What Would Hunter Thompson Say?

As the campaign screeches to a halt, at long last, I caught myself last week musing about the late Hunter S. Thompson, and just how he would have covered this one. I can only say the invective would have been thorough, and thick. If you think HST hated Nixon (he did), you can just imagine how he would feel about this run.

My guess is he would have gone on the road a brief time with both campaigns, then retired to the National Affairs Desk to monitor the entire, sordid mess. Beginning each day at the crack of 2pm with Huevos Ranchero, a large pot of coffee, a dozen grapefruit, and an rasher of bacon–all consumed poolside as he perused the various daily rags from around the country. Topped off with a full pitcher of Margaritas. After that, Hunter would begin his day.

He would doubtless have all the major cable-news outlets on at once, swearing at the idiocy at the same time. I trust the word “CAZART” would be uttered more than a few times a day, along with language I likely cannot repeat here.

But given all that, I think HST would simply be shaking his head, and wondering how things got so bad, so fast. He would be wondering how a greed-head like Trump managed to get THIS CLOSE to the Presidency, while at the same time trying to figure out how a “grifter like Clinton”, managed to pull off the same thing on the other side. Wondering all the while where he really was and what the hell had happened.

I’m fairly sure he’d be cranking pages out of the red Selectric, and slipping the Mojo Wire into overdrive. I KNOW he’d have blown the deadline. What I know for sure is the end result would have been glorious to read, and to watch as it happened. I suspect he’d be sorry George McGovern wasn’t there to see it too–and given the caliber of this election, he might even want to apologize to Nixon. (I know–a pipe dream).

On election night, he would have went to wherever Gary Johnson was, and spent the evening there. Lamenting the fact that had Johnson run on the Freak Power ticket, he would have had a fighting chance.

“Aw Mama is this really the end?”

 

 

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Own Your Vote, and Stop Blaming The Media

PREFACE-I’m writing this in the middle of a multi-day headache siege, and I hope it is at least somewhat coherent. If not–sue me. It’s midnight.

 

So in the past 72 hours, I have heard, and seen numerous people from ALL sides of the political spectrum, claim the media is manipulating news surrounding the Presidential Election. Furthermore there are numerous claims the media and some other sinister people are Brainwashing voters.

Really?

After the absolute shit storm of this campaign with thousands of allegations and unfounded rumors, it comes down to blaming the media? AGAIN??!!

Sorry, but we just aren’t that good, folks. Oh sure, I’d love to admit we all have regular meetings and assemble secretly to conspire against EVERYONE, but you and I both know it’s just not so.

It finally comes down to this. If you’re paranoid, think everyone is out to ruin you, and this country, and steal your vote, then it’s your own fault. TV’s have an on/off switch. So do radios. Newspapers can be folded or just lie unpurchased. Computers can be ignored.

If you feel like the electoral process has been hijacked and stolen from you by the media–it’s YOUR FAULT. Why? Because if you are so weak-willed and small-minded that you can’t defend your true beliefs, and back-up your so-called ideals, then it’s YOUR FAULT

Why? Because you read. watch, hear, and read what you want to, when you want to, on your own terms, and it applies equally to ALL sides of the political spectrum.

The overriding theme of this campaign isn’t mud, deception, or even Democrat versus Republican. It’s people using the philosophy of convenience. What is that you ask? It’s really very simple. It’s the overwhelming number of voters and citizens who somehow manage to ignore and submerge their own set of values and beliefs to back a candidate, just because it’s convenient.

I’m really going to be interested to hear just how many voters truly express remorse for how they have acted, voted , and lied to themselves, in a post-election self-examination. Because that’s what is happening all over the country. People lying to themselves to justify a vote.

What the hell has happened to us?

Election 2016-Historic Beat Down Coming, But I Take No Joy

Before I get blasted as an Uber-Liberal GOP basher, let me just say I have always been an advocate for a healthy multi-party system when it comes to U.S. Politics. Just as I have always been a supporter and believer in our government’s system of checks and balances. One of the reasons I’ve never been particularly upset or concerned about appointees to the Supreme Court, is that usually the court does the job very well, and the way it should be done. Oh, there have been notable exceptions like Citizens United, but on the whole the court usually runs well.

I long for the time when Republicans and Democrats could sit down and compromise, work things out and actually govern.  Alas that time seems to have passed and may never return.  You can speculate all day who’s at fault, but safe to say, there is plenty of blame to go around. I feel for the GOP and Republicans because in these circumstances, Donald Trump is absolutely the wrong candidate to be the party nominee.

Trump is beyond a mistake. He is a bull in a china shop and carnival barker rolled into one being. He’s beyond a bad reality show. Donald Trump is the worst thing to happen to The American Character and American politics since Richard Nixon. He is the Drunk Uncle of the Republican Party. Yet, I hesitate to continue tarring the GOP with this Bozo. He simply chose the GOP to inflict himself upon. What Democrats should be feeling first, and foremost, is relief that he didn’t decide to do it to them.

But none of this is the worst part of the story. The worst part, is that Donald Trump will be dragging the GOP down with his sinking ship. Not just the Presidency. The ENTIRE party. The down-ticket races and possibly even local elections.  If you think the damage he’s caused so far is bad, he still has three months to dig the hole even deeper. There is a very good chance Trump’s candidacy will sink the Senate candidates in nearly every race for the GOP, or at least seriously weaken most of them. With that will come the loss of Senate majority for the GOP. If things go totally in the tank, Hillary Clinton could become President with a Democratic controlled House and Senate, and the possibility of as many as three SUPCO appointees in her first 18 months. (although I think the GOP can and will likely hold the house.)  Think about that Republicans.

As for the Presidential Election? It could be historic in the numbers. The GOP Defeat could be the worst-ever.  But it won’t kill the GOP. It will, however, bomb it back to the stone-age politically. The GOP will find itself in a similar spot as it did in 1961, and throughout most of the 60’s Democrats in the White House, Democrats in the House and Senate all in control. It took decades for the GOP to finally re-emerge. Granted, it could have happened sooner without Nixon and Watergate, but THIS is what the GOP is facing right now.

Despite what those critics of mine claim to know, (they don’t), I am not anti-Republican. What I AM is anti-militant partisanship. Just being angry and mad at others just because they aren’t Republican, (Or other parties).

We need MULTIPLE healthy parties, and right now we don’t have them.

 

 

A Vote Against Darkness

I am not going to write anything approaching the profound. I’m just going to say a few things and explain them. Yeah, I am a pinko Liberal so let’s just get THAT out of the way now.

First, let me say this. In recent weeks several friends of mine have urged me to take a stand on a Presidential candidate. It was startling to me that anyone considers my vote and opinion that important.  They know who they are,  and have my thanks, and gratitude. I am–and always have–been honored to call them my friends.

But, I must be honest. It has been a struggle. Originally, I vowed to keep an open mind, and actually listen to each of them before I decided. I actually did that, but as much as I tried–from day one, it was obvious to me whom I would NOT be voting for.

Donald Trump was a non-starter, From the day of his announcement, through the GOP Convention, he has managed to blaze a trail of insults from one end of America to the other. Never in my personal, or professional life, have I experienced a candidate who fosters so much turmoil and discontent–and somehow manages to win the nomination. He has managed to take the heartfelt support of people all over the country, and twist it into something just this side of an unholy mess. If you support Trump, fine. But if I were you, I’d be thoroughly pissed off that he took your honest support, and crapped all over it, and the Republican Party.

As you can tell,  I never made a secret of my distaste for Trump and I won’t now. Until his convention speech, it never dawned on me that he’s simply Nixon without the political acumen. He’s following the Southern Strategy to almost a tee. The difference is he doesn’t have George Wallace protecting his flank. Trump has tapped into the Obama-hating, angry white-guy voting base. Just like Nixon tapped into it after the Civil Rights movement took hold. Frankly, I was a moron NOT to see it before I did.

All of that being the case, then who?

It was initially Bernie Sanders. I liked almost everything about his campaign. The ideas of course, and the renegade aspect had great appeal as well. But as things progressed, and Hillary pulled out to a lead, I noticed a change in Sanders’ base of support. There was almost an undercurrent of malevolence that bothered me then, and still does. The best I can describe it is Liberal Rage.

Rage that anyone would question Bernie’s ideas, and candidacy, and outrage that his supporters were seemingly being marginalized. Certainly understandable, but when you are in the game of national politics,  you need to wear big-boy pants occasionally, and realize you lose more than you win. there was no rigged nomination,  the Super-Delegate process has been in effect since 1984.

We saw this Liberal Rage in the small tantrums they threw at the Democratic National Convention. Fortunately, the practical faction of the Sanders camp prevailed, and Bernie himself displayed the dignity and class that was needed, and has been largely missing during this campaign cycle. Will it be enough to get those people under the Hillary tent? Hard to say for sure, but I believe it will be in the end.

My next flirtation was Gary Johnson. To be completely honest about it, I REALLY think I could and would support Johnson and Bill Weld–if it were any other year.  I’ll agree with one of my Republican friends when he says if Weld were on TOP of that ticket, he’d pull that lever. But this isn’t happening either. (Yes, I do have Republican friends.)

Which brings us to Hillary Clinton. I have never been completely certain about Hillary Clinton. Not about her sincerity. Not always of her innocence in some questionable situations. But I will say this. Hillary has been in the public eye in this country since she worked for the Senate Judiciary Committee investigating Watergate. Yes, there is a lot of smoke and insinuations about her possible conduct and behavior. But in the entire period of time since she emerged. She has been investigated ENDLESSLY, and the Republicans—who did most of the investigating–have never laid a glove on her.

Now you can say what you like about her AND Bill being slippery and able to skate by, but it says to me the Republicans have managed to waste millions of dollars, and manage a seemingly unending wild goose chase and have got NOTHING to show for it. By-the-way, I do not subscribe to the ‘Mysterious Deaths List’, attributed to her and Bill. People die. Frequently. Every day in fact. Over a three-decade career you lose people. Do I think Hillary Clinton is squeaky-clean? Of course not, but she’s no arch-villain either.  I do however, think Trump could easily be mistaken for Lex Luthor in the correct kind of light.

When it comes down to the final vote. The decision for this election, I must admit still being torn. I’m not at all sold on Clinton or Johnson, but Trump is a non-starter. But with his surge and convention performance, he helped me decide.

I have never seen four days like the GOP Convention. Possibly the four darkest days politically since Nixon resigned. (also a GOP Production). I heard nothing positive. That clinched it for me.

I’m voting for Hillary Clinton–but it’s more of a vote against Donald Trump. A vote against darkness.

Oh one more thing. For those who are saying,  “I knew it all along?” No, you didn’t because even I didn’t know for sure until today.  I’m not telling anyone who to vote for. But when I think about being raised by a single-Mom, with my sister, and the remarkable women I have had in my life, I cannot in good conscience allow a Trump candidacy to go unnoticed and un-criticized. But Trump’s misogyny and what seems to be bigotry is not what we as a country need.

I would vote for Johnson, but he has no shot. So I will vote against Trump and For Hillary Clinton.  I am NOT telling you who to vote for. My only request is that you VOTE period. Particularly the down-ticket races. Nothing will ever change if you don’t vote.

 

 

 

 

Ali-Legacy And A Life

Nothing I write about Muhammad Ali will be earth-shaking or transcendental. Yet since his passing, I have had a strong urge to pay some tribute, however small, to The Greatest.

Everyone knows about the public Ali, and his illustrious career, that much is certain. But the thing that has astonished me, is the escalating number of people telling their own, “Ali Story”.

Having lived and worked in Louisville for so many years, it has always been clear that Muhammad Ali loved his hometown. Even when that hometown didn’t always love him. At some point during TV coverage of almost every one of his fights, he would mention he hailed from Louisville, and frequently mentioned Central High School in his post-fight interviews too. One thing I learned living in Louisville–EVERYONE there has an Ali Story. For the record, I met him twice, and I never forgot either time. I never will.

Muhammad Ali was great friends with local Louisville Radio Personality John Ramsey, and I don’t think I overstate things when I say John was like a son to The Champ. John has frequently shared his memories of Ali,  and has been extremely generous with those on Facebook and other social media.  He has heard and seen people meet Muhammad in nearly any circumstance you can imagine. He told me this morning in a Facebook message that no one he ever knew of, could connect with people like Muhammad Ali. I also want to thank John for sharing his friendship with The Champ for so many years.

To see him in his later years, was to witness a man coming full-circle, and knowing what this man had done–had been–had accomplished, just overwhelmed many people when they found themselves face-to-face with the actual man and not the image. From the brash, outspoken young athlete–to the boxing champion–to icon of the world, Ali had literally done it all. Some were cruel about his affliction, claiming it was payback for being such a ‘loudmouth’ when he was younger.  I saw it differently.

I saw a man who–although somewhat trapped inside his body–bared his soul and allowed himself to show his weakened body–and continue to make others happy. It was evident when he lit the torch at the 98 Olympics in Atlanta. Even though those Olympics are now 20 years in the rearview mirror, that moment has become iconic, and will be forever remembered.

There are still those knee-jerk reactionaries who use the incorrect term, “Draft Dodger” to describe their feelings about Muhammad Ali. They are wrong of course, but I have detailed why it’s fallacious numerous other times, and will not do so here. What I will say is this. Open your minds and expand your world-view. What Ali did, helped this country, and his deeds need to be remembered for that. Look at the big picture folks. The bubbles we all live in can be sort of cozy, but can also warp our values, and worst–our tolerance.

Make no mistake. Muhammad Ali was one hellacious Boxer. Arguably the best ever. In fact go back and watch his fights, and you will see his brilliance, and skills. But when you do that, also remember that this man so touched the world in one-way-or-another, that he was literally known, and revered in every corner of the globe.

If that isn’t a life well-lived,  then I don’t know what it is.

 

 

Can Democrats Save The GOP?

After watching the Democratic debate,Tuesday evening, I came to a few conclusions. No hearts and minds will be changed after this one, but we really did LEARN more from this debate, then we did from the first two GOP debates combined. No, there was nothing earth-shattering as far as anything new, or different from the five candidates.

What we did learn is that with a little civility, and real discourse, a candidate can, at the very least, introduce themselves to the voting public. That is something SORELY lacking in any of the GOP events. Most people, including me, attribute that to the Trump Effect., and it would be a correct assumption. Trump is nothing if not entertaining, but it’s a morbid fascination at best. Trump has essentially become the frog-in-a-blender of American politics. Something you never wanted to see or think of, but you can’t stop watching.

I know a LOT of Republicans, and while we have fundamental disagreements on many issues, MOST of the friends I have in the GOP are aghast at what’s been happening on the campaign trail. The race has become a bad reality show with Trump’s ego as the star. Pretty much what I had feared would happen all along if he ran for the Presidency. The worst part of this isn’t that the Republicans could lose the White House because of the antics of Trump and others. The worst part is that these so-called candidates are doing so much damage to the GOP, that the party may never recover. Add to this, the fact that Republicans can’t come together long enough to agree on a Speaker Of The House, and the GOP is being torn asunder from within.

We already know the Dems and GOP will never have anything in common politically, but the Republicans need to take a long, hard look at their party opposites when it comes to civility, cooperation, and most importantly–respect. Whether they agreed or not last night, the Democrats in the debate respected each other’s opinion and gave each other a chance to actually speak in complete sentences. Voters remember this kind of thing, and trust me when I tell you the Democrats are already burning the midnight oil in churning out the opposition research.

Soon enough, ALL of those in the GOP will be facing reelection bids, and this will be the bed they have made for themselves and their colleagues. Forget the substance of last night-such as it really was–and look at the EVENT. Normally, I don’t tout or hype style over substance in any measure, but it matters in this case.

Republicans in Congress…STOP allowing 40 people who are throwing a temper tantrum, to lead you and your party around by the nose. Figure it out, and if you have to,  BUILD a coalition to decide upon a Speaker. Trust me, you’ll get a lot more respect from the masses if that happens.

GOP Candidates–cut out the harangues and the bashing of each other. Learn from what you’ve already done wrong, and watch the Democrats. Like it or not, you CAN learn a thing or two. Democrats may even help save your party.

Simple Joy-Thanks Kid

One thing I have discovered as I grow older, is that joy isn’t so simple anymore. Not that I’m gloomy, or depressed, but I find my true joys are far fewer and harder to find. One episode in particular brought this home to me last week.

I was travelling to Washington via train as I usually do, when I spied a young couple and their toddler daughter a few seats away. Normally, I would have read or otherwise occupied the time, but this little girl was so delightful to watch, I just sat and observed. The couple was immediately different because unlike about 80 percent of commuters, they engaged each other in conversation, and paid rapt attention to the child, and her myriad questions.

She was just old enough to speak in some short sentences, and make herself understood to Mom and Dad, and it was a sight to behold. The child had a ready smile, and large blue eyes, all topped with an unruly halo of brown hair which was all over the place. She wore it almost like a lion’s mane rather than a head of hair.

This kid was watching everything, and everyone, and learning the entire time. It was then I noticed the air of simple joy that surrounded the three of them. A very happy and loving family unit, with a child who was adored by the parents and clearly adored them in return. They took joy in each other and it was something to see and appreciate.

Sometimes, if you feel jaded or particularly cynical, try to watch a child and how they interact with the world. If that doesn’t change your outlook, I doubt anything will. This little girl said “Hi” to anyone and everyone, and did it with a lovely smile, along with the full expectation the greeting would be returned by all, and it was. Her Mom walked away from the seats for a few minutes to speak to a conductor, and when she returned was greeted with a joyous shriek of, “MOMMY!!” Almost as though she’d been away for a week.

In a nutshell, on a day when I really needed it, and had no idea where to find it–I saw Simple Joy. Thanks kid.