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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A week after the election

I think Trump just might win this. Feeling panicky. I hope like hell I'm wrong. (Text message written to my brother-in-law on November 1, 2016--one week before the election)

It has now been over a week since the election. My mood continually shifts from despair, to resolve, to almost-normality, and back to despair.

How did this happen? Why did this happen? Is there any hope for this nation?

The United States electorate took a look at a race-baiting, hateful, negative, misogynistic, serial sexually abusing egomaniac with absolutely no public service or government experience and said, "Sure, why not?"

I don't know exactly what to add to this post right now, but I'm sure I will think of more to write later. Many thoughts and subjects, fears and concerns have been bouncing around in my brain every day since November 8, but at his moment I'm at a loss for words.

When it gets down to it, we who did not vote for Trump need to fight harder than ever before. We need to recognize and correct the mistakes that were made in this election. (Whether that actually happens or not, who knows). But most importantly, we need to work at the local level: if we see someone on the street who needs a dollar, give the person a dollar if you have the money to spare. Don't worry how or where they spend it. Donate to charity--Planned Parenthood or the Southern Poverty Law Center are two good places to start. Write letters to your congressmen, wear a safety pin (but be prepared to actually take on the responsibility and dangers that this entails). Whatever you do, TAKE ACTION! DO NOT BE COMPLACENT!

Friday, November 4, 2016

The World Champion Chicago Cubs (that still sounds strange) are a welcome diversion

I can't tell you how much of a welcome distraction from our current political train wreck it was to witness the Chicago Cubs win their first World Series since the Theodore Roosevelt administration.

Game seven reaffirmed for me why baseball is such a great game. It had just about everything one could want from a deciding World Series game: ups, downs, twists, turns, a 17-minute rain delay, and lots of drama. I mean, who would have guessed that Rajai Davis, a guy who was 3 for 20 coming to bat in the eighth against fireballing but fatigued Aroldis Chapman, would battle for several pitches before blasting a game-tying homer over the left field wall? I'm watching the replay on MLB Network while I write this and after Davis crushed his homer, Chapman has a look on his face of utter disbelief and shell-shock.

I have complained in the past that FOX World Series telecasts overdo the fan reaction shots, but it seemed that this year they cut down on that a little. This was one year that the reaction shots were fascinating, particularly with the game tied 6-6 in the ninth. Both Chicago and Cleveland fans are in total anguish. After years of having their hearts broken, both fanbases expect the worst.

In the tenth, it was a relief to watch Kyle Schwarber's hard hit grounder just barely make it beyond the infield shift for a base hit. Kris Bryant tattooed a long drive to center, enabling pinch-runner Albert Almora to tag up and advance to second. Cubs and Indians fans are riveted to the game hanging on every pitch. Ben Zobrist simply goes with the pitche and rips an opposite field double down the third base line, scoring the go-ahead run. A shot of Chapman in the dugout has him flashing a smile for the first time probably all night.

Well, I don't know if I really need to do a play-by-play reconstruction of the game. After the Cubs went up 8-6, I ran into the kitchen to grab a beer. As I wrote on Facebook, it was more for self-medication than celebration. I guzzled the beer down and it did make the bottom of the 10th a little easier to handle. Oh sure, I got a little nervous when Rajai Davis (continuing his late game heroics) doubled to score Cleveland's seventh run. But then Kris Bryant made a great play on a slow rolling grounder to end the series and give the Cubbies their first world championship in 108 years.

I enjoyed having these two teams take my mind off what has been the most depressing presidential campaign I can remember. And I loved finally seeing a team I LIKE win something meaningful for the first time since the Michigan State basketball team won the Big Ten tournament.

Now I spend the next few days nervously awaiting the election.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A brief dispatch about my political anxiety (in which I also implore anyone reading to NOT vote for Donald Trump)

We are a week away from the election and I am practically twisted in knots with anxiety.

Hillary's poll number have gone down after the FBI quite bizarrely re-opened her never-ending email investigation. This time the emails seem completely amorphous. The timing of this revelation--if it really can be called a revelation--is baffling. It certainly comes off as FBI director James Comey purposely and blatantly tampering with the election.

Meanwhile, a large swath of the American public seem to have, in the space of one or two weeks, forgotten that Donald Trump is a race-baiting, misogynistic, know-nothing, arrogant demagogue. Apparently, this is the person that almost half the United States wants to lead the nation forward. I fear for this country, I am alarmed by this country. I don't feel like I have anything in common with 40-45 percent of my fellow citizens. I'll go as far as saying that never in my life have I felt so utterly depressed about the direction this nation is taking.

I wrote something on Facebook, in one of my periodic political broadsides in which I preach to the converted and (probably) simply annoy the other side. But whatever--it bears repeating. Here goes: if you don't like Hillary, okay. But take a moment to ask yourself, do you REALLY want a president who is endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan? Yes, Donald Trump has recently been publicly endorsed by the most prominent hate group in the United States. So what is worse? A candidate in Hillary Clinton with some amorphous email "scandal." Even with the latest FBI revelation of emails found on Anthony Weiner's computer--we don't even know the nature of these emails. I don't even think the FBI knows at this point. Is this REALLY worse than the other candidate--Donald Trump--who has loudly and proudly boasted about sexually assaulting women? A man endorsed by the KKK, a demagogue, a man with no clear plan of how we will "make America great again."

If you don't like Hillary Clinton, then please do all rational people a favor and simply do not vote for president. Leave that part of your ballot blank, and vote for everything else. But please do not help elect a demagogue like Trump.