DOUBLING DOWN

After last week’s podcast, our “director, cameraman, advisor” and more-Republican-than-we-are friend, said to us, “You know, you’re getting boring.  It’s too much, week after week, hearing you go at Trump, his crew, his ideas.  You’re going to lose your audience if you can’t talk about some positive things.”

We thought seriously about this.  But then we remembered that the other half of our weekly endeavors for WHDD.FM included five segments each week called ”Good News,” wherein we found items of general surprise and interest: health concerns, elephants, dogs, happy children, veterans rising above their injuries.

In a moment of madness we thought about combining the two programs: Good News Amid the Bad, something like that.  And instantly we knew that the good news would overwhelm the bad, because people really DON’T like hearing bad news all the time.   It has already lead us all to Trump fatigue, administration fatigue, Russian fatigue, even if you are part of Trump’s base.

We think Americans believe that nothing that comes from Russia can do us harm (except of course the ultimate bomb).  Which is why Mr. Trump’s followers have, nearly to a man or woman, decided to can the Russian talk and to worry about it later.  What concerns THEM most, as it should we think, is their health care plan.

We write these columns usually at dawn on Friday the day we record them.   We do that in order to  provide our listeners and viewers with the latest real or fake news, whatever the case may be.  Half the time we don’t know.   We may suspect, but we don’t know.

Which pretty well matches up with the rest of the country who may suspect but cannot know what’s real and what’s fake, either.  It takes time to sort through the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Politico, Mornin’ Joe, the Washington Post, CNN, Fox News.  Few of them know whether what they’re spewing is real or fake, too.  Why? Because this administration has made it a habit to lie reflexively, without thinking, automatically.  A lot of this is, as they say, “walked back” later. But in the meantime, it consumes cable news and commentators throughout the country.  (The most recent example of this is this a.m.’s BREAKING NEWS about a 6th person in the New York interview between Trump, Jr., Manafort, Kushner, the Russian lawyer, a friend of hers, and ????  NBC says it has the name of a man who holds dual citizenship, ours and Russia’s, and that he may have been a KGB operative and double agent for years.   But who knows?)

We seem to have reached the bottom of a great hole.   One side looks down into it and sees standing water. The other side looks down and sees its glorious reflection.

Which is to say, reality appears no longer to exist.  Facts no longer are agreed upon.  Standards have gone by the board.

This makes life difficult not only for the press, but for the administration players themselves.  Who are THEY to believe?  Can they recall what each said the day before?  How many and who are recused and from what?   Who’s in charge of the defenestration of America’s democracy?  Steve Bannon?

While we’d like very much to talk about people in the administration we admire, we have to lift blankets to find them.  We had at one time nothing but reverence for the nimble Kellyanne Conway, but she’s now an aparatchik.  “The kids” started well before climbing down to their father’s level.   Cabinet members we’d thought might actually know something turn out to know nothing but destruction of water, air, consumer affairs, education, the economy, taxes, and international money laundering.   The military, as far as we can tell, stands alone and thank heavens for that.

We’ll tell you whom we do admire.  Ourselves.  Not us personally, but all of America who is putting up with this crap day by day, minute by minute, and not taking its eye off the ball.   Whether Trumpies or Democrats, millions have been alerted and energized by not simply the worst kind of politics, but the best kind of public concerns.   West Virginia focuses on Medicaid and their families.   New England on Medicaid and Planned Parenthood.   California on Medicaid and energy.  Alabama on Medicaid and voting rights.   Appalachia on Medicaid and the teeth and general health of their citizens, and their elderly who need to eat.

Furthermore, to the surprise of nearly everyone, “On Tyranny,” a one hundred twenty page little number by Timothy Snyder has not only become a best-seller, but seems to have replaced “It Can’t Happen Here” as mandatory reading about a dyspeptic and dystopian future.  Forewarned may indeed be forearmed.

So, as we watch in dismay as the rudiments of American democracy are watered down daily, it’s tough to find optimism in the air.

What we’re left with, as one concerned citizen among millions of others, are memories: how we all got here, what we did when we arrived, how we built a colossus (and along the way saved the backsides of other colossi), welcomed as Emma Lazarus did, stood for the National Anthem at Comiskey Park, rode our bicycles on sunny afternoons through the countryside shooting at squirrels.   We went to school and learned, trained, were hired, built families, cared about right and wrong.   That’s the Good News.

We also sold lemonade.

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