It is nearing time to choose a path; do we continue down the current rabbit hole of what columnist David Brooks has called “performative narcissism,” or do we reach back to the values that actually made America great and reengage with each other by demanding honesty, humility and decency? The top of the presidential candidate card for both parties—Trump, Biden and Bernie—appear to be mired in Brooks’ performative narcissism. To be fair, Trump is in a league of his own; I suspect that in the coming years his name will be attached to many newly-named psychoses in medical journals than it may appear on shiny new buildings around the world. Trumpicism may become shorthand for malignant narcissism. Orange skin tone and Aqua Net shellacked hair swirls may prompt calls for an exorcist. Still, the front-runner Democrats offer little more than slightly milder narcissism and, at times, just as much scapegoating and demagoguing, not to mention inappropriate shoulder rubs. Instead of Mexicans as an existential threat, it’s Wall Street. Instead of porn stars slapping ass with a rolled-up Forbes, it’s too close—much too close—hair sniffing. Perhaps old white guys should simply go home and stay there. Patriarchy has become about as welcome as a houseguest who really thought you meant it when you said, “Stay as long as you want.” As a relative newcomer to the old-white-guy demographic, I am totally cool with banishment. At some point, you just have to go fishing and be happy that John Coltrane is available on Amazon music. Plus, you can sleep in later. (If only I could.)
Spring is, however, upon us, and green sprouts are beginning to appear among the younger set of political prospects. Who would have expected that a gay mayor of a mid-western town would rise in a just a few weeks to be third among Democratic presidential hopefuls? But, besides being gay and from South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg is wicked smart and conveys an honest sense of humility with an apparent addiction to solving problems that face those of us outside the top one percent. Whipping the evangelical avatar Mike Pence with lessons from Jesus was a smack-down long overdue. Who knew such a person existed in today’s political arena? Running South Bend may not qualify him to manage an ageing superpower, but his intellect and disposition will, no doubt, send his star soaring well beyond the Hoosier state. Stacey Abrams also catches my ear; when she speaks, listening is a pleasure. Like Mayor Pete, her brain exceeds the collective intellect of the entire Trumplican caucus. In three sentences, she defined the entire game in 2020: “Winning does not mean beating Trump. It means winning America. That’s our mission.” I don’t know if or what she may run for next, but Dems had damn well better start listening to her or Trump, like Netanyahu earlier this month, will be headed for another term.
Happy spring my friends. Now, it’s time to go re-org the flybox.
As the snow falls softly this New Year’s Eve on our hideaway in the Colorado Rockies, I feel a welcome sense of seclusion from the outrage porn we have come to endure from the steady stream of farce and deceit pulsing through the wired and wireless reality that continues to warp our senses and worse, corrode our values. And yet, I can’t help but summon a cup of gratitude at having been granted the fateful […]
“If you have no character your destiny is tragedy.” These words offered by former federal prosecutor John Flannery as he described the likely outcome of Donald Trump’s presidency and life. This notion of self-inflicted fate has been around for centuries as when Oedipus the King was advised by Tiresias, “Creon is not your downfall, no, you are your own” (Sophocles, circa 430 B.C.). The remarkable thing about the noose that appears to be tightening around […]
What follows here is a draft introduction of my next book, American Deliverance: Restoring the American Dream in the Post-Trump Era. I am sharing it with subscribers to provide an historical context and outlook on the question, What now? I hope to have it completed and published before we need it!
American Deliverance: Introduction
I was born in 1957, the peak birth year for Baby Boomers and the year the Soviets launched Sputnik into space which, just […]
The divisive tribal partisanship so many sociologists and political pundits talk about today may, in the November midterms in 2018 and presidential election in 2020, boil down to little more than an amplification of the gender wars previously explained in John Gray’s 1992 bestseller, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. A number of recent studies suggest Trump has succeeded in creating gender gaps in political preferences unseen in the history of American politics. […]
When my now nearly thirty year-old son was a toddler, his incessant demand was “Shall we read?” Or, phonetically, “Shall weeeee reeeeeed?!!” His favorite, Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit, is probably why I still cringe at cottontail roadkill. My daughter also acknowledged the family affection for books when, at “Bring Dad to School Day” in third grade, she was asked to introduce me and, in typical Dallas fashion, was also asked to describe […]
In my most charitable description, 2017 was a wake-up call for America; a year marked by surprise, anger, sadness and regret. In 2018, each of us must consider the blessings of the past and the challenges of the future while embracing an honest assessment of the role we must play in setting a course that reflects the values and dignity of predecessor generations. 2018 like 1776, 1865, and 1945 is one of those seminal years […]