Conflicts, and Constitutional Crisis

Given the events of this week so far, it would not be considered too much of a stretch to say that our Nation is in the middle of a constitutional crisis.

Rep. Devin Nunes, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, basically ran interference for the White House by personally briefing President Trump on some incidental pickup of some of the president’s communications–something which was pretty much well-known, not illegal, and totally unrelated to what the president tweeted about, the horribly false claim that Barack Obama personally ordered surveillance on him.

As CNN reports,

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes set off a stunning new political controversy Wednesday by revealing that communications of President Donald Trump and associates may have been picked up after the election by intelligence agencies conducting surveillance of foreign targets.

Nunes hurried to the White House to personally brief Trump on the revelations, after talking to the press but without sharing the information with Democrats. His Democratic counterpart on the committee — Rep. Adam Schiff of California — warned that his colleague had cast a “profound cloud” over their effort to investigate Russian attempts to interfere in the election.
A Republican source with knowledge of the situation claimed the information that Nunes talked about was from the intelligence community and not the White House. The source said Nunes was “steaming” about what he read.
This same report also states that Nunes went rogue, not only refusing to meet with Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, regarding his findings, but did so against the advice of fellow Republicans, creating a crisis of credibility which now merits the use of an independent investigation.
However, even that seems to be an impossibility, as the New York Times reports:

For an independent commission to be created, legislation must be approved by both houses of Congress and signed by the president.

Congress can override a presidential veto. But, so far, Republicans who control the House and Senate have said they see no reason for such a body to be created when an investigation can be handled by the intelligence committees. Democrats have privately said that to pressure Republicans into creating such a commission likely would take some type of significant disclosure — like publicly released evidence of direct collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign.

Trump certainly won’t do anything to end his own presidency; Rep. Schiff’s findings and James Comey’s announcement of the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s possible collusion with the Russian government may just do that:

The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, US officials told CNN.

This is partly what FBI Director James Comey was referring to when he made a bombshell announcement Monday before Congress that the FBI is investigating the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, according to one source.
The FBI is now reviewing that information, which includes human intelligence, travel, business and phone records and accounts of in-person meetings, according to those U.S. officials. The information is raising the suspicions of FBI counterintelligence investigators that the coordination may have taken place, though officials cautioned that the information was not conclusive and that the investigation is ongoing.
In his statement on Monday Comey said the FBI began looking into possible coordination between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian operatives because the bureau had gathered “a credible allegation of wrongdoing or reasonable basis to believe an American may be acting as an agent of a foreign power.”
The consequences of this should also fall back on Rep. Nunes, who basically obstructed justice by what he did. He should resign his post, and if he doesn’t do so, Paul Ryan must remove him from his position.
*
How much of a hurry is the Right to throw twenty-four MILLION people off their health insurance?
Enough to try and ram Trumpcare through the House with not nearly enough votes to pass it through to the Senate:

If this holds up, this could be a huge defeat for the Trump administration.

May there be many more.

Lies, Damned Lies, and “Other People’s Babies”

What, exactly, is the value of the truth?

If a lie is told often enough to the right ear, it is nearly always believed as fact, especially if it serves to perpetuate the support of who told the lie, and confirms the bias against the subject of the lie. And as has been proven countless times in the last fifty-plus days, this administration has proven that all it needs is to simply air whatever it wants–especially if it’s untrue–and people will believe it as fact.

We are currently living in the beginning stages of an era in which facts and logic are being rendered moot. Where easily refutable lies are fervently believed as an “alternative” version of the truth by those still elated to have a President Trump in the Oval Office, eager to believe and trust whatever they believe the “truth” to be. Where conservative plagiarism–the stealing of another’s writings and claiming it as their own–is excused and derided as a “hit job” by the “mainstream media.”

With baseless accusations of his predecessor wiretapping Trump Tower, and in attempting to rush through a soul-crushing replacement for the Affordable Care Act past the Congressional Budget Office, the Right has proven that only their “truth” matters, and they will pursue its realization to the detriment of the American people.

The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent outlines several points of the Trump administration’s strategy against the CBO today:

The CBO was created a half-century ago as a neutral, objective agency to assist Congress in empirically-based, independent governing, by giving it data and technical advice that is not tainted by executive branch political considerations. The point is not that the CBO’s word is gospel. It can and does get things wrong. But as Jonathan Cohn explains, while its projections about the Affordable Care Act were hardly perfect, it got much of the big story right, and its forecasts are as good as or better than anybody else’s. White House aides are not exercising merely healthy skepticism about the CBO’s findings. Rather, they are saying they won’t accept those findings as legitimate, if they are politically inconvenient — and they are signaling this in advance. There is every reason to believe that many Republicans in Congress will take their cues from this and echo them.

By itself, this might not be all that outlandish — there is a long history of such stuff — but it needs to be placed in the larger context. There is Conway’s off-the-wall depiction above of the purpose of congressional investigations. Meanwhile, when Trump got called out for the lie that he won the popular vote but for millions who voted illegally, the White House threatened an investigation to prove it true, using the vow of probes as a tool to obfuscate efforts to hold him accountable. On Friday, Sean Spicer greeted the good February jobs report by claiming that the numbers “may have been phony in the past” — when they reflected job growth during the Obama presidency that Trump derided as fictional — but now they’re “very real.” Government data is real only when Trump says it is. Everyone had a good laugh over this, but at the risk of being very earnest, government data is supposed to inform policymaking.

 

This is a clear affront against governance in good faith, as well as an institution that would protect the country from bad governance. The Right knows their version of healthcare reform is a massive giveaway to the insurance companies, as well as yet another expensive concentration of wealth to the rich.

*

Here’s a nice reminder why Kellyanne Conway got banned from MSNBC. From The Washington Post:

Kellyanne Conway was doing okay. She’d effectively neutralized the bubbling outcry over comments she made to the Bergen Record, in which she defended President Trump’s evidence-free claims of wiretapping by noting that various household devices could be used to surveil a target. “You can surveil people through their phones, through their — certainly through their television sets, any number of different ways. And microwaves that turn into cameras, et cetera,” she’d said, comments that were more about Team Trump’s long-standing use of isolated anecdotes to rebut broad trends than they were about Conway auditioning for a role in a James Bond film.

So when Chris Cuomo brought the whole thing up on CNN’s “New Day,” she effectively repeated the dismissal she had given to ABC News earlier: She was talking generally about how spying could take place, not making specific allegations.

On CNN, though, her phrasing was a bit more fraught. “I’m not Inspector Gadget,” she said. “I don’t believe people are using the microwave to spy on the Trump campaign.”

*

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is a horrible, horrible man.

This is an especially sickening statement, given that this is the man who said undocumented immigrants had “calves the size of cantaloupes” from hauling marijuana on their backs. King is quite possibly the most overt racist in the Legislative Branch, but in this period of time, where a man could run on a clear platform of hatred and fear of anything not white, male or Christian, King just can’t help to feel emboldened to be exactly who he is.

*

I hope everyone in the NYC area is getting prepared for a serious snow tonight. According to most reports, we are to expect anywhere from 12-18 inches of snow. Perhaps even more, depending on what this incoming nor’easter does. If you haven’t gotten your supplies for this late winter blizzard, you might want to pick up a few things tonight.

Just a quick public service announcement.

Power Couples, and the Strangeness of Place

In 2007, two loves came into my life.

The year before, I met the woman who would eventually become my wife, the one I called my One Great Love. She lived in a town that, as the song lyrics go, is a “concrete jungle where dreams are made of.” Our very first date was there, and throughout the first year of our relationship, she spent time showing me around this glorious Apple, New York City.

My lady lived in West Harlem, right between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. One of the most beautiful spots in Manhattan, I would pilot my 2004 Mazda6 Sport wagon up the Henry Hudson Parkway, the best views of the mighty Hudson River rolling past me. Then, on reaching my destination, there was of course the obligatory twenty-to-thirty minute hunt for a parking spot.

As things began to change yet again in my life–homelessness; a growing rift in my family over the very woman I’d left pretty much everything to be with, job instability–New York began to mean something I never thought it would. Sure, I spent hundreds of dollars in tolls driving back and forth to be with the woman I loved, but more than that, I had begun to see New York City as a place of healing; a cathartic haven where the pain of past mistakes could be left behind in the dust, never to be picked up again. In April of 2008, I would move to this town, and called 508 West 142 Street my first home.

This past Presidents’ Day, I once again found myself in West Harlem for work. A construction project on the 1 line stopped service between 137 Street-City College and 242 Street-Van Cortlandt Park, in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. On a long break, I walked through the neighborhood, taking in the sights and experiences along Broadway. I walked up Broadway to West 142 Street, and made a right. The nostalgia only got stronger as I walked up the hill towards my very first home in New York City. And as has been my lot nearly three years now, a heavy sadness came over me.

I remembered the first night my lady and I went out and experienced NYC’s night life together, hanging out at the 40/40 Club in Chelsea. I thought of the day she took me to Katz’s Deli, exposing me to the best pastrami on the planet. I remembered the day she took me down to get my first taste of Vietnamese food, to this day my favorite Asian cuisine.

My sadness became almost unbearable that night, because none of those things mattered anymore. On November 17, 2014, exactly four months after losing my lady’s trust over a financial matter, the story of our love ended. My lady became the direct target of my first emotional breakdown.

To this day, it is the greatest mistake I have ever made in my life.

*

What, exactly, is a “power couple?”

If you ask people, they might mention the all-time, go-to power couple of Jay-Z and Beyonce. Those people will talk about what makes those two such a “power couple”: their great wealth, their artistic compatibility; or godhood (just ask any member of the Bey-hive).

As I see it, a “power couple” is defined by the fires walked through together; how many valleys are traversed without losing sight of the things which brought them together. Our broken marriage is proof that a “power couple” isn’t defined by other people’s predictions, desires or hopes; only through the strength, faith and love each person has for one another, especially when money runs out. Or when living situations change.

Power couples don’t fold up and quit when trust is on the verge of being lost, or when things go south in a particular situation. Power couples fight for the right to be together, even when the battle happens to comes from within; when there are no external forces to fight. Power couples build each other up when one falters; will know when the other is hurting, or going through something within. Power couples who stand the test of time are examples of what other couples can be, and should strive towards.

I wonder all the time if my lady and I were ever destined to be a power couple. Obviously with an impending finalization of a divorce, that question has been answered with a resounding no. With so many thoughts and emotions racing through my head these last two and a half years, I’ve struggled with how to view our time together; were they eight years of lessons learned, or a complete waste of the best time of our lives? Did I bring our marriage to an end by my own hand that night, or was it just a perfect storm of unfortunate events over many years? Was it the diagnosis of my mental disorder? Was it interference by her parents?

I’ll probably never know.

*

Living here in New York City, all on my own, feels weird.

I’ve been up here in New York nearly two years now. Despite the incredible gains I’ve made within my own self, I wrestle with the pain of having lost someone so dear to me; even more than my own life. I hurt from the pain I caused her, as my emotional breakdown fell directly on her four months after I lost her trust over a financial matter. At the risk of sounding myopic, her love and words meant everything to me, and I haven’t been able to fully heal emotionally and mentally from such a loss. I have neither spoken to or seen her in over a year.

But even more than that, I have never been able to fully enjoy New York the way I’ve wanted to. When I lived up here with my lady, this city became my “spiritual mother”, healing my wounds and changing my scenery. Despite some struggles, this city healed me, and made my problems seem miles away. My lady and I built a real home up here. We were truly happy up here together.

I’ve returned to my spiritual home, but this time, it’s completely on my own. New York is still very much a place that wants to be that place of healing once again, but I just have not been able to fully let her in this time. It’s funny; how could a city, bursting with life, activities and energy, not be a place where I can heal again?

Or is it because I can’t seem to get past what was “supposed” to happen?

I waited seven years for Transit to call me after I took the test to become a conductor. I had told my lady for years that once the call came, that was our cue to return to New York City. When we left NYC in 2010, I saw nothing but disappointment, heartbreak and pain in her eyes as we drove over the George Washington Bridge. Having lived up there before I did, she never really wanted to leave NYC. She had dreams of becoming a fashion designer, and wanted to stay in the city for life.

By the time Transit called, we were already separated. The trust she had in me, especially after the night we split, was long gone. Her roots had grown far too deep to just simply pick up and leave Baltimore. Besides, her running “career”–something that had become a bone of contention between us, as she used running to build her emotional wall between us after the financial matter happened–was now in high gear. She wanted to “run till her legs fell off”, as she told me one day.

I tried to explain to her that the opportunity with Transit was my way of paying her back for all the years she worked her butt off to keep us afloat throughout all the years I was in and out of work. I finally had something more solid than any other career I’d tried my hand in, and I wanted her to be a part of it.

But alas, it didn’t happen.

And the rest is, well, history.

*

Throughout these years, my writing has suffered greatly. Under must circumstances, I could easily pen something about politics, a movie I’d seen, or just my feelings on any given topic.

But ever since this second separation and impending divorce, I have found myself incapable of writing anything of consequence. My pain has been nothing less than excruciating, as I’ve never felt so ripped apart in my life. My first divorce had its own pain, but what made it much easier to get through was that my lady was there to relieve me of the pain of my loss.

This second time–two divorces before the age of thirty-five–hurts in a way few can comprehend; I don’t even fully understand it myself. I lost a woman I fell deeply and completely in love with, but a mirror was placed in front of me, forcing a serious confrontation with myself. The first marriage could easily be written off as a matter of immaturity, but this time, there weren’t really any excuses. I’d gotten married at age thirty, and we were together five years prior to us getting hitched.

Something wasn’t right, and seeing as I had no one to keep me from actually taking the time to truly examine myself this time, I had to be the change I wanted to see, to borrow from Gandhi. I hadn’t taken the time to sort myself out between the two marriages, and now, I was given that opportunity to do so.

Which is what I’ve done. After a rocky start–including a stint of living in my car– I’ve managed to finally get things to some sort of equilibrium. I’m managing the disorder I have, and am on a real road to recovery. Things are well on the job and, while not fully satisfied with where I am in my life, I am working hard to live my best life.

I certainly wish my lady well, as she is no doubt on her own road to recovery. I won’t lie; I miss her so much. I wish things were different between us, and that we were up here together, in the place where we were truly happy. But instead of any ill feelings and bitterness, I will simply wish her well in everything she does, and be there for her in any way I can, should she ever want to be my friend. I doubt that will ever be the case, though.

For my part, I can only hope that I’m able to fully recover from the pain of the past, and fully embrace my spiritual mother as my own once again. Springtime is coming soon, and as we all know, there is nothing better than New York City when the weather is warm.

Here’s to a new season of healing.

Sessions of Corruption

For one brief moment, it seemed like Donald Trump had finally mastered the art of being a president in the House Chamber Tuesday night. As he stood on the dais and repeated the promises and slogans made throughout his campaign, Trump’s appearance that night — especially his admittedly moving tribute to the widow of Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens — was hailed by Chris Cilizza and even Van Jones as the moment where Trump “became the President of the United States”, even going so far as to say that if he continued to do what he did that night, Trump “would be there for eight years.”

But as Trump tried to create a perception that people of good sense should never believe as fact, the reality of the possible compromise of this Nation’s chief law enforcement officer looms large today. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, well-known for his racist policies, recused himself today from all investigations into Russian ties to the Trump campaign.

From the New York Times:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, facing a chorus of criticism over his contacts with the Russian ambassador, recused himself Thursday from any current or future investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. His conversations with the ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, came amid suspected Russian hacking directed at Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Mr. Sessions said he made the decision after meeting with senior career officials at the Justice Department. He said he would not take part in any investigations “related in any way to the campaigns for president of the United States.”

He also strongly denied that any of his conversations with Russian officials were related to the presidential campaign. And he said he did not intend to deceive the Senate when he said he had no such meetings with Russian officials.

On the surface, this would seem to be the right thing to do, had this not happened. From the same Times report:

At the confirmation hearing for attorney general in January, Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, asked Mr. Sessions about a CNN report that intelligence briefers had told Barack Obama, then the president, and Mr. Trump, then the president-elect, that Russian operatives claimed to have compromising information about Mr. Trump.

Mr. Franken also noted that the report indicated that surrogates for Mr. Trump and intermediaries for the Russian government continued to exchange information during the campaign. He asked Mr. Sessions what he would do if that report proved true.

Mr. Sessions replied that he was “not aware of any of those activities.” He added: “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign, and I didn’t have — did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.”

But the Justice Department acknowledged on Wednesday that Mr. Sessions had twice communicated with the Russian ambassador last year. The first time was in July, at the Republican National Convention, after he gave a speech at an event for ambassadors sponsored by the Heritage Foundation. The second time was a visit to his office by Mr. Kislyak in September. The Washington Post earlier reported both encounters.

Sessions has, quite simply, perjured himself. Simply backing away from an active investigation is not nearly enough to answer for the fact that he lied under oath, and has left the Department of Justice wide open to compromise to the Russians, no matter how many “clarifications” of his testimony he gives.

This story is far from over, as more reports are coming in that Sergei Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, has had contact with far more people within the Trump administration than previously believed. At this rate, an argument could be made that the entire administration could be compromised.

More to come.

You’ll Get No Chance From Me

For eight years, I watched as the Right savaged Barack Obama, and used the Legislative Branch to deny him anything regarding his own agenda. I watched as Senator Mitch McConnell defiantly declared their ultimate goal of making him a one-term president by any means necessary, from incessant stonewalling in Congress and attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, to playing politics with raising our debt ceiling, shutting the federal government down twice, and bringing this Nation to the brink of defaulting on our debts.

I watched as the Right’s base–angry, aggrieved whites from the South and “America’s Heartland”–believed any and all conspiracies they were fed about Obama. They called him everything from a Muslim socialist to a “racist nigger.”They demanded his birth certificate, claiming he was an “illegitimate” out of the falsehood that he was born in Kenya. I watched as actual deplorables stormed the White House in so-called protest, waving the Rebel flag of the long-dead Confederacy in front of Obama’s place of residence, then daring to say they really only differed with the man in terms of policy.

Barack Obama served this country with distinction and honor, never once forgetting that he was a servant of the people. Under his watch, unemployment fell to lows not seen in years. He was loved in his own country, and revered around the world for his diplomacy.

And instead of securing Obama’s legacy of success, by 77,000 votes this nation was handed to a man whose first priority was not how to heal the country after his divisive, racist, and sexist campaign, but on the size of the crowds–or lack thereof–at his inauguration. In a moment of Napoleonic hubris, this man declared his inauguration a national holiday, by way of executive order. Under guidance by his right hand, the avowed Leninist Steven Bannon, a constitutional crisis was nearly created by unilaterally locking out of this country thousands of Muslims–many of whom were American citizens with green cards and proper documentation–purely because of their religion, then daring to say it was a similar “ban” Obama had carried out in 2011.

Spoiler alert: it was not.

This man, by way of his administration, has demanded fealty by the press. Bannon declared the nation’s press outlets should be silent. Kellyanne Conway said the media should be a place where, instead of facing tough questions from a constitutionally protected free press, they can “promote their agenda.” In other words, become outlets for our propaganda or, like CNN, be marked as a purveyor of “fake news.”

This country has seen more than it can handle from this administration, and it hasn’t even been two weeks. The now-45th President of the United States has already shamed this nation tenfold. Millions have turned out in protest of an administration hell-bent on making this country “great again” by embodying the final, most desperate (and most dangerous) form of conservatism: a type of malignant populism that seeks to turn this nation into a place where only white, “Christian” males hold sway.

And what’s worse, they could care less about what dissenting Americans may think, as Ed Kilgore writes:

It’s all so familiar that Trump’s critics should resist the temptation to underestimate these people yet again. They do not give a damn about respectable opinion; they live to defy it. They will not be shaken by judicial thunder; they view judges as pawns in larger battles involving more powerful political and economic forces. They don’t fear GOP elected officials; they’ve watched Republicans turn tail, roll over, and beg for tax-cut treats and other policy concessions; just the day before Trump started this latest conflagration the entire congressional party assembled in Philadelphia to beg its new master for direction.

And most of all, Trump and his closest associates do not fear blue-state protests of the sort that swept the nation this weekend. More likely than not, they exult in them, and have planned all along to exploit them to show Trump loyalists they are fighting disorderly and essentially unpatriotic people who value civil liberties more than national security, diversity more than national identity, and America’s enemies more than America.

“Give him a chance,” his supporters say. “He’s your President now; get over it”, they say. But how? How can freedom-loving, remotely decent people be in support of–or even be willing to “give a chance” to–an administration with no fear or regard of the people it serves? How can we be asked to give total loyalty and trust to an administration that seeks to crush all dissent, be it external or internal? How can support be given to a federal government that, under the guise of “Keeping America Safe”, made excuses for the incarceration of a FIVE-YEAR-OLD?

No, family, I will not be giving “a chance” to this administration; one that has stripped itself of decency for the illusion of safety. I will not be giving a chance to people who are prepared to use “shock events” to further divide and radicalize the politics of this nation. As Matthew 12:25 says so poignantly, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”

This is the aim of the Trump administration.

And, for my part, I shall resist.

 

DWB: Dating While Bipolar

BROOKLYN– My parents are one of the quintessential examples of what a marriage should be. At the age of fifty-eight, Kevin and Robin Carter have been together for 36 years. This has rubbed off on three out of the four men I am thankful to call my little brothers. Just recently, one of my brothers and his wife celebrated ten years of marriage. My best friend and his wife have been together nearly fifteen years.

So with all these shining examples of marriage working, where did I go wrong?

As the sun sets here at the coffee shop where I’m writing this, I’ve had a lot of things on my mind. I guess that’s to be considered normal, seeing as I have bipolar disorder. I perceive things a lot differently, which adds a third dimension to the way I normally think and react to things. Maybe that’s one of the great things about finally getting this disorder under some type of control; I have found myself thinking very carefully before reacting to things. I’ve become calmer, very rarely raising my voice about anything anymore, a direct opposite to the way I used to be. My former behavior was both very erratic and had a high amount of volatility. Perhaps this explains a lot of things that used to go wrong in my life. Especially the jobs I used to go through. Three months here, three weeks there; you get the idea.

But as unstable as my work life was, my love life has been just as erratic. I have been through two marriages, all before the age of thirty-five. Both unions were marked by volatile moods, the aforementioned instability in the workplace, reacting very poorly to stress, and being over quick, fast, and in a regrettable hurry; my first marriage lasted all of three years. The second one? Not even two years passed before that one ended. Those who know me well who will read this know very well that the second marriage was the one I just knew would stand the test of time.

Oh, and did I mention these two relationships had a slight touch of overlap?

Now that I am currently single, living in a brand new city and fending for myself in ways I never thought I’d have to, I’m finding that being single is a very isolating, emotionally exhaustive thing. I’ve always craved real, romantic love with a woman who does so unconditionally. Who remains loyal to me through my disorder, and wants to build something that will last.

There’s just one problem, and it’s not just the two marriages. Maybe it’s a mix of the bipolar disorder and the ache of the unhealed scars of the previous marriage, but I have found my desire for these things have become elevated, and every woman I’ve dated up here has seen it–and run. While it has been easy to spot disinterest in me (which is bad enough), moving at a healthy pace has been an insurmountable task. Recently, a woman I showed genuine interest in asked me to take a step back because my rapid, almost myopic pace to find that special someone had begun to make her uncomfortable around me.

The other problem has been trying to figure out when to tell a woman in which I have some interest about my baggage. Three dates? A month? Three months? Never telling them about my disorder can’t be an option, for if things become serious, eventually my new girlfriend is going to have to know why I pop four pills every morning. Or why I appear to be extra needy on a given day. Or why I’m not in a particularly good mood. So far, my timing has had me batting 0-for up here.

Lost in both the inexperience in dating, and the raging urge to find love on the express track, has been this: I have forgotten that love requires a friendship to begin first. The idea of “love at first sight” is largely bullshit, as I’ve come to find; it’s even more that way with bipolar disorder. A deep friendship is all I’ve really ever wanted, and finding that through my disorder and baggage has been tough to do.

I’m a good man. I’ve been through a lot of storms, and all I really want is someone to weather those storms with me without seeing me as some sort of headcase to be avoided. For my part, I need to learn how to slow down a bit, and remember the joys of getting to know someone. This is, of course, the tao of a healthy, loving, long-term relationship: always learning about the one you love until the day you leave this plane of existence.

May that someday be my portion.

 

 

The Failed Northern Strategy

NEW YORK–Imagine, if you will, being painted with a broad brush; marginalized, ridiculed and made fun of for years for being a bunch of backwards-thinking, gun-fellating, Bible-thumping trailer trash, who hate all minorities and religions other than those “Judeo-Christian” values they hold so dear, by granola-crunching, kombucha-drinking hypocrites, with our “safe spaces”, “trigger warnings”, and privileged ability to look for and find racism via “microaggressions”, residing in densely populated, mostly liberal cities never, once having to look at or care about these people, or the things which they’ve lost.

From my own coastal liberal perch in New York City, it’s been difficult as a man of the left to maintain some resolve in the wake of last week’s general election. In an instant, every poll showing Hillary Clinton was upended; all of the “conventional wisdom” espoused by many–myself included–came undone. And the millions of people who cast their votes to elect the first woman president in our nation’s history had their hopes dashed to pieces in the worst possible way, never dreaming the following words would never be uttered: President-elect Donald J. Trump.

Liberalism was defeated not because of the Electoral College being predisposed to racism and giving former slave states a voice in presidential elections, and it damn sure wasn’t just because of the email scandal that many people, including Secretary Clinton herself, believe. Liberalism was defeated due to its arrogance; this “silent majority” was such only because we chose to ignore them and their needs. We wished them good luck, and left them to their own devices; to do otherwise was labeled as being racist, or giving in to the nonsense of “white privilege.” Hillary Clinton–and I say this as one who voted for her–was seen by many to be the worst example of the elitism and exclusionary mindset, now rewarded by a President Trump.

From a publication called The Daily Yonder:

Hillary Clinton stood before a giant gleaming John Deere tractor in Iowa as she rolled out her Future of America’s Rural Economy plan on August 26, 2015. The white paper (pretty much a carbon copy of her 2008 rural plan) garnered some positive press and the Rural for Hillary Twitter feed picked up a few more followers. Then Madame Secretary wiped her hands and walked away from rural America. Most of the effort to woo rural voters was left to surrogates at a couple of debates and forums with Trump representatives on the other side of the stage and a handful of upstate New Yorkers who testified that Clinton paid attention to them as senator and helped push some initiatives that benefitted Empire State agriculture. The candidate herself told people to go to her website to read her position papers. For millions of rural residents without access to high-speed broadband, that is hard to do. On November 8, the Rural for Hillary Twitter page had a total of 783 followers. 783 Twitter peeps? As they say on Monday Night Football, “C’mon man!”

Last year, In These Times, a website devoted to covering rural American life, answered its own question when asking why the Left was ignoring them:

American disinterest in the poverty of its own pastoral lands can be traced across the Atlantic Ocean and back several hundred years to the origins of social sciences in academia. The rise of these disciplines coincided with the Industrial Revolution and the mass migration of peasants from the country into cities. As an effect of these circumstances, the leading theorists of the era—Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim and Max Weber—were primarily concerned with living conditions in cities and industrializing societies, setting the foundation for the metro-centrism that continues to characterize the social sciences.

“In academia, there’s an urban bias throughout all research, not just poverty research. It starts with where these disciplines origins—they came out of the 1800’s—[when] theorists were preoccupied with the movement from a rural sort of feudal society to a modern, industrial society,” Linda Loabo, a professor of rural sociology at Ohio State University, tells Rural America In These Times. “The old was rural and the feudal and the agricultural and the new was the industry and the city.”

And, as always, arrogance is rewarded by defeat. From the Huffington Post:

Several theories have been proffered to explain just what went wrong for the Clinton campaign in an election that virtually everyone expected the Democratic nominee to win. But lost in the discussion is a simple explanation, one that was re-emphasized to HuffPost in interviews with several high-ranking officials and state-based organizers: The Clinton campaign was harmed by its own neglect.

In Michigan alone, a senior battleground state operative told HuffPost that the state party and local officials were running at roughly one-tenth the paid canvasser capacity that Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) had when he ran for president in 2004. Desperate for more human capital, the state party and local officials ended up raising $300,000 themselves to pay 500 people to help canvass in the election’s closing weeks. By that point, however, they were operating in the dark. One organizer said that in a precinct in Flint, they were sent to a burned down trailer park. No one had taken it off the list of places to visit because no one had been there until the final weekend. Clinton lost the state by 12,000 votes.

We ignored those “deplorables” at our own peril, and now a man with absolutely no record of public service is now the President-elect of the United States.

And if we keep up like this, we’re going to lose every time.

It’s going to be an interesting four years.