Review of Bob Woodward and Friends’ Forgettable Effort

I don’t remember who taught me to do this, maybe it’s just the way my mind works. But if I hear that, for example, some otherwise successful and prepared leader lost a battle because he underestimated his enemy, I try to live under the mindset of the other extreme. In this case, I live always overestimate my enemy. (Enemy is a bit harsh here, but it’s quick.)

What’s on my mind, today, is that the pundits won’t stop. It’s been four years of Trump and they won’t stop. They somehow believe that today is the day I’ll rise up with them in indignation that Trump lied. (“Up-played.” It’s brilliant.) But until recently I couldn’t answer the question, “Why do the pundits press on? What drives them?”

It cannot be love of country. They cannot be driven by their love of the USA because that’s what drives me. That’s what drives Trump. If I felt they loved America, then I wouldn’t care what they said, anymore than I care what Trump says. But I do care about what they say, rather I do struggle to understand how and why they continue to point out the obvious as if it isn’t obvious. And so something else must be driving them.

At first, I wanted to treat the pundits like children. Like children, I thought, the pundits just didn’t like the man. But then I remembered that underestimating my opponent can lead to disaster, so I have given up that line of thinking.

What, then, would the wisest, most educated and well-read humans who ever walked the earth (here’s the intentional overestimate) be so ate up with that they’d persevere day in and day out against Trump? That became my question.

The answer: Vanity.

If I was wise, well-read (let’s not forget camera ready and funny), and lived in the United States of America right now, I’d hate that no one noticed me. I’d be super pissed that all my brainpower was not translating to real power. Sure, I may live in opulent comfort, but I would know that if I had been alive only a few generations ago, then I would have found that my abilities would have placed real power within my grasp. I’m talking Trump-like power. I would know that I could have very likely been KING OF THE WORLD!! (Flat or not.)

But, as it stands, we all live today. Right now. And no one, not-a-me, and not-a-you, (and not the pundits—from either side) are going to live on in history. President Donald J. Trump will, though. He, in all his buffoonery and apparent lies and orange hair and every other flaw the wise and well-read (perhaps even physically fit) pundits point out unrelentingly, will live on.

Do I care that Trump lives on and I do not? Nope. But if I was as wise and well-read as my (overestimated) opponents must be, then I have to think I’d resent that despite all my education and training and ambitions, that I, daily, was proving to be impotent and forgettable.

This perspective, achieved by overestimating my opponent, allows little ol’ me to admit that this would be a hard truth to face. I could even admit that this hard truth might just drive me into an incessant, blind rage.

One Black Future

“…we ought rather to be proud of the fact that American literature can boast of at least one good, decent, Christian author who was cursed neither with self-consciousness not with false modesty, those banes of art.” — William Leigh Jr.

“SAY HIS NAME!!”

I found the bullhorn was more annoying than loud. Worse, for their cause, the mob’s response to the prompt felt forced. And I’d be lying if I described it as “loud”. Rather than lead you to believe that my tale centers on decibels, however, I want to say that what worried me now was the shortened breathing and seemingly even shorter attention span of the man who I just met.

And then it happened, I got slugged.

“Say it again,” he yelled at me. “Hey y’all, hold up! Look at what we got here,” he yelled to the mob.

For a moment, the mob pretended to possess enough self-control to be undeterred from their purpose.

But his second call of, “Hey y’all! Y’all ain’t gonna believe what this white boy just said,” proved as attractive to this crowd as a city block of recently renovated urban blight.

I’d straightened up at this point. And just as my composure returned, unexpectedly, I felt his knuckles against my ear again. I crouched low and stepped back for a second time. And down I stayed as I heard an angry, loud young women ask, “What’d he say?” And then what I could only describe as the voice of a future Southern Gospel preacher boomed, “We being peaceful tonight, brothers and sisters. Peaceful. Don’t hit the man. Someone help him.” In response to this great addition to the annals of stump speeches, some sort of lackey came my way, crouching to look over the extent of damage to my face.

Turning to me, the Reverend Doctor said, “Apologies for that. What’s on your mind?”

I collected my bearings, avoided shaking the battlefield surgeon’s hand, and found that I was newly surrounded by the mob.

“You’re not black,” I repeated.

With a squint that betrayed his true color, Pastor-man sharpened his eyes, hoping that his flock would disobey en masse just this once. Only the initial loudmouth proved himself deaf. And so, for the third time, something I can only describe as a mix between a slap and a wild right hook landed on the top of my skull. As I wrapped my arms around my now hunched over, asphalt-gazing head, I had to admit, my skill at recognizing the start of the contest was improving.

“Boy,” the man began, unable to withstand all temptation to civility, “I’m, ah,” he rubbed his chin and looked around as he measured the feeling of the mob. Somebody in the back shouted, “‘We!’” The future-Pastor took this correction in stride and rejoined, “Son, we,” and at this he drew a lazy circle around his head with a downward pointing finger for emphasis as he turned a circle himself, then continued, “we are gonna give you another chance to speak.” (“It’s only fair!” someone added.) “I’m praying,” he paused to let a knowing chuckle breathe, “that you use it wisely.”

Did I want to die? That’s the question I asked myself. I still don’t know the answer. I don’t think I did. But I was tired. I know I was tired. I couldn’t remember a time in my life when we weren’t forced to listen to this nonsensical bullshit, and tonight, I was simply out of energy.

“I said,” I began, “you ALL,” here I diligently added a minor clarification which I thought might help communicate my intention more clearly, “are not black.”

Not like the modern “Cirque du Soleil”-style circus, but quite like an atmosphere of the circuses of lore, or what I imagined to be how those big tops operated—always on the verge of chaos—a circus erupted.

At this, I definitely avoided what would have been the fourth blow by my initial conversant. The trouble was that my path backwards, as I mentioned, had been filled in by the mob, specifically by tightly—and remarkably scantily (considering the amount of fabric)—clothed heavyset women. Like always, these about-to-be-breaking-out rap-porn, IG Queens were, with one hand, pointing their phones at me and with the other, holding drive-thru cups out of which they sipped some sort of sugary delight through straws. All the while, their purses looked like they were enjoying the break from constant adjustments that naturally occurred while the mob wormed its way around low numbered street names.

In other words, I found my retreat blocked off by what amounted to angry, hi-tech pillows.

So his fifth punch did land. Oh well.

“You blind?! You sayin’ my skin ain’t black?”

He didn’t really leave me much time between punches 6, 7, and 8, but I continued our interview anyhow.

“No. I’m saying, ‘You are not,” I suddenly remembered the earlier point of clarity and so corrected myself, but not before number 9, “I’m saying, ‘You all are not black.’”

I stayed on my back for a moment, thinking to rest and recuperate, but was unpleasantly surprised to feel a kick to my left ear—what was up with this dude and ears?

“Let him up!” I heard a loud too-busy-for-choir-practice-but-too-good-to-not-be-in-the-church-choir-alto sing out.

Like a poor form deadlift, all back and no legs, I stood to the erect position again.

“Thank you,” I acknowledged.

No sooner than these words came out did I discover that she might have had a protein shake in her cup. Put bluntly, not ‘all fat’, as I had suspected, and I found myself pushed down, very directly, to the ground once again.

“Bitch, I don’t speak for no one but me, but I am black!” she announced.

So where are we? Right, a kick again from Don Lemon, this time to the kidney, and that makes 11.

I felt there would be another soon, so I hopped up quickly, covered the ear closest to my lately befriended investigator, and repeated, “You all are not black.”

****

“And that’s when we showed up?” Officer Jones asked.

“Yup. My own knights in shining armor. Don Quixote,” I said.

“Don who?”

“Never mind. It’s a book. Good one, too. So what’s next?”

“I think we have everything we need to finish up the paperwork for tonight,” he said. Then he continued, “Can I tell you something?”

“Shoot.”

“You’re kinda a moron.”

“Thanks, man.”

“Will you do something for me?”

I hesitated.

“Will you stop saying, ‘You’re not black’?”

“Nope.”

“Why not?”

“Because someone needs to tell them the truth.”

I’ve Struck It!

I’ve struck it. Eureka! I finally have a narrative that satisfies. It’s perfect. It’s coherent. It’s complete.

The American dream, the American way of life, requires agreement. It cannot be imposed. It cannot be forced.

For the last few months, like everyone else, I have been struggling with the way the fringe movements, the radicals, have somehow taken over the news cycle and captivated us all. I can’t understand how illiterate blacks (culture, not skin color) could put out a written mission statement on a website (“talk to text” maybe? Idk). And I am perplexed by the “patriot” type groups who spend their small fortunes on fingerless gloves and beard trimmers.

But now I’ve finally come across something that explains it all. (Thanks, John C. Calhoun.) America requires, as a necessary and sufficient cause, the agreement of the people.

No National Guard troops can maintain America. No police force in riot gear. No chanting, whether metered, rhyming or deity-invoking or not. No umbrellas. No N95s. No vaccines. Nope, no element of force will do the trick here in America.

Other, perhaps all other, types of government, types of countries, can be maintained through force. But not ours. Not America.

Why, then, are we seemingly headed towards disaster, month after month? Because we don’t agree to America anymore. The blacks (culture, not skin color) don’t agree to receiving gifts. The patriots don’t agree to being taught history by the illiterate blacks (culture, not skin color).

The inevitable question this realization leads to is, “How do we achieve agreement again?” And that question hinges on, “What in the world do we believe the future holds anyhow? Flying cars? Cures? Mars?”

Many educated Americans point to China as the way of the future (after all, they still wear masks on public transit—no complaints). Many blacks (culture, not skin color) point to Wakanda (or are the protests literally all going to end if a handful of policemen are in jail?).

In other words, without the future, we’re in a tight spot.

As your captain, I’d offer that the future must be a successful landing. To do that, we have to truthfully assess the condition of the atmosphere and decide if we have enough fuel to reach our original destination (life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness). If not, we need to head to our alternate (the hope that our children will be the right skin color when full lawlessness officially breaks out–Rwanda-style).

To BLM: I won’t overlook lies to save a handful of American lives—not sure if this is hard to understand, but some things are more important than life. Truth is one of them.

To Patriots: I can’t commit. But please email me if you decide to change which flag means “same team”.

Flawless Execution

I do not know how Trump’s team chose “red” for their ballcaps.

I think I understand why red ballcaps became a symbol of all things evil.

I am very certain that I adore the recent and unfolding slight-of-hand in which red ballcaps have been replaced with the American flag.

And I am here today to say that the exchange was executed flawlessly.

You see, the American man can always spot the enemy. This ability is no mutant, divine, or alien superpower, but it does seem to reside in the rushing rivers of our blood. Likewise, the enemy always knows that deep down, in the empty recesses of their heart, that they are an enemy to America. The reason the American man and the enemy cannot coexist is found in this simple fact: the enemy lies. Consequently, rather than come outright and announce their disdain for all things star spangled, they strategically and deceitfully choose to disdain abstract, absurd, and obnoxious straw men. So be it.

But, but, I say! The American flag is now back in the mix.

Until today I never really considered what it must be like to view Old Glory through the eyes of an enemy. Did the Germans really ever hate it, back in the day? Doubtful. Could Osama Bin Laden look upon the American flag-blanketed bases in his homeland without envy? Yeah, right. Even now if I imagine my Trump-hating relatives (the BLMer up the street), I have to ask myself, when they see the Red, White, and Blue, does not the same awe and wonder that pulses through my body pulse through their body, leaving only goosebumps in their wake? Surely!

All this to say I’m thinking about a tattoo. And a vinyl wrap for my truck. And a flag pole for my truck. And a few T-shirts, starring you know which object of admiration.

Flawless execution. The American man has always known. Now all do.

You never hated Trump. It wasn’t the red ballcaps that disturbed your baser passions. From birth you had it out for Truth. Then you couldn’t stand to work hard and your lack of self-control was only outdone by your envy. Later you wouldn’t accept that you were born into a world which demanded, and did not apologize for its insistence, that you accept responsibility. Afterward, you furnished any and every argument, from weak to completely unfounded, against accountability. Finally, it has been revealed that your ignorance of history is only to be silenced by your cry to change it.

Uncursed Art

“…we ought rather to be proud of the fact that American literature can boast of at least one good, decent, Christian author who was cursed neither with self-consciousness nor with false modesty, those banes of art.” — William Leigh Jr.

The NBA players are so stupid that they can’t distinguish between “boycotting” and “quitting”. You can’t boycott yourself. Or, I guess you can, but it’s called quitting. Let it be said, unsurprisingly, when times got rough, LeBron quit.

Heading into this election, I have the same feeling I had last election: Trump is going to win. It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t have to make sense. I offer as proof the fact that so many well-to-do whites hate him.

Vice President Mike Pence is Uncle Tom. It’s remarkable to me. Whether he really is as squeaky clean as his image makes him appear, I look at Pence and see a man rewarded for simple obedience. In this way, he is a genius and I couldn’t respect him more.

I watched, for obvious reasons, Black Panther last night. The notion of Wakanda is still troubling to me. I want to be Batman. I wouldn’t mind being Superman. Wolverine would be a great superhero to embody. But I can’t get with Black Panther. His ultimate power is his hidden culture? His ultimate power is he knows that his people are better than generally perceived? More and more I find myself persuaded that the single most harmful thought to a man is the notion that his ancestors were enslaved, the notion that his “people” were a victim at some point, the notion that someone else is controlling his destiny.

Peggy Noonan is out of touch. Evidence: she pontificated about what a 12 year old would think after watching the DNC. She said, “I’d wonder if I had a chance.” Well, I spend a lot of time around two ten year olds. This is what they would think, this is what they would say after watching the DNC, “Tonight’s the night. I am going to tell him I’m gay. No, wait, I’ll say ‘LGBTQ.’ Or maybe I’ll just tell him who I ‘like’ right now.” Then the child would utter some strong, terribly heartfelt call for wearing masks, taking vaccines, and a defense of all things black, all things China, all things climate, all things women, all things equality, all things diversity, and all things safety. In other words, the 12 year old would think and speak like a child. Because they are one.

RNC vs. DNC, In A Word

The messaging is now formal and official. In this great contest for the supposed “soul” of America, tonight the RNC formally unleashed its claim. That claim: AMERICA!

This, of course, is in response to the DNC claim: INTELLIGENCE!

And so, it’s on.

Which are you going to vote for?

People who think they’re smarter than everyone?

Or people who think America’s greater than everywhere?

No Means No

I had an epiphany this week. Long story short, my ex-wife of 7 years is holding H- hostage. I haven’t seen my daughter in almost a year.

This all started when I called to say I got a new job in a different state, a much, much better job. Instead of saying something normal like, “Congratulations,” she said, “You’re abandoning your child! I get 100% custody!” (Keep in mind, I wasn’t and she doesn’t. Custody is not even a word in Family Court in our state.)

Naturally, the big picture is a classic “he says, she says” situation. And naturally, she has an attorney who makes her feel incapable of child abuse. But, make no mistake, she’s actively committing child abuse—for what else can kidnapping be called?

Anyhow, the point of this post (did I mention it’s over 7 years after the divorce?) is to highlight the epiphany I had. And this is it.

My ex is still in love with me.

Crazy, right? I know. But it’s true.

Why else would a woman create a parenting plan which requires communication between us in order to coordinate my parenting time? As in, she could have said, “Father picks up daughter on July 16th between 7:00am and 7:01am and returns daughter on July 23rd between 7:00 and 7:01am and if Father doesn’t make these windows, then he forfeits that time or the following time.” But no. She develops a plan which requires that I coordinate every trip with her. In other words, I don’t see my daughter unless I talk to my ex.

If I wanted to talk to my ex, I would’ve said, “I want to talk to you,” not, “No matter how much it costs, no matter if I lose my daughter’s childhood, I never, ever want to talk to you again,” which is the thematic equivalent to, “I want a divorce.”

At first I thought this requirement of the parenting plan was about control. That’s an easy to make mistake, right?

But now I see she’s still in love. It’s sickening, really. She can’t let go after 7 years? And this after having obtained an attorney within 30 minutes of me saying, “I want a divorce”?

Believe me when I say that I am quite a catch. But no means no.

No means no.

And no means no especially now that you’ve revealed the level of commitment you’d stoop to just to get me back inside you. You’re pimping your own daughter. You’re an abomination.

No means no.

Every Man A King; No Man A God.

As usual, I feel like I understand my “opponent” through and through. And as usual, despite my great efforts to understand, for my part, I feel misunderstood. This feeling besets me strongest whenever I read about myself from my “opponent’s” perspective. Upon concluding such reading, I just don’t recognize myself. So I’m asking you, dear, mask-wearing, “woke”, and godless leftist, please, argue with the real me. That’s all I ask. This “being misunderstood”, then, is the problem that this post will attempt to remedy. There are two points to be made before getting to the title claim.

Firstly, regarding masks, those in favor of mandating mask-wearing are doing an outstanding job of analogizing their reasons for wanting to bring the full force of the law into the equation. Most recently, the chorus goes: “It’s common sense, no different than speed limits.” Sticking with analogizing (or stooping down to analogizing–as if adults can’t speak plainly or understand plain speaking), my response is: “No, mask-wearing is not like speed limits. Instead, on the driving theme, mask wearing is like middle-aged men driving sports cars.” Put plainly, my belief is that a pandemic can no more be stopped by a mask than aging can be stopped by driving sexy cars.

Secondly, regarding “woke” as a label, I just learned something fascinating. Did you know that before the Civil War, abolitionists had formed firearm-less militias which trained in the middle of the night and subsequently had the nickname, the “Wide-Awakes“? Take a moment to ponder this fact. In the past, the nickname “Wide-Awakes” was applied to those who remained awake during the night hours in efforts to abolish slavery. And abolish slavery they did. Today, uneducated, over-educated, or mis-educated citizens use the label, “woke”. The difference, denoted by the linguistic variation, is staggering, to my thinking. And if I was hurt and mad and everything the “woke” folks are supposed to be, then I’d want everything to do with “Wide-Awakes” and nothing to do with “woke” if I was trying to accomplish anything, to include how my nickname came to be. My reason is simple. Nothing about being “Wide-Awake” betrays stupidity. As in, ask, “Why are you ‘Wide-Awake’?” And a perfectly sound answer would be, “Because it will take extra effort to overcome business as usual.” Whereas everything about being “woke” betrays stupidity. Ask, “What were you ‘woke’ out of?” The answer will either be a commercial truckload of bullshit or *crickets*. And so I’ll tell you. “You were woke from stupidity. And if you were stupid then, you’re probably still stupid.” Such is life.

Now for the good stuff. I want to record here an observation on the left’s prideful godlessness. The left loves being godless. Good for them. To a Christian, this godlessness is a repugnant, prideful, and foolish idea. But I realized something last night while on a walk. The left may not believe in supernatural gods, like the Christian does. But they do believe that the power typically designated to such supernatural beings is real. How do I know? Because of what they want men to do. Trump is a failure as a leader because of many things, they say. Most recently, the left is holding Trump accountable for his inability to both exorcise racism from the human heart and heal sickness–and not just of one person, but of the millions. For the great majority of history and populations, people voiced these very natural and noble requests as “prayers” to gods. Today, the godless left encourage using “votes.” The problem here, the left’s problem, is not the method or the message. The problem is the recipient. Trump can no more accomplish the left’s demands than can Zeus, Jove, or Allah. But that won’t stop the godless left from holding him accountable. This incoherence is just weird.

Men as gods. Seems like we’ve tried this before. Yes, I’m sure of it.

****

Hey, you! That’s right. I’m talking to you. Get with the program! With the advent of America, July 4, 1776, in this country, every man’s a king. And no man’s a god.

I Feel Like Writing

Two columnists I came across this last week (6/26) on the same news aggregate site ended their pieces with the exact same George Orwell quote. Additionally, a few weeks ago my very best friend had texted me the same quote. Apparently, I need to get out more.

Here’s Orwell:

Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.

What on God’s green earth am I supposed to do with this thing? Life is not some exercise in matching up novels with reality. George Orwell’s position in history, his position in literature is in no way affected by this repetition or attempt at application. Again, what, precisely, am I supposed to do with this thing?

Is BLM the “Party”? Has ANTIFA destroyed every record and rewritten every book? I hardly think so.

And these three fellas are some of the folks I generally trust. But the uncertain times have not only affected them. All those who would pick up a pen are affected. I haven’t come across anyone, not one doggone writer, who has anything to say.

Laboriously, then, I–your Captain–will pick up the slack and write. And in so doing I hope to encourage similar thinking and behavior.

There are many, many places to start, but the one that’s on my mind is the claim, “White Silence is Violence.”

The response to this claim comes from George Washington.

Now, you don’t have to announce that you’re quoting him to use his advice. But I wanted you to know, because it is true and it does matter.

Anyhow, I recently came across the following at the end of the brief entry on his life found in Vol. 13 of the obscure, but incredible, Library of Southern Literature under the heading, “Selected Maxims of Washington”, then sub-heading, “The Best Answer to Calumny.”

The approved response to, “White Silence is Violence,” from Washington (again, you are in no way obligated to announce that detail, perhaps trivial, if you feel like it would stop up your listener’s ears) is:

To persevere in one’s duty and be silent is the best answer to calumny.

(Dictionary.com has ‘calumny’ as “a false and malicious statement designed to injure the reputation of someone or something.”)

One Reason the Literate Feel Uncomfortable and How to Regain Our Peace

One reason literate people like you and I feel uncomfortable as we survey the passing scene is as follows.

Back in mid-August of the year 1837, in England, an election was held, apparently on schedule. Queen Victoria was newly ascended to the throne and a Lord John Russell reported the election results to her in a letter. It reads:

Lord John Russell is sorry to add that bribery, intimidation, and drunkenness have been very prevalent at the late elections, and that in many cases the disposition to riot has only been checked by the appearance of the Military, who have in all cases conducted conducted themselves with great temper and judgment.

I want to call your attention to the “the disposition to riot has only been checked by the appearance of the Military” part.

An obvious reaction is how it feels like this could have been written last week. But such obviousness makes it a blasé reaction, and you deserve better.

The deeper, more profound reaction—the reason for our uncomfortableness—comes upon reflection that rioters like to pretend that their actions are accomplishing something noble. The tale they spin has an “ends justify the means” flavor. Rioters, or those who explain away rioters’ actions as What do you expect?!, load their words with a, “This will be the last time riots are necessary. If you only capitulate to their/our demands, then there will be no more riots,” sentiment.

This is a lie told by criminals.

What were the near riots about in 1837 England? Who cares. What were they about in 1968 in America? Who cares. What were they about last week? Who cares.

The thing that I do care about, the thing that matters, is you and I, the literate, properly identify our problem—uncomfortableness—and address it.

Put bluntly, our problem is we are not quite sure how to effectively explain to rioters, or those who see it as justifiable, that they are merely criminals and/or defending criminal behavior. We’d like to believe words could help. We’d like to believe a conversation would work. We’d like to believe all people, at all times, have something to say that’s worth a listen. The trouble is we can read. Consequently, we know that riots will occur again. And in that instance they will, again, be criminal. And criminal behavior, by definition, is incapable of communicating and reasoning in a civilized manner. So off to jail, by use of force or threat of force, the rioters go.

Conclusion-style, then, we have to admit a truth that we’re generally uncomfortable with; we have to admit that the conversation, the explanation, is foolish to attempt. (Well, we have to admit this if we want to regain our peace, if we want to end the uncomfortableness.) To be clear, I’m commending that we don’t even listen to them. There is nothing to be gained by “understanding” the rioters or those that would defend their behavior—only something to be lost: time.