who are you and what have you done with my country?

it’s 6:30 a.m., soon after the first sunrise of a long night that will continue for days. I last checked the counting four hours ago. We didn’t get Florida, Georgia looked doubtful and North Carolina was teetering. These were the three must-gets for tRump and it looks like he’ll get them all. But we flipped Arizona, including the Senate seat (Huzzah! for Mark Kelly; now we have a real Space Cadet on Capitol Hill!) And we picked off an electoral vote in Nebraska. At 2:30 a.m. tRump hadn’t taken anything Hilary got in 2016, which keeps us still on track to win, but man oh man, this is sure-fugly winning.

The new voter said a couple more choice words, called the Town Clerk a bitch, leaned in, opened her unmasked mouth and forcefully exhaled directly into — and about 6 inches away from — the Clerk’s startled face. Then she left.

Who are we, America? How could so many of you look past the babies in the cages, the pandemic inertia, the lies! The ceaseless cataract of lying! The self-dealing. The tossed rolls of paper towels. Jeebus. The Ugliest American is the preferred candidate of tens of millions of my countrymen? Really? I don’t care who’s President; THAT‘s a massive political challenge right there, that is.

read on…

clear the hall; it’s election day

It is an American Election Day and this morning, in the dark before sunrise, Donald J tRump seems a very small and petty presence on the national stage — a street urchin who stole into the theater at midweek, and has been horsing around with the scrims and the lights and the set pieces, breaking things, pushing all the works to their mechanical and structural limits. He has just found the flying rig from Peter Pan!

“…a tumbling, bloated and bellowing boy, horribly scared of heights, shrieking at the operator at once to sweep him higher faster, and to land him…”

read on…

the particular suckiness of late march in the north country

we had made such headway into spring! Over weeks the snow cover shrank and the stunned land surfaced as the dun-colored dry residue of last year’s living, or as small new sprouting things, green curls among the dead stuff, trying to get comfortable, trying to get started.

On cue, the spring clouds grew sharp edges and hung above our heads like ill-fitted keystones: loose and menacing.

Read on…

facts v narrative

how must it feel to be him? The left leaning main-stream media say he is “clearly” frantic now. They catalog his personal swipes, his grimy tweets — like “never Trumpers” are “human scum.” Then they stand back and point out that these are the public utterances of the President of the United States. Next they point out the void that should be his burgeoning shelf of countervailing evidence. They quote and re-quote the prosecutor’s maxim – “if you can’t argue the facts, argue the law — and if you can’t argue the law then bang your shoe on the table.”

having no facts is no impediment to Trump’s campaign for the hearts and minds of an inattentive public whose antennae are keen for narrative but only dimly attuned to facts.

read on…

amazeballs, mr. president

oh don’t i wish i could draw! The cartoon I would draw shows Nancy Pelosi at a podium, grave-faced and flanked by a thin line of equally somber House colleagues, plus Chuck Schumer from across the hall, who all look like she’s about to announce a death. And she does, sorta, talking about the “sad day” when the House moves into a formal impeachment investigation for real. Didn’t wanna hafta… But given this Ukraine thing…Trump and Ukraine…

Hand this man a writing Emmy! Yeah, we know it’s not the Nobel you wanted, but hey, please accept it anyway as a small token of our gobsmackedness.

read on…

dialect

every July, a single tier of orange leaves shows up in the skirts of the maples along the road by my barn. Only tourists take these turned leaves for evidence of Fall. Actually, they are but a harbinger, arriving when the air is warm, the greens of the land are the greens of deep Summer, the birds are myriad and the butterflies are just emerging.

There is much to be said for living long in the same place, so that you become fluent in its commentary upon the passing scene, so that when you hear it speak in orange leaves in mid-July you understand that its remark is a reminder and not an announcement.

on avoiding completion, ever

I should not be so afraid of imperfect work — even work I myself think of as imperfect. I should only be “afraid” of leaving NO work. Perfect/imperfect — this is up to the gods — or whatever it is that arranges the constellation of times and sympathies in which judgments are forged. Times and sympathies change. So sometimes do judgments. The only thing I control is whether or not my work gets made. My only charge is to be sure the work is there at all, to witness.

Judgment has its place — but it is not a good ingredient for beginnings.

Read ON…

campfires of the insistence

last night on a late-night TV show (Colbert), the evening’s musical guest (the barenaked ladies) played the theme song of another TV show (the big bang theory) — as its scheduled performance number. Big Bang Theory — a series much beloved — is ending and its audience mourns its passing. This musical performance was part of that communal mourning ritual. Broadcast of this performance summoned the tribe. The convening continues indefinitely on YouTube where a video recording of the occasion was posted soon after the event itself.

algorithms which can so precisely target us with messages tailored to our prejudices and fears could conceivably channel challenges to those prejudices and fears with the same precision.

Read on…

times make the woman

elizabeth Warren is ready to wade right in and impeach the mofo. It’s the first thing I’ve warmed to, about her. Isn’t it generally so — that, given the right circumstances, the right issue, the right moment, any of us shines absolutely? All flash and fire and brilliant resolve. Don’t we all show better under certain conditions, and …less well under others? Maybe the problem is that her ideal conditions are less regularly met.

These events demand a response rooted in principle, and she’s the only one calling us all back to the home fire, demanding that we acknowledge with action crucial First Principles: that ALL are created equal, and NONE is above the law.

Read on…