A Letter to Donald Trump

I am well-known for never cursing.
 
I don’t curse, because I believe that it isn’t necessary for most discourse. It’s certainly impolite and often impolitic to use them, but in addition to the social norms, omitting curses forces me to organize my thoughts more carefully than a simple expletive demands. And wantonly using curses robs them of their power: By reserving them, those around me know that if I were ever to curse, something is really, truly, genuinely bad.
 
So those who know me well will recognize the gravity of what I’m about to say.
 
As Burke was sometimes paraphrased, “All that it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” And as evils now not merely wander our midst but clamber for access to the highest levels of earthly power, I declare now on which side of the line I stand:
 
Mr. Trump, when you lie, when you exaggerate, when you apply doublespeak and doublethink to confuse and ruin the minds of lesser men, I promise that I will call “BULLSHIT” as loudly as I can. And much of what you say, every single day of your life, has been, is, and likely will continue to be “BULLSHIT.” I promise to support those institutions which have the greatest skill at calling you on your lies, and to that end, I have purchased a subscription to the New York Times to help fund real journalists. And I will never support or acknowledge the partisan muckrakers of your personal propagandists, Breitbart and Fox News.
 
Mr. Trump, when you seek the ruin of the First and Fourth Amendments, when you seek to jail those who burn the flag, when you seek to jail people merely for love or for prayer, when you seek to cancel the rights of men to assemble in protest, when you seek to silence those who criticize you, when you seek a permanent watchful eye over those who might think contrary to you, I promise to join the side of right and to tell you to “FUCK YOU,” as loudly as I am able. And to that end, I plan to donate regularly to the ACLU and EFF, so that institutions with the strength to fight you more ably than I will be able to continue their cause.
 
And Mr. Trump, I promise to remind you, every day that I can, that you did not win the popular vote. You were not chosen by your fellow Americans to lead. Many, many more people voted against you than voted for you, and only through the quirks of a historical anachronism were you ever elevated to power. In a more civilized world, you would never have even approached your new post, much less claimed it. And to ensure that you understand my meaning, I promise to repeat this truth so you can understand it, as oft as I can: “YOU’RE A LOSER. YOU LOST.
 
I hope not to have to use such language, and it pains me to even write these things; but your repeated insistence has pressed me to my limit. I will not be one of the men who sits idly and lets tyranny range on ’till each man drops by lottery. I promise that I will credit you if and when you do good: But I promise also that I will fight you, with both actions and coarse words when righteousness demands them, for as long as you are in office and I have breath with which to fight.

Election Conscience

For twenty-two years, I was a registered Republican.

In the ’90s, it was pretty easy:  The Republicans were the party of small government, of fiscal sensibility, of moderation, and of prosperity.  The Democrats were the “crazy hippies,” the tie-dyed tree-huggers who wanted us to eat nothing but kale and drive only solar-powered cars.  And while I didn’t agree with the social conservatism of certain parts of the Republican Party, or the weird racist crowd in the South, those were small fringe groups, and they were easy to ignore.  The Republicans represented centrism and sensibility.

Today, those small fringe groups rule the Republican Party.   It has gone from being the party of sensibility and moderation to being the party of extremism and racism and hatred.  I cannot support Trump.  I will never support Trump.  Everything he stands for is something I’m against.  He is not “classy.”  He is not “yuge.”  He is not “tremendous.”  He’s an overgrown schoolyard bully, a bigot, a strongman, and willfully a fascist, and he bankrupts and ruins everything he touches.

So today, I reregistered:  I am now an Independent.

On the down side, this change comes at a severe cost in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:  By doing so, I effectively gave up my right to vote in primary elections.  But I cannot associate myself with the elements that drive the Republican Party.  They do not stand for what I stand for, and I worry they may never do so again.

But on the plus side, I now join the most-heavily courted of all voter blocs:  I am an educated Independent voter, in a swing county, in the critical swing state of Pennsylvania.  My vote matters, and today, I just made sure that my vote no longer comes with strings attached.  I can vote my conscience, and no-one can tell me otherwise.

So goodbye, Republicans.  Goodbye, Gallant Old Party.  Goodbye, Party of Lincoln.  You were a good thing, once.

Snowed In

I’ve watched with great interest the chase of Edward Snowden. And it’s resulted in a change in my attitude toward government.

Once upon a time, I distrusted government, but I generally assumed that they were simply too incompetent to do anything truly malicious. These are the same people that can’t decide what color to paint a wall, my reasoning went, so there’s no way they could possibly be capable enough to be able to apply the level of evil so many of their detractors accuse them of. That, and there are so many bureaucratic checks and balances that they’re at best handicapped; I envisioned NSA spying on a level only slightly less primitive than tying an extra string to a tin-can telephone.

And then Snowden. Good news, crackpots, you’re not paranoid. Instead of the government being a well-paid collection of Mr. Magoo’s closest relatives, they suddenly morphed into the worst Orwellian nightmare Hollywood can depict. Even as I write this, I’m not at all sure that these very words aren’t placing me on a watch list — if I’m not on one already for having a brain in my head and a tendency to ask probing and awkward questions.

Continue reading “Snowed In”