Sunday, July 22, 2018

Amerika


It’s been a month since Trump came to town, mostly uninvited and unwanted. I wrote some notes for a post which kept expanding as I suffered through a northern Minnesota heat wave (80s), and a computer collapse which led to restoring its original settings, a year of lost photos and documents, and weeks of downloads, deletions, and resetting.

There were at least three public anti-Trump gatherings in town, one of positivity people (I’m not one of them), another of Democrats (not one of those either), and a third which was unclear to me. I didn’t feel inspired to go to any of them. I love that people are confronting administration assholes in public places (but hope they’re aware there might be fatal consequences), and would be happy to tell Trump what I think of him but don’t see much point in facing off against his supporters, especially on a day when busloads of them have infested the town. That’s a pointless losing battle.

After work that morning, I stopped for lunch at a downtown restaurant where I heard the waiter and owner conversing—they’re everywhere, be careful what you say. Usually I’d walk directly from work to the bus station outdoors but because of the restaurant’s location, I used the skywalk where I was surrounded by hundreds of redshirts waiting in line many hours before the rally. I was happy they were suffering in the hot skywalk, and thought of yelling Fuck Trump and adding Fuck you and becoming a martyr for the cause. I settled for being glad I was wearing blue jeans and a blue t-shirt. Had I known that Trump would bring up long hair that night as an insult for being unsure if a heckler was male or female, thereby taking us back to Nixon and the Five Man Electrical Band’s Signs, I could have told the redshirts to Get a job. Maybe they wear red because they’re Putin commies. Better dead than red. Etc.

When I got home, a neighbor who in the past had made a snide Obamacare remark asked if I was going to see Trump. I said only if I had a rifle. But fear not, pacifists, guns aren’t allowed at Trump rallies. What do you think they are, elementary schools? Remember, guns don’t kill people, Republicans kill people (of every species). The next day at my other job, from a distance I saw some redhats who hadn’t left town yet breaking a branch off a tree.

I had no interest in watching his nonsense but saw a couple rally clips from late night shows and the people in the background made me realize that they weren’t interested in the country at all. They were only attending a concert by their favorite comedian. You could see them eagerly waiting for punchlines insulting their enemies.

Make America great again? There’s a laugh for them. They just want to go back to a time when only the lives of white Christian heterosexual humans mattered. There certainly is nothing great about their or Trump’s behavior. If he was a Democrat, they’d be condemning his behavior (as everyone should be, no matter what he calls himself). 

And when exactly was America great anyway? It’s a violent country created by genocide and war (too bad the people already here didn’t have walls to keep the invaders out) and built by slavery, a country which has already had one war with itself and keeps itself doped with religion, sex, and tv while celebrating inequality and greed and wastefulness. I wish I’d had the personality and courage to leave it forty years ago. I love the land the Republicans (and Democrats—it’s only a matter of degree and timing) want to destroy, but I’ve always hated the society.

And I’m really sick of constitution worshippers. They’re as deluded as literalist interpreters of religious texts from millennia ago which are irrelevant to today’s issues. McConnell should have had his ass thrown in prison for obstructing the government’s operation.

I think many people believe that because in their lifetimes, this country has always been controlled by elections (in theory at least) that it’s always going to be that way. I don’t believe elections are going to solve our problems. I’m not at all sure that Democrats are going to defeat the Trumpists considering how the system is rigged, and even if they do, mainstream Democrats are no friends of mine. Maybe it’s because I decided almost fifty years ago I had no interest in having children that I don’t feel any need to seek delusions of hope that this society will escape the destruction which has come to every other society. Even if Democrats do win, these vile millions of Americans are not going to disappear now that they’ve had an illusion of being in power (not that Trump actually gives a damn about them as anything but a means to his own ends).

Minnesota has an idiotic political process involving caucuses to get a party’s endorsement which is then ignored leading to primaries with many contenders, which should have been the first step anyway. This corrupt process led the only person I had any enthusiasm for voting for to drop out when she was denied the party endorsement despite getting the most votes in each of ten rounds of voting. Minnesota does not allow me to write her name in for the primary election but it doesn’t look like I’ll be voting for anyone else running in the primary so I’ll write her in for the actual election. Normally I’d vote for a third party candidate, but I want the Democrats to know they specifically lost my vote by their behavior. I may write her in for a few positions in November, since I won’t be voting for any Democrats who are anti-environment like both of our Democrat senators. Even with five or six people on the primary ballot for each office, I can’t find anyone to vote for in some cases. At this point in my life, knowing that this society will continue to suck for the rest of my life, I’m a single issue (the non-human world) voter and not calling yourself a Republican isn’t enough to get my vote.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Ups and Downs

If only it were that easy to fire Trump for his moronic tweets.

Recently finished reading Chosen Country: A Rebellion in the West. The author was sometimes present with the Bundys and their followers after they took over Malheur. It's not really reporting on the events as much as a memoir of the author, a drug-using somewhat liberal gun nut I didn't like much more than the people he wrote about (at least he loathes the Trump cabal). It was an interesting book though, presenting the events in contexts of Mormonism, the lunatic views of the militias, and the general anti-federal government attitudes of westerners. 

Currently also reading Bernd Heinrich's collection of magazine essays, A Naturalist at Large

Next up, looking for a little short term encouragement from The Soul of America

 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

A Medical Fable

I had a couple medical tests done on my hips last week. I walked from ultrasound to x-ray wearing gown and robe and stood at the counter. One of the women behind the counter asked me a question I didn't understand, so she rephrased it to, "You don't have any pants on?"--I said no, and she said that was good. The three of us started laughing as she apologized, saying that didn't sound good.

Harassment and abuse and rape are all terrible things to happen to an individual, and indicators of a damaged society. So too are the repression of sexuality and the loss of a sense of humor.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

A Good Weekend

Friday night, I was paid to tend a campfire for a few hours.

Saturday, I finished reading my favorite new novel in years--The Overstory by Richard Powers.

Sunday, I watched a free showing of Wim Wenders' dance movie Pina.

And although the weather has turned sunny and warmer (not necessarily a good thing to me), there is still a chilly breeze coming from the lovely iceberg-strewn Lake.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Snow Come Down

I was walking by the Lake in the snow this morning, and blew back over twenty years to hearing this song for the first time. Lori Carson was playing an afternoon in-store at Tower Records in Boston on the day her latest CD came out. I'd bought the CD that morning and this was my favorite song so I asked her to play it that afternoon. (Lyrics NSFW if your work objects to the word fuck.)
 

Here is her blog where she seldom writes now, but there's a nice one from a few weeks ago. http://lifeandmusic.loricarson.com/

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Henry, Huck, and Scout



If you’ve never been to Walden Pond or you’re never going to be there again, here’s a 25 minute walk in the area and discussion of Thoreau.  At least one statement is wrong, but the scenery is right, along with a couple additions since my time in the area. I felt a shiver of sentiment remembering my visits there. 

It’s an episode of a New Hampshire public television show called Windows to the Wild, and if you go to their website there are over 100 episodes available to watch. (The other one I’ve watched so far is about Boston’s Emerald Necklace, but most focus on northern New England).

It was fun to watch this, and a reminder of a book being published March 13th, The Guide to Walden Pond: An Exploration of the History, Nature, Landscape, and Literature of One of America's Most Iconic Places.

Topics discussed in the program included slavery and racism which ties into a recent event here.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird will no longer be required reading in the Duluth school district because some felt uncomfortable about the word nigger. From my experiences on buses and sidewalks here, I bet many of those uncomfortable have no problem hearing the word in music or saying it themselves. And eliminating the books certainly isn’t going to eliminate racism in the city. Wouldn’t it be better to learn to deal with it in a classroom instead of on a sidewalk? A newspaper editorial and many letters, including some from students, oppose the decision. English teachers were not consulted.

The books aren’t banned; they’ll be in school libraries. I understand that the word could make people uncomfortable; it should. But apparently those people didn’t understand the points of the books. If these kids are going to be taught they’ll live a life without ever being uncomfortable, they’re in for a rude surprise.

And if we are going to eliminate things which make students uncomfortable, why limit it to a single word? Why not eliminate gym class because some are not as athletic as others? Why not eliminate difficult classes and grades? 

I’m currently reading Megafire: The Race to Extinguish a Deadly Epidemic of Flame and Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics. It could be argued that either of those has more relevance to a teenager’s future than the semi-banned unburnt books, but as a former English major who values the arts, I won’t go quite that far.