Trump change

Donald John Trump, the 45th President of the United States, on the long march, slog through the campaign to his election and inauguration, and now in office, among many pledges, promised “to drain the swamp” of the rapacious and mendacious Washington, DC, political establishment characterized by institutionalized (constitutionalized?) cronyism.

Would that he would endeavor to fulfill this promise (such an attempt I consider a chivalrous task of Don Quixote-esque proportions). But no (though I do perceive this similarity between the man of La Mancha and Mr. Trump; both replace a realistic view of the world with an imaginary and narcissistic – thus, self-serving and, therefore, inevitably self-defeating – vision of life and their noble, exalted place in it). A half-year into his presidency, Mr. Trump appears to me to have remained as he, again, from my perspective, alway hath been – as rapacious and mendacious as the town and culture he vowed to change.

Therefore, Trump change truly is chump change of trifling measure and even less meaning.

As President Trump, the Tweeter-in-Chief, might opine: Sad

my Lord, what a morning!

thinking

a personal reflection on inauguration ceremonies and the Women’s March on Washington…

This morning, I watched the live television broadcast of the inaugural prayer service. In commemoration of Donald John Trump becoming the 45th President of the United States and America’s praised and prized peaceful transfer of power, a few thousand folk gathered under the towering pointed arches, flying buttresses, and ceiling vaulting of the Washington National Cathedral. There, for an hour, they listened to numerous voices praying and singing in varied traditions of faith and hymnody, all celebrating the glories (and summoning all people to recommit to the promotion of the causes) of peace and justice.

This morning, I also watched and through this day continue to watch live news coverage of the Women’s March on Washington (and around the globe!) as hundreds of thousands (millions?) of women and men gather to proclaim that “women’s rights are human rights”, to protect the dignity of women and girls of all ages, anywhere and at any time, and to protest any infringement on the sanctity and security of women’s rights. And, as is true of all marches to (and all marchers who) proclaim, protest, and protect, numerous are the causes, varied are the interests that call people forth. Hence, under the towering, flying, vaulted banner of women’s rights, many peoples and concerns gather in blessed solidarity; among them, Native Americans and colored folk, immigrants of whatever legal status, those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersexual, and asexual (acronymically rendered as LGBTQIA) – in a word, any and all who historically have been and unto this day are marginalized, thrust to the widening circumference of our society far from the centers of power and influence and, thus, in the language of the Declaration of Independence, disenfranchised, divested of their Creator-endowed “certain unalienable Rights…(of) Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

In the words of that grand Negro spiritual:

My Lord, what a morning,

My Lord, what a morning,

My Lord, what a morning

When the stars begin to fall.

You’ll hear the trumpet sound,

To wake the nations underground,

Looking to my God’s right hand,

When the stars begin to fall.

This song is a commemoration of God’s deliverance; a celebration of the coming of that eschatological end-time when sin and death, hate and war, discrimination and oppression finally are defeated. Still, in this day and time, when all is not right, when sin and death, hate and war, discrimination and oppression are ruefully alive and unrepentantly unwell, I think, feel that “morning” can be supplanted by “mourning.”

On this day, in prayer and song, by watching and marching, I commit anew to live and labor so that, even in this world, before God’s Kingdom come in its glorious fullness, mourning’s veil is lifted, however slightly, by the morning’s dawn.

a fall conundrum

i don’t know Donald or Hillary, other than what I have seen and heard

in their reported deeds and words;

 

thus, I cannot speak with knowledge personal

or conviction internal

about their sterling spirit-qualities

tho’ trusting they, each and both, possess

or their shadowy soul-deep liabilities,

which, doubtless, they, each and both, must confess

(if only in private).

 

what I can and do declare

is that they, each and both, standing in the public square,

magnifying their imperfections,

suffer from that condition

of all, our humanity

called hubris; that quality

of excessive prideful, self/over-confident personality.

 

Donald John Trump (nbcnews)

Donald, whate’er he says or does

ne’er apologizes,

thus, e’er idolizes

his self-

aggrandizing, -amplifying self.

 

Hillary Rodham Clinton (biography.com)

Hillary,

now that the F.B.I. hath ruled (exonerating her of liability legal

[but not political!]

for being “extremely careless”,

her prior demurrals specious,

and her judgment dubious

about State Department email use),

seems immune to the call of accountability,

the command, the demand to claim fullest responsibility.

 

hubris – our common human fate,

so evident glaringly in our presumptive presidential candidates –

for the Greeks, set one against the gods

and C. S. Lewis, agreeing, called the state of “anti-God”

when ego, denying, defying, flies in the face of God…

 

its eschatos inescapable

indeed, inexorable,

whether mythological

or theological

is proverbial,

for truth e’er calls

that “pride goeth before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall”…

 

all being why

i,

either way,

do not look forward to this November’s  8th day.

m.A.g.a.?

Donald John Trump

“Make America Great Again!”

So Donald John Trump touts in his campaign slogan of very loud note.

 

If I literally his word to take,

then I would surmise by “make”

and “again”

that Mr. Trump has a plan,

a program

(at times, I fear, a pogrom)

to transform

our late,

once great

nation,

restoring her to former lofty station.

 

I wonder: What is

his

rags-to-riches, phoenix-rising-from-the-ashes

plan?

 

2 (of a mighty many) of his words

I’ve heard…

 

“We’ll build a wall and get Mexico to pay for it!”

(good luck with that!)

 

And

 

“I’m a very successful businessman. I’ll bring jobs back to our country!”

(though, I think, hardly those he’s shipped to other global economies!)

 

And, Mr. Trump, to date I’ve not heard you state

much more than glaring generalities,

thus, far less than thoughtful specificities;

leaving me to wonder about the America you will make great again.

 

Will we

be

more exclusive, bounded about, fenced within our primal, nativist sensibilities?

Or will we

be

more inclusive, alway opening out toward our most expansive possibilities?

 

Tell me, Mr. Trump, which America (for alway there have been at least these two)

do you propose,

do you purpose

again to make great?

a Trump-et call…to what?

Silly. From the 13th century Old English gesælig, meaning “fortuitous” or “prosperous”, later, “harmless”, then “pitiable”, then, roughly a hundred years later, “weak”, and, in the latter 16th century, and, the most common current usage, “feeble of mind”, “lacking in reason”, or “foolish”.

In February 2008, this last connotation, I think, was the thrust of then presidential candidate Barack Obama’s comment during a CNN televised debate with fellow Democratic Party contender Hillary Clinton, “This is where we start getting in the ‘silly season’ of politics”, in response to her charge that he had plagiarized some phrases in a number of his campaign speeches. In April 2008, Obama again used “silly season” (originally a bit of 19th century journalistic slang regarding the August-September time period when newspapers characteristically sought to offset a lack of substantive news with trivial stories) to rebuff the charge of elitism, chronicling his background of economic struggle, following remarks he had made about small town America “cling(ing) to guns or religion” as comforting channels for frustration.

Now, at the end of August, surveying the campaigns of the variety of 2016 presidential hopefuls, I believe, once again, America has entered the “silly season” of politics. For me, no candidate fulfills the sense of this title as well (meaning not good, but rather fittingly) as Donald John Trump.

It is not because I consider that his lack of experience of elective office of any kind disqualifies him for the American presidency. (It has happened once. Think Zachary Taylor. Though, yes, the likelihood of that occurring again may be small, but this is America. Anything’s possible!)

Nor do I desire to suppress Mr. Trump’s expression of his opinions on the issues. As one who embraces radical hospitality and inclusion, I believe that folks have a right to hold and promulgate their views. Yes, as a political progressive – actually, in the main, more a Rooseveltian (Theodore, not Franklin) Democrat – I differ with a number of Mr. Trump’s positions. Among them, his general opposition to gun control, his rejection of climate change and global warming, and his facile association of immigrants and crime, leading, I think, to a less than nuanced, even heartless view of immigration reform. Still, I haven’t met a politician or person with whom I’ve found 100% agreement. (Indeed, I, at times, disagree with myself!) More importantly, I believe that in America’s “land of the free” a test of the reality of our professed liberties is our public ability and willingness to disagree.

What, for me, makes Mr. Trump an embodiment, even caricature of the current “silly (and here, I do not mean “feeble” or “foolish”, but rather “fearful”) season” in politics is his decidedly inflammatory rhetoric, some of which I deem racist, and incendiary ad hominem style of engaging, confronting those, be they persons or nations, with whom he disagrees. In this, under his banner of “Make America Great Again”, Mr. Trump, polling at a consistent double-digit show of support, clearly appeals to a vocal segment of the American populace.

It is because of this that I ask: To what era of American history, Mr. Trump, do you wish that we reclaim so to be great again? A time of unfettered, unregulated big business? A time before the inexorable march toward the emancipation and assimilation of “the other” – whether ethnic and racial, genderal and sexual, theological and philosophical? A time when socio-economic-political power, indeed, America itself was less brown and black, less red and yellow and more white? What America, Mr. Trump, do you look back into our national history with fond affection and wish to revive?

It is because my questions encapsulate my sense of the America Mr. Trump beholds and deems to be great that I feel, I fear we have embarked anew on the political “silly season”.