Saturday, January 21, 2017

And Now There Is No Road

In 2004 when he was seeking a second term, Dubyuh came to our town for a speech and local party big-shots took him to dinner at one of our better restaurants.  I had kind of liked the place but for years afterward I refused to eat there, because it hadn’t been properly fumigated.

Today I’m thinking the same way about the White House.  What if, four years from now, the other side has come up with a decent candidate, someone truly fit for the office, and that someone wins the election and has to move into a place that has been occupied for four years by this new guy?  Could the place ever be properly fumigated after having been occupied that long?  Will the country have to tear down the historic executive mansion and build a new one in order to have a fit residence for a president fit for the office?

Indeed, will this country ever again have a president fit for the office once occupied by Lincoln, Jefferson, FDR. . .? 

Will there even be a country such as we once knew, a democratic republic of, by and for the people?

An acquaintance who voted for him explained, somewhat sheepishly I thought, “maybe he’ll do something, anything, just one thing.”

He did two things, actually, in his very first hour in office.  Two anti-people things.  First he made health care less accessible, less affordable, for thousands.  Then he made home ownership impossible for thousands more. 

First steps only.  Soon millions will be without health care.  Millions swill be without homes.  Driving poor people out of their homes is the specialty of one of his cabinet nominees.  Another Big Lie: those nominees, he said, have the highest collective IQ in history.  Pure fiction, made up on the spur of the momen, like so much of what he utters, tweets or even thinks. The man even lies to himself.

I say again:  there is no man so dangerous as a stupid man who thinks he is intelligent.

There was blood on the streets of the nation’s capital the day he took office. Rubber bullets, shock bombs, more than 200 protesters arrested.  More protests are scheduled today, his second in office.  Five states governed by his followers have already passed laws in effect repealing the First Amendment to the United States constitution.  In one of them, motorists have been given license to run over protesters who attempt to block a road.

Raised fists . . . military parades . . . police cruelty . . . bullying . . . insults . . . sneering authoritarianism . . . white supremacy . . . contempt for the poor , , , lies, deceit, exaggeration . . . false patriotism . . . misogyny . . .  American carnage . . . 

Once we were exhorted to heed our better angels.  Now we are called upon to tilt at windmills.  Once we were told the only thing we had to fear was fear itself. Now we are told we must slay imaginary daemons,  disguised as people of color or followers of a different god. Once we were called upon to act as a people “with malice toward none, with charity for all.”

“America First!  America First!” he cried, echoing the rallying cry of anti-Semitic Nazi sympathizers in the United States before World War II.

Far to the west in this land, a hiker wrote yesterday of watching “a promising sunrise at one of my favorite places on public land. My soul needs the beauty this morning. My prayer is that it will still be public land for my grandchildren.

But in Washington yesterday, “At last we have a LEADER!” someone tweeted.

Hitler, too, was a “leader.” 

But what of us, the followers, the people?  He says we are newly empowered even as he enfeebles us, but this is his way.  He says one thing, then does another.  Like many dictators in the past, he rules by whim, by impulse, by an overarching need for self-aggrandisement.  And so what of us?

"There is no ship for you," C.V.Cavafy wrote nearly a century ago. "There is no road. As you have ruined your life here in this little corner, you have destroyed it in the whole world.”

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