see ya later, alligator

I am not a fan of the Democratic Party, although I am inspired by some Democrats (like our Representative, Barbara Lee). I've said for some time now that I can't wait to complain about Joe Biden and the Democrats. But that can wait.

My first vote in a presidential election came in 1972, when I voted for George McGovern. These were formative years for me, and so I thought, with some reason, that Richard Nixon was the worst president in my lifetime. Later, friends who came of age a bit later than me tried to convince me that Ronald Reagan was, if not the worst, then at least the one who created the most damage. George W. Bush was hopeless. But I still held out for the nefarious Tricky Dick.

And then came Donald Trump. Four years later, it's no contest. That man was not just the worst president in my lifetime ... he is the worst president of all time.

And so, on this day when Joe Biden will become President of the United States, I am happy. It won't last long ... the further we get from the Trump Era, the more distant his perfidies become, the more I'll find myself frustrated with the Biden administration. But hey, give the man his honeymoon. We all need to take the time to breathe a sigh of relief.

19 years

19th birthday

Five years ago, I wrote, "Who the hell does anything for fourteen years?"

Substitute "nineteen" for "fourteen" and you see where we are today.

Every time this blog's anniversary comes around, I question why I am still doing it. No one blogs anymore. But then, no one uses a desktop computer anymore. I'm old, so I use things that once gave me comfort.

A year ago, the coronavirus hadn't even been given the name COVID-19. We barely knew it existed. Welcome to 2020 and beyond.

One thing surprises me about the 2021 version of January 6. I am, if not ecstatic, at least relieved that the Democrats have beaten down the Republicans. I don't often have many nice things to say about the Democratic Party, and I look forward to disagreeing with them for the foreseeable future. But Donald Trump, and what he showed us about the essence of the Republican Party, was enough to make me appreciate the beatdown, even if it came from Democrats.

But in 2021 America, Life Goes On means waking up to headlines like "Jacob Blake Shooting: No Charges Against Officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin".

So sure, I'll pretend for a few days that things are only going to get better. But I don't really believe it.

Last year at this time, I posted a video for the song that was #1 the day this blog was born. I don't know why, but it still feels appropriate. A song that gets stuck in your head, from a band that no one admits to liking, a band that nonetheless is still around ... they even released a version of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" in 2020. So here they are again ... remember, if you do something twice, you've established a tradition. This is how I remind me of what I really am.

As I type, this video has almost 500 million views.

ok, maybe it wasn't my fault

Yesterday, in a self-pitying post, I blamed myself for how fucked up this country is. This morning, writing in advance of any final vote tallies but with the sense that Biden will be the next President and the Senate will remain Republican, I see where the real blame lies. 

It depresses me that this quote is still relevant, almost 50 years after Hunter S. Thompson wrote it. I'd love to get to the point when it was no longer timely to post this, which I have done many times over the years. I don't think I'll live that long.

“This maybe the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves; finally just lay back and say it—that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.”

As I write this, while he is trailing in the actual vote count with 86% of votes counted, Trump has received more than 66 million votes. That's 66 million Americans and counting who think we need four more years of this man. Those aren't people who looked at our country in 2016 and thought the businessman was the right choice to make our country great again. No, these are people with four years of evidence of how the businessman runs the country, and they said yep, that's what I want.

because you're different

This will be short. Talking about today, Election Day, is best done before we hear anything. I blame myself for everything, no matter how it turns out. I talk a big game about taking care of the underprivileged, but in my darkest heart I am still that childish fearful anarchist who anticipated the social apocalypse. Reading about the possibility of right-wing fascist racists taking to the streets if their guy loses, I am not like those reasonable folks who say they go low, we go high. If Trump wins, I hope the streets burn. I'm an old retired guy married to a fine woman who made sure we were taken care of in our dotage. I'm not going to be the one setting the fires ... hell, I've barely been out of the house for months. But I am so dumb that I romanticize destruction. Blame me when it all goes to hell.

the demand for abolition

It’s been four years since I first protested during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” At the time, my protest was tethered to my understanding that something was not right. I saw the bodies of Black people left dead in the streets. I saw them left dead in their cars. I saw them left dead in their backyards. I saw Black death all around me at the hands of the police. I saw little to no accountability for police officers who had murdered them. It is not a matter of bad apples spoiling the bunch but interlocking systems that are rotten to their core.

And systemic problems demand systemic solutions....

Reform, at its core, preserves, enhances, and further entrenches policing and prisons into the United States’ social order. Abolition is the only way to secure a future beyond anti-Black institutions of social control, violence, and premature death.

-- Colin Kaepernick, "The Demand for Abolition"

democrats have no plan

Sophia Tesfaye in Salon:

Trump is bulldozing democracy — and nobody's ready to stop him

Democrats in Congress have done little more than pay lip service to bipartisanship in the week since the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Even as the high court's ideological balance is up for grabs for the third time in four years — and as the president of the United States refuses to commit to a peaceful transfer of power — prominent Senate Democrats have rushed to tamp down talk of retaliatory action. This leaves little doubt that the opposition party is unequipped to handle the threat posed to democracy by Donald Trump and the Republicans....

It's been a near-universal show of surrender from Democrats — even as their voters have sent more $200 million in donations to Democratic candidates and causes since Ginsburg's passing. If they want to rally and sustain public support, Democrats might want to fight as if they believed they could win.

Republicans lie, cheat and steal. Democrats pretend to "resist" with weak appeals to the nonexistent conscience of Republicans who long ago sold their supposed principles down the river.

breonna taylor

Indictment doesn't even begin to bring justice for Breonna Taylor

The mere phrase "collateral damage" evokes a visceral reaction. But so does the realization that they decided to prosecute an officer for prospective loss of life, but none of the officers for the actual loss of life. It confounds the mind as much as the soul.
But until there is a judicial reassessment of how we evaluate the reasonableness of an officer's use of lethal force, it is justice that will end up being collateral damage.
Thursday will be 196 days since Breonna Taylor was killed inside of her home.
And still, no officer has been charged for her death.
-- Laura Coates

music friday: emmett till

On August 28, 1955, Emmett Till was lynched in Mississippi.

A.C. Bilbrew wrote "The Death of Emmett Till", which was recorded in 1955 by The Ramparts, who was actually Scatman Crothers.

In 1962, during his first radio interview (hosted by Cynthia Gooding), Bob Dylan played a new song that wasn't officially released under his name until 2010. It was called "The Death of Emmett Till".

On her 2011 album, Hard Bargain, Emmylou Harris included "My Name Is Emmett Till", which she also wrote.

"you know i hate politics" -- michelle obama

Michelle Obama was the key speaker at the first day of the Democratic convention. She's a powerful speaker. Here is what I got out of her speech:

Vote for us because we are not Donald Trump.

That's a good reason. I'm going to vote for them, myself.

But for me, her speech can be summed up in this: "You know I hate politics. But you also know that I care about this nation. You know how much I care about all of our children."

Her "argument" seems to be that we are nicer than Trump, therefore we deserve to win.

Early on she said, "I am here tonight because I love this country with all my heart, and it pains me to see so many people hurting." Later, she noted that Trump has "a total and utter lack of empathy." She continued, "Empathy: that's something I've been thinking a lot about lately."

A bit later, she added, "And like so many of you, Barack and I have tried our best to instill in our girls a strong moral foundation to carry forward the values that our parents and grandparents poured into us." That is, we have stronger morals than Trump, so vote for us.

She worries because she sees "a nation that's underperforming not simply on matters of policy but on matters of character. And that's not just disappointing; it's downright infuriating, because I know the goodness and the grace that is out there in households and neighborhoods all across this nation." We have goodness and grace ... vote for us.

And this, which hits the nail on the head:

So let me be as honest and clear as I possibly can. Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head. He cannot meet this moment. He simply cannot be who we need him to be for us. It is what it is.

She is right. But her point once again is, vote for us, we're not Trump. And "I know Joe. He is a profoundly decent man, guided by faith." (He's not Trump.)

"This is who we still are: compassionate, resilient, decent people whose fortunes are bound up with one another." (We're not Trump.)

This is not a message of hope, beyond hoping that we can get rid of Trump. But that's what you get when you speak for a political party and admit "I hate politics".