Like the murders of George Floyd and Rashard Brooks, seeing videos of George Washington’s, Thomas Jefferson’s and Ulysses S. Grant’s busts desecrated breaks my heart. And I’m not some chest-thumping, flag waving Neocon.   Like Will Rogers I don’t belong to an organized political party. I’m a Democrat.

I wonder about the character, wisdom and courage of citizens rioting in America’s streets. At Valley Forge the winter of 1777-1778, would today’s “patriots” have had the grit to hunker down alongside General Washington? Would they have exhibited equal zeal crossing the Delaware Christmas eve, knowing that by daybreak their shivering body might well be a frosted corpse?

Do the current protestors have the vaguest notion of the brilliance articulated by Thomas Jefferson in The Declaration of Independence? Do they understand, much less appreciate, the slave-owning Founding Fathers’ courage, work and sacrifices in drafting the very document which guarantees a mob of thugs’ rights peacefully to protest, liberty and happiness, The Constitution of the United States of America?

Spray-painting and toppling a bust of General and President Ulysses S. Grant is a monument to these vandals’ ignorance. Born into a staunchly abolitionist family, Ulysses father-in-law gave him a slave whom he freed. Grant then went on to lead President Lincoln’s Union army to victory over the Confederacy, ending slavery in America. From Shilo to Vicksburg to The Wilderness to dozens more scenes of carnage, would today’s rioters have soldiered on beside General Grant? Amid the smoke and chaos, stumbling over decapitated, eviscerated corpses of men beside whom they consumed biscuits and gravy hours before, would they have pressed on—or deserted?   As President, Grant was tireless in Reconstructing the South, prosecuting the KKK and appointing African and Jewish Americans to federal positions.

But, what about the acceptance of slavery in early America? Despite billions of dollars wasted and millions of lives lost, we accept the free and open use of alcohol, cigarettes and firearms.   Despite what may or may or may not have been seen as barbaric, for millennia before Washington and Jefferson’s time, worldwide trafficking in and owning human beings was commonplace.

Hindsight judges the past by contemporary norms. Suddenly teleported back to two-and-a-half centuries, who of us would possess the prescience, character and courage to speak out against slavery? Conversely, catapulted a hundred years forward, would we not decry the consequences of today’s additions to alcohol, marijuana and tobacco. Would we not riot over the global impact of America’s inexcusable, irresponsible burning of fossil fuels, our mindless polluting of Earth’s atmosphere, our fouling the oceans, our addiction to ever-lasting plastics, our exploiting species to extinction? Transported to the future, would we not stand aghast at America’s surrender to the Arms Industry? In hindsight, would we not view our current endemic violence, our abandonment of the World Health Organization, our failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocols, our continuing to pump thousands of tons of toxins into the atmosphere exacerbating global warming, as inexcusable? Looking back, who’s statues might we spray-paint and pull down?

In The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness Erich Fromm argues man needs to “make a dent.” If nowhere else, often “in someone’s head. “ Today’s vandals dent the heads of men whose dents make their mindless actions protected. “Protestors” smash the windows and loot the businesses of the very folks’ rights they purport to defend, the people whose persecution they decry. In quieter times, these are the faceless vandals who scrawl obscenities on public restroom walls, break mirrors and stuff paper rolls in toilets.

The great irony of today’s tragedy is that given the vagaries of chance and whims of British Monarchs, without the work, bravery and sacrifice of slave-owning George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and the Founding Fathers, neither their busts, the desecrators, nor the rest of us would exist!

The current protests and riots in America are not what they seem. George Floyd’s and Rashard Brooks’s murders, Black Live Matter, Washington, Jefferson and the Founding Fathers being slave owners merely opens a door for the powerless to act out against the system. Topple a stature, smash a window, torch a car, grab a flat-screen TV, when we’re swept up in pain motives and consequence don’t matter.

Dark Days For Donny


  • The Lincoln Project calling, “President Donald Trump and those who sign onto Trumpism a clear and present danger to the Constitution and our Republic”
  • retired General Officers and ex-cabinet members labeling Trump, variously, unfit for office
  • Trump defender Lindsay Graham saying he will vote of Joe Biden
  • Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff apologizing for escorting Trump on the absurd, ignominious Bible photo-op, after the military used teargas to disperse peaceful protesters
  • the humiliation of thousands of empty seats in a Tulsa rally billed as having “millions” requesting tickets
  • a supposed Right-leaning Supreme Court knocking down Trump administration arguments against LGBTQI and DACA rights
  • Oval Office veteran John Bolton’s book calling the Trump White House chaotic and, beyond efforts to get Donald reelected, devoid of coherent guidance,

the photo of a president walking, head down, blue suit coat unbuttoned, red necktie untied, red cap crumpled in hand, serves as icon for President Donald J. Trump’s Darkest Days.

Good Cop – Bad Cop

From slavery to the Civil War to Reconstruction to the KKK to the Greenwood Massacre to an American President calling Haiti and Africa “shit-hole countries,” a subset of white Americans remain determined to keep n_ _ _ _ _ _ in their place!

Naïve white Americans like me are astonished to learn that, a century and a half after emancipation, blatant violent attacks on black people are far from uncommon. Amidst worldwide riots over police officer Derek Chauvin’s murder of George Floyd, it is unbelievable to see a white Atlanta patrolman, Garrett Rolfe, shoot an unarmed black man, Rashard Brooks, in the back, twice! The video is clear. From tapping on the window of Brooks’s vehicle, to Brooks passing sobriety tests but barely failing a breathalyzer, officer Rolfe had determined to cuff this black man. Would a white-skinned Brooks, blowing a paltry .026 over the limit, be alive today? Hell yes! Rolfe may have assured the culprit got safely home.

George Floyd’s and Rashard Brooks’s murders break my heart. They’re horrible! I hate it! Black Americans should not live in fear of law officers. This said, without policing a civil society cannot exist!  “Aye, there’s the rub.”*

Policing in America cries out for fundamental overhaul. Derek Chauvins and Garrett Rolfes have no place in law enforcement, but we must take care not to throw out the baby with the bath water! While minds wiser than mine must hammer out the policeman’s and policewoman’s restructured role, three issues are obvious. First, American “Justice” weighs heavily in favor of affluent and favored Caucasians. Check out the ethnicity and skin color of our prison populations. Non-whites may or may not commit proportionately more crimes but they are damn sure more often arrested, convicted and imprisoned. Second, use of deadly force by police must be stringently curtailed. Third, while managing people is a significant part of a law officer’s job, far too often policemen and policewomen are called on to make mental health related decisions. Perhaps ironically, few things would make a police officer’s life easier than being free to chase Bad Guys while physicians, counselors and sociologists tend to the mentally ill, the addicted, the down-and-out. America’s mental illness system is woefully, shamefully underfunded.   Money saved in reduced policing, and more, should be spent on mental health research and treatment.

In the end, while Black Experience may refute it I have to believe that despite the Derek Chauvins and Garrett Rolfes, the huge majority of American lawmen and lawwomen are out there doing the right thing, slugging it out in the trenches, performing the dangerous, complex, essential jobs most Americans could not or will not do. For every bad cop ninety-eight are:

  • responding to a 2 a.m. domestic violence call
  • searching for a nine-year-old who didn’t come home from school
  • collecting blood-soaked evidence at a murder scene
  • pulling victims from a burning vehicle
  • pursuing an erratic driver
  • entering a school to confront an active shooter
  • executing a search warrant
  • keeping an eye on a school bus stop


  • coaching T-ball
  • rescuing ducklings from a sewer
  • at 3 a.m. holding a damp cloth on the forehead of a five-year-old with a 102° fever
  • fielding and running the bases
  • singing in the choir
  • cutting the lawn
  • trimming the hedge
  • washing the car
  • rescuing a kitten from a tree
  • tearing up at his daughter’s wedding
  • praying

I say again, got a problem? Call a cop.



William Shakespeare


If I were mayor of Seattle, any city where rioters call for defunding or doing away with police, I’d say, “Okay. I’m putting the Police Bureau on unpaid furlough for two weeks. Let’s talk then.”

Behind The Mask

Asked why he did not wear a mask when visiting a Ford plant President Trump explained he wore one earlier, “it looked good,” but he did not want to afford the press ”the pleasure ” of seeing him masked. What? His appearance? Could his looks, how he believes he looks, his self-image, be the hide-in-plain-sight clue solving the Mystery of Donald Trump? Nonsense! But yet?

We were warned. Eight months after President Donald J. Trump took office, twenty-seven psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health professions and others with hands-on Trump experience published The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump. In the second edition, ten more signed on. Their consensus: Donald J. Trump exhibits pronounced symptoms of “Malignant Narcissistic Personality Disorder.” Before looking at the diagnosis, it’s fair to ask, “Are these folks positioned to make the call?” If three dozen qualified mechanics certify the “OLD RELIABLE” on “Fairly Honest Don’s” lot is a “Lemon” would you buy it?  

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM5) Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), “comprises a persistent manner of grandiosity, a continuous desire for admiration, along with a lack of empathy. It starts in early adulthood and occurs in a range of situations, as signified by the existence of any 5 of the next 9 standards (American Psychiatric Association, 2013):

  • A grandiose logic of self-importance
  • A fixation with fantasies of infinite success, control, brilliance, beauty or idyllic love
  • A credence that he or she is extraordinary and exceptional and can only be understood by, or should connect with, other extraordinary or important people or institutions
  • A desire for unwarranted admiration
  • A sense of entitlement
  • Interpersonal oppressive behavior
  • No form of empathy
  • Resentment of others or a conviction that others are resentful of him or her
  • A display of egotistical and conceited behavior or attitudes”

Self-importance, fixation on fantasies of greatness, feeling extraordinary and exceptional, desire for admiration, sense of entitlement, oppressive behavior, no empathy, resentment, egotistical and conceited, it’s 9 for 9 folks! The description of Donald J. Trump is stunning! After three years of Trump in the Oval Office, we don’t need Sigmund Freud or President of the America Psychiatric Association to make this call.

In Greek myth young Narcissus leans over a pool and, failing to recognizing himself, falls in love with his reflection. Narcissus‘s love focuses on a superficial, self-image, no depth, nothing beneath. Anything that might threaten or tarnish this fragile reflection is anathema. Secretly knowing that a pebble, breeze or thunder storm will distort or abolish him, Narcissus focuses every moment, expends every effort, keeping the surface calm, preserving, protecting and defending his self-image.

DSM5 does not use “Malignant.” Campbell’s Psychiatric Dictionary describes Malignant Narcissism as combining characteristics of Narcissistic and Antisocial Personality Disorders with aggression and paranoia, making the patient not only delusional but potentially dangerous!

As unmasked in the mask scenario, physical appearance is fundamental to Donald Trump’s security. It’s centerpiece: the Fabled Orange Mane. A former barber describes Donald studying himself in the mirror, supervising the clipping of each lock, the coiffeuring of each wave, the combing of each curl. The barbershop mirror is Trump’s Narcissist’s pool.

Donald’s, you may say, “god complex” extends far beyond appearance. Weaned and schooled amid the cutthroat, bare-knuckled, gutter brawls of New York City Real Estate, Donald J. Trump’s self-importance links inextricably to the appearance of financial success, of money. Underscoring this feeling, when COVID 19 shut down most of America’s economy Donald projected his fear onto America’s workers, predicting that without paychecks many would give up in suicide. To assure no one fails to recognize his financial prowess, Donald’s assets must bear or imply the “Trump” trademark: Trump Tower, Trump golf courses, Trump “billions,” three drop-dead-beautiful Trump wives and not-so-clandestine sexual conquests—all in the service of an overarching Trump ego!

Donald’s conceit knows no bounds. Seeming to rebut the Dangerous Case consensus Donald calls himself a “stable genius.” He believes he is endowed with Midas’s Touch. All he graces turns to gold. His first 100 days as president were the best in American history. Despite others’ reports, meetings routinely proceed and conclude “wonderfully.” Despite failing to vanishing through his “miracle” prediction, COVID 19 will end “with or without a vaccine” soon. As president, ”I give myself a 10.” Borrowing from the Bard, thou “dost protest too much, methinks.”

President Donald Trump’s public life is a photo-op. Nowhere more apparent than behind a microphone, clowning and showing off for his Red-Cap Minions. Visiting a lab, campaigning in the foolish Red Cap, Trump posed holding a COVID 19 photo, then glanced down to assure he had the virus’ heads up. Teargassing peaceful protesters to pose in front of a church holding a Bible is the latest, most graphic, ham-handed testament to his frightening self-adulation. Can anyone really be this shallow?

Grandiose egos demand unconditional loyalty. As evidenced in the serial rollover of Cabinet, staff and appointees, Trump’s demand for commitment is one-way. Anyone who questions his superiority is or becomes the enemy. Donald will pat you on shoulder at breakfast and stab you in the back before lunch.

Early on, the inevitability of “Let Trump be Trump” had spin-doctors scrambling. I’m reminded Warren Harding’s handlers were warned, “Keep Warren away from people. Someone with ask him a question and the dumb bastard will try to answer.”

Politician’s public lives are costumed and scripted. Before becoming president, how often did Donald Trump wear the red tie, white shirt and blue suit, as it were, wrapped in the flag? To be fair, Joe Biden shows up similarly dressed for the same Star-Spangled effect. You don’t become a United States Senator and Vice President without a pronounced sense of self, even self-importance, but Joe’s history, personality and behavior show no hint of the Malignant Narcissism so obvious in Donald JohnTrump.

Call A Cop

If you defund or do away with police, who will you call when

  • you witness a head-on between an SUV and log truck?
  • kids at the bus stop say a man in a green van grabbed your nine-year-old daughter?
  • Janice next door screams “Help!”?
  • a stranger holds a knife to your ribs and takes your wallet?
  • some creep snatches your purse?
  • kids are dropping bricks from a freeway overpass?
  • your Lexus or Kia disappears from the parking lot?
  • a Corvette speeds, dodges and weaves, forcing an Outback onto the shoulder?
  • your thirteen-year-old daughter left her friend’s house three blocks away at nine, is not home by midnight?
  • a stray Rottweiler grabs your four-year-old’s cheek?
  • a man is exposing himself in the schoolyard?
  • you pull in your driveway and see your front door is kicked in?
  • and on
  • and on
  • and on

Got a problem? Call a cop. Thank a cop.

A Big Deal

Citing SARS, AIDS and flu statistics, some folks would minimize the significance of COVID 19, call it a hoax, not a Big Deal. I can’t speak for over a hundred-thousand Americans who have died, a million and a half who have suffered, their families and friends, but, for me, if Karen, one of my kids, grandkids, or others I care about were to contract this dreadful disease, COVID 19 would be a very Big Deal Indeed!

The indignity of a mask, social distancing, missing a paycheck—Painful and tragic as it is!—are the price we pay to manage a scourge which could wreak havoc on America unimagined since the Black Plague wiped out half the population of fourteenth century Eurasia.