Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A dark day for America

It's official: Our country has declared to the world that it represents hatred, bigotry, racism, sexism, xenophobia, and most of all, ignorance. The know-nothings have finally succeeded in electing a candidate who knows even less than they do. Early attempts---Reagan, George W.---came close, but now we have a president who knows absolutely nothing about government, foreign affairs, and the world beyond Trump Towers. The bigger difference is that in Reagan and George W. one could, under close examination, detect a core of decency. Trump, on the other hand, is nothing but a con man---a self-centered, egotistical, greedy, vulgar con man who cares for no one but himself, tells nothing but lies and will likely betray even the poor suckers who voted for him.

With congress too under their control, the Republicans will now set about gleefully destroying America: attacking a woman's right to choose, ensuring that health care in America remains astronomically high, screwing the poor, destroying the environment, wreaking havoc around the world and all the while pursuing what has always been their highest priority: cutting taxes for the rich. As always under Republican administrations, spending will meanwhile be increased, preferably on a war such as George W.'s on which their rich friends (Haliburton, e.g.) can shamelessly profit. Then they will act surprised that the deficit has gone up.

The grotesque hypocrisy exposed by Trump's campaign will continue. ``Character matters'', a favorite maxim of conservatives, is now seen for what it is: a lie. Character, apparently, doesn't matter at all. The hypocrisy of the Christian right, including especially Pence, is now laid bare for all to see. If one were to seek the anti-Christ personified, one can scarcely imagine a person more antithetical to the Christ portrayed in the gospels than Trump. In Trump we have a serial adulterer who denigrates and abuses women, incites violence, openly insults entire nations, peoples and religions, mocks war veterans and the handicapped, cheats, lies almost every time he opens his mouth, and has never in his life lifted a finger to help the less fortunate. Yes, character matters.

I don't like to make facile comparisons with Hitler, but he and Trump do have one characteristic in common--that of being a petty, mediocre person who discovered relatively late in life his true talent: rabble-rousing. Trump is the classic demagogue, that is, to quote the dictionary, ``a politician who gains power and popularity by arousing the emotions, passions and prejudices of the people''. We like to think that ``it couldn't happen here'', and I'm not saying it will. But ``it'' definitely could. One can only hope that enough decent Republicans are left to rein in Trump's worst excesses.

My cancer is of no significance, compared to the cancer now metastasizing in the United States of America. I don't really even want to talk about it. I'll just say that the CT-scan results were what I expected, namely that the cancer in the liver has been slightly reduced, that of the lymph nodes is either reduced or stable, and in the bladder itself the tumor is also stable. I won't be getting any treatments for at least three months, so I'm happy about that. Maybe later I'll post a more complete run-down, but in the big scheme of things none of this matters.

To end on a more positive note: In the main lobby of the Med Center there's a piano, and as I was leaving a young woman was playing Debussy's famous Arabesque, which to me is one of the most hauntingly beautiful piano pieces ever written. Despite having an important party to get to (see below), I had to stop for five minutes and listen. I don't know why, but it gave me hope.

As to the party, Kaia turned seven today! A splendid time was had by all. Her little brother, who is not known for his patience when it comes to such things as birthday cake, ice cream and presents (even his sister's), came out with many memorable lines. As dinner  plates were being cleared, cake was being readied, and the adults were vainly attempting to have an adult conversation, Finley interrupted with ``Guys, guys!! Would you please stop talking so we can get on with the birthday party?''

Life goes on.

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