a long time; I just didn't know how to get it started. Many, many thanks to Juneta Key for that! And I practiced. Practiced, practiced, practiced the viola. And wrote; I have some ideas I've been jotting down (a very creepy incident got me going on my 3rd short story) and made some headway on “Nebraska Creepers”, but it's not coming together the way I'd like it to. I'm just going to keep on it. Lots to do between now and January and Japan as well! Anyway, happy #IWSG'ing!