Posts Tagged ‘Ronald Reagan’

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 New York 10 08 2016 Chosen responsibilities and disgusting words…

October 8, 2016

 

My morning yesterday began with me flipping my laptop open and sitting down to write as a soft fog floated above the creek with sunlight glistening down through the leaves in the midst of changing color.

Just as I sat down to write, a mug of strong coffee at my side, the mother of a friend phoned and let me know her son was in the hospital and had been asking for me.  So I came and sat in his dim room, spelling his mother while she went home to shower and change into fresh clothes.

At two I had a conference call and then I made dinner for Lionel and his family.

The day unrolled in an unexpected way but that is life, unexpected.  It also made me think about how we have, in addition to our real families, families of choice.

My life, thankfully, is full of them.  Blessedly.  And for that I am grateful.

Since I have moved to Hudson, my friend’s family has been that way to me and I went to the hospital to perform the responsibilities of having made a choice.   Choices do come with responsibilities.

Out in the wide world, the cold open for last week’s Saturday Night Live was a send-up of the Trump/Clinton debate with Alec Baldwin doing a magnificent satire of Donald Trump.  It aired the night before the tax revelations.  Pundits wondered which was worse for him, the tax revelations or Alec Baldwin.  The video has gone viral.  If you haven’t seen it, look for it at the end of the post.

Thursday night, Lionel and I went to Coyote Flaco for dinner.  As usual, we sat at the bar.  Seated to my left was Tim and, as happens sometimes, we got talking.  After I had introduced myself, I introduced Lionel, joking he sounded funny because he was from Australia.

Tim, the man to my left, said, oh, I’ve never been there but am thinking of moving there if Hillary is elected.  Lionel retorted he was thinking of returning if Trump was elected.

It didn’t get ugly.  Tim said he couldn’t vote for her because she had done nothing but be in government service.  Not exactly true but close enough.

Asking him if he knew who FDR was, he said no.  So I said Franklin Delano Roosevelt and he said he didn’t know him because he was just little when he was in office.  He asked me if I’d been alive when he was in office and I said he’d died before I was born.

The poor man didn’t really know.  And, by the way, Tim is younger than I am.

After we left, I thought about it and realized most Presidents we have had have spent much of their lives in public service.  Let’s see…

FDR did spend most of his life in public service, seeing us through the Great Depression and WWII.  He was followed by Harry Truman who had worked in the private sector for a while but spent the majority of his career in public service, followed by Dwight Eisenhower who certainly spent his whole life in public service, followed by John Kennedy, who had done the same.

Lyndon B. Johnson owned some businesses but mostly was in public service his whole life, followed by Richard Nixon who, too, had spent most of his life in public service, followed by Gerald Ford, lots of public service there, followed by Jimmy Carter, who was a peanut farmer before his Presidency but he, too, gave a great deal of his life to public service.  Then came Ronald Reagan, who had made his living as an actor before he went into public service.

He was followed by Bush 1, who had spent much of his life in public service, followed by Clinton, who had done the same.  W had been in the private sector but then went on to be Governor and then President.  Obama has spent much of his life in public service.

Being in public service has become pejorative in this election and I am not sure why.

Then, yesterday, all Billy Bob broke out over a 2005 video of Trump saying all kinds of things I can’t and won’t repeat.  If you are interested, you can find them.

Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, was “sickened” by them and disinvited Trump to a Republican gathering in his home state of Wisconsin.

A few Republican politicians have withdrawn their endorsements and it is rumored some Republican leaders are quietly gathering to see what is to be done about Trump.

It’s a little late; the ballots have been printed.