As I consider the upcoming change of leadership in our nation, I can’t help but see irony.
Folks want to believe Biden is so different from Trump. Especially, they say, in the fact that Biden doesn’t lie all day long. But from a God’s eye perspective, Biden does lie all day long. Whether due to his stutter, or some other ailment as simple as too-much-on-the-brain, Biden misspeaks endlessly. If we actually took his words at face value, we’d find him unintelligible. We certainly couldn’t trust him with political office.
But there’s an affability in Biden that forces even his opponents to admit, “Yes, Yes. Of course he didn’t mean what he said.” And that’s precisely what Trump fans have said for four years. “He doesn’t mean what he said.”
So we’re in a tight spot. You hate Trump because he lies. And Biden is such a poor public speaker that I have to cut through all his mistakes with a machete forged out of trust that his tongue is in no way connected to his head or his heart.
I miss strong speech. I miss meaning. I miss speaking which moved me. To be honest, I never heard such speaking. But I’ve read it. I have to believe we can do it again.
“Sect. 54. Though I have said above (Chap. II), ‘That all men by nature are equal,’ I cannot be supposed to understand all sorts of equality: age or virtue may give men a just precedency: excellency of parts and merit may place others above the common level: birth may subject some, and alliance or benefits others, to pay an observance to those to whom nature, gratitude, or other respects, may have made it due: and yet all this consists with the equality, which all men are in, in respect of jurisdiction or dominion one over another; which was the equality I there spoke of, as proper to the business in hand, being that equal right, that every man hath, to his natural freedom, without being subjected to the will or authority of any other man.”
I met a man once who seemed like he had a good head on his shoulders. As our friendship blossomed he kept inviting me to sign up to some kind of free enterprise online magazine club. Due to the twin facts that it cost money and that I don’t believe Truth costs money, I always rebuffed him. Just wasn’t my thing. Finally he offered to pay for the refundable intro lessons. I still declined. Later, at my pleading, he shared with me (for free) a link to some kind of private YouTube video (must have link to view) and I gave it a whirl. In the video, the lecturer declared, “Every word should have one meaning and one meaning only.”
“Puh. What garbage,” I instinctively reacted.
Equality is the word I ask you to consider with me today. Would you have guessed that Mr. Locke had announced which shade of meaning he was after when he said, “All men by nature are equal”? Of course, Thomas Jefferson didn’t include an explanation of which shade of equality he meant alongside his, “All men are created equal” within the Declaration of Independence, so don’t follow your mind to a place we’re not going. My question remains. Would you have guessed that Locke explained that he knew of other meanings of equality?
I would have. The reason I would have is because I’ve been reading great writing for some time now and it simply sounds different than contemporary writing.
For a variety of reasons, our peers are up in arms about equality these days. And they try to use Locke’s idea as a unifying backbone. “See? You, Captain American Declaration, already believe these disenfranchised people are equal too…” they say. It’s nonsense. The house of cards collapses with a single question, “Which sort of equality?” Kamala Harris doesn’t know which sort she means. She doesn’t even take time to evidence that she knows that there are different sorts. This means only that she is not a great writer. Who knew?
This is why I read great writing. Because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to discern the many nuanced meanings of equality. I wouldn’t be able to discern who is attempting to con me and who is attempting to persuade me. And without this discernment, my mind would be, at the least, enslaved to another man’s mind, and, at the most, enslaved to his will.
Lastly, to be clear, you don’t have to agree with Locke or the Founders’ assertion about all men’s equality in order to agree with me here. I promise, however, that whether you agree with Locke or not, you will not forget what he taught you about equality.
Read on, young man! Read on!
Why do I always leap at the chance to read Peggy Noonan? Because she’s published by the Wall Street Journal. For my whole life that publication has been elevated as more valuable than all others. Simply put: it had better writing. But I would never pay for it. No way. It wasn’t that good. And I knew that if I did pay, then the guilty pleasure of sneaking in some articles at hotels or the gym locker room would have died.
But I’m tired these days. It’s still great writing. But reason matters to me too. And in Noonan’s Bogus Dispute op-ed of today she writes, “But it’s right to worry about the damage being done on the journey.” And later, “On top of all that, the outcome was moderate: for all the strife and stress of recent years, the split decision amounted to a reassertion of centrism.”
These two statements cannot be defended as reasoned conclusions. I’m not saying they are illogical. I’m talking about Reason, Locke style. Fear and worry have no place in a reasoned life. We are never right to worry. Never.
As for the second statement, it’s not only unreasoned, it is also false. Since when do polar opposites added together amount to centrism? Centrism amounts to centrism.
Noonan seems to think that conservatives can be abstracted up to a state-of-being similar to mere energy. And then she asks us to place that energy on one side of an equation where progressives are on the other side, similarly abstracted. Then, if anyone can even follow this mental gymnastic, she asks us to see that the result-announcing equal sign is the USA. (Or maybe the Flag.) Fortunately, she is wrong.
If Ms. Noonan wants us to ‘go abstract’, here’s how it would work. Conservatives abstract to, say, 70 million, and are added to progressives, -78 million, and the result as any fourth grader knows is not zero (or balance), but negative eight million (70,000,000 + -78,000,000 = -8,000,000). Or, concretely, a progressive President.
Life is not math, though. It is art. And the great thing, for optimists like me, is that even when there are less colors (freedom), art can still be beautiful. And that’s all that’s happened here. A few or perhaps even many colors are disappearing. So I, for one, look forward to the new restrictions, the new boundaries from which to make my masterpiece. But, then, I never did understand abstract art.
I love writing at this moment. Love it! Why? Because all you ground-based beings are stuck in uncertainty. My wings release me from such trouble. And while at other times your permanent connection to the earth gives you advantages, at this moment, “advantage pilot”. At this moment writing feels like flying.
So Trump lost. Whoopdie doo. It was all hype anyhow, like I said. The important thing, right now, is to resist every urge to keep the hype going. There was no coup. There was no inordinate amount of voter fraud. There wasn’t. In place of those things there was a presidential election in the United States of America in November of 2020. And lifetime politician Joe Biden won.
Resist every urge, I say. Do not feed the hype. The sky is not falling. There is no silver lining, no matter how many minorities voted their conscience instead of their skin color. Resist every urge. I say again, there is no silver lining anywhere. But it’s not because there is no hope. It’s because there is no dark cloud. That’s the truth. You’re just depressed. Admit it. Then cheer up.
How? Escape. I’m talking exercise your capacity for fantasy. Read romance novels. Watch romance movies. I’m still working through Kushiel’s Dart and every one of the 594 pages so far has improved my mood. Try not to smile challenge: The heroine/temple-prostitute/servant-extraordinaire explains, “While I learned how to kneel uncomplaining for hours at a time and the proper angle of approach for serving sweets after a meal, Ysandre was learning how greed and jealousy corrupt the human soul.” Saucy.
And last night we watched Romancing the Stone. “I’ve never been anybody’s best time,” Douglas replies, crushing it. “This is Joan Wilder, who writes the books I read to you on Saturdays!” the drug-lord clarifies.
Do not feed the hype. Resist every urge.
I’m rushing to push out this short post today because I want to keep up my status as one who has his finger directly on the pulse.
Firstly, I was right. It was all hype.
Secondly, I feel like Biden won.
Thirdly, I can’t find anyone in the mainstream media (or the replacement media even) who has said this yet. And this is weird. I mean, of course we don’t know the final outcome with certainty yet (that’s why I said “feel”). But is there really that much doubt? “O ye of little faith.”
More importantly, however, than sharing with you who I feel won, I wanted to say that, I don’t know about you, but I feel great. Why? Because I was right. It was all hype.
I’ve been reading entries from Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans. The entry on Alexander the Great will make you regret having read any other printed words first. So very interesting.
One aspect that makes it especially intriguing is how Plutarch, with the stated aim of capturing what moved these giants of history, references over and over again how dreams, bird signs, and other non-duplicatable, often mystical, pre-scientific experiences (and their interpretations) drove Alexander.
Whether to fight the battle today or tomorrow, Plutarch tells us, Alexander might decide based on a flock of birds having appeared. If Alexander found himself in a stretch of mourning after he killed someone in a fit of violent passion, he might have allowed his priestly oracles to interpret a dream and the interpretation was then used to stir him back to life.
This is on my mind today because I had a bizarre dream early this morning. Quick backstory: I have a checkride coming up. If the weather held, it would’ve been today. (Weather didn’t hold.) In any case, last night I went to bed around eleven. I awoke at four to use the restroom. I couldn’t fall back asleep.
Next thing I know, I was in some kind of building—like a cabin in a dense forrest or jungle—and my wife, stepson, and baby daughter were also around in the dreamscape. I can’t remember the beginning of the dream, but the drama grew when I saw a vividly green—off-white underbelly—and huge lizard (think something between Komodo dragon and the thing Obi Wan rides in Episode III). Like all dreams the exact sequence and details are hazy, but I know for certain that I was afraid of it and wanted to protect my family from it. It wasn’t on the attack, but I knew that it—by nature—would try to bite anything that got close enough for it to grab hold of.
My wife wasn’t as afraid as I was, and actually was, herself, in the process of removing two smaller lizards that had climbed onto her, as if it was no big thing.
The rest of the dream was basically of the theme that I was very worried and fearful of the big lizard, while nobody else’s demeanor matched my concern. It was uncomfortable, but in the end I awoke.
My interpretation? In my rookie days of contemplating the meaning of my dreams, I would’ve overlooked the first and major point of this dream, being, despite the general theme of fear, I was not eaten or fatally attacked. This leads me to acknowledge that the dream means I have nothing to fear. I will prevail.
Secondly, the fact that my wife was there and almost carelessly removing small lizards—while I was fearing the big one—means that I had something to do with the size of the lizard after me, means that I didn’t handle business when the lizard was small. This, then, I interpret to mean that I am the cause of the fear. I let my anxiety (likely over the pending checkride) grow disproportionately. How to fix that? Daily preparation. Fight small, winnable battles as they come rather than feeding the beast the fruits of procrastination.
Now let me ask you, dear reader, a question. Hasn’t this little blog post made me more likable? Isn’t it more relatable? President Trump is so anti-authority as it stands, I can’t see why this type of thing wouldn’t help him achieve the immortality that he seems to desire. I’m serious. None of us have a real understanding of just exactly what makes him wake up in the morning. And even if we believe it’s “love of America”, that still doesn’t really tell us much. But through dreams and bird signs etc, and how he responds, we’d be sure to see a fuller picture—maybe even one we like.
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.
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?
To save you time, I went ahead and read the 55-page document for us. (You’re welcome.) The following is the provocative and abridged version. It is, of course, meant to capture the themes and purpose of the original, while avoiding the length. This post also includes my reaction.
To begin, a couple of questions: Do you fear that tyranny is imminent? Does it keep you awake to consider how very near to becoming a monarchy are these United States, King Trump at the helm?
I didn’t think so.
Here’s the rub. Part of the document’s argument for America’s pending transition to tyranny rests on establishing the dual and (if true) symbiotic facts that the President has enormous (but not absolute) power and the House is the singular body of humans who have been entrusted with the awesome responsibility to “rise to the occasion” and impeach President Donald John Trump.
The problem is that this part happens to be the opening part and, as such, is foundational.
This is, unfortunately for its purposes, problematic because it betrays that it has missed the true meaning of Trump’s presidency. The true meaning of Trump’s presidency, being confirmed more and more each and everyday–and according to the House report’s own definition and reasoning—is as We the People’s impeachment of the current batch of United States Senators, Representatives, Justices. And, yes, President Trump’s tenure is our impeachment of the President too, no matter how nonsensical that may sound.
The majority has voted, not for Trump, but for impeachment.
It doesn’t matter who the president is, we say. It doesn’t matter who runs for office, we declare. They’re all corrupt. They’re all liars. They’re all bought and paid for. They’re all mere mouthpieces.
And we’re right. It doesn’t matter who holds public office, at this point. Government, not its citizens, has failed.
But don’t fear. There is no coming tyranny. There is no monarch in the making. Maybe difficult times. Maybe violence. But nothing that the same, age-old virtues, beginning with personal integrity, can’t handle.
There is “NSFW” (that means “not safe for work”, Grandma and Grandpa–thanks for always reading btw), and then there is please never ever try to talk about what you are about to read. (PNETTTAWYAATR.) I’m serious. The following is a no win conversation. You just have to trust me. (It’s all true. But measuring by the “shame” I feel writing it, I wouldn’t say this out loud if my life depended on it. Ergo, we write.)
Disclaimer: this post is going to sound like it is written to “whites”. I’m going to act like I’m revealing a secret that I learned over the past four years while a member of a black church, attempting to socialize with the Black Community. But this post is not for the “whites”. It is for the “blacks”.
With the election cycle approaching full-swing, I finally feel like I have something to contribute. Perhaps it is because I have a namesake running. Speaking of, the big headlines about Mayor Pete right now contain the basic idea that the “blacks” (of the African-American type–not the new immigrants who playfully taught me that “No, Africa is not a country. But, yes, Africa is a jungle”) the “blacks” remain one of the last voting blocks to publicly embrace homosexuals with open arms.
To the untrained eye, Mayor Pete seems to be doing all the right things. He’s tackling the problem head-on. He’s headed to the South and he’s going to grin-and-grip. To the untrained eye, Mayor Pete is going to put himself out there for the individual blacks that he meets and whom he endears to himself to inspect and stamp “worthy of our trust”. The untrained eye is wrong.
With the “blacks”, Mayor Pete, woke or not, need not aim for some consensus of individuals, no. Consensus is what he’s doing with “whites”. But the “blacks” are not merely the “whites” with dark skin.
The “blacks” are, to their shame, a group. And Mayor Pete is causing conversation within the body. But they’re not talking about issues. They are merely conducting a sounding, no different than a weather balloon full of hot air. We’re not waiting for “blacks” to think through the issues–for instance, to think through whether they still believe the Word of God is the Word of God, no.
All that we’re waiting for is the leader of the “blacks” to declare Mayor Pete to be their guy. Naturally, the question is, “Who is the leader?” And that is a fascinating question. That is the question Mayor Pete would pay to know the answer to at this point. In fact, that is precisely what he is doing right now, whether intentional or not. All he’s waiting on–all we’re waiting on–with his little hurdle is for this “leader” to declare some sort of “Mayor Pete is da man!” or some other slightly Southern or grammatically-challenged sounding phrase of approval (like “woke” itself) to be released with which the millions of “black” sheep can echo, repeat, tweet, insta, snap, and fb all over the planet. (Interesting sidebar: Is there a black social meeja app, vis-a-vis BET? I can’t think of one.)
Lastly, here’s a little known, but known enough, reminder: The leader, the one with the gift of “utterance”, will prove to be a woman. I’m betting on Michelle.
Now you know.
(In any case, my bet is on Trump.)