Friday, August 5, 2016

Correspondence: Nightmares

“The Nightmare,” by Henry Fuseli
Edited by Moristotle

I had an election nightmare last night . It was November 8, 2016, and recent polls showed that American voters preferred Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump, 67% to 29%, with 4% undecided.
    Here’s the nightmare part: The pro-Clinton, or anti-Trump, voters felt so confident of Trump’s defeat, that only a small number of them actually bothered to vote on Election Day, depending on others to do it.
    Late that night, the results were announced: Trump had won – of all the votes actually cast, he had received 94% of them.
    Forevermore the phrase “the popular vote” would have a disturbing new meaning.
    Moristotle, be careful of over-confidence. Or, if you remain confident, nevertheless do not fail to vote!
    For reference:
Who will win the presidency?” [Nate Silver,].

This election has me afraid. How anyone can support Trump is beyond my comprehension. Now that my husband & I are retired, we watch CNN all day long. I can understand working kids not being informed; they’re busy raising kids. But if they watch news at all, how could anyone allow Trump into their living room?
    What is more disturbing for me is the numbers of people who like him. Two of my best friends are Trump supporters – we can’t discuss the election at all. Geez – God help us all!
    Trump is a total narcissistic, self-centered LOSER. I hope your correspondent who says he is not going to win is right. But what if the Libertarian voters & the Green voters & the write-in voters & the non-voting “voters” sway the election for him?

I agree with another of your correspondents; Trump is not going to be elected President of the United States; he is, rather, going to be crushed (if he doesn’t give up this charade and bow out before it’s too late for him to avoid the ridicule of an actual loss – although I see that he’s already practicing his lines of who or what to blame when he does: “The election was rigged!”). And Trump doesn’t even seem to have a clue. I’m actually starting to feel sorry for the poor SOB.

The title says it all: “France’s President Says Trump’s ‘Excesses’ Make People ‘Want to Retch’” [Aurelien Breeden, NY Times, August 3].

Who would have thought that “populism” could have gotten such a bad name? “How the ‘Stupid Party’ Created Donald Trump” [Max Boot, NY Times, July 31]. Excerpt:
In a way, the joke’s on the Republican Party: After decades of masquerading as the “stupid party,” that’s what it has become. But if an unapologetic ignoramus wins the presidency, the consequences will be no laughing matter.
    Even if we can avoid the calamity of a Trump presidency, however, the G.O.P. still has a lot of soul-searching to do. Mr. Trump is as much a symptom as a cause of the party’s anti-intellectual drift. The party needs to rethink its growing anti-intellectual bias and its reflexive aversion to elites. Catering to populist anger with extremist proposals that are certain to fail is not a viable strategy for political success. [read more]
Sensational picture of the sightseeing platform on top of a mountain in China….Or is it delegates at the GOP Convention, looking down at their awful prospects? “Bilder des Tages” [Frankfurter Allgemeine , August 2].
Caption translated from German to English:
02 August 2016: In a dizzying height, visitors to the National Park go to
Zhangjiajie in China. On a sightseeing platform of the mountain Tiammen
to a group of visitors with slow steps moved away and looks into the depths

You don’t say....“There is something very wrong with Donald Trump” [Robert Kagan, Washington Post, August 1]. Excerpt:
One wonders if Republican leaders have begun to realize that they may have hitched their fate and the fate of their party to a man with a disordered personality....
    Why denigrate the parents of a soldier who died serving his country in Iraq? And why keep it going for four days? Why assail the record of a decorated general who commanded U.S. forces in Afghanistan? Why make fun of the stature of a popular former mayor of New York? Surely Trump must know that at any convention, including his own, people get up and criticize the opposition party’s nominee. They get their shots in, just as your party got its shots in. And then you move on to the next phase of the campaign....
    The fact that Trump could not help himself, that he clearly did, as he said, want to “hit”everyone who spoke against him at the Democratic convention, suggests that there really is something wrong with the man. It is not just that he is incapable of empathy. It is not just that he feels he must respond to every criticism he receives by attacking and denigrating the critic, no matter how small or inconsequential the criticism. If you are a Republican, the real problem, and the thing that ought to keep you up nights as we head into the final 100 days of this campaign, is that the man cannot control himself. He cannot hold back even when it is manifestly in his interest to do so. What’s more, his psychological pathologies are ultimately self-destructive....[read more]
I’ve never thought of myself as a draft dodger, but I did have a 4-F Selective Service deferment that kept me from being drafted to fight in Vietnam. I went about my business of going to college and graduate school, and I didn’t attend any rallies to protest the war. Like the author of “Why Trump Is Not Like Other Draft Dodgers” [Ted Gup, NY Times, August 3], I have to confess: “I am no fan of Mr. Trump’s, but on this issue, I am in no position to stand in judgment [of him on this topic].” Concluding paragraph:
It may have been a bone spur that rendered Mr. Trump ineligible for service, but it is, as that fallen soldier’s father, Khizr Khan, has observed, the absence of a soul that should now render him ineligible to represent this nation as commander in chief. No one with so little appreciation for past sacrifices should be in a position to make still more demands of others. [read more]
It is kind of amazing how much Trump is being allowed to get away with. I guess it’s because Trump “sells newspapers,” and most of us (who aren’t scared to death) are enjoying the entertainment. “Stop Indulging Trump” [Frank Bruni, NY Times, August 2]. Excerpt:
Trump isn’t slouching toward gravitas. He’s having a tantrum, and to threaten him with timeouts that never come only encourages it. Spare the rod, spoil the Donald.
    This isn’t a normal presidential election, he isn’t a normal political candidate, and you know it. We all do. And it’s well past time to reckon fully with that.
    Not just you but all of us keep according larger historical sense to his candidacy and trying to fit it into pre-existing frames, but I fear that when we do that, we minimize the outright outrage and singular farce of it.
    We throw around terms like demagogue and fascist, but I’m not sure he’s coherent, consistent or weighty enough for either.
    We label him anti-establishment, and that’s a howler. He grew up affluent. Went to an Ivy League college. Sent his kids to posh boarding schools. Mingled with Bill and Hillary Clinton at his (third) wedding. He is the power elite, albeit an ostentatiously gold-tufted version of it. [read more]
You’ve Been Washing Your Hands Wrong” [Jonah Engel Bomwich, NY Times, April 20]. Hey, I think it’s true! I watched the video shown in the article and have been washing my hands the [World Health Organization] way it demonstrates. The technique really does scrub germs and stuff off more of the surfaces than the ordinary [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] way does – it would be amazing if it weren’t so simple & obvious. The article says it takes only 7.5 seconds longer, on average, than the 35 seconds the ordinary way takes, but it’s well worth it – if anyone is worried about 20% more time when it’s no more than a few seconds. (And, of course, people with hands as small as Trumps can wash them real quick either way.)

My friend who took this picture wouldn’t tell me when or where she was when she took it, but the riders don’t seem to have noticed her – although the horse (a mare?) might have:

Grateful for correspondence, Moristotle


  1. Nice Photoshop picture. Trump is not the problem---it is the large number of people who support him. No matter what happens with Trump, they will still be with us. They are the ones that sent the tea party crazies to congress in the first place. They are your family and friends and there are a hell of a lot of them.

    1. Yes, Ed, my friend did a great job with that photo!
          I agree with you about Trump's current supporters. A trouble with them seems to be that even Trump's coming humiliating withdrawal or crushing defeat will not open their eyes, but will leave them continuing to inhabit their make-believe world in which a demigod on a white horse will ride forth to save them. It's essentially a religious position, don't you agree?
          Hmm, that raises the question: just how secular ARE Trump's people? Or are most of them Christians? (I don't think that many, if any, of them are Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, or Hindus.) Do you know of any statistics on this?

  2. All I know is the ones around Mississippi all call themselves Christians.

    1. Do you have many conversations with them? Please recount your favorite one (unless you fear it might get back to the one involved...). Or, better yet, if you're inclined, write an article about it, for your column, "As the World Turns"....