Day Three of my ranting….

Normally, I put my own words here – my thoughts, my opinions, my literary pukeage of brain farts. Nothing is sacred once it’s in my brain and permitted to fly around in the rafters of my skull. Most of the things I think eventually make their way out of that unfortunate drapdoor in the front; I try to contain the really out there fits of authentically offensive ponderings that beat against the walls like bats in a proverbial belfry. I admit; my filter is broken and there are no immediate plans for replacement/repair.

The President of the United States, however, has no such security measures curtailing his obviously batshit rantings and hateful sewage that deserves to be flushed – not shared amongst millions of other unprotected humans. Someone needs to put a body condom on this tweeting, vocally-combustible, demented blowhard. I mean it; I fear for his safety and well-being. See what I did, there? I showed EMPATHY for another human being who I have nothing in common with and with whom I do not share the same skin color. I learned my own lesson from yesterday!

So yeah, back to the whole “my own words” thought process I was having here until I went off on some wild tangent. See? Bats in the belfry.

These need no introduction. I am quite happy to give credit where credit is due. These are the actual words of the President of the United States, when discussing refugees seeking asylum in the US. Go ahead; read his words:

“Mexico has the absolute power not to let these large ‘Caravans’ of people enter their country. They must stop them at their Northern Border, which they can do because their border laws work, not allow them to pass through into our country, which has no effective border laws.

“Congress must immediately pass Border Legislation, use Nuclear Option if necessary, to stop the massive inflow of Drugs and People. Border Patrol Agents (and ICE) are GREAT, but the weak Dem laws don’t allow them to do their job. Act now Congress, our country is being stolen!” – Donald Trump, in a series of tweets on April 2, 2018.

“We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — we’re stopping a lot of them. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people, these are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before.” Donald Trump, May 18, 2018, in a meeting with his Cabinet

Democrats are the problem. They don’t care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13. They can’t win on their terrible policies, so they view them as potential voters! – Donald Trump, using the word “infest” to describe human beings, in a tweet on June 19, 2018

And if those words aren’t enough to make you sick, ashamed, outraged, or, well….anything with negative connotations….then here’s an interesting little article that was published back in 2016. Chronological vomitus! It’s true! Tweets never, ever go away.

Crappy reading, y’all!

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E-M-P-A-T-H-Y….it’s a feeling you should try

When my son told me he had enlisted in the Army after he graduated, I reacted like any typical mom would. It was, in fact, textbook predictable. “But what if you get deployed? You have a family.” We were in the midst of the Iraq war and we were balls-deep in the Afghanistan conflict. I was afraid for my child, like any mother would be. His reply was grave, but cavalier: “If I go, I go. I’ll fight, and I’ll be okay. It’s a part of the job.”

I had two more, very similar conversations after that; one with my youngest son when he enlisted in the Navy, and one with my daughter, when her husband signed on the dotted line with the Army. The responses I received were almost the same as my oldest son’s; the bottom line for all three was their desire to answer a higher calling and to make a better life for themselves and their young families. If that meant having to deploy to another country to help uphold freedom, so be it; they signed up willingly for that.

We were fortunate; my oldest survived two deployments, one to Iraq and the other to Afghanistan; my Navy son ended up serving onboard a nuclear submarine, which is a different kind of fear for a mom to feel, before changing direction and serving in Japan; and my son-in-law was stationed in South Korea and Germany during volatile times. My daughter and grandchildren were with him at both duty stations, so there was that kind of quadrupled worry for me.

I wrote, yesterday, about how I couldn’t imagine being separated from my children. I didn’t include these instances because, in my opinion, they don’t count. No, I didn’t choose the career paths my kids decided upon; I didn’t “sign up” to be the mother of sons who might just end up in harm’s way, on the receiving end of a bullet or an IED or a suicide vest’s contents. That’s not the point I want to make. The point is: they did. Three intelligent, young men watched the news, read the stories, and were well-informed before they volunteered to fight for their country. They were educated about the realities; they in turn educated their wives. It took teamwork between husbands and wives to make the best of it; military wives will tell you that it’s all a package deal. My daughter and daughters-in-law certainly related this to me during the 10 years, combined, that “we” were in this thing.

Now, with the current crisis of humanity and conscience going on at our country’s Southern border, I am seeing a lot of different points-of-view, and not all of it is just Republicans vs. Democrats rhetoric. With the pervasive divisiveness we are experiencing in this country, that’s certainly a given. Racism, bigotry, and prejudice has always been present in America, an irony I still can’t get over given our country’s reputation for inclusiveness, and the words

With silent lips. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

that welcome immigrants at The Statue of Liberty.

Everyone has an opinion about this, be it on the side of our better angels or on the side of demons intent on destroying the family unit.

But then there’s this:

And this:

and I find myself breathless with dumbfounded wonder at the absolute shamelessness of some people. How do you equate what military families live with what refugees have endured in their countries? Refugees don’t ask for the violence they live with on a daily basis. They were born into it. They live in poverty, their basic needs a daily struggle, their power usurped by corrupt governments (there’s a term we need to revisit) and thugs with guns. They hear about a sibling, or a cousin, who successfully made it to America and who now has a safe place to sleep, food, and a job. That’s what they hear, and they look at their children and despair. Do they stay or do they go? Stay in the desolate familiarity where one must comply with the cartels or die, or brave the dangerous terrain and ask a country for asylum that is not guaranteed to be granted? Certainly, both choices are fraught with worry and, in fact, tremendous courage. Here, in America, when drug dealers move into our neighborhoods, we fight back and drive them out, however we can. We don’t stand for it. But imagine, for a moment, if those drug dealers had the protection of an army of thugs and in most cases, their own government. Imagine how we would feel if we knew that we were as unsafe with the police as we were in the den of the drug dealer?

That’s what families seeking asylum live with in their own countries. That’s why they come to us, asking us to help, choosing to trust in us. They don’t have good choices. There are no good alternatives. And so they come, and now, we are betraying the very foundations on which this country was built. No, maybe military families don’t like their lot in life, but with the stroke of a pen and a signature recorded, someone did make that choice willingly. They weren’t “born into it” and haven’t “lived it” their whole lives. When a young man or woman makes the choice to serve their country, they sign their families up for it. Maybe, in retrospect, that isn’t fair, but life isn’t always about fairness. No, the children they chose to bring into the world didn’t get to weigh in on whether or not Daddy/Mommy has to go to war, but do any of us get to choose who raises us? Those immigrant children didn’t get to choose, either. Here’s where it gets ironic, though:

The parents chose to bring them into the world.

This is what military families and refugees have in common. Neither wants their children to know a moment of sadness or despair.

Can we simply stop trying to one-up each other? Can we simply acknowledge that this is a terrible, terrible thing without feeling the need to equate two very different circumstances with each other? You’re afraid because your parent/sibling/spouse/child is serving in a dangerous country, putting their life on the line for a grateful nation. I get it; I’ve experienced it. It’s STILL not the same. It just isn’t. You aren’t being detained in a cage or a tent, with mylar blankets. Your kids aren’t miles (even states) away from you, being housed in similar circumstances. You can tuck them in at night, knowing they are safe, and clothed, and fed, and warm. You can hold them when they cry for you. Now, your military member in harm’s way can’t, but again, I will remind you, in the words of the President of the United States: he/she knew what he signed up for.

It’s not the same. Quit trying to make it be.

America, I am ashamed of you.

I have never been involuntarily separated from my children. No one has ever put me in one place and them in another. I cannot imagine the torment, the terror, and the sleepless nights.

I cannot imagine living in a world where the reality, every, single day, is violence. I cannot imagine what it must be like to be threatened, to lose family members, and to fear for my children because of gang and drug violence. I cannot imagine being born into such a volatile, terrifying world. I cannot imagine coming to the decision to either run with my child or worse, to send my child with someone else, across dangerous terrain, and to ask a country that used to be known for its compassion to shelter us.

I cannot imagine what it must be like to discover that the compassionate country where dreams have come true for so many and which has been a beacon of light in an otherwise dark, dismal life is actually a place of racism, prejudice, and bigotry, run by a feckless thug; a cretin who gives not one, single thought about anyone but himself. It is a place where angry white people dominate and where any one with brown skin is somehow “less”.

One time, long ago, I lost my daughter. Well, “lost” is too strong a word, but that’s what it felt like. We had just bought a home next door to my mother and, in our excitement, we left her in an upstairs bedroom. She was nearly 3; I thought her dad or an adult friend who was with us had her; he thought the same. We walked next door to Mom’s, and I turned around to take my daughter’s hand. She was not there. The absolute terror that I felt was not measurable by any instrument I know of. I didn’t know where she was and I lost it, running outside. I looked up to the front bedroom windows on the second floor of the house and there she stood, crying hysterically, her hands planted against the glass. Our friend took off at a dead run up the stairs and into the house, reaching her before I ever could have, and returned with my sobbing baby. I cried as I held her, promising that I would never lose sight of her again. And I never did.

So no, I cannot imagine what it is like for the parents who are being detained at the border and separated from their children. I cannot imagine what kind of fear those children are feeling or the anxiety they and their parents must be experiencing.

But I saw my little girl’s face, 26 years ago, in that window. I saw her baby hands plastered against the window, and the terror in her eyes. I remember, to this day, how I felt before I saw her there. I will never forget it. So while I say that I cannot imagine the myriad of emotions going on at the border, it’s only because I felt that fear, long ago, for a couple of minutes, and I don’t know how anyone can condone inflicting that kind of pain – for weeks and even months – on another human being.

Shame. That’s what I feel today.

Of Memorial Day, and Valor, and Reflection

Yesterday, the husband and I watched a movie called Last Flag Flying. Set in 2003, it is a tale of three Vietnam War vets who come together to help one of them transport and bury his son, who was killed in action in Baghdad. It is a very good film, and I encourage you to watch it. It can be found on Amazon Prime Video for free.

It was particularly stirring for me, the mother of two sons and a son-in-law who are veterans. All three have been overseas; South Korea, Japan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany. My oldest son saw combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he is, of course, the one I worried about the most. The other countries may have been less prone to danger, but in these times, one has to worry no matter where they are, and tensions around the globe are high. I will add, though, that when my youngest boy was a submariner, I worried every single time he went underway. Communication was next to impossible for three months at a time, and wondering where my child was, at any given moment, in the vast expanse and depths of the Pacific Ocean? In a large, nuclear-powered tube with nuclear warheads aboard? Nerve-wracking was not even close to describing how I felt, but it will suffice.

My oldest son, getting ready to deploy the first time.
Navy seamen; in the center, my son.
My son-in-law and daughter in a “lighter moment” – attending a Ball.

There was one particular moment in the movie that gripped me and caused a heavy, sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, and that was the scene in which Doc (played by the brilliantly understated Steve Carell) describes what it was like to see that gray car pull up to his house and a Marine and Marine Chaplain get out.

It punched me in the gut. I don’t know what it is like to receive that visit, that terrible notification, the words that shatter a parent or a spouse or loved one into a million little pieces. I am grateful, every single day, that I don’t know that pain. But I lived in fear of it every, single day my boys were serving. I especially lived with that fear when my child was in the Middle East, where the fighting was. The thought that an official-looking car could show up in front of my house and a soldier could express “The President’s regret” while a Chaplain stood by, clutching a Bible? That was my worst fear and the stuff of nightmares. I did not sleep well during those years, especially when they were in different time zones. I wanted to be awake if my babies were. I wanted to somehow will my love and strength to them psychically, if that makes any sense.

The scene, in my favorite war movie, Saving Private Ryan, where the mother receives that visit and she is given the devastating news that three of her four sons are dead; I think that moment in cinema will be indelibly etched into my consciousness. Every mother who has sent a child off to war understands that moment in a visceral, raw way; it resonates in the deepest, darkest depths of her soul. In that moment, when you see her spy the car kicking up dust along the road as it makes its way to her farmhouse, and then walk out onto her porch and drop to her knees and just simply sit; you feel her pain as if it was real. Because, for so many mothers, fathers, spouses, and loved ones, it was real. It has played out since World War I, and before the automobile and official visits, via telegram. I do not know what is worse, or more soul-emptying: that car or that impersonal, yellow slip of paper. Both are devastating in their business, though; that much is certain.

Today, we are supposed to honor the fallen, who gave their lives for their country. We attend parades and watch mostly old, fiercely proud generations walk slowly down the center of our Main Streets, holding flags, and some of us stick around to listen to the speeches given by officials in parks, in front of Statehouses or Courthouses. We sing The National Anthem and place our hands upon our hearts and some of us shed tears. We pause in solemn, reverential silence to mark the occasion.

Then, we hurry home to make picnic food, fire up the grill, and crack open a beer or ten. We have pool openings and loud music and raucous laughter in our yards, on our decks, in parks. We tell each other to “go easy” because work commences tomorrow. For those who are working in retail, in healthcare, on police forces or rescue services, it’s just another busier than normal day of stupid people getting into drunken fights over stupid things or some dumbass lighting a firecracker in a beer can and blowing off a finger or two or assholes demanding an employee “go out back and see if there’s more charcoal/marshmallows/etc”.

We celebrate.

Yes, we did our part. We stood in reverence for a few moments and maybe we even thought about our soldiers past, present, and future and their sacrifices. Maybe the tears we felt prickling the corners of our eyes were heartfelt. Maybe for a moment, we actually thought about war, and how it really is hell. My bet is that a great many more of us were looking at our watches, thinking about “everything that needs done” before guests arrive, or that the brisket in the smoker needs checked soon, or “Did I buy enough beer?” ‘Merica, people.

If you mark this day quietly, or if you hold a gathering and pause to reflect, good for you. You still get it. Memorial Day is a day to reflect on and to honor those who have fallen and those who serve and have served with valor. It’s not “The beginning of summer” or “Pool opening day”. Men and women died so you could have that picnic, crush those brewskies, and dunk your kids in that pool.

Reflect, if you will, on this: as you bite into that burger, somewhere, there is the possibility that a mother/father/spouse/next of kin is receiving a visit from an official car by military personnel. Our soldiers are still dying in a foreign land. They still die because they cannot get the help they need stateside after what they had to see and do when they were deployed. Those very facts should be remembered; not just today, but every, single day. These very facts are distressing and require our attention 365 days of the year; not just one.

I have a suggestion for you. Treat every day like Memorial Day. Speak your mind, speak with your vote, honor the fallen, and help to prevent another death by roadside bomb or sniper or suicide bomber by speaking up and demanding that your government end this warmongering behavior it displays with impunity. Not since World War II have we needed to go to war. How many American lives were lost in the wars after World War II? The statistics I’ve consulted put it at roughly 100,000. That doesn’t include wounded who later died as a result of conditions caused by their injuries, or suicides, but those numbers matter. They matter very much. Those suicides? They are a black stain on our country and on a military mindset that doesn’t recognize mental pain. That doesn’t provide adequate services for those afflicted with PTSD. They are casualties, too. Their loved ones grieve, too. There was no official car for those families; just desperation, pain, and ultimately, heartbreak.

They matter, too.

We need to remember that. We need to remember what matters. We need to quit sending our children over to fight wars in countries that don’t want us, need us, or share our values, shrinking as they are under the weight of a hateful, bumbling President who wouldn’t know courage if it walked up to him in the guise of a model or porn star and offered to teach him what it means to sacrifice.

He won’t remember. He won’t do it. But we can.

I’ll leave you with my favorite poem to mark this Memorial Day, and all to come.

 

NO. This is NOT NORMAL.

Everyone is going kamikaze apeshit over the Sean Spicer appearance on the Emmys last night.

Seriously? The things that have been going on in this country and around the world, and you’re outraged at a joke? Would it have been “funnier” had Melissa McCarthy delivered it? Less “outrageous”? Less galling for you to digest?

Spicer is just another diversion. While we’re freaking out about his audacity to make a joke about crowd size, there are really shady things going on. But like that dog in the movie UP, someone just yelled “SQUIRREL” and there we go again, down another rabbit hole. Or squirrel. Except that I dont think squirrels live in holes. Okay, holes in trees, but not in the grou….wait. Sorry. I strayed off-subject.

(See what I did there?)

Like it or not, the guy did his job. Have you ever worked somewhere and had to play by the company’s rules because you NEEDED your job and were required to at least look like a team player until you could figure out a way to GTFO? I know that I have. I believe that I have shared those experiences right here from time to time. I know a lot of people who have. Please, spare me your platitudes about self-respect and honesty. The guy was working in politics, which, as far as I know, ranks up there with lawyers and used car salesmen (and televangelism) as being the most disingenuous, cutthroat, facetious profession in the world. He did his job; at times, very badly. But he did his job as well as anyone who has taken one despite knowing, in the pit of their stomach, that it was a bad idea, could do. He was rewarded for it by being ousted for another guy who lasted a week. For a guy who made the phrase “sucking my own cock” a part of the dinner conversation and the water cooler talk and the mainstream news media. That was HIS lesson to learn, not ours.

Perhaps it should have been our lesson.

The point is, we are normalizing this crap with every passing day. When school shootings were happening with increasing frequency, I worried out loud that we would stop being as horrified with every occurrence . I worried in the same way about terrorism. How many of us have watched the news, read it, felt pangs of sadness and been momentarily aghast at the atrocities man commits against man – and then simply gone about our day?

*Raises hand*

I’m not proud to admit it. It speaks more to my growing insulation against an outrageous and despicable world than I care to face. That I can read about someone walking into a school and shooting the place up, or driving down a crowded city street and mowing people down, and then go make myself a sandwich? In a less caustic and embittered world, who does that? Who does that?

I do. You do. We do.

We have to stop insulating ourselves. I know, it’s probably a form of self-preservation. We don our armor because we need to get through the day and thinking about the fact that this world is at a level of batshit fucking crazy that we’ve never experienced before is simply too hard to digest. The problem is, by waiving it aside; by shrugging our shoulders; by exclaiming “I can’t believe this shit!” and then walking blithely away, we are digesting it. Maybe we feel like we’re wrongfully incarcerated inmates and the food in front of us is shitty, but it’s all we got – but it’s also not. Because we are not inmates.

Neither, in the end, was Sean Spicer. The truth of his tale is yet to be told, but I think that we’re being fed little appetizers in the form of his recent appearances, and the whole meal is yet to come. We can argue that he lacked principles and that any self-respecting person would have never taken the job of Press Secretary for such a corrupt President in the first place, but the fact is, others have in the past. And others will in the future. Again: his lesson.

We have to shed the insulation and feel all the feels, so to speak. The only way to change a situation is to first change how we react to it, and then to act. How do we do that?

I don’t fucking know.

Look, I’m as frustrated and clueless as you are. I’m agitated, stressed, and I suspect that my new crop of stomach ulcers can be blamed equally on the fact that I am angry every single day at the state of the union. I’m as guilty of normalizing crazy and inviting it into my living room for an evening of charades as anyone else. I don’t have answers that I can articulate. What I have is action. My words, in print and voice, are action. My participation in civilized activism is action. My vote is action. My rejection of “normalizing” this shitshow is action. It’s the best that I have right now. I think that, if we all could come together as a collective and simply agree that none of this is normal, we might begin to dissolve the contrails overhead that have made things so overcast. Once we are out in the light, then maybe we’ll be able to see the path in front of us. All I know is that sitting complacent in our seats and muttering a mantra of “Mueller will make it better” isn’t going to work. While we are looking at the shiny objects in front of us, the dark magic is happening.

We need to get to work. I am not okay with leaving this dumpster fire for my grandkids to put out. That Sean Spicer lacks any modicum of self-respect is not my fight. I’m more concerned about the fact that so many others think it should be. And so should you.

Don’t get distracted.

Reality IS a thing.

Let’s try a new thing. I’m not one who enjoys change, but at this stage of my life, I’m making an uneasy peace with it.

Let me give you an accounting of a life lesson that has been taught to me. Call it fucknuggets of wisdom or the sounding of the douchetrumpets – whatever.

When I was a kid, I was bullied a lot. I was, short, dumpy, uncertain, clumsy, and had an oddly-shaped head (a friend of mine back then – kids have no tact or guile – said her dad referred to me as “moon-face” and I didn’t know what it meant, but instinctively knew he wasn’t being nice; he was a big, loud, angry fuck knuckle of a botard and he died in late middle age and I was glad) and poor, so I was easy prey.

There were these “rich kids” who lived in the neighborhood. In retrospect, they might not have been rich but their father had a good job, they had a big, nice house, and everything anyone could ask for. Their mom was a stay-at-home who was always in everyone’s business and who came from a huge, Italian family in the neighborhood, which was code for “We belong and you don’t” in this particular ward. They sent their kids to Catholic school and wrinkled their noses at anyone who A) wasn’t Italian, and B) didn’t have the same or better social status. These kids were spoiled, entitled, and mean. There can be no other word. They flaunted their clothes, their posessions, and acted as if they were royalty. Other kids treated them as such, so how were they ever going to know that they weren’t, right? They were both older than me; the boy was 2 years older and the girl, 6. He was a nasty little prick who once cornered me and threatened to punch me in the stomach just because I was walking past his house. He teased and taunted me. In later years, we actually got along but mostly because he was hired, through our contractor, to replace the kitchen cupboards in a remodel my first husband and I did of our house. I let it slide, because I was young, and still not the loudmouthed truth-telling bitch that I am now. Were this scenario to happen now, I’d have had my verbose way with him.

The girl? She was a cunt. Seriously. I don’t use that word unless I mean it. A bit on the chunky side, loud, snobby, and stupid. FUCK! Was she ever. I knew it, even then, but she was so mean to me that it took my breath away. When she deigned to pay attention to me, it was to ridicule and insult. I avoided her whenever possible, but she was so present, so in-your-face, and I was so much younger…..it was difficult to escape her. The memory of her is one of those shudder-inducing recollections that everyone has. Since she was so much older, I was able to avoid altercations with her in my teenaged tears. That was a fortunate thing for me, because that decade was fraught with so much turmoil and sadness and assorted fuckery that adding her to the mix might have tipped the suicide scales much farther than they leaned.

Apparently, life was not a bed of roses for this family. The dad had an affair. The parents got a divorce. The kids were taken out of private school and sent to public. The mother, a gay divorcee in her 40s, started dating a guy and then got *GASP!* pregnant and “had” to get married. How the mighty fell in the 80s. This was a big, fat, dramatic scandal! I lost track of the older girl over the years, not really giving even one fuck about what happened to her. She was a cunt, remember?

Fast-forward to last year. I encountered her mother, who has been through a series of life-humbling events. We spoke, and she informed me that her daughter had died the year before. She’d had some sort of cancer and it killed her quite suddenly. I offered my condolences, because really? Telling her that her daughter was a loud cunt who had made my childhood even more hellish than it already was seemed unnecessarily cruel at that moment. Her treatment of me no longer mattered. I felt sorry for this grieving mom. I’m a mom too, and I wouldn’t ever wish that kind of pain on another parent.

A little more fast-forwarding, to the other day. Facebook has the ability to bring people together and put them in your peripheral vision even accidentally. I stumbled across a family member of these childhood nightmare kids and curiosity took over and I had a bit of a creep. We all fall victim to this temptation; don’t lie to me and say you never have!

The cunt of my past had a Facebook page. You know, the thing about Facebook is that it’s like schizophrenia, or herpes: it never goes away. She died, but her profile lives on. People still post things on her page, too. Her friends, family, kids, husband. Post after post, I read about how good she was, kind, loving, funny. Everyone seemed to miss her terribly. I thought to myself, maybe she changed. Maybe life taught her a lesson or three, and she became less of a cunt and more of a humble, caring person. Just as I became less of a victim and a doormat and more of a blunt, honest, kick-you-in-the-crotch warrior….maybe she became redeemable. Maybe she acquired some wisdom. I was actually feeling a little bad about my radical, extreme labeling of her.

Then I saw a post from early November of 2016. One of her family members had posted to let her know (because in the Afterlife the dead still get their news from Facebook. Duh!) that Donald Trump had won the election and was going to be President. Apparently, she loved him. She thought he was the greatest person ever. She admired his goodness. She had felt that he was going to save this country from the terrible path it was on. The family member wanted to let her know that her “hard work up there in Heaven” had succeeded! Her savior had won.

What a stupid cunt.

My life lesson, kids, is that people don’t fundamentally change who they really are. Just as I was a warrior deep down inside, this girl was the same vapid twit even at the end of her life. Anyone who condones, admires, and espouses the characteristics of the morally-bankrupt turd who currently sits in the Oval Office – and thinks his values are what this country needs – derserves to retain my early, first impression of her; even in death. First impressions can be misleading, but not if they keep on giving the same results over and over. Trust the gut. It never lies.

Class dismissed!

Let me be me for a moment. In all seriousness

Something has been weighing heavily on my mind.

I am 50 years old. There have been 10 Presidents in my lifetime. My recollection of 2 of them is vague, at best, because I was either an infant or very small. I remember President Ford’s term, albeit shorter than others.

This is the thing: I have always felt safe under the President’s watch. It has been almost an afterthought, an expectation, something taken for granted. You elect a candidate because he (And someday, inevitably, blessedly SHE) is capable, intelligent, knowledgeable, and up to the task. Even if your choice doesn’t win, the candidates put forth are expected to be of this high caliber. They answer a higher call to power not simply because they want to be the leader, but because they believe in this nation’s people and its ability to do good. Some have enjoyed the status a little more than others, but for the most part, becoming President of the United States requires selflessness. It requires tenacity. It requires a very thick skin. Those who answer this call take very seriously the commitment to the nation that they are making, and indeed, to the world.

I do not feel safe within the “protective arms” or leadership of the current President. I go to bed worried, and I wake up worried. I look at the news, and at Twitter, usually before I take my first sip of coffee. I go about my days constantly checking in with social media and news outlets because, let’s be honest here: this guy could launch a missile by first announcing it on Twitter. He could declare war on another country, or on a specific group of people, via a tweet. And, in fact, he has. The are no limits to his unhinged megalomania. He is a threat in and of itself.

I am not going to cite the things he has done during his six months in office that are bad, or negligent. Those who are still with him will simply say “Fake news!” like he has conditioned them to react. I know fake news, and I know the truth when I read it, or hear it. There are real enemies of the truth out there, printing falsehoods just to misguide people; a certain segment of the population doesn’t read past the headlines. A certain segment falls for every story published by TheOnion. A certain segment of the population thinks Alex Jones is a legitimate journalist and freedom fighter and they don’t see him for the grifting, wacko opportunist that he clearly is. A certain segment of the population thinks that Tomi Lahren is a cute l’il scrappy bunny and would you just bless her heart for all those smart, sassy things her little firecracker of a mouth says? Fox News is the anointed truthteller of this Presidency, and not Reuters, The Associated Press, or reliable, trusted guardians of “Just the facts” journalism like a Dan Rather, a Bob Schieffer, or a Diane Sawyer. Fuck those guys, right? If President Trump says they’re lying, they must be. He got elected, after all. He’s qualified.

Except that he isn’t, and they’re not liars. But he is. Every day, he lies. Granted, he doesn’t call it lying; he calls it “hyperbole”. He is, as my grandma would say, a “big bullshitter”. His defenders cry out, “Let Trump be Trump!” but this is not an episode of The West Wing and we are not insisting “Let Bartlet be Bartlet” because Jed Bartlet was a FICTIONAL CHARACTER and even then, Donald Trump is no Jed Bartlet.

This constant tendency he has of bending the truth would not have been tolerated by any person during any other presidency and it should not be now. He does not get a pass because of who he is; an “outsider” new to the game. President Obama did not get a single pass because he was black; even now, he is criticized and in fact demonized, his very legacy under attack. He was not perfect; none of them are. He did, however, lead the country and strove to make us feel safe. He did, and does, possess more honesty and humility in his pinky toe than Donald Trump does in his entire family.

Donald Trump is a con artist and a scammer. He is thin-skinned, petulant, and a bully. His approval rating amongst his own supporters is falling like Thor’s hammer on an enemy. His party has zero faith in his abilities and is actively trying to limit his capability to inflict even more harm on his own people and, in fact, the rest of the world. That Congress must take these steps to safeguard us and our interests worldwide is both shocking and sobering.

But he still has the launch codes.

I miss the carefree days of President George W. Bush.