Saturday, December 3, 2016

We Will Survive – A House Re-Divided

“At first I was afraid, I was petrified
Kept thinking I could never live
Without you by my side
But then I spent so many nights
Thinking how you did me wrong
And I grew strong
And I learned how to get along”

Many decades ago, while still a lad residing in the suburban home of my wonder years, I recall a memorable moment from a beauty pageant the family was watching. In response to a political query from the host (Bobby Sherman? David Soul? Gary Collins?) Miss (we’ll call her Miss Calculation, as I’m blank on the actual state she represented) attempted to repeat the well-known Abraham Lincoln quotation alluded to in the title. She correctly articulated, “a house divided,” but then paused nervously, for a far too extended period of time, before concluding with, “is no good.” Since that day, I have been unable to think of our heralded 16th Commander in Chief, without also reflecting upon Miss Calculation. And so, to her, I dedicate today’s dissertation.

“The law’s totally on my side, meaning, the President can’t have a conflict of interest.” - Donald Trump

The President-Elect (just the unbelievable, unimaginable thought causes one to regurgitate, ever so slightly, in one’s mouth) has been crystal clear in communicating his intention to be but a part-time President (and with the exception of an immediate resignation, perhaps this is the most beneficial outcome we can hope for.) Melania and Barron will remain in New York, while Donald will equally apportion his occupancy between the White House and his gold-plated brothel on 5th avenue, that white-trash Versailles, Trump Tower. For as brief a period as it may last, the primary purpose of the Trump presidency will be to use the power and influence of the office to fiscally benefit his many business interests. Any and all Presidential decisions will be based solely upon this principle of personal financial gain. The severe conflict of interest implied and involved is thoroughly unlawful, but Trump has been breaking laws since he was so young that his hair still respected the laws of gravity, with nary a punishment but an easily affordable court settlement. The wealthy in the United States rarely feel the wrath or condemnation of the justice system that they, very often, appear to have part ownership of. The vast majority of duties and responsibilities of the POTUS will be left in the Paleolithic, homophobic hands of Mike Pence.

The Trump/Pence electoral victory is pathetic proof that despite whatever superficial leaps in progress we continually make as a nation and society, too many Americans still cling happily and proudly to a shameful past that included, among other atrocities, the massacre of one people, and the enslavement of another – that period in our history referred to when Trump and his supporters senselessly and robotically recite, “make America great again.” They can keep on claiming decency, loudly proclaiming that they are neither racists nor misogynists, but their vote will forever and always belie that declaration. And, as an exceedingly pale Caucasian, whose skin couldn’t bronze beneath the cancerous glow of a hundred tanning beds or the multiple suns of far distant galaxies, I hesitate, not a fraction of a second, to pronounce the truth that this intolerant sensibility, presently expanding in reach, significance and authority, is completely the fault of us whities. We’ve accomplished much good, yet, simultaneously, have caused and will continue to cause unyielding irreparable damage to people of other hues whom we refuse to accept as fellow and equal human beings. In an offensive nutshell, we white people kind of suck.

“Go on now go, walk out the door
Just turn around now
Cause you're not welcome anymore”

This pilfered triumph of Trump’s, at this writing Secretary Clinton holds more than a 2.5 million vote lead over the Orange Avenger (hero to the elite and the entitled, fighting a never-ending battle for untruth, injustice and the un-American way) provides solid and sad evidence that tens, if not hundreds of millions, of our fellow Americans (although, their values show them as Americans in name and accident of birth only) ally with the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and White Supremacists, one of whom is now the Bigot in Chief’s Gal Friday in the White House. Every woman, every African-American, every Muslim, every Latino, every member of the LGBTQ community, every immigrant, was told on Election Day, in no uncertain terms, that their lives don’t matter and that they are not genuine Americans.


But our country’s hazardous and treacherous blundering at the ballot box reaches beyond our, soon to be walled-in, borders. Among the other many unfortunate facts we must face is how the unwise and acrimonious actions of our cruel citizenry dangerously affects and distresses the rest of the planet. The Earth’s other inhabitants are blameless in this darkly comic and cruel tragedy. Everyone other than the 60 or so million who supported treason and treachery are innocent victims of the infinite ignorance and animosity of the Trump voter. We will be reviled throughout the world, and it is a reaction that is both logical and justified.  May the international community forgive us for what we did on November 8th.  

“Oh no, not I, I will survive
Oh, as long as I know how to love
I know I'll stay alive
I've got all my life to live
And I've got so much love to give
And I'll survive, yes I'll survive
Yeah, I'll survive”

Yet, despite this recent, unexpected and unfathomable, conquest of nationalism, racism, sexism and every other repulsive “ism” you can possibly ponder; despite the takeover of our nation by people who hate America, who don’t understand or know our history and values, and don’t truly believe in this great experiment in Democracy - there is hope for our future. The earnest and rapid reaction and response among our young people to the extremely perilous situation our country now finds itself in, and their sincere apprehension and concern, not of just a bad future for our homeland, but of the prospect of no actual future at all, points to brighter days ahead; that is, of course, if we can somehow survive the darkness in which we currently wander. Even with all the violence and all the hate crimes that have been encouraged by Trump and perpetrated by his Walking Dead followers, we can hold out hope for better times. Trump’s voters are the past. Trump voters are old folks like me, and the brutal fact is that ours is a generation that is dying out, desperately holding on, with every remaining bilious breath, to a false mythology of an America that peaked in the 1860’s South. 

The oath of office, this coming January, will be sworn by an unworthy man, much more Jefferson Davis than Thomas Jefferson. But through the anger, puzzlement and tears, look beyond the smoke from the burned crosses of this small-minded group, look into the streets of the cities and the suburbs and see the millennials marching. Admire and applaud the high school students staging walk-outs, and actively defending their minority classmates who have come under physical attack in the name of “Trump’s America.” Appreciate the individuals of all ages sporting safety pins on their apparel as a sign of support and comfort and safety for those that Trump has targeted. We will endure, we will eventually win and Trump, his beliefs and his followers, equally tattered souls, in mindless and hate-filled alignment with the foul filth he spews, will soon enough be an ugly memory of a deeply black mark in American history.

For now, there are two Americas, as surely as there was during the Civil War. And while this new Confederacy may temporarily hold sway, the South will not be rising again. For just like those combatants in grey, the Trump army is not America.  America is marching in the streets.

Any comments, questions, criticisms, compliments, candid confessions, cash contributions? Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com.

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