When I was a little boy attending elementary school, every classroom had a poster on the wall which contained portraits of all the presidents of the United States. I speak of a time when the number went only as far as Lyndon Johnson. We've added nine to the roster since then. I cannot help but reflect that Donald Trump's hideous mug will be adorning that list for all time and eternity. How will the teachers of the present (and the future) explain his presence? Perhaps they can add a little "THE VOTERS OF 2016 FUCKED UP" asterisk under his photo. It's going to be an awkward thing having to explain such mass civic irresponsibility to those so young, that's for sure. If that list was very tainted to begin with, it positively reeks now. In preparing this piece I googled the image of all of the presidents updated. The list with the Donald's portrait has yet to be manufactured. That's probably just as well, don'cha think?
ATTN: THINKING PEOPLE: Did you ever - in your wildest, stupidest dreams - think the day would arrive when you would find yourselves looking back on the era of George W. Bush with a feeling of tender nostalgia? I ask you.
The last week has been a breathtaking thing to behold. Not since Watergate over four decades ago has the American political situation gotten this strange and ominous. I'm ambivalent about it all. On the one hand, for someone like me who is known for no other reason than the fact that I get my jollies commenting on this stuff, it sure is an interesting time to be alive. On the other hand - Jeez Louise - it doesn't give me a particularly warm and fuzzy feeling to contemplate that the country I live in has been overtaken by a confederacy of people who not only aren't very bright, they're crazy to boot - a lethal combination that usually foreshadows catastrophe. Check the history books.
Last I checked about a half hour ago, Trump's favorable rating is at thirty-seven percent, which is about the lowest ever recorded for a president two months and four days into his first term. Not even Lincoln, who presided over a country at war with itself, had numbers that dismal after a paltry sixty-three days in office. That figure will sink lower still in the months and weeks to come - but not that much lower. There is a certain class of voters so comically blind and naïve that they will stick with their beloved leader till the bitter end, which will be sooner than any of them expect. Some of these folks have even publically expressed gratitude to Vladimir Putin for his assistance in getting this maniac elected! How's that for patriotism? We'll just have to live with the knowledge that a full third of the population are too civically unhinged to recognize the complete fallacy of their thinking. Fortunately, I live in New York's Hudson Valley. We're a bit more clear-thinking here....a bit....I think. Look at it this way: Mississippi we're not.
Each day that dawns, we awaken to find that the covers are being peeled away, slowly but surely, from the veil of corruption and deceit that allowed Donald Trump access to the most powerful desk on the planet. Not only is that desk powerful, it's also potentially dangerous - if seized by the wrong hands. Here's something you can bet your life on: It's in the wrong hands. And if you happened to cast your precious ballot for the likes of Trump, that's exactly what you did. It was not a good bet.
I plan on taking a road trip up to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum in Hyde Park in the next few days. Whenever I get to feeling hopeless about America (which, fortunately, is only when I am sober) I trek up to the joint. It's a hair less than forty miles from my home in Goshen, New York, and getting there is a relatively easy proposition for me. The last time I was there was back in July when I gave two young people of my acquaintance the tour. After spending a few hours there, I always walk away from the FDR Library feeling a bit better about my country. The place has always been a tonic for me, and I take the tour at least two-or-three times a year. The desperation I've been feeling regarding my country lately has almost been unbearable. I'm curious to see if, after all that has happened in the last four months, it still has the same effect on me. I think that it will. Being close to the Frankster's legacy always gives me a much-needed lift. I could use it now - you'd better believe it!
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
George Santayanna, 1896
We will, more-than-likely, venture down this idiotic road again, and within less than a generation. That's okay with me. It always makes for an interesting ride. I long ago adjusted to living in a nation in ruins. You ought to as well.
TIMELY TIP: Vodka helps.
With Malice Toward None
by Stephen B. Oates
The finest single-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln ever written.