Thursday, August 31, 2023

Russia Russia Russia


During her talk on Tuesday, Heather Cox-Richardson posed the question: why are these people going through such gyrations to support an ex-president?  I also wonder this…it can’t be just because they don’t want to lose Trump’s base.  That base just isn’t big enough, IMO, to warrant the amount of energy they are putting into keeping themselves tethered to poor Mr. Trump.  Is it?  I mean, really.  What if they all just said screw it…screw him?  What if they all openly proclaimed that Trump is not their horse anymore?  What if they all stopped tearing down and began working to build us up?  What’s stopping them?


Heather said that she feels like she's missing something.  Well, me too.  At the risk of sounding like a left-wing conspiracy theorist or just a batty old woman, I keep turning to Russia. 


I am convinced that Russian interference put Trump in the White House in 2016.  I just can’t believe that so many Americans were manipulated into voting for him to give him such a sweeping victory.  To believe that his win was legitimate would mean that I would have to realize that this is NOT my country, that the majority of the people here are some combination of stupid, hateful and violent.    


Then in 2019, Mitch McConnell was nicknamed Moscow Mitch when he blocked two House-approved measures to protect elections, despite warnings that Russia intended to meddle in the 2020 race.  This was also about the time when the clown car of MAGA goons started really pumping up the volume. 


The actions of Congress members in this group are so anti-American and so autocratic-leaning I can’t come to any other conclusion than to believe that Russia has infiltrated at least 2 branches of our federal government.


When Trump was just entering the stage, Putin must have been ecstatic.  What a perfect stooge to further his efforts to topple us.  All Putin had to do to control the guy was to flatter him.  So, Russia lost control of the Executive Branch in 2020, but, with the help of our Congress and a few Supreme Court Justices, it could continue to hammer away at us until we break. 


Well, we’re not going to break.  Pundits keep talking as though Trump could actually win in 2024.  I cannot allow myself to believe that.  We simply cannot allow it.


Friday, August 25, 2023

What I'd Like to Think


He looks at the camera with contempt and arrogance.  Pundits are saying he spent hours rehearsing for that photo for his mug shot.  He wanted to get the image just right.  The image needed to be perfect to be transformed into an effective tool for fund raising.  So, they’re saying that the picture was calculated, formed with practiced nuance.  He’d only get one shot.  Had to get it right.


Contempt and arrogance.  Rehearsed.  I can see his base using that image to elevate him, to demonstrate proof that he is a super hero.  But I see something different.  I don’t think it was rehearsed.  I’m not saying that he didn’t rehearse how he wanted to look in his mug shot.  I completely believe that he did this.  But this photo was not what was rehearsed.  In this photo, I see a man without a mask.  This is what is underneath the jaunty, self-aggrandizing, smug banter that we usually see.  Here is the menace behind the mask.  His contempt for all is palpable. 


Meadows and Giuliani also have the same expression on their faces.  White male privilege.  Rage that anyone could dare to treat them with anything but delicate deference because of who they are.  Contempt.  Arrogance. 


Here’s what I like to think.  I like to think that the Fulton County processing procedures really were performed for these puffed up sleaze bags the same as for everyone else.  No nonsense.  They were given orders, and it was made clear that, if they did not immediately comply, harsher measures would be used.  Imagine being treated that way when you see yourself as being so important that you are above such treatment.  When I imagine these men, having been among the most powerful people in the world, now standing under florescent lights, being told what to do by a civil servant, being stripped of their freedom in the same procedure rooms where countless criminals of all kinds had been processed in the same manner, it takes my breath away.  Those mug shots were not rehearsed.  By the time they came before the camera, their rage had burned away their carefully maintained masks.  Their privilege had been cast aside by these lowly civil servants, and what had been carefully stoked and hidden on the inside flared out, allowing us all to see that they are nothing more than malignant scabs, clinging to the still living tissue of our democracy.  These men still attempt to spread their malignancy and devour that living tissue until they transform it into something dead and lifeless.


And that’s a cause for hope because our democracy still lives.  These roiling spit balls are not going to win.  They may be seething with contempt and arrogance as they glare at the camera, but they are arrested.  Their freedom has been taken away, and they are now under the control of the State of Georgia.  Wow.  What a satisfying feeling.

Wednesday, August 02, 2023

Getting Away, Getting To It

I didn't do it last year, because I was in a fit of writer's angst, but I usually go away for a few days in February or March for a private writer's retreat. A three-day weekend approaches (Thanks George and Abe), and I am heading out to Orcas Island to the Kangaroo Bed and Breakfast.

If the weather permits, there will be hiking. There will definitely be driving around, visiting the sheep lady, exploring art galleries and bookstores. And there will be writing.

I'm a little scared. I haven't had a fiction project in over a year. I have the finished but unpublishable YA novel, the fifty-pages into it second YA novel, some short stories that have never gotten past their premie births and a few ideas to body forth. In spite of the angst, I was executing a plan by not writing for all these months. I wanted to get all the crackling out of my head and get back to a place where I can hear my own voice. All of the writer's groups, retreats, conferences, workshops had seeped into my inner ear and perched there, waiting, just waiting, for the instant I put fingers to keyboard. When the idea of writing entered my head, they would pummel me with a cacophony of loosely-aimed opinions. My fingers would hover, maybe type a few sentences and then still.

Time, I thought. I need time for the noise to fade away.

I'm not sure that they are completely silent, but it's time for me to try writing again, hence the private retreat.

Orcas Island in the off season is a paradise for anyone wanting to spend quiet days in a beautiful setting. The island is virtually deserted, except for the locals, and is loaded with places, alternately, to sit and focus or to be distracted. This will be the third private retreat I've given myself on Orcas. The first year I stayed at the Anchorage Inn. The room was huge, elegant, full of comforts. A huge four-poster bed with down comforters, a wicker rocking chair with soft woolen blankets, a gas fireplace, floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the water, an efficiency stocked with yogurt, juices, home-made granola and fresh baked coffee cake, a hot tub by the water and no other guests besides me made for a great four-day weekend. I think I wrote four chapters of Giving It Over on that trip. Two years later, I stayed at the Otter Pond B&B. Since I was the only guest, the proprietors gave me an upgrade. I really enjoyed the B&B, but the writer in me was distracted. I couldn't settle into the zone. The static of all the support I was getting as a writer kept pulling my fingers off the keyboard.

In between trips to Orcas, I've gone to other of the San Juans and once to The Resort at Mount Hood. Mt. Hood was a great destination. The Resort was so newly remodeled that it sparkled. I went snow shoeing and ate brunch at a buffet so enormous and colorful it looked like a rose-parade float. I also sat and wrote in front of the six-foot fireplace in the lobby and enjoyed long bubble baths in a deep tub. The writing was somehow not satisfying.

So, the first retreat was the best. I belonged to a small, intimate online writer's group with a handful of people I trusted and respected. Those people stayed with me all the way through the writing of my first novel. I miss them and often wish we could all go back to those days. My self-confidence dwindled over the years. Everything I did to find my way served to obscure the road signs.

Now, more than year away from all writing-related activities, I'm about to see what I can do. I feel like anything could happen. I hope to find that I've returned to days when writing is dangerous, where the edge of the jungle comes all the way down to the shore and eagles are ready to tip their wings and catch an upward current.