Even in progressive Santa Monica, these are not great times for journalists. However, I’d like to share two hopefully amusing examples. The first involves someone who doesn’t know me and the second is about someone who does. (And probably dislikes me more than the first guy.)
Over a year ago, my editor informed me that, during the weekend, there were 6 voicemails that weren’t exactly sending kudos my way. Tentatively, he asked if I wanted to hear them. “How bad can they be?” I said naively.
The caller, a devout Trump supporter, might have felt right at home carrying a Tiki torch in Charleston. I say that because his comments included, “Hitler didn’t finish the job,” and “Jews think they know everything.” (On the bright side, he didn’t say I wasn’t funny.)
Though hardly an excuse, the caller was “slurring his words” drunk. That said, listening to his hate-filled voice was eerie. As my concerns grew, I decided to call the police. They graciously listened but concluded the voicemails didn’t constitute “a terrorist threat.”
They also didn’t have the authority to contact the caller to “discourage” him from further calls. After they left, and since I had the number from caller I.D., I decided to phone the caller directly. (Not smart, Jack.)
Thankfully, I got his voice mail and, to my amazement, on his outgoing message he was also drunk! “Leave a message or don’t, I could give a sh*t,” he slurred. (For his sake, I hope he’s found an AA meeting nearby.)
The second Trump supporter livid with me is a friend of a friend and shall remain nameless. With empathy, I add that he is legally blind and carries a long walking stick to navigate his morning trip to Starbucks. (I’m not thrilled he delights in calling Democrats, “Demorats” and maybe he won’t be either when his Social Security gets reduced to offset tax breaks for billionaires.)
At Starbucks on this particular day, I probably shouldn’t have stopped to say hello but I did. (No good deed goes unpunished?) But, to my pleasant surprise, he volunteered that he didn’t hold my columns against me. Wow!
I replied eagerly, “Let’s just agree to disagree, okay?” Somehow, this set him off, or something did because within seconds he was shouting, “You belong in prison with that b**ch Hillary!” (I started to get the feeling he didn’t like Hillary.)
His anger boiling over, he began waving his walking stick to punctuate his arguments. (And maybe knock my head off?) Meanwhile, two 20-something women, who apparently just finished shopping on Main Street, were walking in our direction.
The two were happily chatting until they saw us. I could swear, as they passed, they gave me the evil eye as if to say, “Why are you harassing that poor, old blind man?” (Hey, how about the poor, old columnist?)
Carefully out of walking-stick range, I got up to leave. “Take care,” I said feigning cheerfulness and split as fast as my feet could carry me.
And now for the horrific elephant in the room. (No pun intended.) I’m referring to the 10 pipe bomb assassination attempts so far. It’s just a fact, every one of those targeted has criticized Trump.
With 11 days until the midterms, tragically Trump couldn’t bring himself to try to unite the country. As he didn’t at his Inaugural or even after the Kavanaugh vote. He joked at his rally that he was “behaving.” That’s something a 6-year-old might say, not the Commander in Chief.
Inflaming his supporters in recent rallies Trump calls Democrats “evil” and “crazy.” (Projection anyone?) Tone-deaf in the light of the brutal murder of a Washington Post columnist, Trump lavished praise on a GOP Congressman who, in 2017, was convicted of a violent assault on a reporter. He infamously body slammed the man but later admitted he’d been asking a legitimate question. And yet Trump boasted about the Congressman, “He’s my kind of guy.”
At his rallies, Trump blatantly repeats lies i.e. “The migrant caravan includes Middle Easterners.” (With swords in their teeth to cut our throats?) And suddenly he’s calling himself a “nationalist,” without seeming to know its dark history.
In 1930’s Germany, a failed artist was also a “nationalist.” He too railed at the press and fueled supporters’ rage by scapegoating “others.” As he catapulted the planet into WW2, he proved the bigger the lie the more it’s believed. (Sound familiar?)
We are in a terrorist attack state. But, rather than comforting the country, Trump tweets insults. I know Trumpists are going to be more unhappy with me than ever. I just hope I’ve made the other 54% mad enough to go vote.
Lastly, when the FBI catches the psycho who mailed the bombs, I can assure you one thing. He won’t be wearing a Hillary hat.
Jack is at: facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth and email@example.com