THE RACIST BONE’S CONNECTED TO THE … HIP BONE? – BY TOM CURLEY

“I don’t have a racist bone in my body!”

“He doesn’t have a racist bone in his body!”

I’ve heard that phrase more times than I can remember over my life. It’s a defense that racist people say when they want to show that something they just said or did isn’t … well, racist as hell. It was most recently uttered by the Racist-In-Chief as he was defending himself from saying incredibly racist things.

Things you would normally only hear at a KKK rally. Certainly not from the White House.

But then again, these days the difference between a KKK rally and a Presidential press conference is getting harder and harder to differentiate.

So, this got me to thinking. What exactly is a racist bone? How are bones racist? If you’re racist, are all your bones racist? Are just some of them racist? If only some of your bones are racist, does it matter which ones are?

For instance, if say, your femur, the largest bone in your body is racist does that make you more racist than if say the stapes, the smallest bone in the body is racist.

“Hey, my only racist bone is the stapes! The tiny bone in my ear. I’m only a tiny bit racist!”

How can I be racist? I’m so tiny! Isn’t that like being a tiny bit pregnant?

And why is it limited to bones? Can other organs be racist?

“That man doesn’t have a racist muscle in his body!”

“He doesn’t have a racist spleen in his body!”

“Well, his stomach might be a tiny bit racist. Whenever he eats Mexican food it screams ‘Go back to where you came from!’ And then he throws up. Forced deportation!”

Basically, whenever someone says, “I don’t have a racist bone in my body, that may be true. Their bones may not be racist, but they definitely are.

Whenever someone says, “I don’t want to sound like a racist but… the next thing to come of their mouth will be really racist.”

“Whenever someone says, “I don’t want to sound like a bigot but… the next thing out of their mouth will be really bigoted.”

“Whenever someone says, “I don’t want to sound like an anti-Semite but …” Well, you get the idea.

We’ve always known racism exists in this country. It’s sadly baked into our national DNA. We all have a racist Uncle, Grandma, Grandpa, cousin, brother or sister. Every bar has a regular that sits at the end of the bar and spouts racist bullshit. Here’s the thing: we used to pretty much ignore them.

“Oh, it’s just Grandma. Don’t pay any attention to her.”

“Oh, it’s just Earl. He’s an asshole. Don’t pay any attention to him.”

In the 70’s the TV show All In The Family was groundbreaking. Archie Bunker was the racist relative we all had. He said all the racist things they all thought but never said, and said them on network TV.

That was the point. In the old days — about four years ago — you could be racist, but you weren’t supposed to say it out loud. In public. He did and everybody was supposed to be shocked and alarmed by it.

Those were the old days. Today, we live in a world where 60 million people voted for a racist who started his racist campaign by saying incredibly racist things about Latinos. They are murderers, rapists, gang members, liberals!!!And it’s gone downhill from there.

We now have rallies where thousands of racists get together to chant “Send her back” and they say it with glee. It’s now OK to be a racist. It’s OK to be a bigot.

Racism has always been around. It’s an infection that has festered under the skin of America since America began. But now the festering boil has come to the surface. And when a boil comes to the surface it eventually bursts and all the pus comes out.

The boil on America came out and somehow made it to the White House and the pus is coming out. And there’s so much more of it than anybody imagined possible.

But there’s not a racist bone in any of their bodies.

Except maybe the stapes. The tiny bone in your ear. If you don’t have that, how can you hear all the racist shit your fellow racists are saying?

CONFESSIONS OF A PEN SNATCHER – GARRY ARMSTRONG

I could run for elective office if I so chose. Even in retirement, after more than 40 years as a TV and radio news reporter I’m sufficiently recognizable that I could put my name up for election. I don’t have a lot of skeletons in my closet. Certainly none scandalous enough to draw attention. Maybe, given the way times have changed, I don’t have enough skeletons, but that’s a conversation for another day.

Nonetheless, I felt it was time to come clean about the addiction I have not been able to shed.

I steal pens. I am a pen thief.

My reputation precedes me into the offices of public officials, religious leaders, doctors, lawyers, business, and law enforcement. I am welcome with smiles and handshakes — but the pens are locked away.

My pen thievery is the stuff of legend, admired by icons like “Tip” O’Neill, the late Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. “Tip” and I once swapped anecdotes about the quality of watches and pens on “The Hill”. He actually once double dared me.

Having swiped pens from Scotland Yard, the Vatican, Buckingham Palace, state houses, city halls, and other high-profile venues, I set my sites on the biggest of all: The Oval Office.I’d already established a rapport with then-President Clinton. He knew and liked me. I had it planned. A one-on-one interview with no one else in the big room. I diverted the President’s attention and reached for one of his elegant pens — only to find him staring at me. Smiling.

“We know all about you, Garry”, President Clinton smiled cheerily.

Turns out the good pens had been stashed and replaced by cheap, discount ones that dried up after a few uses. I later found out some of my best political contacts — on both sides of the aisle in DC — had joined in a bi-partisan move to warn the President about the notorious pen thief from Boston.

Being a legend isn’t as easy as it looks.

DIDN’T WE ALREADY KNOW THIS? –  BY TOM CURLEY

Well, the new year is less than a week old and it seems like 2018 is turning into 2017 on steroids. There’s so much going on this week it seemed to be a “target rich” environment for a blog. The “You can’t make this shit up” and “If you wrote this, nobody would believe it” clichés got together and gave birth to a book called  “Fire And Fury” by a reporter named Michael Wolff. 

It’s an inside look at this train wreck called “a Presidency.” It confirms what has been common knowledge for a while already. SCROTUS is nuts. Senile, and dumb as a brick, too.  And much, much more.  The book is riveting. I downloaded the audio book. Ellin and I sat at the kitchen table and listened for over 3 hours before we realized two things.

One: This is totally engrossing. We can’t stop listening.
Two: Damn, my butt is sore. Don’t sit at a kitchen table for more than three hours.

The thread of the book is how unbelievable this administration is and how unbelievably incompetent this administration is. 

But I think the lead — which has been buried — is how this guy was able to write this book. I’m not making this up. How did he do it? He spent the last year hanging out in the White House. In the West Wing.  He talked to everybody, including the President.

He could go in anytime he wanted. They all talked to him. They all knew he was writing a book!

How did he pull this off?

He met with Trump and asked if he could be a “fly on the wall” and document his administration. Trump said “Sure, why not?” Now he denies it but somehow, he got access to the White House, even though nobody is sure who actually allowed it.

The utter chaos that the book describes is how he got in.

Just sitting here, watching all this shit happen.

So, think of it. A reporter is going to the White House for a year, wandering around and everybody tells him everything. And nobody notices he’s —

  1. A REPORTER!
  2. HE’S THERE!

And they all seemed to be completely  stunned and surprise that this guy

WROTE A BOOK!!!

The other thing about this book is that all the bombshells in the book are not bombshells. It’s all common knowledge. Hell, I’ve written a blog about most of them.

The book points out that they never expected to win. The book equates the campaign to the Mel Brooks movie “The Producers.

I wrote CAN MEL BROOKS SUE REALITY FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT? The President is stupid.

I wrote STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES. The White House staff treats SCROTUS like a child.

I wrote WE NEED A FIRST MOM.  They have to come up with ways to stop him from doing stupid stuff, or worse.

I wrote M.A.D. MADMEN AND THE FIVE MINUTE RULE.  The president is nuts.

I wrote NORMAL, NORMALIZING AND NORMALIZING NUTS. The president is getting nuttier.

I wrote NUTS, NUTJOBS AND NUTTERBUTTER. I could go on, but I’m getting tired of the cutting and pasting. And of course Marilyn, Ellin, and Garry have written even more on all of this. Basically, all the stuff we’ve known and been watching unravel during the last year is now in a book because a guy got to sit on a sofa in the West Wing for about a year — and just watched it all happen.

You just can’t make this shit up.  We all know one thing: It’s going to get even weirder.

LIFE AFTER TRUMP? – BY ELLIN CURLEY

These days I live to trash Donald Trump and anything and everything Republican. I spend my days reading about politics, mourning the Republican successes and cheering the Democratic/Progressive victories across the country.

I wake up each morning, grab for my phone and hope that today is the day that Trump will resign, be indicted or that impeachment proceedings will be started. I check my phone obsessively all day, looking for signs that Mueller is ready to pounce on Trump and his family.

I follow every revelation in the Mueller investigation with the rapt attention I used to reserve for cooking competitions on the Food Network. I analyze and dissect each piece of new information to try to divine if and when we will be put out of our misery.

But that’s the problem. I’ve become dependent on Trump. My day revolves around Trump and Trump related news. I spend hours reading news and watching MSNBC. All because of my red-hot hatred of Trump and Trump Republicans.

Now I’m worried. What will I do to fill my days when Trump is gone? I know I had a life before Trump. I just don’t remember what it was. I never watched cable news until Trump was elected. Now that’s a big part of every day. So what did I do before? I DON’T REMEMBER! It was so long ago! Or was it?

Actually, it wasn’t. It just seems like forever.

Why can’t I remember? I had a life for 66 years before Trump. How can 66 years be obliterated in just one God awful year? What has happened to me?

Oh, right. I used to read things other than political news. I used to watch fictional television – just for fun. I used to talk to friends about our kids, our jobs, and our pets. Not just about today’s latest tweet or the latest indictment. I think I used to knit.

Will I be able to adjust to life post Trump? I don’t know, but I can’t wait to find out!

M.A.D., MADMEN AND THE FIVE MINUTE RULE – BY TOM CURLEY

The talk this week about our “So called President” being insane has ramped up to 11 out of 10.

It’s all anyone in the news can talk about. The biggest worry, of course, is that this nut-job has access to the nuclear codes and could start a war in under five minutes. During the cold war, the US and Russia and China operated under the idea of M.A.D., aka “Mutually Assured Destruction.”

Nobody considered what would happen if an actual Madman was President.

Everybody says nobody can stop him. That’s not quite true.

During the Nixon administration, at the end, with Nixon drinking a lot and freaking out over Watergate, the Chief of Staff quietly put out an order. If the President ordered a nuclear strike, or any military strike for that matter, check with him or the Secretary of Defense first. It was illegal, but they did it anyway.

They were right.

Maybe the current Chief of Staff (right now, it’s John Kelly, but hell, that could change next week) might be doing the same thing. We don’t know. But I have a couple of other ideas that might also work, a couple of options to get around the “I’m bored and in a bad mood. Let’s start a nuclear war” scenario.

Option One:

In order to start a nuclear war, he has to get the nuclear codes. They are in a briefcase called “The Nuclear Football”.  An aide, whose sole job is to carry “The Football” around, has to bring it to him.

Here’s how it would go.

SCROTUS: I’m in a bad mood! I want to start a nuclear war! Bring me the nuclear football.

AIDE: Here you go sir.

SCROTUS: Hey, it’s locked!

AIDE: Yes sir. You have to unlock it.

SCROTUS: I do? What’s the combination?

AIDE: I don’t know sir. You were supposed to reset it when you took office. President Obama was supposed to tell you that when he left office.

SCROTUS: I knew it! This is Obama’s fault!

AIDE: Well I guess we can’t start a nuclear war today sir.

SCROTUS: No wait! Try 123!

AIDE: Nope, doesn’t work.

SCROTUS: 000?

AIDE: Nope.

SCROTUS: 111?

AIDE: Uhh …. Nope.

Now the reason that his can work is because of “The Five Minute Rule.” He only has an attention span of about five minutes. After that he gets bored or forgets what he was talking about and moves on to something else. Usually watching Fox News.

Five minutes later.

SCROTUS: I’m bored. What were we talking about?

AIDE: We were talking about how much Fox and Friends loves you sir.

SCROTUS: Yea! Let’s watch TV!

Or …

Option 2: 

When he wants to start a nuclear war, we bring him an actual football.

SCROTUS: I’m bored! Let’s start a nuclear war! I want to bomb Rosie O’Donnell! Bring me the nuclear football!

AIDE: Here you go sir.

SCROTUS: What’s this?

AIDE: It’s “The Nuclear Football” sir.

SCROTUS: It is? It looks like a real football.

AIDE: It is a real football sir. Just nuclear.

SCROTUS: How do I use it?

AIDE: You just go outside and shout out the name of the country or person you want to bomb and then you just throw that football as hard as you can.

SCROTUS: It’s that easy?

AIDE: Yup.

SCROTUS goes outside, yells “Fuck Rosie O’Donnell and throws the football. A secret service agent catches it and runs away shouting “Rosie O’Donnell sucks!” and returns the football to the Chief of Staff’s office and puts it in the bin with all the other footballs — and the actual combination to the real “football.” By now, about five minutes has gone by and the aide turns on Fox News.

Crazy you say? I agree. But when you’re dealing with crazy, you have to think crazy.

 

NORMAL, NORMALIZING AND NORMALIZING NUTS – BY TOM CURLEY

Well, it’s been quite a week — don’t we say that every week? — and the words “unhinged” and “unprecedented” have been used even more than they were the week before.

And the week before that.

And the week before that.

A while ago, actually two weeks into this crazed mess called an administration, I wrote a blog called “We’re Getting Ahead of This Guy, But Where the Hell is He Going?” It pointed out that our “So Called President” is insane. Mentally ill. Off his rocker. A few fries short of a Happy Meal.

I pointed out that regardless of your political affiliation, you can’t have a President who is INSANE! When your Grandpa starts to show signs of dementia, you get him help. Maybe you have to put him in a home. BUT YOU DON’T MAKE HIM PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!!!

I said way back then, seven years ago (months are years in Trump-time), that the media had to start concentrating on this. Every day. Examine everything he says and does from the viewpoint of “This guy’s nuts.

He just proved it again.”

And this week, it finally happened. After the “campaign rally” SCROTUS held Tuesday night, August 22, 2017, I watched the media react in stunned shock. And then they all started talking about how this guy is seriously whacked.

They have also learned to call a lie, a lie. Not a “falsehood”. Not a “misrepresentation of the facts”. No, they called what he said exactly what it was. Lies. CNN covered the whole speech and then had a panel spend the next ten minutes or so talking about how this guy is insane. MSNBC only showed video of parts of the speech as pundit after pundit talked about how this guy has gone around the bend. They would bring the audio up now and then, listen for about 20 seconds and go “He’s not saying anything. And what he just said was a lie.” And then they’d go back to talking about how crazy he is.

There’s been lots of talk since this whack-job took office about “normalizing his behavior”. How we can’t let things like racism, misogyny, xenophobia and eating steak well done with ketchup become “normal”.

But here’s the thing. We are “normalizing” him. Just not in the way everybody thought. We are all recognizing he is insane and we are basically ignoring him. The world laughs at us and has started to stop paying any attention to anything he says.

Even leaders like Kim Jon Un are saying things like “Wow, I’m the sane one here. How insane is that?

He’s lost Congress. Even though it is controlled by his own party. He’s lost enough Senators to stop anything he might try to pass. Both houses voted by over 90% to stop him from lifting sanctions on Russia.  Republicans have introduced legislation protecting Robert Mueller’s special investigation. Stories leak every day from White House aides saying basically, “You think what he said today was insane? You have no idea what we stop him from saying every day!”. He’s being marginalized.

News reports are coming down  to this.

ANCHOR 1: In the news today, the President said something incredibly stupid and crazy.

ANCHOR 2: Yup. Moving on to sports …

A PEN THIEF CONFESSES – GARRY ARMSTRONG

I could run for elective office if I so chose. Even in retirement, after more than 40 years as a TV and radio news reporter I’m sufficiently recognizable that I could put my name up for election. I don’t have a lot of skeletons in my closet. Certainly none scandalous enough to draw attention. Maybe, given the way times have changed, I don’t have enough skeletons, but that’s a conversation for another day.

Nonetheless, I felt it was time to come clean about the addiction I have not been able to shed. I steal pens. I am a pen thief.

My reputation precedes me into the offices of public officials, religious leaders, doctors, lawyers, business, and law enforcement. I am welcome with smiles and handshakes — but the pens are locked away.

My pen thievery is the stuff of legend, admired by icons like “Tip” O’Neill, the late Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. “Tip” and I once swapped anecdotes about the quality of watches and pens on “The Hill”. He actually once double dared me.

Having swiped pens from Scotland Yard, the Vatican, Buckingham Palace, state houses, city halls, and other high-profile venues, I set my sites on the biggest of all: The Oval Office.

I’d already established a rapport with then-President Clinton. He knew and liked me. I had it planned. A one-on-one interview with no one else in the big room. I diverted the President’s attention and reached for one of his elegant pens — only to find him staring at me. Smiling.

“We know all about you, Garry”, President Clinton smiled cheerily.

Turns out the good pens had been stashed and replaced by cheap, discount ones that dried up after a few uses. I later found out some of my best political contacts — on both sides of the aisle in DC — had joined in a bi-partisan move to warn the President about the notorious pen thief from Boston.

Being a legend isn’t as easy as it looks.

ONE NATION PRESUMABLY INDIVISIBLE

One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Whatever happened to that? If you want to get a good look at the way we are, check out just this single page on Pinterest. If this doesn’t give you the willies, nothing will.

A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. – Franklin D. Rooseveltradio address, Oct. 26, 1939, 32nd president of US

A liberal is a man who is willing to spend somebody else’s money.
Carter Glass

Conservative, n: A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal who wishes to replace them with others.
Ambrose Bierce

I’m a social liberal. I believe it’s the obligation of government to take care of its citizens. It has a special moral obligation to protect those who cannot protect themselves, the most vulnerable amongst us. If government doesn’t do that, what’s it good for, really? Believing that doesn’t mean no one but me has a good idea. I learn stuff by listening, not by proving I have a louder voice.

The trend in this country toward demonizing anyone whose opinion differs from ones own has been eating the heart out America for a long time. The growth of cable and the Internet has sped the process until it seems there are no limits to which people will go to make their point. Civility, good manners and common sense no longer apply. We rant, shout, call names, and insult each other and apparently, it’s considered okay. I don’t think so. I believe almost everyone wants the same things: a good country, a better world. A place for ourselves, our children, our grandchildren to live in safety with reasonable prosperity and peace. We aren’t going to get it by denigrating anyone with whom we don’t agree. We are all Americans and we are constitutionally entitled to disagree.

No one gains by raising the level of hostility. Our world is not improved by rage. We can argue without name calling and accusations. People with whom we do not agree do sometimes have ideas worth listening to. Instead of treating each other as enemies, why not show respect to everyone on principle? Because being nice, being polite, being civil doesn’t cost anything and improves the quality of life for everyone.

Argue if you choose. Use facts, not invective and insults. If we don’t work together, we will lose everything important. Empires fall. Once-great nations lose influence and become historical footnotes. Most of us have watched it happen, so don’t believe we are exempt.

It can happen to us. We are well on our way to losing our position as a leader among nations. We have already lost much of the respect we enjoyed. Who could argue we don’t deserve it? We’ve done it to ourselves and refuse to rethink the road we’re on.

Election Day 2012

On a personal note, I don’t always live up to my best self, especially if I’m angry. But I do sometimes succeed — and these days, more often than not. That makes the effort worthwhile. Doing nothing is always the easiest path. It’s not better, though.

We won’t solve problems by hating each other. Meanness is contagious. So is kindness. Give kindness a chance. I’ll continue to believe (almost) everyone means well and deserves respect. Even people I don’t like. I promise to do my best to respect you. Remind me if I forget.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Sign Says Vote For Me

Bringing back memories of the election we thought would never end.

– – –

We live in a nation of laws … even when it’s not easy or convenient.

Today I read a rant on Facebook by someone who still can’t accept the cruel reality that the election ended and his candidate lost. He declares that President Barack Obama is not his president, will never be his president. As if he gets to pick his own personal President, separate from the inconvenience of a legal election.

Flag

I feel obliged to point out that if you are an American citizen, the legally elected President of the United States is your President, whether you like him, voted for him — or not. If you are unhappy with the results of the election and you are a citizen of this nation, you have only two choices.

  1. Obey the laws of this country including accepting the duly elected President as your President and as your Commander-in-Chief.
  2. Abandon your identity as an American, renounce your citizenship, and move to another country if you can find one that will have you.

There is no other choice until 2016 and there’s no guarantee that you’ll like the results of that election any better than you liked this one. Until then, Barack Obama is your president, my president, and the President of every other citizen of this country. You do not have a choice. This is a nation of laws which we follow even when it’s not convenient or easy. That is the price you pay for living in a democracy.

You cannot claim to be a patriot while simultaneously rejecting our system of government. I have lived through presidencies of men I thoroughly disliked, for whom I didn’t vote, and who I thought were harming our nation and myself, but I never had the temerity– or disrespect — to declare that the President wasn’t my President.

I believe in our system of government, laws, and justice system. It’s not perfect, but it’s way better than most. I don’t make a big deal about it. I don’t wrap myself in the flag. I just follow the laws, try to work within the system to effect change. I vote. I don’t trust people who make a big fuss about how patriotic they are. The more noise they make, the more I wonder what they are hiding.

I’m fed up with self-declared patriots who are not merely unpatriotic, but actually treasonous. If you don’t like our system of government, go somewhere you like better, but don’t tell me you’re a patriot. You’re not.

30,000 hits … Go figure.

It seemed appropriate — what with getting all these awards during the last few days — that this is the week I hit another landmark. On November 9th, I passed 20,000 hits and today, exactly 3 weeks later, I hit

30,000

From February 2012, through the end of September, I gathered 10,000 hits. It took me a slightly more than a month to get the next 10,000. On November 9, I was at 20, 783.

At 11:38 pm — right now — I am at 30,044, which is just about 10,000 hits in three crammed weeks.

When there’s a lot of stuff going on, people come looking for more than information. We all want explanations, validation, confirmation that what we believe is right or what we disbelieve is wrong. Those of us who put ourselves out there gain a certain amount of popularity, maybe notoriety or at least a degree of attention in return for fending off a lot of flak for having expressed opinions with which others do not agree. I try to back my opinion with facts, at least as far as I am can establish whatever facts exist. In the end though, facts are slippery as eels, subject to innumerable interpretations. Statistics are easily twisted to support virtually any position. Numbers are neutral, but what we do with them is not.

November 2012 was a newscaster and blogger’s dream. The richness of the available subject matter for a writer was unlimited.  It gave me a lot of room to stretch my writer’s wings, to try writing about things that would normally not fall in my purview.

The dreams of writers and reporters inevitably are built on events that are someone else’s nightmare. Sometime since the advent of electronic media has come to dominate the news industry, news no longer means information about current events … what’s happening. It used to be that news might be good or bad. News was merely “new.” It was the newness that counted, not any predetermined content.

It’s different now. Today, all news is bad news. “If it bleeds, it leads” is the unofficial motto of newsrooms around the nation and probably the globe. Violence and death draws an audience. If a story has a happy ending, it’s likely relegated to feature status or considered “not newsworthy” and thus completely ignored.

Lacking fresh disasters, the next hot ticket in the news biz are scandals, financial crises, sports, weather, and anything happening to a celebrity. These days, we have celebrities who are famous for being famous. They’ve never done anything noteworthy. They don’t act, sing, play an instrument or invent things. They aren’t politicians or scientists. They are nobodies. I hope I am never desperate enough to write about any of them. Since I have pretty much no idea of who is currently famous, I’m unlikely to write about them. Most of the time, guests on talk shows are strangers to me. I can’t tell one from another. Neither can my husband. If you are looking for the latest gossip, I’m afraid you’ll have to look elsewhere. I have neither information nor opinions on the subject.

Election day 2012I plead guilty to enjoying lively discussion and controversy, though I require civility however much we disagree. I figure we should be able maintain the same level of manners in public disputation that we would demand of a 5-year-old. That has turned out to be an unreasonably high expectation when issues of national importance were under discussion. No kindergarten teacher would allow such appalling behavior from her charges, but we not only tolerate, but actually encourage worse behavior from public figures.

As angry as I have been about policies and issues, I have been far more upset by the bad behavior of public figures, many with advanced degrees slinging mud, calling names, and clearly trying to incite violence. There ought to be limits, there ought to be a level below which we will not sink. Watching “Lincoln” yesterday reminded me how uncivil our public behavior has been over the years. The difference between then and now is the presence of electronic media that allows everyone to immediately see — in real-time — how ill-mannered we really are. It used to be a dirty little secret; now it’s an international embarrassment.

The sheer energy generated by so many major events occurring at the same time helped me gain an audience at a faster rate than I could have done had there not been so many important events occurring. There was Sandy, the giant storm. A storms is inherently uncivil. Storms have an excuse. They have no brain cells, just mighty wind, rain or snow … so a storm has an excuse for mindlessness, but what excuse can there be for people like Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck?  Perhaps they too lack brain cells. But more likely, they simply like a conscience and the level of manners required of a pre-schooler.

I get a reasonable number of regular visitors these days. I’m not exactly viral but I have an acceptable following. The number of visitors rises and falls according to some invisible tide over which I have nominal control . When Serendipity’s visitor count first popped up from 70 or 80 on a good day to over a thousand, I figured it was a fluke and would fizzle. As I expected, the visitor count has leveled off, but apparently people who initially dropped by for a particular post continued to return for other things. I am more inclined to trust the new, steadier numbers I get now than the wild up and downs surges of early and mid November.Here, Griffin!

It’s harder to find relevant, exciting content when there are no super exciting events in progress, but I try to stay relevant, try to find interesting subjects. Maybe make a few people laugh or at least smile. I like offering historical background for whatever is going on, the rest of the story we didn’t get in elementary school. Understanding the world is easier if you have the perspective of history. Context counts.

Thanks for reading, thanks for being my friends and making me feel that I’m still a real live part of the living world.  Let’s all hope that this year is going to be a better one than last year. Maybe less full of news, but more full of joy!

Laugh and the world laughs with you; behave like a sore loser and the world laughs at you.

I am terribly disappointed in a lot of my fellow Americans. They seem bound and determined to cause as much trouble as they can because their candidates lost the election. They don’t seem to care how many problems they make for the rest of us because they don’t recognize we have rights too, or that our opinions matter. They don’t get the whole “democracy” thing. They want what they want, everyone and everything else be damned.

"Residence of Washington in High Street, ...

Residence of Washington in High Street, Philadelphia.

I’m no expert, but I’ve been around a while. As far as I recall, the  way our electoral process works, each time we have an election a lot of people come up on the losing team. One side wins; the other loses. This has been true since John Adams.

George Washington ran unopposed so it wasn’t an issue for him, but don’t think that protected him from being shredded by the press while he was President. By the time he was done with his second term, he said he’d rather be hanged than serve a third.

The battle over a strong central government versus more power for the states was the primary issue dividing Americans in 1792. It was the issue that pushed this country into two opposing political parties and this split viewpoint preceded the revolution itself.

It has always been with us. In its own way, this division is as fundamental to the structure of our body politic as our laws. It resulted in the two-party system and is the primary political issue today, just as it was more than 200 years ago. I doubt it will ever be settled to everyone’s satisfaction.

That’s okay. We are allowed, even encouraged to hold differing opinions. It keeps the dialogue going, it forces us to find solutions despite our differences. It encourages creative problem solving on a national level. Sometimes one position prevails, sometimes the other is ascendant. But trying to do an end-run around the constitution because you didn’t get what you wanted is very uncool. Push it too far, and it slides imperceptibly from controversy and debate to obstructionism and outright rebellion. The line is thin; it’s wise to tread gently.

George Washington faced the same issue and the result was a most unhappy President. He didn’t want the job. He strongly objected to having to do it twice. He hadn’t been thrilled to lead the Continental Army either, but his sense of duty trumped his personal desires. He was the very best kind of leader: reluctant. A leader who’d rather go home to his farm is someone you can trust. Washington hated politics and who could blame him?

In 1792, George Washington was prepared to retire as the first President of the United States. To that end, Washington, with James Madison, wrote a farewell address to the public of the United States of America. Faced with the unanimous objections of his Cabinet, however, Washington agreed to stand for another term. Finally, in 1796, Washington refused a third term. Dusting off his previous address, Washington and Alexander Hamilton rewrote the address.

It wasn’t really an address or speech. It was an open letter to the public that got published in nearly every American newspaper. Washington’s fellow Americans dubbed it “The Farewell Address,” as it if was our first President’s valedictory address, but it was actually a letter of resignation. George Washington was done with politics.

Painting by John Trumbull of Washington resigning

James Madison talked him into a second term. But when a third term was proposed, Washington dug his heels in and said the equivalent of “No man should be forced to serve more than 8 years. Stuff your Presidency. I’m going home.” If you carefully read his farewell letter to the nation, it’s a most elegant way of saying “Hell no, not me!”

Because we prefer to print the legend, this was interpreted to mean “No man should be allowed to serve as President for more than 8 years” whereas a more accurate reading is “no man should be forced to serve more than 8 years. Washington considered the Presidency akin to cruel and inhuman punishment and believed that no man should have to endure it more than 8 years and probably couldn’t imagine why anyone might want to.

That’s a pretty major disparity between legend and truth. But we prefer our history clean and tidy. We like our heroes heroic, swords shining, mounted on bright white horses. Presidents are not supposed to have feelings. They aren’t allowed to get tired or discouraged.

We can tear them to pieces in public debates and media criticism, circulate vicious, often unfounded attacks on their character, but Presidents unlike mortal men, aren’t allowed to get angry, fight back, or even get discouraged. They have to take it on the chin and keep smiling. Moreover, no matter how horribly we treat them, we expect them to keep doing their job and keep taking care of our business. If a President takes a vacation, millions of people act as if it is a heinous crime. He’s made of steel, right? No vacations required.

George Washington

If you look at before-and-after pictures of Presidents, all of them appear to have aged 20 years during their 4 to 8 years in office. It’s a killer of a job for anyone, regardless of affiliation. The Presidency is a marathon performed on a tightrope over an open trench full of rattlesnakes while the entire world trains its cameras on every move he makes and onlookers throw rotten tomatoes.

Most sane people don’t want the job. Would you? I know I wouldn’t.

So now we have tens of thousands of so-called Americans in a snit because their guy lost. They show no respect for the country they claim to love and no concern for how much they are embarrassing the U.S. Without regard for whatever their issues are, however weirdly paranoid they are and whether or not they believe the Anti-Christ is in office in Washington D.C., they throw their rotten tomatoes and go out of their way to make a hard job as difficult as possible.

If I were President,  I’d lock them all up. Together.

I’d keep them together, isolated from everybody but each other until they learn how to keep a civil tongue in their heads. If I had a child behaving like that, I’d lock the little creep in his or her room until the kid was ready to apologize and remember his or her manners. Pity we can’t do it on a national scale.

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These people, humiliating reminders of how unevolved some of our neighbors are, deserve a country of their own.  I suggest an uninhabited island that lacks all communications with the outside world. Let them enjoy self-rule without benefit of law. They would have exactly what they say they want: freedom from government interference. If they feel they need guns, I think they should have them. All they could do is kill each other.

Does anyone happen to have a large uninhabited island lying around unused? I think we have just the right population for it. Best remove the wildlife first, though. We wouldn’t want to foist these losers on poor unsuspecting animals. That would be too cruel.