Monday, December 12, 2016

Sometimes It's Hard To See The Comedy

“The Human Comedy” escaped my understanding for a long time. I've never been the type to be removed from life, I'm always into it, reacting, being excited, fearing. “Comedy” is something you watch, and if you're nice and mature and secure, you watch yourself being part of it.

I mean, how can you view Trump as a part of a comedy? I do remember, though, going through the Reagan years. Ketchup is a vegetable, trees pollute, James Watt at Interior pretending to be a normal human being. Admiration of Reagan for his presentation skills and his anecdotary, surface over substance. Weinberger the hardliner, Meese the hardass. For that matter, I remember Nixon, all of which has been documented and was recalled regularly as each miscreant was released from jail. Martha Mitchell as a hero, that's how comedic it was.

How can “we survived” be a rallying cry? We did make progress, it's true, but how much of it was due to government is debatable. Look at the women. Disappointed as so many are – although look at the white women's vote for Trump to see how un-monolithic it is – look how many women are making it, even in Trumpland with the hateful Kellyanne and pathetic Hope Hicks. Still, they're there. And look at all the learned, skillful, intelligent African-Americans we see as journalists and academics on TV. Look at the protection people and cities offer to the immigrants among us – I remember who harbored the Jews and I'm ready to give back, as are so many of us. The power of the people, the movements, and I wonder if stupid Ava Duverney admits that LBJ had a point to him, looking back?

But again, look at how many didn't avail themselves of the Voting Act to actually vote. Look at the “left out” white working class who once again successfully voted against their interests. I doubt that many of them were sentimentally voting for their Russian heritage. Look at the ridiculous stooges parading to the Cabinet – what strategy will the Democrats adopt with too many targets in the range? Pick out one or two? Keep laying the record out and then vote them in by two votes or a tie broken by Pence who hopes to replicate the Cheney presidency? Talk about a swamp, here's one with bodies floating to the top.

It's pretty amazing that progress is made at all since, as I've become fond of quoting since the election, fully half of Americans have intelligence that is below the median. And paint them as victims as much as we like, and reluctant as we are to blame victims, it is those in the hinterlands, those who didn't leave, those who haven't had the ability to do much with themselves, those who don't even see what is being done to them, those who continue to elect jerks, those who don't understand that those who wrap themselves in the flag are deserving of immolation – they are the ones who just contributed to their own continued cultural and financial penury. I think I heard that it was those just above the median incomes voted most heavily for Trump – that's so typical, there is the real Republican heartland, keep those just below me down! But still, they wouldn't carry the day if … if … if only....

Give credit where credit is due – the Republicans are good businesspeople, in the narrow sense of the word. They keep their eye on their prize, they use money and organization to full effect, focusing on governorships and the House. They cringe at nothing. Russian influence? Big deal, let it play out. False implications by my nominee for Asshole of the Year, James (Hotshot) Comey? Just reporting to Congress. Think of Turtle McConnell's place in history, if history will still be written. It will have to be a day far from our own when treachery and treason are played as comedy.

But, God willing, that day will come. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and then for the rest of our lives, we will look back and remember, this is what we were faced with, and this is how we acted. Not rashly, not over the top, not hysterically, but thoughtfully, with appeals to reason, with appeals to the better emotions – what a phrase, “the better angels of our nature!” That is our challenge.

As Krugman says, “Personally, I’m still figuring out how to keep my anger simmering — letting it boil over won’t do any good, but it shouldn’t be allowed to cool. This election was an outrage, and we should never forget it.”

Don't worry, Paul. Thanks for continuing to lead. You will have no dearth of followers.

Budd Shenkin

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