Category: Pennel Bird

Dispatches from Deep inside Progressiville


In the 1979 suspense thriller When a Stranger Calls, a legendary movie reveal on the order of The Sixth Sense and The Usual Suspects occurs at the film’s climax.  Having been terrorized by sinister, anonymous phone calls for most of the film’s running time, the babysitter suddenly finds out that “the calls are coming from inside the house!”

These are words – or words to that effect – that many in my community might collectively gasp if they knew how I voted on November 8, 2016.  (Tar and feathering to follow.)

I live and work in a passionately progressive sub-hamlet of a major metropolitan city in California.  (OK, it’s Los Angeles.)  I voted for Trump.  According to the zeitgeist, those two facts shouldn’t even be in proximity to one another on the page – let alone be true in real life.

Per the modern liberal California mindset, like the menacing stranger in the film, I am odious, insidious, and nefarious.  These are adjectives of which I now share joint custody with the president – ever since poor-sport leftists, in their pique and petulance, decided that being Trump and voting for him are effectively the same thing.  I am repugnant, by definition.  So I am hiding in plain sight in my community – effectively closeted because of my political beliefs.

On November 9, 2016, the day after The Election That Dare Not Speak Its Name, the Los Angeles Unified School District issued a memo from the superintendent of schools acknowledging that “emotions are running extremely high” following the election and that “there may be anxiety and concerns among our students.”  The memo went on to say additional counseling services would be available and that we should encourage students to “embrace diversity, renounce intolerance, and respect differing ideologies,” especially “when the need for healing and common understanding are greatest.”

Credit is due to the superintendent of schools for moderation in tone, particularly considering the hair-on-fire hysteria of much of the left, but it’s nonetheless noteworthy that the second largest school district in America saw the need to issue a memorandum about how teachers, counselors, and parents should help children cope with the results – of a democratic election.

The very same Day after the End Times, the well-meaning principal of our elementary school posted a school-wide memo via email that included a link to a Huffington Post article entitled “What Do We Tell The Children?”  The virtue-signaling and hypocrisy of this article are too myriad to quote, but suffice to say that honoring the outcome of the election (yeah, right) and fighting bigotry (except the bigotry that reviles differing viewpoints, of course) were just two of the tone-deaf directives urged by Ariana Huffington’s hard-left website.  This is the same worthy successor to The Weekly World News that relegated Trump to the entertainment section over a year before the election – then reversed itself six months later with an imperious and embarrassing editorial by AHUFF herself.

Oops.

One measure of how left-leaning my community is?  The entire school my kids attend gathered in the auditorium to watch Obama’s inauguration in 2009 – enraptured.  One guess as to whether that was reprised in January of 2017.  Too triggering, I imagine.  Who wants to see a creature bent on our destruction put his hand – or his claw – on a Bible?

And what rough beast, his hour come round at last, slouches toward Washington to be sworn in?

Signs of the burgeoning “resistance” were everywhere in my community.  A makeshift “revolution wall” popped up at a nearby crossroads with DIY signs condemning  “Agent Orange.”  Children as young as second grade, worried about the evil president and his desire to hurt all foreigners.  A local vegan restaurant painted a huge Shepard Fairey-like mural of Trump on its side with the word “DISOBEY” across it.  Kindergarten-age children in “pussy hats” shopped at the local Whole Foods with their parents, having attended the Women’s March (that excluded pro-life women) the weekend prior.  A middle-schooler in my carpool commented that his family had decided not to share Christmas with their close relatives who were “Trump people.”

It was easy to see from what source these kids’ talking points and attitudes originated, if you had even a moment with their parents.  These otherwise often delightful and engaging people were wont to suddenly start riffing on the nightmare we are now enduring at the tiny hands of the fascist, racist, sexist, misogynist POTUS.  

I became expert in nodding earnestly and offering up innocuous commentary such as “right?” when stuck in these one-sided rants.  I decided I could join in honestly when the conversation, such as it was, turned to Trump’s impolitic tweeting, his clumsy rhetoric, or his vulgarianism – things I generally think are off-putting but could honestly care less about.  I learned to look for the subtle signs of a MAGA in my midst.  Anyone not randomly alluding to the American Armageddon in casual conversation, not re-laminating the Stronger Together bumper sticker to the family Prius, or not dressing their kids in old Obama HOPE t-shirts might be a stealth Trump supporter.  

One day at the beach, a crew of new friends and my family all suddenly stopped, sensing some ineluctable shift in social electricity.  We turned to each other for what seemed an eternity of apprehension – then threw caution to the wind and asked tentatively, “Wait, are you…did you…?”

Maybe it was that there, on the Pacific Coast, with the ocean at our backs like a corner table at an Italian mob restaurant, we felt safe enough to ask the question that could otherwise legitimize shunning in our community.  Once we had all unmasked ourselves and had our Come to Donald moment, the freedom to talk was like the euphoria of finding other people when you were young who were really into the same loud, weird, awesome band everyone else hated.

Under the tyranny of California sunshine that weather-shames you into always being outside, we found joy in hammering diaper-wearing lefties, pussy hat hypocrites, the fake news media, Empress Pantsuit, and Barry-O’Trojan Horse to our hearts’ content.  Thereafter, we would seek each other out on the down-low – always in private – in an effort to find some time to speak freely about our president, Captain Middle Finger.  We formed a secret society of sorts, just to be able to talk openly about the president of the United States of America.

But some social casualties were inevitable.  I gave up social media as the many blood pressures I was raising caused me to shed my Pollyanna view of respectful dialogue.  A friend of decades and his wife stopped inviting me and my family to their annual New Year’s Day brunch because of how I voted, and an even older friend was shamed by his wife for inviting me to their home – which I have been doing since Jane Fonda sold exercise videos.

The election of Donald Trump has been a gigantic litmus test for America.  It is said that true character is revealed only under duress.  If that’s so, then this country is filled with a whole lot of people who present well in the day-to-day world when things are going their way.  But when the fates don’t favor them, they’re revealed to be namby-pamby embarrassments, with dubious reasoning skills, largely indefensible positions, hearts full of hypocrisy and hatred, and a dumb-assery that is fast becoming legend.  (Here’s to you, Joss Whedon, Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, Judd Apatow, Kathy Griffin, Rosie O’Donnell, LeBron James, Eminem, Chelsea Handler, Stephen King, etc.)

But maybe I should really be thanking these folks instead of mocking them.  Thank God for the left!  (Or maybe: “Thank Science for the left” – in the progressive translation…)  After all, but for the north star of the left’s virtue, I would surely wander blind in a desolate wasteland of extreme bias, moral rot, and random cruelty to other humans.  We all would.

Even so, one wonders how many silent Trump voters exist in the spaces adjacent to the caterwaul of leftist outrage?

How many calls are coming from inside the house?

Image: John Morgan via Flickr.

In the 1979 suspense thriller When a Stranger Calls, a legendary movie reveal on the order of The Sixth Sense and The Usual Suspects occurs at the film’s climax.  Having been terrorized by sinister, anonymous phone calls for most of the film’s running time, the babysitter suddenly finds out that “the calls are coming from inside the house!”

These are words – or words to that effect – that many in my community might collectively gasp if they knew how I voted on November 8, 2016.  (Tar and feathering to follow.)

I live and work in a passionately progressive sub-hamlet of a major metropolitan city in California.  (OK, it’s Los Angeles.)  I voted for Trump.  According to the zeitgeist, those two facts shouldn’t even be in proximity to one another on the page – let alone be true in real life.

Per the modern liberal California mindset, like the menacing stranger in the film, I am odious, insidious, and nefarious.  These are adjectives of which I now share joint custody with the president – ever since poor-sport leftists, in their pique and petulance, decided that being Trump and voting for him are effectively the same thing.  I am repugnant, by definition.  So I am hiding in plain sight in my community – effectively closeted because of my political beliefs.

On November 9, 2016, the day after The Election That Dare Not Speak Its Name, the Los Angeles Unified School District issued a memo from the superintendent of schools acknowledging that “emotions are running extremely high” following the election and that “there may be anxiety and concerns among our students.”  The memo went on to say additional counseling services would be available and that we should encourage students to “embrace diversity, renounce intolerance, and respect differing ideologies,” especially “when the need for healing and common understanding are greatest.”

Credit is due to the superintendent of schools for moderation in tone, particularly considering the hair-on-fire hysteria of much of the left, but it’s nonetheless noteworthy that the second largest school district in America saw the need to issue a memorandum about how teachers, counselors, and parents should help children cope with the results – of a democratic election.

The very same Day after the End Times, the well-meaning principal of our elementary school posted a school-wide memo via email that included a link to a Huffington Post article entitled “What Do We Tell The Children?”  The virtue-signaling and hypocrisy of this article are too myriad to quote, but suffice to say that honoring the outcome of the election (yeah, right) and fighting bigotry (except the bigotry that reviles differing viewpoints, of course) were just two of the tone-deaf directives urged by Ariana Huffington’s hard-left website.  This is the same worthy successor to The Weekly World News that relegated Trump to the entertainment section over a year before the election – then reversed itself six months later with an imperious and embarrassing editorial by AHUFF herself.

Oops.

One measure of how left-leaning my community is?  The entire school my kids attend gathered in the auditorium to watch Obama’s inauguration in 2009 – enraptured.  One guess as to whether that was reprised in January of 2017.  Too triggering, I imagine.  Who wants to see a creature bent on our destruction put his hand – or his claw – on a Bible?

And what rough beast, his hour come round at last, slouches toward Washington to be sworn in?

Signs of the burgeoning “resistance” were everywhere in my community.  A makeshift “revolution wall” popped up at a nearby crossroads with DIY signs condemning  “Agent Orange.”  Children as young as second grade, worried about the evil president and his desire to hurt all foreigners.  A local vegan restaurant painted a huge Shepard Fairey-like mural of Trump on its side with the word “DISOBEY” across it.  Kindergarten-age children in “pussy hats” shopped at the local Whole Foods with their parents, having attended the Women’s March (that excluded pro-life women) the weekend prior.  A middle-schooler in my carpool commented that his family had decided not to share Christmas with their close relatives who were “Trump people.”

It was easy to see from what source these kids’ talking points and attitudes originated, if you had even a moment with their parents.  These otherwise often delightful and engaging people were wont to suddenly start riffing on the nightmare we are now enduring at the tiny hands of the fascist, racist, sexist, misogynist POTUS.  

I became expert in nodding earnestly and offering up innocuous commentary such as “right?” when stuck in these one-sided rants.  I decided I could join in honestly when the conversation, such as it was, turned to Trump’s impolitic tweeting, his clumsy rhetoric, or his vulgarianism – things I generally think are off-putting but could honestly care less about.  I learned to look for the subtle signs of a MAGA in my midst.  Anyone not randomly alluding to the American Armageddon in casual conversation, not re-laminating the Stronger Together bumper sticker to the family Prius, or not dressing their kids in old Obama HOPE t-shirts might be a stealth Trump supporter.  

One day at the beach, a crew of new friends and my family all suddenly stopped, sensing some ineluctable shift in social electricity.  We turned to each other for what seemed an eternity of apprehension – then threw caution to the wind and asked tentatively, “Wait, are you…did you…?”

Maybe it was that there, on the Pacific Coast, with the ocean at our backs like a corner table at an Italian mob restaurant, we felt safe enough to ask the question that could otherwise legitimize shunning in our community.  Once we had all unmasked ourselves and had our Come to Donald moment, the freedom to talk was like the euphoria of finding other people when you were young who were really into the same loud, weird, awesome band everyone else hated.

Under the tyranny of California sunshine that weather-shames you into always being outside, we found joy in hammering diaper-wearing lefties, pussy hat hypocrites, the fake news media, Empress Pantsuit, and Barry-O’Trojan Horse to our hearts’ content.  Thereafter, we would seek each other out on the down-low – always in private – in an effort to find some time to speak freely about our president, Captain Middle Finger.  We formed a secret society of sorts, just to be able to talk openly about the president of the United States of America.

But some social casualties were inevitable.  I gave up social media as the many blood pressures I was raising caused me to shed my Pollyanna view of respectful dialogue.  A friend of decades and his wife stopped inviting me and my family to their annual New Year’s Day brunch because of how I voted, and an even older friend was shamed by his wife for inviting me to their home – which I have been doing since Jane Fonda sold exercise videos.

The election of Donald Trump has been a gigantic litmus test for America.  It is said that true character is revealed only under duress.  If that’s so, then this country is filled with a whole lot of people who present well in the day-to-day world when things are going their way.  But when the fates don’t favor them, they’re revealed to be namby-pamby embarrassments, with dubious reasoning skills, largely indefensible positions, hearts full of hypocrisy and hatred, and a dumb-assery that is fast becoming legend.  (Here’s to you, Joss Whedon, Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, Judd Apatow, Kathy Griffin, Rosie O’Donnell, LeBron James, Eminem, Chelsea Handler, Stephen King, etc.)

But maybe I should really be thanking these folks instead of mocking them.  Thank God for the left!  (Or maybe: “Thank Science for the left” – in the progressive translation…)  After all, but for the north star of the left’s virtue, I would surely wander blind in a desolate wasteland of extreme bias, moral rot, and random cruelty to other humans.  We all would.

Even so, one wonders how many silent Trump voters exist in the spaces adjacent to the caterwaul of leftist outrage?

How many calls are coming from inside the house?

Image: John Morgan via Flickr.



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The Punk Rock President


Middle-fingered the establishment.  Railed against “the Queen.”  Thumbed his nose at manners.  Spit on convention.  Name-called.  Talked dirty.  Fought dirty.  Fought back.  Cursed.  Infuriated the press.  Didn’t need to be liked.  Pissed on the old rules.  Made mayhem.  Made sense.

Donald Trump is the punk rock president.

Trump’s raw, paradigm-nuking candidacy was a flip of the bird to the entrenched, systemic corruption of the establishment.  He threatened the status quo and the elites in the same way punk rock threatened corporate rock and disco in the late ’70s – seeking nothing less, in both instances, than their total destruction.  Very Johnny Rotten.

The fire in the belly of punk rock is the same incendiary source that ignited Trump’s rise.  It is rooted in the rejection of a gamed system and is wedded to confrontation.  The disaffected youth of the late 1970s were surrounded by things that infuriated them: dwindling job prospects; staid, safe, bourgeois music on the radio; and a system designed to keep them down.  They were angry and insulted – and they weaponized that discontent into a powerful cultural force.

Trump did the same.  He was furious about the lies of the Clintons, about political correctness, and about Obama’s assaults on the Constitution.  He also never forgot or forgave Obama’s mean girl mockery of him at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner.  All of these sharpened Trump’s resolve to upend the apple cart.  And so he did – flipping it upside-down proper on November 8, 2016.

Turns out the corrective for “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees was “God Save the Queen” by the Sex Pistols.  And the corrective for Barack Obama was Donald Trump.

Trump’s ascendancy mirrors punk’s hostile takeover of the culture in that both were examples of unskilled outsiders, with little to no experience in their respective fields, rising up with a ton of attitude to lay waste to the powers that be.  Punk rockers were often musicians in only the most generous sense of that word.  Many had barely played their instruments at all before they threw themselves on stage in front of an audience.  They made it up as they went along.  

So did Trump.  He likewise had zero political experience and was rough around the edges in his debates and during unscripted moments.  Trump flew by the seat of his pants and seemed to improvise as he went along, relying on his persona and his attitude.  Punk made no apologies for its rawness and its realness – and neither did Trump.  Punk bands were often loud and obnoxious, and their lack of calculation was euphoric for the genre’s acolytes.  This was also true for Trump’s supporters who saw their unconventional candidate willing to throw caution, decorum, and political correctness to the dogs.

Like the wave of punk bands who bonfired respect for cultural icons such as the queen of England and American royalty (think the Sex Pistols, the Dead Kennedys) Trump also had no problem insulting war heroes (John McCain), imaginary American Indians (Elizabeth Warren), and the reigning dynasties of American political life for the last 40 years (the Bushes and the Clintons).  When Trump emptied his clip, the strafing disrespect was every bit as much a shock to civilized society, the left, and the media as it was when punk bands first roamed the earth with their safety-pinned cheeks and hosanna of  “F yous.”

But while it spit its discontent with the wild-eyed fervor of youth, punk rock, like so many contra-movements, never had an idea what might replace the corrupted system it railed against.  This is true in politics as well: when you change regimes without a cogent plan, anarchy may ensue.  We saw this happen in the aftermath of the Iraq War; in the Arab Spring; and in Libya, after Hillary Clinton’s, Barack Obama’s, and Susan Rice’s feckless decision to oust Gaddafi resulted in a country in flames – with a newly established and burgeoning slave trade.  (Thanks, elites.)

So did Trump have any plan beyond MAGA when he defeated Hillary Clinton in a clear referendum on Barack Obama’s presidency?  His critics are a chorus of “no!” on this question, and certainly he’s had many embarrassing missteps, including the roll-out of his immigration ban, his turnover of Cabinet members, and his inability to deliver on the promised repeal of Obamacare.  But is Trump’s presidency the dumpster fire of ineptitude his haters claim? 

Even his most ardent detractors would concede that Trump’s Cabinet picks have been impressive, by and large, and his nomination of constitutional originalist Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court was a triumph.  Precipitous job growth, a booming stock market, and a farewell to the TPP count as unqualified successes.  The Supreme Court has now upheld the immigration ban sometime attorney general Sally Yates and the lower courts virtue-signaled and grandstanded against.  And Trump has now achieved his first major legislative win with tax reform.  So, not unlike the many punk bands who almost inadvertently found themselves becoming decent musicians the more they failed and forged ahead, Trump fought through his mistakes, warmed to the job, and began to notch wins, almost in spite of himself. 

Much of this is due to a willingness to roll up his shirtsleeves.  Trump is a workhorse.  He proved it during his tireless 2016 campaign, when he ran circles around the self-satisfied, moribund Clinton campaign and stayed up late into the night – to the consternation of many of his supporters.  But his trigger-worthy tweets and day-to-day incitements of the left belie a wily calculation.  Trump often throws a tweet that-a-way to draw attention from what he wants you to miss over here – like a street hustler playing a shell game.

The president is also far more considered than the hysterical media would have us believe.  When things were chaotic, he brought in General Kelly to establish order.  Trump’s clear-eyed agenda enabled him to help win the war against ISIS in Raqqa, roll back Obama-era regulations, sign more bills into law than any president in over a half century, and reduce the power of the Executive Branch to return it to its pre-Obama checks and balances with the other two branches of government.

In his work ethic and his unexpected discipline, Trump recalls the proto-punk gods The Ramones, who toured virtually nonstop for nearly 22 years, barely stopping to even take a breath between songs.  As any fan of their live shows can attest, Ramones concerts were essentially one long, awesome song, broken up every two to three minutes by a loud count of  “1, 2, 3, 4!”  The Ramones turned a Queens-based, outer-borough attitude into a well oiled machine of contempt for convention and the establishment.  And they did it with a sense of humor.  Sound like someone we know?

And just in case you think comparing the counter-culture anarchy of punk rock to a loudmouth billionaire who wears a (too long) tie is a laughable stretch, consider this: John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) recently stated that Trump “terrifies politicians,” which is a “joy to behold for me.”  He further wondered aloud if Trump might be “a possible friend” and referred to him as a “political Sex Pistol.”

My fellow citizens, I give you your president: Donny Rotten.

God save America – I mean it, man!

Middle-fingered the establishment.  Railed against “the Queen.”  Thumbed his nose at manners.  Spit on convention.  Name-called.  Talked dirty.  Fought dirty.  Fought back.  Cursed.  Infuriated the press.  Didn’t need to be liked.  Pissed on the old rules.  Made mayhem.  Made sense.

Donald Trump is the punk rock president.

Trump’s raw, paradigm-nuking candidacy was a flip of the bird to the entrenched, systemic corruption of the establishment.  He threatened the status quo and the elites in the same way punk rock threatened corporate rock and disco in the late ’70s – seeking nothing less, in both instances, than their total destruction.  Very Johnny Rotten.

The fire in the belly of punk rock is the same incendiary source that ignited Trump’s rise.  It is rooted in the rejection of a gamed system and is wedded to confrontation.  The disaffected youth of the late 1970s were surrounded by things that infuriated them: dwindling job prospects; staid, safe, bourgeois music on the radio; and a system designed to keep them down.  They were angry and insulted – and they weaponized that discontent into a powerful cultural force.

Trump did the same.  He was furious about the lies of the Clintons, about political correctness, and about Obama’s assaults on the Constitution.  He also never forgot or forgave Obama’s mean girl mockery of him at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner.  All of these sharpened Trump’s resolve to upend the apple cart.  And so he did – flipping it upside-down proper on November 8, 2016.

Turns out the corrective for “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees was “God Save the Queen” by the Sex Pistols.  And the corrective for Barack Obama was Donald Trump.

Trump’s ascendancy mirrors punk’s hostile takeover of the culture in that both were examples of unskilled outsiders, with little to no experience in their respective fields, rising up with a ton of attitude to lay waste to the powers that be.  Punk rockers were often musicians in only the most generous sense of that word.  Many had barely played their instruments at all before they threw themselves on stage in front of an audience.  They made it up as they went along.  

So did Trump.  He likewise had zero political experience and was rough around the edges in his debates and during unscripted moments.  Trump flew by the seat of his pants and seemed to improvise as he went along, relying on his persona and his attitude.  Punk made no apologies for its rawness and its realness – and neither did Trump.  Punk bands were often loud and obnoxious, and their lack of calculation was euphoric for the genre’s acolytes.  This was also true for Trump’s supporters who saw their unconventional candidate willing to throw caution, decorum, and political correctness to the dogs.

Like the wave of punk bands who bonfired respect for cultural icons such as the queen of England and American royalty (think the Sex Pistols, the Dead Kennedys) Trump also had no problem insulting war heroes (John McCain), imaginary American Indians (Elizabeth Warren), and the reigning dynasties of American political life for the last 40 years (the Bushes and the Clintons).  When Trump emptied his clip, the strafing disrespect was every bit as much a shock to civilized society, the left, and the media as it was when punk bands first roamed the earth with their safety-pinned cheeks and hosanna of  “F yous.”

But while it spit its discontent with the wild-eyed fervor of youth, punk rock, like so many contra-movements, never had an idea what might replace the corrupted system it railed against.  This is true in politics as well: when you change regimes without a cogent plan, anarchy may ensue.  We saw this happen in the aftermath of the Iraq War; in the Arab Spring; and in Libya, after Hillary Clinton’s, Barack Obama’s, and Susan Rice’s feckless decision to oust Gaddafi resulted in a country in flames – with a newly established and burgeoning slave trade.  (Thanks, elites.)

So did Trump have any plan beyond MAGA when he defeated Hillary Clinton in a clear referendum on Barack Obama’s presidency?  His critics are a chorus of “no!” on this question, and certainly he’s had many embarrassing missteps, including the roll-out of his immigration ban, his turnover of Cabinet members, and his inability to deliver on the promised repeal of Obamacare.  But is Trump’s presidency the dumpster fire of ineptitude his haters claim? 

Even his most ardent detractors would concede that Trump’s Cabinet picks have been impressive, by and large, and his nomination of constitutional originalist Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court was a triumph.  Precipitous job growth, a booming stock market, and a farewell to the TPP count as unqualified successes.  The Supreme Court has now upheld the immigration ban sometime attorney general Sally Yates and the lower courts virtue-signaled and grandstanded against.  And Trump has now achieved his first major legislative win with tax reform.  So, not unlike the many punk bands who almost inadvertently found themselves becoming decent musicians the more they failed and forged ahead, Trump fought through his mistakes, warmed to the job, and began to notch wins, almost in spite of himself. 

Much of this is due to a willingness to roll up his shirtsleeves.  Trump is a workhorse.  He proved it during his tireless 2016 campaign, when he ran circles around the self-satisfied, moribund Clinton campaign and stayed up late into the night – to the consternation of many of his supporters.  But his trigger-worthy tweets and day-to-day incitements of the left belie a wily calculation.  Trump often throws a tweet that-a-way to draw attention from what he wants you to miss over here – like a street hustler playing a shell game.

The president is also far more considered than the hysterical media would have us believe.  When things were chaotic, he brought in General Kelly to establish order.  Trump’s clear-eyed agenda enabled him to help win the war against ISIS in Raqqa, roll back Obama-era regulations, sign more bills into law than any president in over a half century, and reduce the power of the Executive Branch to return it to its pre-Obama checks and balances with the other two branches of government.

In his work ethic and his unexpected discipline, Trump recalls the proto-punk gods The Ramones, who toured virtually nonstop for nearly 22 years, barely stopping to even take a breath between songs.  As any fan of their live shows can attest, Ramones concerts were essentially one long, awesome song, broken up every two to three minutes by a loud count of  “1, 2, 3, 4!”  The Ramones turned a Queens-based, outer-borough attitude into a well oiled machine of contempt for convention and the establishment.  And they did it with a sense of humor.  Sound like someone we know?

And just in case you think comparing the counter-culture anarchy of punk rock to a loudmouth billionaire who wears a (too long) tie is a laughable stretch, consider this: John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) recently stated that Trump “terrifies politicians,” which is a “joy to behold for me.”  He further wondered aloud if Trump might be “a possible friend” and referred to him as a “political Sex Pistol.”

My fellow citizens, I give you your president: Donny Rotten.

God save America – I mean it, man!



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Hillary's Boomerang


The irony.  So rich it could give you gout.

At a fundraiser on September 9, 2016, Hillary Clinton made a soul-baring gaffe.  With uncharacteristic candor, she stated that half of all Trump supporters are a “basket of deplorables,” that they’re “irredeemable,” as well as “racist, sexist homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic – you name it.”

Naturally, with her epic lack of self-awareness (see What Happened book tour, 2017) and a blind spot about herself that rivals a covered wagon’s, she said this adjacent to a banner pimping her slogan, “Stronger Together.”

Because Hillary Clinton is all about the unifying.

I checked.  Page 1 of How to Get People to Like You begins with the following sound advice: “Don’t insult, belittle, demean, diminish, castigate, or otherwise excoriate people you want to like you.”

Stands to reason.

And yet, if you’re Hillary Clinton, apparently this helpful truism is much harder to glean when you have a steady stream of smoke being blown up your symbol for the Democratic Party.  Accomplished as she is, the Queen of Pantsuits fell prey to the fawning sycophants surrounding her.  You’d think the most qualified candidate in history would’ve figured out it was a bad idea to middle-finger middle America – but you would’ve thought wrong.  Helpful truism, part 2: The only thing that rivals Hillary Clinton’s bred-in-the-bone penchant for lies and corruption is her reliably flummoxed efforts to GPS a clue.  She just doesn’t get it.

This is sad.  And astonishing.  And hilarious.  And exhausting.

Clinton’s dirty bomb that day wedded her forever to the sneering elite tribalism so memorably fire-started by Barack Obama a few years earlier, when he casually derided the desperation of the flyover states with his comments about bitter people clinging to guns and religion.  When these two blue-chip democrats revealed their true selves, the curated façade of caring cultivated by the left for years finally yielded to the dark bigotry beneath.  It was a clarion call to the progressive left that the extreme bias against which they loudly and incessantly claim to take the moral high ground is actually warranted and welcome – as long as it’s leveled against the right.

The left got the message, like a bat signal in the sky.  The cordial, buttoned up, stealth loathing of yesteryear gave way to pitchforks and torches.  The left’s hatred of Trump now goes to 11, and by the associative property of partisanship, they hate his supporters with nearly the same level of fear and loathing.  Gone are the Golden Rule, the idea of understanding “the other,” and any effort to walk around in someone else’s shoes, as per Atticus Finch.  They have all been jettisoned in favor of an almost apocalyptic mission directive to destroy the president of the United States of America by any means necessary.

So Clinton finally let her hair down and said what she really felt that night – which is the divine right of grandmothers everywhere.  She was never really interested in being the president of all Americans anyway – just the president of the Cool Kids on the Coasts.  When Hillary Clinton coughed up the hairball that was her deplorables comment, it was id-based, gasp-worthy, and gross.  But it was also the opening salvo in a new war that allowed leftists permission to be their worst selves.

This was clearly freeing for them – and eye-opening for the rest of America.

Given the kraken-level nightmare known as the Weinstein scandal, and the horror show of entrenched corruption that is the DNC (recently affirmed by former DNC chair Donna Brazile – herself an admitted cheater and liar), the progressive left and the Democratic Party are lately doing a good impression of something craven, crumbling, and near collapse.  The moral posturing, virtue-signaling, and imperious judgment ended up not being a good look for them.  But that’s all they appear to have now.

The ink-black irony of that fundraising night has spawned a siege of similar inversions.  With the recent Uranium One, Steele dossier, and Podesta collusion exposures, not to mention the Wasserman Shultz I.T. imbroglio, it is worthwhile to once again note the mind-bending irony of the Jan Brady-like “Russia, Russia, Russia!” hysteria in which leftists have steeped themselves for over a year, as it now gives way to what might be a bona fide Russian scandal – implicating (wait for it) Clinton and the DNC.

The hits keep coming.  Will in our elected officials to get to the bottom of the Clinton Foundation’s pay-to-play schemes?  Will we ever know what was in those bleach-bitted Hillary “yoga” emails or the many thousands recovered from sexting enthusiast Anthony Weiner’s computer?  What about the nexus of conspiracy suggested by the Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton “grandkids chat” on the tarmac as it dovetailed with James Comey’s premature decision to not indict Hillary for her “grossly negligent” choice to set up that private server?  Do James Clapper, Donna Brazile, and Susan Rice merit Get Out of Jail Free cards for their straight-faced, verifiable lies – Clapper while under oath?  And now that Tony Podesta has stepped away from the lobbying firm he ran with his brother John, will the special counsel even bother to expose their Russian affiliations when it has a clear agenda and bigger fish to fry?  

All of them look a little…well, deplorable.  And all of them have Hillary Clinton in common – the author of their despair.  She has maelstromed all those around her into her vortex of deceit.  But how much longer will the Manchurianed faithful who carry Hillary’s water continue to do so, even as it breaks their backs?  When will the dam finally break and drown Clinton’s vaulting ambitions once and for all?

Hillary Clinton now evokes Miss Havisham in Great Expectations – stuck in time, muttering away to herself in a darkened room about what might have been, on a hopeful night long ago, gone terribly wrong.  She cast her own shadow across all those people who think differently from how she does in the American heartland.  She condemned them, because she was never possessed of the strength of character, honesty, or self-awareness to condemn herself.  

But this is hardly a surprise, as her political calculus was established early on: whatever it takes.  With her attempts to shame and silence her husband’s accusers even as she asserted the right of all rape and sexual assault victims to be believed, Hillary Clinton made her deal with the devil of political fortunes.  With her nimble side-stepping of the avoidable tragedy in Benghazi, complete with stone-faced lie about the origins of the attack to the parents of murdered soldiers – while attending their funerals, no less – she made her peace with being beneath contempt.  And with the news of her commandeering of the DNC to hamstring Bernie Sanders and game the system, the circle is complete.  Clinton’s ongoing health issues turn out to be an infection of the soul – and she is beset.

Like the oblivious irony of her fundraising night slam on red-state America, even as she sought be their president, Clinton continues to live a life of hypocrisy and desperate careerism.  Recall how she pearl-clutched at Trump’s “horrifying” debate comment when he said he’d keep us “in suspense” about whether he’d accept the election results?  With a straight face, Clinton has now almost literally spent a year blaming Russia, the DNC, sexism, misogyny, Bernie Sanders, WikiLeaks, James Comey, Barack Obama, uninformed voters, voter suppression, self-hating women, the media, and the Electoral College for her loss – and has never accepted the results of the election.

Every day, I thank America for dodging that bullet.  It was Matrix-like.

With each new revelation, the kismet she brought on herself relegates Clinton closer to political oblivion.  Her reductive bigotry said more about her, after all, than it ever did about her intended targets.  Hillary Clinton took aim at those she deemed “irredeemable” that fundraising night and let fly her weapon of choice.  Her words boomeranged back to crown her in the end.  Let the record show – Hillary Clinton is the real deplorable.

It’s a twist ending you saw coming all along.

The irony.  So rich it could give you gout.

At a fundraiser on September 9, 2016, Hillary Clinton made a soul-baring gaffe.  With uncharacteristic candor, she stated that half of all Trump supporters are a “basket of deplorables,” that they’re “irredeemable,” as well as “racist, sexist homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic – you name it.”

Naturally, with her epic lack of self-awareness (see What Happened book tour, 2017) and a blind spot about herself that rivals a covered wagon’s, she said this adjacent to a banner pimping her slogan, “Stronger Together.”

Because Hillary Clinton is all about the unifying.

I checked.  Page 1 of How to Get People to Like You begins with the following sound advice: “Don’t insult, belittle, demean, diminish, castigate, or otherwise excoriate people you want to like you.”

Stands to reason.

And yet, if you’re Hillary Clinton, apparently this helpful truism is much harder to glean when you have a steady stream of smoke being blown up your symbol for the Democratic Party.  Accomplished as she is, the Queen of Pantsuits fell prey to the fawning sycophants surrounding her.  You’d think the most qualified candidate in history would’ve figured out it was a bad idea to middle-finger middle America – but you would’ve thought wrong.  Helpful truism, part 2: The only thing that rivals Hillary Clinton’s bred-in-the-bone penchant for lies and corruption is her reliably flummoxed efforts to GPS a clue.  She just doesn’t get it.

This is sad.  And astonishing.  And hilarious.  And exhausting.

Clinton’s dirty bomb that day wedded her forever to the sneering elite tribalism so memorably fire-started by Barack Obama a few years earlier, when he casually derided the desperation of the flyover states with his comments about bitter people clinging to guns and religion.  When these two blue-chip democrats revealed their true selves, the curated façade of caring cultivated by the left for years finally yielded to the dark bigotry beneath.  It was a clarion call to the progressive left that the extreme bias against which they loudly and incessantly claim to take the moral high ground is actually warranted and welcome – as long as it’s leveled against the right.

The left got the message, like a bat signal in the sky.  The cordial, buttoned up, stealth loathing of yesteryear gave way to pitchforks and torches.  The left’s hatred of Trump now goes to 11, and by the associative property of partisanship, they hate his supporters with nearly the same level of fear and loathing.  Gone are the Golden Rule, the idea of understanding “the other,” and any effort to walk around in someone else’s shoes, as per Atticus Finch.  They have all been jettisoned in favor of an almost apocalyptic mission directive to destroy the president of the United States of America by any means necessary.

So Clinton finally let her hair down and said what she really felt that night – which is the divine right of grandmothers everywhere.  She was never really interested in being the president of all Americans anyway – just the president of the Cool Kids on the Coasts.  When Hillary Clinton coughed up the hairball that was her deplorables comment, it was id-based, gasp-worthy, and gross.  But it was also the opening salvo in a new war that allowed leftists permission to be their worst selves.

This was clearly freeing for them – and eye-opening for the rest of America.

Given the kraken-level nightmare known as the Weinstein scandal, and the horror show of entrenched corruption that is the DNC (recently affirmed by former DNC chair Donna Brazile – herself an admitted cheater and liar), the progressive left and the Democratic Party are lately doing a good impression of something craven, crumbling, and near collapse.  The moral posturing, virtue-signaling, and imperious judgment ended up not being a good look for them.  But that’s all they appear to have now.

The ink-black irony of that fundraising night has spawned a siege of similar inversions.  With the recent Uranium One, Steele dossier, and Podesta collusion exposures, not to mention the Wasserman Shultz I.T. imbroglio, it is worthwhile to once again note the mind-bending irony of the Jan Brady-like “Russia, Russia, Russia!” hysteria in which leftists have steeped themselves for over a year, as it now gives way to what might be a bona fide Russian scandal – implicating (wait for it) Clinton and the DNC.

The hits keep coming.  Will in our elected officials to get to the bottom of the Clinton Foundation’s pay-to-play schemes?  Will we ever know what was in those bleach-bitted Hillary “yoga” emails or the many thousands recovered from sexting enthusiast Anthony Weiner’s computer?  What about the nexus of conspiracy suggested by the Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton “grandkids chat” on the tarmac as it dovetailed with James Comey’s premature decision to not indict Hillary for her “grossly negligent” choice to set up that private server?  Do James Clapper, Donna Brazile, and Susan Rice merit Get Out of Jail Free cards for their straight-faced, verifiable lies – Clapper while under oath?  And now that Tony Podesta has stepped away from the lobbying firm he ran with his brother John, will the special counsel even bother to expose their Russian affiliations when it has a clear agenda and bigger fish to fry?  

All of them look a little…well, deplorable.  And all of them have Hillary Clinton in common – the author of their despair.  She has maelstromed all those around her into her vortex of deceit.  But how much longer will the Manchurianed faithful who carry Hillary’s water continue to do so, even as it breaks their backs?  When will the dam finally break and drown Clinton’s vaulting ambitions once and for all?

Hillary Clinton now evokes Miss Havisham in Great Expectations – stuck in time, muttering away to herself in a darkened room about what might have been, on a hopeful night long ago, gone terribly wrong.  She cast her own shadow across all those people who think differently from how she does in the American heartland.  She condemned them, because she was never possessed of the strength of character, honesty, or self-awareness to condemn herself.  

But this is hardly a surprise, as her political calculus was established early on: whatever it takes.  With her attempts to shame and silence her husband’s accusers even as she asserted the right of all rape and sexual assault victims to be believed, Hillary Clinton made her deal with the devil of political fortunes.  With her nimble side-stepping of the avoidable tragedy in Benghazi, complete with stone-faced lie about the origins of the attack to the parents of murdered soldiers – while attending their funerals, no less – she made her peace with being beneath contempt.  And with the news of her commandeering of the DNC to hamstring Bernie Sanders and game the system, the circle is complete.  Clinton’s ongoing health issues turn out to be an infection of the soul – and she is beset.

Like the oblivious irony of her fundraising night slam on red-state America, even as she sought be their president, Clinton continues to live a life of hypocrisy and desperate careerism.  Recall how she pearl-clutched at Trump’s “horrifying” debate comment when he said he’d keep us “in suspense” about whether he’d accept the election results?  With a straight face, Clinton has now almost literally spent a year blaming Russia, the DNC, sexism, misogyny, Bernie Sanders, WikiLeaks, James Comey, Barack Obama, uninformed voters, voter suppression, self-hating women, the media, and the Electoral College for her loss – and has never accepted the results of the election.

Every day, I thank America for dodging that bullet.  It was Matrix-like.

With each new revelation, the kismet she brought on herself relegates Clinton closer to political oblivion.  Her reductive bigotry said more about her, after all, than it ever did about her intended targets.  Hillary Clinton took aim at those she deemed “irredeemable” that fundraising night and let fly her weapon of choice.  Her words boomeranged back to crown her in the end.  Let the record show – Hillary Clinton is the real deplorable.

It’s a twist ending you saw coming all along.



Source link

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love The Donald


It is an article of faith among many that some of the most patriotic Americans are immigrants.  Leaving one’s country and culture in search of a better life has a way of clarifying the reasons for making such a consequential choice.  The freedoms and opportunities we enjoy as native-born citizens, but can sometimes take for granted, are often even more deeply cherished by new Americans in their adopted homeland.  Trading up carries with it a reminder of what one has lived down – and can be all the more meaningful for it.

In a similar way, it may also be true that the most passionate adherents to political ideology, or a candidate embodying such views, are those who have cast off an opposing party or politician they found wanting.  Nothing brings into high relief the folly of one’s voting choices like deep disillusionment with the elected officials or party in whom one has put one’s trust.

Like the immigrant, then, for whom America matters even more when compared to the system they’ve fled, the lately anointed conservative may feel greater affinity for a core set of newly held beliefs, particularly in contrast to the liberal ideals he deserted.  Rejecting something is purposeful.  And not having a thing of value only makes the getting of it more valuable.

This is why the Cuban who fled Castro’s fascist regime has great clarity – as does the Trump voter who abandoned Obama.

They both know full well what they escaped.

The silent minority of centrist, independent, or disenchanted liberal voters who threw over the Democratic Party in order to help put Trump over the top on election day may have been a crucial factor in Trump’s win.  For this group of voters, who rejected the hope and change promised by Barack Obama as ultimately hollow and corrupted, Donald Trump represented a chance to sandblast the entrenched bureaucracy of Washington and return power to the people.

Think about it this way: the desire to reject the well heeled vampire the left has become was so great that America was willing to elect a coarse, unrefined reality TV star with zero political experience to run the country just because he seemed to have the courage of his convictionscand wasn’t Barack Obama, or some iteration thereof.

Obama voters – or at least the ones who paid attention – witnessed our 44th president’s mendacity about the transparency of his administration, the ACA’s freedom of choice, the responsibility for the terrorism in Benghazi, the ransom payments to Iran, the deadly overreach of Fast and Furious, and the targeting of conservatives by the IRS, to name but a few.  For those not still in thrall to Obama’s impressive speech-making and statesman-like bearing, the cynicism of these shell games became corrosive to keeping faith in him.

Voters accurately determined that Obama was a Trojan horse –  a figure with a promise of change who went on to undercut his pledges with lies, and who bent the Constitution to his will via imperial fiat masquerading as executive privilege.  Obama’s deceptions, along with the rightful resentment against the iron maiden that political correctness had become, won Trump the presidency.

Did these political migrants have misgivings about supporting a man like Donald Trump?  To a one – more than likely.  Trump’s blunt candor and his inartful rhetoric are an acquired taste, at best.  Without a prepared speech, the president can inspire a kind of reflexive wincing in even his most avid defenders when he speaks.  He is boorish, vain, thin-skinned, and vengeful – hardly the boxes anyone checks when filling out the “Adjectives That Describe a President” form.

And yet something real emanates from him – something true.  For Americans habituated to the oiled pandering and doubletalk of many career politicians, Trump’s flat, syntax-challenged style is a strange balm.  He is an antidote to politics as usual – one that goes down with a spoonful of salt rather than sugar.

Whether this long-shot bet will pay off is still in question.  The roulette wheel is presently spinning, and sometimes, it threatens to career off the table.  But the fact that millions of Americans decided to ignore the odds and bet anyway tells you something about what kind of intuitive desperation about the state of the union occasioned such risk-taking.

The dirty little secret of what was a lurid, divisive election cycle is that Trump won on the issues.  People were paying attention.

Seen by daylight, the odds that a handsome, gifted, whip-smart orator with charisma to burn and two terms of the American presidency under his belt would be succeeded by a brazen, awkward, rhetorically challenged vulgarian, a force of nature with an outer-borough attitude and bad hair, are vanishingly slim.  But it happened – and, in part, because a clutch of reasonable Americans who crossed their fingers and hoped for the best with Obama, instead saw the entrenched power, bureaucratic sprawl, and deep-seated corruption of government expand beyond reckoning – and the middle and lower classes thrown under the globalist bus.  These folks voted with their feet and walked away from the left.

The story is likely apocryphal, or speculative at least, but it resonates either way.  It goes something like this: Donald Trump decided to run for president of the United States the night of the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner at which he was mocked without mercy by both Seth Meyers and Barack Obama.  This smug, elite takedown of Trump was weaponized by the rapier invective of the left’s canon of comedy writers, and its message to Trump was simple: you are a classless embarrassment, and your persona justifies any cruelty leveled against you.

It took a few years, but Trump’s chickens came home to roost – along the ivory walls of the White House.  Lesson learned: don’t poke the bear just because it’s fun to be cruel, for one day the bear may eat you – or at least make you cry pathetically on air, as Meyers did on election night.  

Is there a quiet sea change at play in the heartland – one that involves re-assessing one’s self-assumptions about party, ideology, and core beliefs?  Just ask former Democrat and liberal talk show host Dave Rubin, who “left the left” because he sees the progressive movement devolving into authoritarianism.  Or read the sobering story of gay journalist Chadwick Moore, who was ostracized by his community for the crime of writing neutrally about provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, then came out again – as a conservative.  Or consider that Democratic governor of West Virginia, Jim Justice, who switched to the Republican Party because, as he stated to his constituents at a rally attended by Trump, “I can’t help you anymore being a Democrat.”

What might these startling horses changing midstream portend about the future of the Democrats?  Are these defections a Cassandra’s vision of a party in decay?  

I could conjecture, but I can really speak with authority only about myself, however anecdotally.  I voted for Barack Obama twice.  I wasn’t happy about it.  And then, eyes wide open – I voted for Donald Trump.

I did this in spite of his flaws and his effrontery.  I did it because of his vision of America as a place where the state bends the knee to its people, instead of the reverse – a place where silenced Americans get their voices back.

I have no regrets about my decision – only hope.  I believe that with any luck, a change in the weather, and the wind at his back, Trump could be the transformational president I thought Obama might be.

Just maybe.

Godspeed, 45.

It is an article of faith among many that some of the most patriotic Americans are immigrants.  Leaving one’s country and culture in search of a better life has a way of clarifying the reasons for making such a consequential choice.  The freedoms and opportunities we enjoy as native-born citizens, but can sometimes take for granted, are often even more deeply cherished by new Americans in their adopted homeland.  Trading up carries with it a reminder of what one has lived down – and can be all the more meaningful for it.

In a similar way, it may also be true that the most passionate adherents to political ideology, or a candidate embodying such views, are those who have cast off an opposing party or politician they found wanting.  Nothing brings into high relief the folly of one’s voting choices like deep disillusionment with the elected officials or party in whom one has put one’s trust.

Like the immigrant, then, for whom America matters even more when compared to the system they’ve fled, the lately anointed conservative may feel greater affinity for a core set of newly held beliefs, particularly in contrast to the liberal ideals he deserted.  Rejecting something is purposeful.  And not having a thing of value only makes the getting of it more valuable.

This is why the Cuban who fled Castro’s fascist regime has great clarity – as does the Trump voter who abandoned Obama.

They both know full well what they escaped.

The silent minority of centrist, independent, or disenchanted liberal voters who threw over the Democratic Party in order to help put Trump over the top on election day may have been a crucial factor in Trump’s win.  For this group of voters, who rejected the hope and change promised by Barack Obama as ultimately hollow and corrupted, Donald Trump represented a chance to sandblast the entrenched bureaucracy of Washington and return power to the people.

Think about it this way: the desire to reject the well heeled vampire the left has become was so great that America was willing to elect a coarse, unrefined reality TV star with zero political experience to run the country just because he seemed to have the courage of his convictionscand wasn’t Barack Obama, or some iteration thereof.

Obama voters – or at least the ones who paid attention – witnessed our 44th president’s mendacity about the transparency of his administration, the ACA’s freedom of choice, the responsibility for the terrorism in Benghazi, the ransom payments to Iran, the deadly overreach of Fast and Furious, and the targeting of conservatives by the IRS, to name but a few.  For those not still in thrall to Obama’s impressive speech-making and statesman-like bearing, the cynicism of these shell games became corrosive to keeping faith in him.

Voters accurately determined that Obama was a Trojan horse –  a figure with a promise of change who went on to undercut his pledges with lies, and who bent the Constitution to his will via imperial fiat masquerading as executive privilege.  Obama’s deceptions, along with the rightful resentment against the iron maiden that political correctness had become, won Trump the presidency.

Did these political migrants have misgivings about supporting a man like Donald Trump?  To a one – more than likely.  Trump’s blunt candor and his inartful rhetoric are an acquired taste, at best.  Without a prepared speech, the president can inspire a kind of reflexive wincing in even his most avid defenders when he speaks.  He is boorish, vain, thin-skinned, and vengeful – hardly the boxes anyone checks when filling out the “Adjectives That Describe a President” form.

And yet something real emanates from him – something true.  For Americans habituated to the oiled pandering and doubletalk of many career politicians, Trump’s flat, syntax-challenged style is a strange balm.  He is an antidote to politics as usual – one that goes down with a spoonful of salt rather than sugar.

Whether this long-shot bet will pay off is still in question.  The roulette wheel is presently spinning, and sometimes, it threatens to career off the table.  But the fact that millions of Americans decided to ignore the odds and bet anyway tells you something about what kind of intuitive desperation about the state of the union occasioned such risk-taking.

The dirty little secret of what was a lurid, divisive election cycle is that Trump won on the issues.  People were paying attention.

Seen by daylight, the odds that a handsome, gifted, whip-smart orator with charisma to burn and two terms of the American presidency under his belt would be succeeded by a brazen, awkward, rhetorically challenged vulgarian, a force of nature with an outer-borough attitude and bad hair, are vanishingly slim.  But it happened – and, in part, because a clutch of reasonable Americans who crossed their fingers and hoped for the best with Obama, instead saw the entrenched power, bureaucratic sprawl, and deep-seated corruption of government expand beyond reckoning – and the middle and lower classes thrown under the globalist bus.  These folks voted with their feet and walked away from the left.

The story is likely apocryphal, or speculative at least, but it resonates either way.  It goes something like this: Donald Trump decided to run for president of the United States the night of the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner at which he was mocked without mercy by both Seth Meyers and Barack Obama.  This smug, elite takedown of Trump was weaponized by the rapier invective of the left’s canon of comedy writers, and its message to Trump was simple: you are a classless embarrassment, and your persona justifies any cruelty leveled against you.

It took a few years, but Trump’s chickens came home to roost – along the ivory walls of the White House.  Lesson learned: don’t poke the bear just because it’s fun to be cruel, for one day the bear may eat you – or at least make you cry pathetically on air, as Meyers did on election night.  

Is there a quiet sea change at play in the heartland – one that involves re-assessing one’s self-assumptions about party, ideology, and core beliefs?  Just ask former Democrat and liberal talk show host Dave Rubin, who “left the left” because he sees the progressive movement devolving into authoritarianism.  Or read the sobering story of gay journalist Chadwick Moore, who was ostracized by his community for the crime of writing neutrally about provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, then came out again – as a conservative.  Or consider that Democratic governor of West Virginia, Jim Justice, who switched to the Republican Party because, as he stated to his constituents at a rally attended by Trump, “I can’t help you anymore being a Democrat.”

What might these startling horses changing midstream portend about the future of the Democrats?  Are these defections a Cassandra’s vision of a party in decay?  

I could conjecture, but I can really speak with authority only about myself, however anecdotally.  I voted for Barack Obama twice.  I wasn’t happy about it.  And then, eyes wide open – I voted for Donald Trump.

I did this in spite of his flaws and his effrontery.  I did it because of his vision of America as a place where the state bends the knee to its people, instead of the reverse – a place where silenced Americans get their voices back.

I have no regrets about my decision – only hope.  I believe that with any luck, a change in the weather, and the wind at his back, Trump could be the transformational president I thought Obama might be.

Just maybe.

Godspeed, 45.



Source link

Explaining the Narcissistic Rage of the Left


How to account for the scorched-earth hatred of Donald Trump? 

He inspires a darkly fanatical dislike, disapproval, and disgust in his most ardent detractors.  He is a distillation for millions of unhappy Americans of all things repugnant, repulsive, and wretched.  The fever pitch at which he has been mocked, ridiculed, condemned, and threatened is beyond anything anyone in living memory has been subject to – let alone a sitting American president.  From Colbert’s “holster” to Madonna’s fantasy of blowing up the White House to Kathy Griffin’s decapitation stunt, and De Niro’s thug life wish to “punch him in the face,” the gloves are most certainly off – if only to better grasp a bludgeon.  And that’s just the celebrities.  Even a state senator from Missouri hoped for Trump’s assassination on Facebook. 

Why such unabated arch-loathing?  One possibility is that Trump’s triumph dealt the progressive left a narcissistic injury from which they are still reeling.  Is there another explanation for why previously sober, thoughtful Americans have abandoned the rational in such numbers?

The elite see their virtue, rectitude, and moral superiority reflected back to them in the films, newspapers, advertisements, TV shows, and magazines they themselves create, and it is intoxicating – a gauzy reverie of self-ratifying congratulation.  Is it any wonder, after such unmitigated success, that the left is apoplectic about having its echo chamber shattered by a barbarian like Trump?

The belief system of the progressive left includes the shared understanding that leftists have been anointed to determine what is good and right in American life and what is not.  Their candidate was ordained to hold the highest office in the land as the inevitable consequence of this orthodoxy.  That belief system was shattered at 2:30 AM on November 3, 2016, when the Associated Press called the election for Trump.

Cue shock, horror, denial, and a rage that might be termed the VSO – the Veruca Salt Option.  Named after the spoiled rich girl in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, whose nuclear tantrums at not getting what she wants result in her being literally relegated to the nut bin, the Veruca Salt Option is an apt descriptor for the infantilizing behaviors many on the left have engaged in following Trump’s unthinkable electoral college win. 

Exhibit A was the spectacle of a “women’s march,” featuring a sea of resisters in the bright pink, knit wool “vagina” hats of first-graders – a march that hypocritically and explicitly excluded pro-life women.  Further instances of acting out included Reza Azlan of CNN calling Trump a “piece of [s—],” Maxine Waters’s unhinged calls for impeachment mere months into the new administration, and Johnny Depp’s mumble-joke about assassinating the president.

The groupthink that the most qualified nominee in history was unbeatable begat a bubble that Trump popped like a schoolyard bully.  In the parlance of the day, this “triggered” leftists throughout the land into dyspeptic, unbecoming tirades that have made for some galling exposures of untethered ultra-bias in media and political personalities.  This is a familiar strategy for a wounded narcissist: blame others, rage, and attack.  But it’s disheartening to see it manifest so baldly.

The specter of Trump in all his gloaming menace, spouting his incendiary, charm-challenged rhetoric, only serves to further infuriate those already suffering great spasms of hate.  Taking exception to a man whose policies you find abhorrent is understandable, but when did the left – in the words of David Byrne – stop making sense? 

Trump is in favor of redefining marriage, has a ten-point plan for renewal of the inner city, employs more women than men as executives in his businesses, has been married to two immigrants, and has a Jewish daughter and three Jewish grandchildren.  These would seem to put the lie to claims Trump is racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, and anti-LGBTQ.  So why, given these many things on which his opponents might agree with the president, are they unmoved to acknowledge common ground?

Intellectual dishonesty is possible.  Sheer hatred is more likely.  Democratic representative Brad Sherman admitted that the animus against the president is so strong in the California legislature, for example, that he would be forced to oppose Mother’s Day if Trump supported it.  Trump’s win was not only a repudiation of globalism, elitism, and Obamism, but also a devastating rebuke to the core identity of the left.  The rage and denial are, in some ways, easy to understand.

In spite of or because of their outsized antipathy for Trump, this might have been an important moment for the Democratic left to undertake a clear-eyed accounting of why they lost an un-losable election.  Instead of honest forensics on their efforts, the left became a verb and began flame-throwing the administration early and often with an impressively hateful and single-minded campaign.  But a funny thing happened on the way to impeachment: Democrats stopped standing for anything at all, other than pitched loathing and hysteria. 

The Democrats of old, authors of the flawed but well intentioned Great Society programs and champions of working-class Americans, have self-abnegated in recent years to become ghosts of their own past.  Riven with identity politics, the progressive left is shot through with a central hypocrisy: that diversity is revered above all things – except for diversity of thought, which is reviled.  This core intolerance has resulted in an abasement of everything for which the left formerly stood.  

The real-time destruction of the left has been brought about by the wrecking ball that is Donald J. Trump.  He represents the razing of everything they stand for – for the impeccably curated façade of caring, competence, and open-mindedness the left has traded on for decades.  The tragedy of it is Greek in proportion.

The left, and the many “conscientious conservatives” who Venn-diagram them, have lost power, influence, and reason like gouts of blood from the infliction of this narcissistic wound.  With historically few seats held in Congress and at the state level; no cogent message beyond “Trump is a goat rodeo on fire”; and a series of perverse policy positions on immigration, the First Amendment, and school choice, the Democrats have now reached a watershed moment.  Do the progressive left and the elites who lead them acknowledge that political correctness, however worthy it might have been, has Frankensteined into a kind of creeping McCarthyism?  Do they unpack this slow-motion train wreck of a once consequential party to seek the truth of their own responsibility for its demise – or do they continue to resist?  (And by resist, I mean tantrum.)  

I’m rooting for them – every yin needs a yang.  But the odds on entitled brats evolving into mature adults who take responsibility for their actions aren’t great.  Why take a long, hard look in the mirror when you can smash that mirror instead – and unleash the Veruca within?

How to account for the scorched-earth hatred of Donald Trump? 

He inspires a darkly fanatical dislike, disapproval, and disgust in his most ardent detractors.  He is a distillation for millions of unhappy Americans of all things repugnant, repulsive, and wretched.  The fever pitch at which he has been mocked, ridiculed, condemned, and threatened is beyond anything anyone in living memory has been subject to – let alone a sitting American president.  From Colbert’s “holster” to Madonna’s fantasy of blowing up the White House to Kathy Griffin’s decapitation stunt, and De Niro’s thug life wish to “punch him in the face,” the gloves are most certainly off – if only to better grasp a bludgeon.  And that’s just the celebrities.  Even a state senator from Missouri hoped for Trump’s assassination on Facebook. 

Why such unabated arch-loathing?  One possibility is that Trump’s triumph dealt the progressive left a narcissistic injury from which they are still reeling.  Is there another explanation for why previously sober, thoughtful Americans have abandoned the rational in such numbers?

The elite see their virtue, rectitude, and moral superiority reflected back to them in the films, newspapers, advertisements, TV shows, and magazines they themselves create, and it is intoxicating – a gauzy reverie of self-ratifying congratulation.  Is it any wonder, after such unmitigated success, that the left is apoplectic about having its echo chamber shattered by a barbarian like Trump?

The belief system of the progressive left includes the shared understanding that leftists have been anointed to determine what is good and right in American life and what is not.  Their candidate was ordained to hold the highest office in the land as the inevitable consequence of this orthodoxy.  That belief system was shattered at 2:30 AM on November 3, 2016, when the Associated Press called the election for Trump.

Cue shock, horror, denial, and a rage that might be termed the VSO – the Veruca Salt Option.  Named after the spoiled rich girl in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, whose nuclear tantrums at not getting what she wants result in her being literally relegated to the nut bin, the Veruca Salt Option is an apt descriptor for the infantilizing behaviors many on the left have engaged in following Trump’s unthinkable electoral college win. 

Exhibit A was the spectacle of a “women’s march,” featuring a sea of resisters in the bright pink, knit wool “vagina” hats of first-graders – a march that hypocritically and explicitly excluded pro-life women.  Further instances of acting out included Reza Azlan of CNN calling Trump a “piece of [s—],” Maxine Waters’s unhinged calls for impeachment mere months into the new administration, and Johnny Depp’s mumble-joke about assassinating the president.

The groupthink that the most qualified nominee in history was unbeatable begat a bubble that Trump popped like a schoolyard bully.  In the parlance of the day, this “triggered” leftists throughout the land into dyspeptic, unbecoming tirades that have made for some galling exposures of untethered ultra-bias in media and political personalities.  This is a familiar strategy for a wounded narcissist: blame others, rage, and attack.  But it’s disheartening to see it manifest so baldly.

The specter of Trump in all his gloaming menace, spouting his incendiary, charm-challenged rhetoric, only serves to further infuriate those already suffering great spasms of hate.  Taking exception to a man whose policies you find abhorrent is understandable, but when did the left – in the words of David Byrne – stop making sense? 

Trump is in favor of redefining marriage, has a ten-point plan for renewal of the inner city, employs more women than men as executives in his businesses, has been married to two immigrants, and has a Jewish daughter and three Jewish grandchildren.  These would seem to put the lie to claims Trump is racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, and anti-LGBTQ.  So why, given these many things on which his opponents might agree with the president, are they unmoved to acknowledge common ground?

Intellectual dishonesty is possible.  Sheer hatred is more likely.  Democratic representative Brad Sherman admitted that the animus against the president is so strong in the California legislature, for example, that he would be forced to oppose Mother’s Day if Trump supported it.  Trump’s win was not only a repudiation of globalism, elitism, and Obamism, but also a devastating rebuke to the core identity of the left.  The rage and denial are, in some ways, easy to understand.

In spite of or because of their outsized antipathy for Trump, this might have been an important moment for the Democratic left to undertake a clear-eyed accounting of why they lost an un-losable election.  Instead of honest forensics on their efforts, the left became a verb and began flame-throwing the administration early and often with an impressively hateful and single-minded campaign.  But a funny thing happened on the way to impeachment: Democrats stopped standing for anything at all, other than pitched loathing and hysteria. 

The Democrats of old, authors of the flawed but well intentioned Great Society programs and champions of working-class Americans, have self-abnegated in recent years to become ghosts of their own past.  Riven with identity politics, the progressive left is shot through with a central hypocrisy: that diversity is revered above all things – except for diversity of thought, which is reviled.  This core intolerance has resulted in an abasement of everything for which the left formerly stood.  

The real-time destruction of the left has been brought about by the wrecking ball that is Donald J. Trump.  He represents the razing of everything they stand for – for the impeccably curated façade of caring, competence, and open-mindedness the left has traded on for decades.  The tragedy of it is Greek in proportion.

The left, and the many “conscientious conservatives” who Venn-diagram them, have lost power, influence, and reason like gouts of blood from the infliction of this narcissistic wound.  With historically few seats held in Congress and at the state level; no cogent message beyond “Trump is a goat rodeo on fire”; and a series of perverse policy positions on immigration, the First Amendment, and school choice, the Democrats have now reached a watershed moment.  Do the progressive left and the elites who lead them acknowledge that political correctness, however worthy it might have been, has Frankensteined into a kind of creeping McCarthyism?  Do they unpack this slow-motion train wreck of a once consequential party to seek the truth of their own responsibility for its demise – or do they continue to resist?  (And by resist, I mean tantrum.)  

I’m rooting for them – every yin needs a yang.  But the odds on entitled brats evolving into mature adults who take responsibility for their actions aren’t great.  Why take a long, hard look in the mirror when you can smash that mirror instead – and unleash the Veruca within?



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