With Apologies to Mel Torme and Nat King Cole
Our nuts roasting on an open fire.
Don-ald Trump is here to stay.
Traffic tie-ups, city streets are a mire,
And New York can’t wait for the day
All Trumps go away…
No turkey and no mistletoe
Can help to make this year a friend.
Sentient beings, with red eyes all aglow
Will never, ever sleep again.
They know that war is on its way,
And there are no more ethics panels we can sway.
And every mother’s child is gonna pray
That the Electoral College saves the day!
And so I’m offering a simple phrase
To grown-ups, most of whom concur:
I know it’s been said,
Many times, many ways,
Jesus God, I’m Still With Her.
Fear of Fear Itself
A few nights back, I was at a bar with friends, talking art, mostly, and when it turned briefly to politics, it went straight to Trump and what the next years hold. Muslims, gays, and Blacks have the most to fear and to lose, followed by Mexican immigrants, Jews, and women. Out on the sidewalk, one of my friends began shouting at me: “You need to be serious! You post on Facebook about how we need to build an underground, you post where everyone can see it! You aren’t serious, because if you were serious in wanting to help, if you really cared, you wouldn’t post about it, you would DO it!” His wrath was so relentless, and we were so drunk, really, that nothing I could say would assuage it. I turned around and swiftly walked down the avenue to make my way home. I heard faint calls after me, and my arms shot up, my hands flipping the bird, and not the Christmas one.
A border had been crossed.
He made apologies, via message, the following morning, and I accepted his apology, of course, but what happened there on the sidewalk will only become more and more frequent across the nation, sister against sister, brother against brother, faced as we are with Donald Trump as our president. It’s about fear. Every sentient human knows this. What Donald Trump wants, Donald Trump takes, and with impunity. He does not recognize borders. “I just grab their pussy. I do what I want.” Hence our fear.
To the Barricades
I read an alt-right blog yesterday wherein, if I’m interpreting correctly, the blogger feels that regulations about factual reporting, relying on science, allowing consenting adults the freedom to love, protecting all citizens from discrimination, protecting the fresh water supply from corporate destruction, and criminalizing hate speech and actions, are in fact tools of oppression: He and his friends are oppressed because they cannot feel free to act on their hatred, discriminate at will, spew epithets and string up individuals they don’t like, ban books, and ignore scientific facts, making their faith, their prejudices, the law of the land instead.
This blogger does not see irony, because minds like his aren’t capable of that level of self-awareness or subtlety. So who is right? Who is wrong?
I Spoke as a Child
This morning a neighbor told me about his grandson, who is nearly three, and who said, after hearing it on TV (by accident), “Fuck it.” They all started roaring with laughter, because such a vulgarity is so innocent, so unexpected, and the surprise of it is hilarious. “Fuck it!” he shouted again, so excited to be causing all this joy.
Later, of course, his parents will pull him aside and explain how he cannot say that outside of the family, and should not say it anymore. Miss O’ here, in adulthood, is fond of “fuck,” but when I say it means what I want it to mean.
First Corinthians 13:11:
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
In his first inaugural address to the United States, President Barack Hussein Obama invoked this verse from the New Testament, a verse I too had found myself quoting throughout the election, faced with the childish judgment of the Republican candidate, Sen. John McCain, and the childish behavior of his vice presidential selection, Gov. Sarah Palin. I never thought I would see a campaign so childishly conducted. Then in 2012, we all met Paul Ryan, malarkey-filled brat and junior senator from Wisconsin, and loads of wing nuts who’d gerrymandered the districts of lazy, asshat America to keep their congressional paychecks and payoffs coming. In the crushing blow of 2016, we all faced the Electoral College win (though not the popular vote win, down by 2.6 million votes so far) of one Donald Trump, whose party also carried the congressional elections (96% re-elected despite an 11% approval rating). And we all know, and the world knows, that compared to the entire Republican Party and their entire voting base, Barack Obama stands apart as a man. Hillary Clinton, whatever her failings, stands apart as a grown-up, as a woman.
The childish grabbers of toys and hoo-hahs have used man-sized hands to grab and destroy what they do not understand, and what is not rightfully theirs.
So how do we deal with it? This is what’s troubling us. We can’t put Trump and company in a time out. We can’t vote them out for at least two years, though probably for at least four years, the gerrymandering done as it is, and even then, elections may not be allowed. We’ll see. But that we are all looking at each other hard, unsure of where to turn, shows just how low this nation has fallen. And being Americans, and humans, really, we hate feeling like victims.
Lately I’ve done a lot of web surfing via my Mac browser, and perhaps the most disturbing stories I’ve come across have been recent animal killings perpetrated by rich white people—men and women both—while on safari in Africa. One image hit me hardest, that of a dead giraffe, the long neck bent at an unnatural angle, the blood streaks browned, stained around the nostrils, and the smiling white woman posed with her gun, lithe arm about the kill.
A sentient human being using a firearm in the name of the hunt is not a hero, is not tough or brave, is not a prizewinner. Such a killer has an addiction, as to an opioid like heroin, and the enablers of such a big game hunt are no better than dealers and traffickers. Trafficking is about the crossing of borders—sex trafficking forces a child across the border of innocence into a land of the sickest of adult pursuits, pedophilia as opioid, as well as over a physical border far away from home. This happens in America, too, and not just to children and young girls. The roundup of black men for minor offenses is trafficking in slavery, forcing inmates to do slave labor on the public dime and in spite of guaranteed Constitutional and human rights. Abuses are rampant, too, in the trafficking of arms to other nations to assist in warfare. And perhaps no more of a symbol here at home exists but the Standing Rock standoff over the pipeline. What are the borders? These fractures destroy any illusions of a government moral high ground.
And my friends and I look around at other. What are we supposed to do?
Those Are Those Things
During a centuries-old border dispute a few years ago (an Eastern European friend recounted to me), two recently liberated and newly independent nations came once again to the precipice of war over Nation One’s taking of trees, across the border from Nation Two. How to solve this? As long as man has existed, and especially since people began settling land and claiming it as theirs, planting, harvesting, and creating surplus, some outside groups, green with envy or merely lazy, began wanting it, what was not theirs, for themselves. And there was the birth of terrorism and warfare and “the art of the deal” to screw over good people. Humans are amazing, aren’t they? No creature can break your heart or baffle your head like our species.
So back to the border dispute: A 103-year-old Albanian woman who lived in Nation Two, the nation with the trees desired by Nation One, had simply had it. She went to a lawyer and asked him to write down for her a letter to the presidents of both countries. “Write it exactly as I tell you, leave out nothing, add nothing. Just write.” And this, paraphrased, is what she said to each of these men:
I am an old woman. I am 103 years old. I have seen it all, the Turks, the Russians, the Germans, the Yugoslavians, fighting about borders, the same borders, all of my life. I want to tell you this. I am a woman. When I married my husband, I put in place there a border. A border around myself, a border no man could cross. There may be other men who wanted my vagina, but it was my stuff and it had a border around it and it was for my husband, and only for him. A border around my marriage. That is how it works. That is what borders are for. As a country, you might want what is not yours, but you can’t have it. There is a border. Now stop this.
And the two nations stopped the fight. Her letter worked. Crazy as it sounds, her letter did the trick; it broke through all the bullshit swagger and defensiveness of the lifestyle that is rape and pillage in the worst of mankind. “Those are those things,” my friend (a man originally from Nation One) said, after recounting the story, “that human beings must learn over and over. Fuckin’ Trump. Rapists have the wrong fuckin’ minds. They don’t deserve this life. It’s why I think all the leaders of the world should be women. Women everywhere. Maybe half men in the Senate.”
Mine v. Yours. Right v. Wrong. The alt-right blogger way up there, by the way, is wrong. He is wrong. He will never be right. Centuries of fighting over borders will never make him right to come over and rape me, steal my trees, take my life, because he feels he wants to. That is the behavior, the feeling, that four-year-old children have who are also sociopaths. If you don’t understand the difference between right and wrong, as that blogger clearly doesn’t, you will ever be a nasty version of four years old. No wonder he is so frustrated.
I imagine the old Albanian woman and what she would do to Trump if he grabbed her genitals. I don’t imagine Mr. Trump would have hands anymore. Or life.
If all weapons manufacturing stopped tomorrow, imagine.
If all the rapists and dealers and deal-brokers and traffickers were rounded up tomorrow, imagine.
If all the slaves were freed tomorrow, imagine.
It’s all I’d want for Christmas.
Peace on Earth, good will toward men.
I think that last thing is all we can do in the meantime: Wish us well. From the Book of Luke: “And the angel of the Lord was upon them. Fear not! I bring you tidings of great joy.” So don’t rage at your friends, don’t scream at the ones who care for and love you, and don’t fear. Fuck fear. While you are at it, treat everyone else you encounter like the friends you are not going to yell at. Feel the good will deep inside your heart. Have yourself a merry little Christmas, now.
See you in the New Year. With new ideas. And hey, over the holidays, spruce up.