Perspective

Today, it is important to keep our life in perspective.

While we Americans fret over $5 for a pound hamburger or gallon of gasoline, Ukrainians crowd onto railcars, or walk into Poland, carrying their worldly possessions in a plastic bag, leaving daughters, sons, spouses, mothers, and fathers amid the smoldering remains of homes and apartments demolished by Vladimir Putin’s missiles.

Praising Putin

Since his ham-fisted assault on Ukraine, Vladimir Putin’s grows increasingly isolated.  From Australia to Switzerland countries put the economic squeeze on Russia.  Global protests erupt.  In Russian streets, Vladimir’s people rally against his savagery.       

It is ironic and astonishing that vociferous praise for Russia’s Dictator comes from Americans!  Donald Trump calls the Russian dictator a “genius  .  .  .  How smart is that?”  At a Florida weekend conference, the Americans First Political Action Committee’s Nick Fuentes called for, “a round of applause for Russia!”  His audience responded, “Putin, Putin, Putin!”

How, in the country of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, where “all men are created equal,” where millions sacrificed, suffered, and died protecting our country from a demagogue like Vladimir Putin and wannabe demagogue Donald Trump, could this happen?  What in the names of God and common sense are these people thinking‽ 

Many Americans were puzzled by Donald’s fawning over Vladimir.  We know that Putin worked to get Trump elected and reelected.  We recognize his subversion behind reactionary right-wing efforts to commandeer America’s government.  With “genius  .  .  .  How smart is that,”  “a round of applause for Russia,” “Putin, Putin, Putin!”, this evil force rears its ugly head.

A psychopathic, narcissistic, Vladimir Putin is Russia’s dictator.  Cheered on by mindless MAGA Minions, a psychopathic narcissistic, Donald Trump yearns to become America’s dictator.

Trumping Putin

Feb. 21, 2022, Vladimir Putin recognized two regions of Ukraine as independent.  The following day, on the right-wing Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, Donald Trump was asked, “What went wrong, what has the current occupant of the Oval Office done that he could have done differently?”  Trump’s answer, “What went wrong was a rigged election.  What went wrong is a candidate that shouldn’t be there.  .  .  . I went in and there was a television screen and I said ‘this is genius  .  .  .  How smart is that?’  .  .  .  and he’s going to go in and he’s going to be a peacekeeper.  This is a guy who’s very savvy.  .  .  .  By the way, had I been in office this would never have happened, not even think of it.”

The evening of Feb. 23, Trump called Fox News to advise Laura Ingram that, “(Putin) was going to be satisfied with peace, and now he sees the weakness and the incompetence and the stupidity of this administration, and, as an American, I’m angry about it, and I’m saddened by it  .  .  .  And it all happened because of a rigged election.  This (Putin’s threat to invade Ukraine) would have never happened.” 

The next morning Russian forces invaded Ukraine.  After five days, Putin’s “peace keepers” continue slugging and slugging their way into Ukraine, destroying infrastructure, demolishing apartment buildings, slaughtering a sovereign nation’s defenseless citizens!  

Recalling, “had I been in office this would never have happened,” by what irresistible force might Donald have persuaded his ‘ol Pal in Moscow not to invade an effectively defenseless neighbor?  (1) Friendly persuasion: “Hey Good Buddy, I don’t give a damn about Ukraine, but I’d have to cover for you in American?  Don’t make me look bad.”  (2) Threaten to send the 1st Cav., the 82nd Airborne.  Start World War III‽  Go figure.  I can’t.

What Donald Trump calls, “weakness .  .  .  incompetence .  .  .  stupidity” is rational, civilized people’s refusal to fall back on the ignorance and bestiality of war!  NATO’s economic and physical isolation of Russian are sane responses to the acts of an insane mind.    

As always, sixth-grade bully Donald J. Trump boasts big but, as with his “rigged election,” details and facts to support the big bluff are nonexistent. 

Beneath the bravado there’s nothing.  But, the hazard is, while Donald personifies Macbeth’s “sound and fury,” his mindless, irresponsible babble and acts could “signify” the end of American democracy.  

The Red Hills Ivey-mander

Caricatured as a salamander and codified by Governor Eldridge Gerry, the March 12, 1812 Boston Gazette labeled Massachusetts’s South Essex electoral district a “Gerry-mander.”  Over ensuing two centuries, legislators, politicians, and wheeler-dealers of every stripe have Gerrymandered districts to their advantage and opponent’s disadvantage.

On “lostdebate.com,” February 11, Cory Bradford critiqued Alabama’s electoral districts map.  District Seven is a stunning example of the level to which some southerners will stoop in continuing to fight the Civil War, Reconstruction, and Civil Rights.  Noting that Alabama’s State Amphibian is, curiously, the Red Hills salamander and its governor Republican Kay Ivey, I label Alabama’s electoral district Seven a “Red Hills Ivey-mander!” 

Alabama’s district Seven corrals a majority of its black citizens, 31% of the population, in one electoral district.  To appreciate the impact of this, imagine dividing Alabamians into three equal-size but racially unequally groups, the two more-non-black thirds each get three United States Congressional Representatives, while the lone more-black third gets one!  Today, Alabama has six white males and one black female Representative!

My Red Hills Ivey-mander extends southwest from Birmingham to the confluence of the Tombigbee and Alabama rivers, 200 miles, sixty percent of the state’s north-south length.  Fairly to distribute the ethnicity of Alabamans, the Ivey-mander’s thirty-mile long neck should be lopped in the narrows between districts Four and Six, its arched back slightly lowered, and its southern boundary extended east from the Choctaw/Washington county line.  Thus districted, it’s anyone’s guess how the voting would go, but, clearly, Birmingham belongs in the District Six, Tuscaloosa in District Four, and Ivey-mander’s tail in District One.   

In Merrill v. Milligan, Feb. 7, 2022, the United States Supreme Court stayed a district court’s injunction barring Alabama from using its newly redistricted map in the 2022 election.  While SCOTUS has yet to rule.  If it were to overturn the district court, as memory serves, quoting Sancho Panza’s wisdom regarding some arcane legal point, “If the Law believes that, the Law is a ass.”

If the United States Supreme Court upholds Alabama’s new electoral districting, the United States Supreme Court is a ass!

A Ray of Hope

As Mazars’s mechanics jump ship, erstwhile loyal seamen scramble for lifeboats, waves lap the gunnels, and litigious sharks circle ever closer, from the bridge of his foundering flagship Cap’n Don may, on the horizon, take heart in a lone ray of hope:  A prison jumpsuit could coordinate well with the Fabled Orange Mane.

You Have to Wonder

If certain racial and ethnic groups engender moral, ethical, and mental deficits, Donald J. Trump, Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Sidney Powell, Margorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Jim Jordan and their “stop the steal” gang brings “whites” under serious scrutiny.    

Teachers

It is said that, to carry the Buddhist’s teachings to Tibet, the Indian Lama Atiśa assembled an entourage of monks and support staff.  When his group convened to begin their trek, Atiśa noticed that the cook, I’ll call Ben, was not there.  When the Master inquired regarding the cook’s absence, he was advised, in addition to being a mediocre chef, Ben was very hard to get along with and no one liked him

Atiśa responded, in essence, “Oh Ben must come with us.  I need him to teach me patience.”

What or who are my and your Bens?  Cherish them.

Thoughts on Jeff’s Post

In a lengthy Facebook post, February 5, Jeff Alworth expressed, “something like trauma over the past 13 months as I grieved for American democracy  .  .  .  But for the first time I’m hopeful that the forces of equality, democracy, and justice may at least fight on the way down.  I’ll be there with them.”

While I share my friend’s alarm over the current, ominous threat to our democracy, I take heart in a truth, which Liberals like Jeff and I may overlook: Demographically and politically, the classic Caucasian, Male-dominated America culture is dying breed.  And they know it!

As backdrop and perspective to this Conservative conundrum, in The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump a white female complains, “I want my country back.”  In his warmup to the January 6 seditious insurrection, President Donald Trump told his MAGA mob “if you don’t fight like hell, you are not going to have a country anymore.”  Which “country?”

I’ve blogged, but it bears repeating, the roots from which that lady’s and Trump’s alarm grow reach down decades.  “On the heels of the Great Depression and WWII, Americans had a bellyful of pain and poverty.  It was time for peace and plenty.  Nineteen forty-five promised a bungalow for every family, a Ford or Chevy in every garage, a good job for Dad, an electric stove and refrigerator for Mom, and nice schools for lily-white ‘Boomers’ (kids.) The miracle of television brought ‘Father Knows Best,’ ‘Leave it to Beaver,’ ‘Ozzy and Harriet,’ ‘Mayberry RFD,’ ‘Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C.’ to every home.

Then, suddenly, the picture went out-of- focus.  (In 1967) ‘The Graduate’ introduced ‘plastic.’  Hippies, Viet Nam, and Civil Rights erupted.  The ‘coloring’ of America began.  It turns out Father didn’t necessarily know best, Gomer was gay, even the Nelsons weren’t like ‘The Nelsons.’”

What terrorizes the Conservative Old Guard is that “coloring of America!”  Quoting myself gain, but important to remember, “From 1620 to 1776 to 1865 to 1945 to 1975 to this instant, incrementally, sometimes abruptly, the Land of the Free changes.  A white page becomes a collage: black, brown, yellow, red.  Not just skin color, ethnics, linguistics, and lifestyle.  LGBTQs are ‘out.’  Kids have two dads or two moms.  More than half of cohabiting American couples are unmarried.  Single parent families, more often than not a single Mom, are disturbingly common.”  (A personal note, growing up without a Dad I wonder, where in hell are the Fathers?)

So, increasingly outnumbered, knowing they can’t win at the ballot box; the Old Guard Republican establishment feels terrified and compelled to cheat!  Not surprisingly, the man who cries “rigged election” loudest blatantly works to “overturn” that very election.  

But, in Lincoln’s words, those who, cling to “The dogmas of the quiet past,” can never win!  That what the political Right Wing sees and is terrified of is, Right, Left, or Center, the only constant is change!  Those who fight against change, who fight against the Coloring of America, would hold back a rising tide.  In the end they must find a place on shore or drown.

I’m hopeful, Jeff, that we may not have to “fight on the way down.” 

A sidebar: Attorney General Merrick Garland’s FBI’s putting thousands of photos and videos under a magnifying glass to ferret out and prosecute Trump’s poor, dumb, MAGA foot soldier, while their Commander in Chief runs free to spread his lies and vitriol, is upside down and maddening.  

Contrast in Character

Every American should view MSNBC’s “Love and the Constitution.” This documentary tracks constitutional scholar and congressman Jamie Raskin’s wisdom and courage while, in one month, burying his son, experiencing a seditious insurrection against the Government of the United States of America, and serving as Leading Manager in the second impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump. 

I’m fascinated by the contrast in appearance and character of this small, self-effacing, scholar with tousled black mop almost concealing a yarmulke-like bald patch, and the six feet-three-inch, chest-thumping, Sixth Grade Bully with trademarked, meticulously coiffured, Orange Mane.