Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Jackson’

Letter From Claverack 04 30 2017 Without hope, we have nothing…

May 1, 2017

It is a Sunday evening at the cottage.  Jazz is playing, the lights splash the creek.  I have made myself a martini.  It was a typical Sunday, up early, read the NY Times and a few articles from the WSJ online before the shower and then off to church, where I did the readings and then coffee hour, errands before settling at the Dot for a long and lazy brunch, reading more off my phone and chatting with a few people, home to the cottage, put away laundry, got the trash together and sat down to write.

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Very hygge.

Because I need the steady rhythm of familiar things in this Age of Trump.

His aides were caught off guard when he extended an invitation to President Duterte of the Philippines to come visit him during a Saturday call.  If you haven’t been following it, President Duterte has been accused of extra-judicial killings in that country’s current “drug war.” Now those surprised aides are preparing for an avalanche of criticism as it’s hard to find a world leader disliked as much as Duterte by pretty much everyone.

Then, after unleashing a problem for everyone around him, Mr. Trump jetted off to Harrisburg, PA for a campaign style rally to “record breaking crowds,” where he railed to his supporters about the media which was, at the same time, roasting him in DC, even if he was not there.  In two events, the official White House Correspondents’ Dinner and the Samantha Bee hosted “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner” withered the sitting President, the first to have missed this event since 1981, when Ronald Reagan was recuperating from an assassin’s attack.

I wake up in the morning and find I am in a state of continuing bemusement in what is going on in Washington.  It is reality television, which is what we should have expected when we elected a reality television star to the Presidency.  With Reagan, we had an actor who knew how to deliver his lines.  There aren’t really “lines” in reality television.  There is direction but no script.  We have a President who is making up his script as he goes along, knowing he knows better than everyone else.  Even if he doesn’t.

The WSJ, a deeply conservative publication, to which I now subscribe, seems to be wanting to support him and just can’t find a way not to point out that it’s all a little…off.

And it is more than a little off.

Reince Priebus, White House Chief of Staff, said the White House was looking at ways of changing the libel laws to make it easier to for Trump to sue media organizations who criticize him.  Imagine how the Democrats responded to that, not to mention many Republicans?  Not pretty.  Do we not remember the First Amendment?  Or is Trump being inspired by Erdogan of Turkey who has been arresting thousands of people he suspects of being disloyal while cracking down on the press?  Cracking down makes it sound nice.  He is dismantling any vocal opposition to him.

One thing we should note is that the economy grew at the slowest rate in three years in the first quarter of Trump.   Maybe it’s a holdover from Obama or maybe it’s the fear of Trump.

We are in a political Wild West except in this Wild West we have nuclear weapons.

It’s a dark time in American democracy and we need to remember, in this “of the moment” world in which we live, this has not been the only dark time in American democracy.  We had the Civil War, dark time.  We survived Andrew Jackson, a really, really not nice President [who, by the way, our current President seems to identify with].

We will, God willing, live through this.

In the meantime, I will play jazz.  I will drink martinis.  I will write and I will hope, because without hope we have nothing.

 

 

Letter From Claverack 09 13 2016 Thinking and ruminating by the creek…

September 14, 2016

It is a pleasant night in Claverack, after a pleasant day in general.  The weather was gorgeous, hot for just a moment, but mostly it hovered in the 70’s.  I spent the latter part of the afternoon on the deck, a good book in hand, while also doing a bit of work, making a few phone calls.

This evening I went to the little Mexican restaurant down the road, Coyote Flaco, with my friend Patrick O’Connor, who bumped into some people he had not seen for a long time.  We shared a shrimp appetizer and chicken fajitas and left happy.

The lights are on the creek as it flows softly toward the south.  The first serious leaves have begun to fall; my drive is strewn with them and it is fine.  I do not need to cling to the summer that has passed.  It has been lived fully and well.  As I hope will be the fall that is unfolding.

As I do most days, I spoke with my brother and he asked me if I had a take on the day’s news regarding Hillary and I had to say no.  I had looked in the morning but not since.  In the morning, her campaign announced she thought her pneumonia “no big deal” and so held back saying anything about it.

I was infuriated with her.  How many times has she felt something was “no big deal,” only to have it turn around and bite her in the ass?  How many times does this woman need to have a lesson learned?

Aye, Chihuahua!

Trump is fending off assaults on his Foundation which may – or may not – have given money to various charities.  Some who said they didn’t get gifts found that they did and some just didn’t get them.

And then there is the gift of $25,000 to Pam Bondi, Attorney General for Florida, which might have swayed her to not investigate Trump University. Six months after she dropped her investigation, he hosted a $3,000 a plate fundraiser for her at Mar-a-Lago, his great Florida estate, country club.

Aye, Chihuahua!

To my amazement, Barak Obama’s approval rating is the highest it has been for years.  It has always been my thought he will be remembered by history with more kindness than by his contemporaries.  In my lifetime, I have known no President who has elicited such visceral hatred from so many people.  Maybe I missed something along the way but what this man has endured is remarkable.  And I give him high marks for trying, very hard, to be the best President he can be.

Matt Bevin, Governor of Kentucky, used violent metaphors to describe a Clinton Presidency, evoking images of blood on the ground.

My fear is that we are returning to the politics of the 19th Century when Andrew Jackson created the “Trails of Tears” as scores of thousands of Native Americans died by his direction.  We, as a nation, do not have a good track record of dealing with those who are not “us” as “us” is defined at any exact moment.

I was raised Catholic in Minnesota.  My 8th grade teacher, Sister Anne, told us that we would be persecuted because we were Catholics.  At that moment in my life, it seemed nonsensical.  No one was persecuting me because I was Catholic.  I mean, really…

When I was in college, helping my friend Bill paint his garage, he told me that when he was growing up in Arkansas he would not have been allowed to know me because I was Catholic.  Looking at him with incredulity from my ladder next to his, I realized there were places in my life that I did not know where my Catholicism was a liability.

Now I understand more as I see Christians slaughtered on the beaches of Libya and Christians in Iraq slaughtered.  We live in world of intolerance that I did not expect or accept as a child.  When I was in 8th grade and heard Sister Anne, I thought the world had moved beyond that.

It has not.  No, not in any way.  Shame on us.