Day 657 Sunday November 4, 2018 924 Days to Go
Hokie Football, Donald Trump, and Superman
Like The Great Karnac with an envelope held to his forehead trying to divine from the three answers above what the question is that links them all, I will reveal…in this screed.
First, Hokie Football. There is a cycle to being a Virginia Tech football fan. It starts in the off season between two or three fans: “Did you hear who we got? … He’s a five star recruit … “ etc. It builds to “This might be the year.” The year they once again vie for the National Championship and if not that at least defeat Virginia.
There’s a rhythm to the cycle. As long as the team wins – it might be the year. Then comes defeat and it’s not the year. Then there’s the reasoning and the analysis and the “what happened.” Followed by the “I don’t know,” and “I don’t get it.” Then “What is wrong with?” and “Why don’t they… ?” This is soon followed by “Did ya hear who were getting next year?” and the cycle is complete. You have to have a kind of Rodney Dangerfield attitude to be a Hokie fan.
I read Matt Taibbi’s latest in the Hot Issue of Rolling Stone. The only thing hot about the issue was the picture of Zoe Kravitz on the cover in a pose similar to her mom, Lisa Bonet, 29 years before, but that’s enough for me in terms of hotness. I like to thumb through the mag and see all the singers I’ve never heard of like “Hip-Hop’s Laid Back New Hero.” As opposed to the old one, but I digress. Matt’s article was talking about Trump. (Surprise!) He warned not to underestimate the man as everyone had done in 2015-2016, when no one thought he had a chance. Matt says he’s more dangerous now. He has consolidated the party behind him and this makes him the odds on favorite to win in 2020.
Matt’s point is that Trump wasn’t trying to make America Great Again his pitch was Let’s Fuck Shit Up and his followers love it. So what if he’s screwing them? They don’t care. They are already screwed. The great thing about Trump is he tells them that it’s not their fault, that someone else is to blame and we better go get them or keep them out or do something crazy. Yeah, Bro.
And that is his appeal. It isn’t about fact. It’s about narrative. Trump has the instinct to seize the microphone and not let go. His rating are through the roof. He holds standing room only rallies. He can find the lowest denominator and go even lower and the cameras keep rolling.
This lead me to Superman. If your old enough to remember the opening to every Superman episode on TV … (that would mean you remember black and white TV ) … you remember a young middle aged guy standing Rick Perry chest out tall (no not quite but close to that – no glasses, no chin stuck out) and he’s wearing a superman costume (because he’s Superman – duh.) and the announcer is saying in bold strutful language,
“Truth, Justice, and The American Way.”
The fan in the studio is turn up to blow on Superman enough that his cape is waving like the American flag as he stand there arms-akimbo.
Okay, let’s think about what Superman stands for and see how that stacks up to The Donald.
Truth? He, Trump, can’t handle the truth! (Shout out to Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men.) Well, he, Trump, wouldn’t know it, the truth, if it hit him in the face. Even if it did, he wouldn’t care. Truth is not what he peddles in. Lies, conspiracies, gas lighting, what you see is not what is happening, what is happening is opposite of what you see, this is the stuff of Donald Trump. When his slot machines weren’t working in Atlantic City he told the press they had been used so much they malfunctioned.
Rolling Stone listed Trump’s Conspiracy theories since 2011 across the bottom of a double page. They could only fit fifteen so they labeled it “Trump’s Top Conspiracy Theories.” Birtherism, Climate Hoax, Anti-Vaxxers, Election Fraud, Fake News, Kavanaugh lies, death toll in Puerto Rico are but some of them. Like Fox News you can’t really argue the case because you can’t agree on the facts, on the basic underlying fact or facts.
Meanwhile Trump has put virulent anti-abortion Christians in charge of health and human services. He has let the polluters run the regulator agencies that are supposed to regulate them. He bemoaned the fact that others had a few people from Goldman Sachs in their administration while he filled his with them. He has let the rich, the Russians, the oil, gas, and chemical lobbyists have their way. Some have asked why we haven’t seen the Russian fingerprints all over this election, and I say why should they meddle? Who could fuck things up more than Trump and the Republicans?
Oh, funny side story, while Stacy Abrams had Oprah campaigning for her Mike Pence went to some rally and tried to make fun of Oprah by saying, “He was kind of a big deal too.” No, Mike, no you’re not. I quote your wife, “You got what you wanted, now leave me alone.” Leave us alone Mike.
Okay back to Superman. I know what truth is. Trump does not. I think the Republicans in Congress still have some idea what it is, but it doesn’t suit their purposes to acknowledge it so they choose to ignore it.
Justice? Trump’s idea of justice is to stall, deny, and outlast. The Republican idea is to pack the courts with what they call conservative judges. They are not. They are from a group of hand picked by the very rich whose idea is to deny the people their rights, and to not get taxed. They have little interest in the common good and see themselves as deserving. Period.
That leaves only The American Way. What is that? I thought I knew. As a kid I thought it meant being fair and giving everyone a chance, an equal chance. That if you worked hard, were a good person, you’d be rewarded. That was kind of the promise of The New Deal.
Ever since Reagan those ideas have been under attack. Actually, they’ve always been attacked by the rich and powerful. By powerful here I mean those that have economic power or influence in other than the political or judicial sphere. The aim of these people is to rig the system in their favor and keep it that way.
What to do?
Fight, resist, vote.
The most likely way to change this horrible situation is to vote other than Republicans or Libertarians into office. Republicans because they are corrupt; Libertarians because what they seem to espouse makes no sense and contains that element of magical thinking that so mystifies me. As the old joke about the two scientists looking at blackboard full of equations and one says to the other, “Then a miracle happens.” That’s Libertarianism in a nutshell, wrapped in a flag. This leaves only the Democrats, who have a startling way of grabbing defeat from the near certain jaws of victory. Yes, Hillary should have won, did win, except …
We can hope that Trumpism has awoken enough people to get out there and run for office and to vote.
The biggest problem I see with the Dems is they have failed to groom a new generation. Howard Dean said you should get people to run your party who look like the people you want to vote for you. The Dems have by and large failed to do that. We are now seeing a group rising up, despite the political machinery that hasn’t supported them.
Hopefully, it will start to turn the tide this election and in 2020 I think we will see a new young Kennedy-esque Democrat run for president.
Hopefully, the tide will turn, and the day will be carried.
And we can once again believe in The American Way.
Get out and vote!
924 Days to Go
The election is in three days, Tuesday, November 6th, 2018. Polls open in Virginia at 6am and close at 7pm.
PPS What links them all? I forgot to tell you. Sorry. There’s a cycle to the Hokie football season and there is a cycle to Trump and his lies. However, in both of those cases there is an underlying set of beliefs, just as there is an underlying set of beliefs in and about Superman. While we may believe in Truth, Justice, and the American Way – Trump and his cronies do not.
Or as Donald would say, if ever on truth serum, “Truth? Justice? The American Way? Ha! I’ll call it those things, but what I say is truth or justice or anything else for that matter will be far from what any of you in rational America think it is. Fortunately, for me, there’s a sucker born every minute.”