Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions.- Thomas Paine (Common Sense)
In case you haven’t been paying attention, there is a presidential election happening. According to all available prognostications, we should be transitioning to a brand-new administration come January. Well, maybe the phrase brand- new is a misnomer since one old white man stands to be replaced by an even older white man, the difference being that one reeks of corruption and the other is covered in common decency.
I can well recall how just four short years ago (were they really short?) similar predictions were made about what was to be a truly historic event, the election of the first woman ( a former first lady at that) to the pinnacle of American political office. Instead, we got Al Capone for a new millennium. I cannot recall, for I was five and a half years from my own birth, the election of 1948. But I am at the very least an amateur student of history and more than well aware of what happened then. The incumbent Democrat, Harry S. Truman, was considered by most of the pollsters to be the lamest of ducks in his contest with Thomas E. Dewy. South Carolina Governor and famous racist Strom Thurmond also was in the mix as a third-party candidate for something called the States Rights or Dixiecrat Party whose main party platform appeared to be the deprivation of constitutionally guaranteed rights to citizens with dark complexions. Because Thurmond and his cronies walked out of the Democratic convention and managed to achieve main Democratic party line status in five states (Truman was not even placed on the ballot in Alabama) four of those states actually went for Thurmond and that splitting of the democratic vote seemed to seal the fate of the former haberdasher from Independence, Mo. Heck, The Chicago Daily Tribune even printed the headline Dewy Defeats Truman for their early edition. In the end Truman won reelection, and fairly comfortably at that.
Early voter turnout, both by mail and in person has already well exceeded the 2016 totals and that would appear to be a good sign, not for the incumbent this time around but for the challenger. But, we have had two elections in just the past twenty years where the presidency was decided by a minority of voters. At this point in time, fifty-three US senators represent 45 percent of the population while only 47 represent the remaining 55 percent. I could go on here about how less than democratic our supposed democracy really is in the consideration of gerrymandering, election suppression, census finagling for political purposes, the politicization of the Federal judiciary etc., etc., etc. but that is not really the point of this particular missive. The highlighting of these things as a matter of caution as we approach the end of this period is important. According to the polls it appears that a time is coming when we may at last say, as another president once remarked regarding the passing of another administration “Our long national nightmare is over”. The irony is not lost on me that the man (Gerald Ford) who uttered these words was referencing the man he was succeeding, (Richard Nixon). Still, in the rancor of our present times, as a Danish prince once observed “Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished”.
At this point in time it would at least appear that the next President will be the former Vice President and Amtrak’s Commuter of the Century, Joe Biden. The national popular vote appears not to be in doubt at all. In fact, that margin will likely be wider than 2016. The swing states his party’s nominee lost by the slimmest of margins, seem to be performing in a manner more associated with their pre 2016 norms, but they remain close and let us not forget exactly who has access to all of the levers of power this country has to offer until Jan. 20, 2021 at noon. Let us also not forget how ready, willing, and able he has been over the past four years to exploit every single one of them to get his way. If you have already forgotten I have just two names for you to remember (there are many more of course, but these two should suffice for now as they have the most power to singlehandedly suffocate democratic protocols in their sleep) William Barr and Amy Coney Barrett.
The foul stench of the present administration will linger no matter who fills the halls of the various polluted agencies come January. Skunks leave an odor and no matter how much baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and detergent we rub all over the affected areas it will take some work to eradicate it. But eradicate it we will, for we must. Government of the people, by the people and for the people must not be allowed to perish from the earth.
The atrocities of this administration can never be sufficiently itemized on these pages. But for the sake of history and the dignity of the office, they should not be allowed to stand. Truth has been vanquished, compassion has been marginalized, the climate has been further compromised, public health has been virtually ignored, totalitarianism has been elevated, the rule of law has been insulted and the constitution itself has been trampled. Even Santa is not safe.
Former HHS Assistant Secretary Michael Caputo had plans to offer early vaccines to millions of mall Santas. Now, on the surface this might seem to be a warm and toasty gesture, but we must remember that this is the administration of the Grinch himself. Moving Santa to the front of the line of a possible life saving measure at the expense of millions of other Americans is the sort of extreme pandering that Santa himself would frown upon. Besides, it is unlikely that a totally approved safe and effective vaccine will be made readily available before the holidays, so this “gesture” must be viewed through the only lens this administration has made available to all of us for nearly four years-the lens of criminality. This administration was attempting to use Santa as a viral guinea pig for political purposes. The HHS has since backed off, but it is clear that if Santa had died, any halfway competent prosecutor would have had more than enough in the way of means, motive, and opportunity to get an indictment and conviction.
So Santa, if you can’t make it to my fire escape, my wish for this year is very simple. Please… can I have a resounding rebuke to the forces of ignorance that have captivated my country? I’ll take that gift a little early please and I promise not to ask for anything else for 2020. For 2021, when you make a triumphant return, please deliver a nice orange jumpsuit as well as hand and ankle bracelets for a former reality TV show host. Oh and Santa, please… I’ll eat my vegetables if you can get Lindsay Graham to eat all those words he promised to eat in 2016.
Santa will need some help. So, if you haven’t voted yet please don’t forget to. Think long and hard about 1948 and don’t forget the hanging chads or the 228,000 dead. When Smokey says “Only you can prevent forest fires” remember California, Oregon, and Colorado. I leave you with this.
The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself– Benjamin Franklin