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'Wulf at the Door
From the very beginning, we thought the Trumpmonster would trip over its own missteps. But each time the monster said something or did something that would have immolated another politician, it was somehow able to pass through the firestorm untouched by the flames.

Its base, which holds the entire Republican Party in its grip, would only shrug at the monster’s behavior. “That’s why we like him. He says what he (and we) believes.” Never mind that what it believes is repellant and wrong.

As its campaign went on, there seemed to be a new outrage every week. And each time we expected that story would, at last, be the one that destroyed the creature. I don’t want to name all of those stories, nor enumerate each of the torrent of lies that spill from its puckered maw, nor count every revelation of its callous selfishness. I’m sick of it, and tired, and I have almost stopped hoping that people will finally wake up to the awfulness.

Pundits went broke predicting the demise of the creature, and each time I believed them because I wanted it to be true — and because it would have been true for anyone else. But on it went, a monster spewing and threatening and laying waste to the hard-won gains civilization had made. Finally, I stopped believing the pundits and dared to let despair creep into my thoughts.

Then came last week, and this time the story felt different. First came the op-ed piece in the Times written by someone on the inside of the White House. Then came Fear, Bob Woodward’s carefully researched book of presidential reporting. The monster itself did its part by dishonoring the 3000 dead lost to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Michael Cohen, the President’s longtime fixer, was now openly shopping his tales of Trump secrets. Kavanaugh was accused of attempted rape as a teen. And then, the big one: Manafort flipped.

Now, nothing will come of any of this immediately. Just as with all the other transgressions and unmaskings of the monster, no immediate price will be paid. Still, there seemed to be something different about this blitz of bad Trump news. I am trying not to be duped by hope again, but this time I cannot help but feel that a corner has been turned, and now we are beginning our long journey back to The Good.

It is the Manafort plea agreement that makes the most difference. Robert Mueller, as cold and relentless as the mythic hero Beowulf, has now made this bold thrust toward the underbelly of the Orange Grendel. The monster, alone with its TV in the White House, went uncharacteristically silent, and I could imagine it trembling at the prospect of his own inevitable undoing.

This Beowulf will not dispatch his Grendel with the swift certainty of his namesake, but I believe that the end for this monster will be just as remorseless and sure. Mueller and his retainer of implacable prosecutors are moving steadily and with great care toward their goal, and neither the monster nor anyone else knows when and where and how they will deliver justice.

So I have new hope, but I must wait. "The Wheels of Justice turn slowly, but grind exceedingly fine,” the saying goes. I am content, even as the ugliness continues to worsen and our democracy becomes more strained, to look forward to that return to The Good — or at least to The Normal.

The truth will out as it always does, and we will go to work to repair the damage. The Orange Grendel will be nothing but a bad memory — and a dark reminder that it truly can happen here.
Mixed Messages
Bob Woodward says
I should be scared
But he might be
In error

Then Trumpster says
That it's all good
And that fills me
With terror
Lost and Unfounded
I accidentally knocked my pen off the nightstand the other night. I had thought of something important, and I needed to write it down to make sure I didn’t forget it. Since it was 3 a.m., it seemed to me that it was absolutely urgent that the future me receive my message. Although I can’t remember now exactly why it was so urgent, it was enough at the time to galvanize me into action.

I reached around for it on the floor in the dark, twisting every way possible from my prone position. Nothing. Grumbling, I got out of bed and down on my hands and knees. More failure. Finally, I turned on the light and squinted into the shadows. There it was, deep under the bed.

How was that even possible? How could a plastic ballpoint pen fall two feet onto a carpeted floor and bounce that far? Why didn’t it just hit and stop?

Later that same day, I was sitting in the living room, eating pistachios and watching sports on TV. One of the nuts escaped my grasp, hit my pantleg, and fell to the floor. It totally broke my rhythm. I don’t have to tell you how important a sustained rhythm is when you’re eating pistachios. You just want to keep it going and going until they’re gone.

Besides keeping a steady tempo, it is also critical (as you know) that you eat every single nut. So naturally I stopped everything to look for the errant pistachio. I couldn’t see it or find it by groping. I got down on my knees — again — and looked for it. Yep, there it was, deep under my chair, in a place it could not possibly have ended up.

That evening, I was repairing our minivac on the kitchen table, and I dropped a small (but absolutely vital) part on the floor. This time, I immediately went to the hands-and-knees posture. I shuffled like a horseshoe crab everywhere around the table, peering under it, under the chairs, under the plant stand. I got out a flashlight and tried in vain to make the thing cast its tiny shadow.

I still haven’t found the part. I have not as yet searched adjacent rooms, in part because I am afraid I might find it there. For it to be in the hall or the living room, it would have had to bounce twenty feet. Either that or roll the same distance. Neither of those scenarios would be feasible under the Laws of Physics as I presently understand them. Those laws are the bedrock upon which my entire belief system is built. If I did find it, I might have to re-examine my whole life.

The fact that these three events occurred in the same twenty-four hour period also stretches the usually trustworthy Laws of Probability. A part of me was tempted to look again at my ideas about the supernatural, but I resisted. If I were to find myself searching the realms of the occult for explanations of my own experience, I don’t think I could handle it.

I like to think of myself as a rational person. I don’t believe in gremlins or devils or divine beings because I don’t see any good evidence for their existence. Sometimes, however — like today — I am challenged to find an explanation in reason for real-life events.

I found the ballpoint and made the note I had to make. I found the pistachio nut and ate it. I still haven’t found the missing part, but I bet that I will…eventually. When I do, I trust that the explanation for my inability to find it will be obvious and reassuringly rational.

If not, it is I who will be lost.
Them
They should be feared
(So some folks say)
‘Cause they are Them
Not us, okay?

They take our jobs
And benefits
And it is we
Who pay for it

They want to take
Our country too
But it’s for us
Not Them, boo-hoo

They breathe our air
They crowd our towns
Plus they’re not white
But blacks and browns!


Now, I am white
(Just so you knows)
But don’t count me
As one of Those

In fact, I think
They’s more like we
Than Those who hate
(They’re Them to me)
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Trump supporters are people who know what they believe.
~ JC, Bonny Doon