There are four days until the most important presidential election in our lifetime. I’ve heard that comment about other elections but this one, when they say “vote like your life depends on it,” it just may. Given Donald Trump brazenly said, “Article 2 of the Constitution means I can do whatever I want,” either he goes bye bye on November 3 or democracy does. (If you see any typos it may just be my nerves.)
Eight years ago I was supremely proud of America. Barack Obama became the first African-American president in a nation that had, 147 years earlier, waged a brutal and bloody civil war to decide it some humans could literally own other humans. (What a concept.)
Sadly, we were the last industrialized country to outlaw slavery and the only one that required a war to do so, albeit at a staggering human cost. Approximately 5% of the population was either killed or wounded in the four year conflagration, meaning if it were fought today 17 million Americans would have died or been injured. Unimaginable, you say?
Actually things have been unimaginable for almost four years and getting worse. I pray I’m wrong, but given the extreme polarization additionally ginned up by Trump, plus the terrifying number of automatic weapons and angry citizens seemingly eager to use them, I worry we could be approaching Civil War 2.0.
In 2008 I watched the election results on TV with friends and was so moved by Obama’s victory speech from Grant Park in Chicago, I was moved to tears. I wasn’t the only one. In the estimated 240,000 people in the park, Oprah Winfrey was weeping tears of joy so profusely she blew her nose on her friend’s jacket. Except he wasn’t her friend!
The man was a complete stranger! He didn’t seem to notice and apparently neither did Oprah because when she was told what she had done, she immediately invited the good-natured man on her show and presented him with a new jacket. (It seemed a bit cheap considering in 2004 Oprah gave all 276 members of her studio audience a new Pontiac. )
So if in 2008 I was so proud of the progress of America’s conscience, in 2016 we elected a person totally devoid of one. In addition to telling 23,000 lies in four years he has done the following despicable things to name but a few: Mocked the disabled; ridiculed an autistic teenage girl fighting to save the environment; disrespected Gold Star families; called fallen soldiers “losers and suckers”; put kids in cages; insulted women; emboldened white supremacists; alienated our allies while siding with our autocratic-led enemies; and, through colossal Covid mismanagement, essentially killed 227,000 Americans (possibly 400,000 by January.)
Keep in mind Obama left Trump a “pandemic playbook” that was completely ignored and a “pandemic research team” Trump disbanded. And yet Trump says, “I take no responsibility.” (Under the word “sociopath” Merriam-Webster ought to include a photo of Trump.)
Despite record numbers of Covid cases (70,000 a day!) and field hospitals being hurriedly erected, the White House is declaring “Trump has ended the pandemic.” (The family of Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, who invented “The bigger the lie the more it will be believed,” could sue Trump for residuals.)
And the lies continue to flow on Trump’s desperate Covid death tour. At his Bund-like rallies, not only does he spout toxic misinformation but in crowding his cult followers shoulder to shoulder, he spreads the toxic virus. But it was in Omaha on a freezing night Trump revealed a sub-human lack of empathy. Whining about how cold he was he told them, “At least you have the crowd to keep you warm.” (And also give you Covid.)
When the event was over Trump hurriedly boarded warm, plush and tax-payer funded Air Force 1 and left the crowd in the freezer so to speak. It took four hours for buses to arrive which caused thirty people, many elderly, to suffer from hypothermia and seven required hospitalization. (Meanwhile Trump was probably wolfing down a bucket of hot KFC chicken.)
Shallow as sounds, I was busy celebrating the Dodgers winning their first World Series in 32 years. Thankfully, Trump didn’t call the players “sons of bitches” or call for them to be fired. He didn’t even take credit for the successful baseball season, which sounds absurd but not for a man who takes credit for defeating Covid which appears to be worse than ever. (Cases are up in 40 states, with hospitalization up 40% in the last month alone.)
If, God forbid, autocrat Trump cheats his way into a second term democracy will disappear. God willing the Dodgers win back to back World Series, they’ll be the first team to do so in 20 years. Go Dodgers! Far more importantly and my last chance to say it before the election, go Joe Biden!
For guaranteed laughs Google “What undecided voters look like” and “Trump’s first term by the numbers.” Jack is at: firstname.lastname@example.org.