An Insult that Must Be Answered

They are patriots. They regularly sacrifice for their country and its constitution. Their work is fundamental to democracy and the rule of law.  They are nonpartisan. We depend on them for fair and free elections. Their hours are demanding and their pay is low.

These attributes make them perfect targets for presidential insults.

Why not? It is only by matters of degree the extent to which they share these attributes with Gold Star mothers, American POWs, our fallen warriors, frontline health care workers, teachers, the intelligence community, the FBI and virtually anyone, including those in his own cabinet who do not satisfy his demand for personal loyalty.

A Little Neighborly Competition

I have been posting signs in my yard for weeks now – for Democrats. My next door neighbor soon answered with signs in support of his candidates – Republicans.

Today my heart was gladdened to see that the neighbor across the street had posted a Biden-Harris sign.

But within hours, her next door neighbor had sullied the front of his home with a big, blue sign for Trump 2020 with the very presidential message “No More Bullshit.” The sign covers most of his garage door. It’s the same taste level that would gild the garden statuary and have Roman columns installed on the front porch if they were wealthy people. But they are not. So they can only talk like Trump.

My friend in Albuquerque saw this yard sign recently: PERSON, MAN, WOMAN, BIDEN, HARRIS.

Commit that to memory. There may be a mental functioning test at your polling place, a new voter suppression tool to replace literacy testing.

Trump without Makeup

The president checked in this morning with this rambling message meant to put Americans at ease. He spent four minutes to say what he could easily have said in half a minute: that he feels pretty good, that he has benefitted from the miracle of modern medicine (didn’t he tell us there would be miracles?), that his spirits have been lifted by the well wishes he and Melania have received from, get this, people from both parties (a good example of bipartisanship, why doesn’t the democrat party try that?) etc. Then he said it all a few more times for emphasis. HE CAN’T DO ALL CAPS IN A VIDEO; PEOPLE TURN HIM OFF WHEN HE’S TOO LOUD. So he just meanders around and says it three or four more times.

At first I thought he looked terribly pale and my heart skipped – is my president’s life in danger? But as I recovered my composure, I slowly came to realize that he didn’t look ill; he looked humanly normal. I had become accustomed to an orange Commander-in-Chief. But today our Fifty Star General looked so natural. No makeup and no tie. I thought for a moment he was going to slip out of his coat into a soft blue cardigan and reach for a pair of Top-Siders and tell me that he’d love to be my neighbor.

But no. It’s my neighbor he wants to be the neighbor of. The one with the MAGA signs in his front yard. But he never said it. This was our tender moment of bipartisanship.

“It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood … won’t you be my neighbor?” No, not you. That other guy over there. Next door – with the Trump-Pence sign.

So, in keeping with our tender national moment, allow me to offer thoughts and prayers to the president and his family. And also for all those maskless Republicans and other followers who gladly expose themselves to this life-threatening disease as an expression of their loyalty.

The president’s co-morbidities, such as age, weight and high cholesterol, have been widely reported. (There has been no mention of bone spurs but they apparently add no risk for sufferers of COVID-19.)

Less attention has been paid to the pre-morbidities and they, however, can be much more deadly. And they vastly enhance the virus’s transmissibility.

So, check yourself out for these dangerous conditions – pre-morbidities if you will – that can make you a victim and bring you down just as they have the president: 1. narcissism, 2. solipsism, 3. arrogance, 4. science illiteracy, 5. mammonism, and 6. (somewhat counterintuitively) germaphobia.

The latter is included as a pre-morbidity only because sufferers of the disorder tend to focus their entire disease prevention efforts on hand washing to the exclusion of other useful practices such as mask wearing.

So, before you go shopping or to a political rally (and now I borrow the style of a friend) put your mask on, dammit.

And of course, I would be remiss if I did not offer blessings to our president and his family. May they all recover and enjoy good health for many years to come. And may this experience encourage them to work on those pre-morbidities so that they may reduce their influence on their lives. And ours.

An Open Letter to Senator Cornyn

Lake Jackson, TX 77566

September 20, 2020

The Honorable John Cornyn, United States Senate

Dear Senator Cornyn:

I have written or called your office in the past, urging you first to support to removal of President Trump from office during his impeachment trial, and then to demand his resignation following his treatment of peaceful protestors in Washington, D.C.  Now, as a veteran, I take exception to having a commander in chief of the Armed Forces of the United States who constantly reminds us of how little he thinks of the men and women who commit their lives and blood to the preservation of our Constitution and democratic way of life.

Moreover, the president is corrupt. He shows no sign of caring about the rule of law, the freedoms of citizens, the circumstances of the people, or about our standing in the community of nations. He cares greatly, on the other hand, about the secrecy surrounding his finances and his once-desired project in Moscow. All his behavior since he came into office has been colored by his apparent wish to remain friendly with Vladimir Putin as a business partner and personal ally.

Now, with the death of Justice Ginsburg, the President has the opportunity to replace a tireless fighter for the oppressed and the weak with a defender of wealth, power, and plutocracy. As a United States senator, you should find a compelling interest, as I do, in assuring that voters are consulted before any presidential nominee is confirmed.

Fortunately, I recall that nearly the entire Republican caucus in the U. S. Senate is on record supporting the principle that presidents must not name new justices to the Supreme Court during an election year. Instead, the American people should first be given their chance to express themselves on the matter by voting in November. It surprises me that the Majority Leader has discovered exceptions to this principle. That the honorable senator and other members of his caucus will hold courageously to this principle of democracy, however, I do not doubt for a moment.

Thank you for serving the needs of Texas, and of the United States, by giving us all a chance to have our democratic voices heard in November, before proceeding in the new year to act on a new nomination to the Court.

Sincerely,

Thomas H. Fowler

Overheard on The Presidential Playground.

“Heads I win, tails you lose.”

Kind of childish, isn’t it? It was a trick your big brother or sister played on you. By the time you got into elementary school, you were streetwise and no second grade bully was going to win your nickel with that silly challenge.

But if you have been paying attention, you know that the president is trying to play that old trick on the electorate. If I don’t win, the election must have been rigged. He says it or tweets it until it gets imprinted in the brains of some of the voters.

Ignoring him would be the normal healthy response to that kind of talk. But regardless of his current functioning grade level, we have handed him one of the world’s most powerful offices and he uses it to protect himself from the law.

He even had one of his minions in the administration urging people to arm themselves in case the election went the wrong way. That guy is heading for a little time off. He is afraid there could be physical threats. And there are those long shadows on the ceiling of his lonely apartment.

DJT got there with the help of enough American voters to attain an Electoral College majority. A majority of voters doesn’t get you anything in the USA. Buckle up for another thrilling night, week, or month of vote counting.

Quote from a Distant Friend

I have a friend who has been periodically emailing updates to old friends from his retirement home out of state. Today’s update began with an admission that he has been somewhat depressed lately, like Michelle Obama, as he pointed out.

Sadly, this is the same friend I burdened with a six page lamentation for his reading enjoyment a few days ago.

Friend, you know who you are. I owe you my sincere apology. But thank you for your email today. In it you said some things that spoke for me. You called it a rant. I call it a prose poem. Here are his words, sans his original formatting:

I resent like hell the Cheeto-faced narcissist calling my father, father-in-law, brother, and even a cousin or two Losers and Suckers. Shame. Recent revelations regarding his pandemic response are proving to be even more shameful, if not criminal. [My wife] and I have been fortunate these last six months that we have been a few degrees of separation from a close friend or family member becoming infected or dying. However, at the current rates, promulgated and exacerbated by lies and “down-playing”, I fear that that may not be the case by year’s end – 200K is [250K] too many. I recall a number of co-workers coming into my office on Election Day almost four years ago to gleefully and proudly announce that they had cancelled my vote. I wonder…Are they still proud about what these last four years have brought? Are they still gleeful?

He speaks my heart. Thank you, old friend.

Things don’t change much here in Lake Jackson. You ask, “are they still gleeful?” Probably they are. Yes, that’s a Trump-Pence sign peeking around from behind the Randy Weber sign in my neighbor’s yard.