Category Archives: Race Relations

Can’t Shoot Me Down Now

Vegas Shooting

By GORDON GLANTZ

@Managing2Edit

GORDONVILLE – Nothing — outside of a Dallas Cowboys fan living in the Delaware Valley — is more annoying than a single-issue voter.

If that’s all you got, stay home. Please.

You need to have a lot of core issues, and be able to articulate the wherefores and whys – whether or not I concur – when asked to explain yourself.

As those who have waged war with me on Social Media know, I am not afraid to do so.

When it comes to issues, and prioritizing them, I’m an open book.

There is education, health care, environment, clear paths to citizenship for productive immigrants and a type of peace in the Middle East that means Israel isn’t obliterated in the process.

On most of those – and others (reforming the election system, from campaign finance reform to the way the primary/caucus schedule is laid out) – I am well left of center.

On others – like denying climate change equating to denying the earth is round – I am aligned with my man, Bernie Sanders, particularly on education and health care as human rights in a nation as plentiful as ours.

Only time I go astray is with the punishment fitting crimes like rape and child abuse (not to be confused with inherent injustices in the justice system with the “drug war”) and with supporting Israel (although those settlements are a bit unsettling when I consider long-range positive outcomes).

And on just about every issue, in general, I’ll meet you in the middle somewhat or be willing to agree to disagree and walk away on a handshake after a battle well-fought.

But not when it comes to my No. 1 issue.

And it’s No. 1 with a bullet.

There’s a hint even someone who thought Hillary Clinton was the lesser of two evils would get.

It’s gun Control.

You will never get me to agree to disagree.

And you will never get me to throw up my hands and say nothing more can be done about it.

And while we are sifting through the carnage from Sunday night’s mass killing (“mass shooting” is too tame), neither should you.

It has been said that if the horror at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary in December of 2012 didn’t do it, if didn’t change the stingiest of minds, nothing will.

It hit home for me because my prized possession — and .600 hitter in Fall Ball softball, Sofia — was roughly the same age at that time. I’ll never forget what it felt like dropping her off at school the next day and taking comfort in seeing police cars on the school lot.

This one at an a outdoor country concert hits home, too. I am a lifelong concert-goer, and the Tom Petty tragedy only reinforces my resolve to see all my heroes — and share them with Sofia — while we can.

The sad truth that the deaths of 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook only sent more people toward buying firearms, not less.

Probably of the same in the wake of Vegas.

Seems that what should make our hearts soft, turns them hard. What should make us find solutions, only leaves us creating more problems.

That’s kind of how and why we ended up with this slopstorm in the White House now, is it not?

But that doesn’t mean we give up trying.

Just sitting back and letting it all be is about as un-American as it gets, even for conditional patriots determined to make America “great again” (I’m still wondering when it was “great” to begin with).

How is that makey-greaty thing looking for you now?

If you still support America being the Wild West after all this, you are clearly a sub-human.

I don’t want to hear about banning cars because they kill, too. That’s just insanely inane.

Don’t tell me about the laws that are already on the books being sufficient, because they clearly are not.

We are as able to properly enforce them as I am of dunking a basketball (I’m 5-10 with a vertical leap of a half-inch) in the face of LeBron James.

Yes, some of the laws on the books, in theory, may give what equate to good lip service to generic concerns.

But we don’t need lips. We need teeth.

And doing the biting, with backing from our legislators, need to be the law enforcement personnel we are told we need to genuflect in front of with no questions asked.

I respect what they do, but they also knew what they were signing on for, which was to be soldiers on the home front.

And their country needs them.

Now more than ever, and just as much — if not more — than the troops in trouble spots like Afghanistan.

No one is going to convince anyone with opened eyes that our society is wired to be drug-obsessed because it helps lock up black and brown males at rates that dwarf those of freckled-faced kids named Biff in the frat house.

Therefore, we have drug task force teams – and their sting operations – from small municipalities to large cities.

It’s a noble effort, but don’t be deceived. I used to report on a lot of these in my newspaper days. There would be press conferences where the confiscated contraband would be laid out on a table, and most of it would be enough marijuana to have kept Bob Marley and the Wailers and Grateful Dead feeling mellow for several tours.

There might be a gun or two that were inadvertently gathered during the arrest of the largely “of-color” ring-leaders (who were usually just middle men taking the fall for someone else), but that’s it.

How about we legalize the marijuana – and include prostitution (another waste of law enforcement manpower) in that legislation – and focus all our efforts on undercover firearms stings?

Not saying they don’t happen, because they do.

Just not enough.

Needs to be a priority.

Priority No. 1.

And it’s dangerous work, going deep into the world of black market firearms wheeling and dealing, but it’s really the only way.

We can play verbal ping-pong over the validity of gun shows and how much closing loopholes would or would not do (my feeling is anything is worth a try). The truth is that the kind of firearms that most of these monsters acquire are done so through nefariously illegal means.

The Vegas shooter seemingly acquired most of his arsenal legally, and in the light of day, even while his mental state may have been visible to any arms dealer who gave a shit.

But we can find a way to regulate that a bit more going forward, while still letting hunters shoot Bambi, but the black market is still there.

Cut off the source, via undercover policing, and we may see a light at the end of the tunnel with a lot of these planned mass mayhem shootings – and gang violence on urban streets.

I’m not advocating disarming law-abiding gun owners, but I would like to define just what that means. It’s certainly not the gun owner with the gun loaded under their pillow.

Until he opened fire Sunday night, Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock, was likely a law-abiding gun owner – at least by the very loosey-goosey definition – and now he is the lone-nut triggerman in the worst mass killing by shooting in modern American history (probably a lot of Native Americans were wiped out in one horrific stampede of the white man in the now fabled days of yore that made our culture one tied to the gun, with Wounded Knee coming readily to mind).

At present, authorities are stumped about his motivation. He was filthy rich, he was A-political, had no FBI file (although his father did) and not really a loser with the ladies.

My initial gut instinct was that he lost big at the casinos, but apparently he was winning, big-time, before going out in an inglorious blaze of infamy.

The argument about it being all about mental health goes out the window, too. Clearly, he was not in his right mind at the time, but he was not diagnosed as being criminally insane. He clearly had some internal bomb ticking inside, but he still had his wits enough to meticulously plan this out.

In a nation where you can get your hands on multiple military-style firearms and ammo as easily as a milkshake and a burger, we should be more worried – much more worried – about the guy who looks like an average Joe who can snap and go temporarily insane.

That is any of us. Just this past Saturday, I can into it a bit too much with the coach of the opposing softball team (although it was nothing YouTube viral-worthy). I have never fired a gun in my life (and only held one once), but who knows who I was dealing with, right?

The way our country is now, we simply can’t trust than we can will this ongoing horror show away.

We need to peel away at the onion, wiping away the tears it causes, and get to core of the issue. The Second Amendment is clearly so misinterpreted that it’s unfathomable to believe our elected misleaders – from both sides of the aisle – are more concerned with keeping the NRA placated than the health and well-being of their constituents.

Maybe because they are so much in a bubble, they don’t realize how easy it is to get a gun right now.

Heck, we had a garage sale this past weekend (before the softball game and aforementioned incident) and several older men – probably around the same age as this waste of human plasma – asked if we were selling any firearms or ammo.

Really?

Really.

And the fact that they asked tells me that they are able to circumvent a lot legalities by going to garage sales and flea markets.

They were so cavalier about it that they must find plenty while scavenging around on weekends.

And yeah, 999 out of 100,000 might just be collectors who get their jollies by diddling around with guns once their ED sets in, but what about the one – the one who snaps one day and sets up a sniper’s nest above a concert (or any larger gathering) and tries to top Paddock’s kill number.

Won’t happen?

Don’t kid yourself.

Not a question of if.

Just a question of when.

Not comfortable with that, either?

Maybe you need to check your priorities.

 

Tweet Home Alabama

roy-moore

By GORDON GLANTZ

@Managing2Edit

GORDONVILLE – So what is it all really about, this kneel-or-not-to-kneel controversy stirred up by the “president” recently?

Was it really about what NFL players do before a game during the national anthem?

Given the fact that the players generally weren’t on sidelines for pre-game pomp until 2009, around the time the military and the NFL struck a mutually beneficially deal to exploit the new brand of conditional patriotism spawned after 9/11, not really.

Was it about this generation’s Curt Flood, Colin Kaepernick, who is not even playing this year – and is seemingly in hiding?

Nope, not really.

For the answer, peel away the layers and see what’s left.

With his make-believe empire crumbling around him, the “president” stirred his pot of diversion while in Mobile, Alabama.

He was campaigning for Luther Strange, who was about to engage in a runoff election against Judge Roy Moore in a special election to fill the senate vacated when former senator, Jeff Sessions, made the fateful choice to of going from deep-fryer into the fire and become the attorney general.

This is in Alabama, y’all, where “heritage” is a dollar-store disguise for hate.

The kind of place where baseless claims have hit a bull’s eye with his base, where “real” Americans fly flags of treason next to the Old Glory that is to be honored without dissent.

When the “president” tossed Crimson-colored meat to his ravenous followers and ranted about “firing” (there is no such term for NFL players, who are “cut” or “released,” usually with financial consequences for the team that signed them to contracts) those “son of bitch” (i.e. black) football players, it was to appeal to the lowest common denominator in the state that ranks 45th in education.

If they were a little quicker on the uptake, they might have known that a grand total of 10 players out of more than 1,000 took a knee during the previous week’s national anthem.

After he threw his stink bomb, an estimated 250 took a knee.

Seemingly, it lacked a spiral.

Playing his own “Trump” card, the far-right Moore, who was backed by former White House advisor scorned Steve Bannon and holds extreme views like wanting to ban homosexuality (always have to wonder about those who doth protest too much), waived around a gun at a rally a few nights later.

The message: You don’t out-Alabama an Alabama boy in Alabama.

He won by 10 points.

A sweet win for Moore and more Tweets from the “president.”

And that’s what this was all about.

It wasn’t about the NFL’s “son of a bitch” players at all.

It was about who was going to out-Alabama each other the most, in a race to the bottom in an appeal for the bottom-feeder vote.

In the end, it was Moore – hailing from Etowah County, which most known for a still-simmering 1906 lynching case after a white woman was killed – who was able to out-Alabama the slick-talkin’ billionaire Yankee from New York.

This is the Alabama where its “Black Belt Region,” where a large number of black voters live, are subjected to systematic voter suppression tactics (driver’s license centers closing before elections where photo IDs are required).

This is the Alabama where former governor and presidential candidate George Wallace was one of the last segregationist holdouts.

This is the Alabama where they are generally too dumb to realize that the Florida-based band Lynyrd Skynyrd was purportedly merely mocking the Wallace mindset in the state’s unofficial anthem, “Sweet Home Alabama.”

But the “president,” well, he “loves the uneducated.”

That’s probably why he doesn’t love the NFL, and its owners and players.

Turned out the “son of a bitch” players, and the owners who won’t “fire” them, are more sophisticated than he is on his last good day (if anyone can remember when that was).

What he learned – or should have – in his proxy battle with Bannon in the state that ranks fifth all-time in deaths by lynch mob is that more NFL players, and other pro athletes, are more educated than he would like.

Those interviewed – including NBA megastars Stephen Curry and LeBron James — after what will likely be the tip of the protest ice berg were they were as articulate about their reasons as the supposed leader of the free world was incapable of making sense of the issues.

It’s only going to get more intense when basketball season starts, and don’t be surprised if some of the NHL’s 25-30 players “of-color” players make a stand — or kneel — as well (despite being a league that includes many Europeans).

Being surrounded by sycophants afraid to tell him the truth, the “president” fails to realize that one is not a “son of bitch” for peacefully protesting while a White Nationalist/Neo-Nazi/Klansman – the “base” that Bannon told him to coddle – are not full of “many fine people.”

And when you ducked service in the military yourself with mythical bone spurs, you might be the last one to be preaching about disrespect to the flag and the military.

And for those who follow sports closely, who know that athletes with contracts are not at-will employees to be “fired” on a whim – you know, like on a reality TV show — his motives not only seems curious but were also exposed to a larger audience.

The “president” has his own axe to grind with the NFL, which rejected his bid to buy the Buffalo Bills in 2014. The antipathy goes back further, when he tried to force a merger with the USFL (he owned that league’s New Jersey Generals) and the NFL but saw his smirk turn to a frown when his awarded $1 in anti-trust lawsuit.

The result of the backfire?

The USFL, which was doing well in the spring, was dead – just like his many bankrupted companies – and a lot people were out of work, not just those on his team.

Was all this on his mind during the rant, which also included belligerence about the league attempted to catch up to itself on the concussion issue (one that also affects members of the military)?

Maybe.

But that’s not what this was all about.

This was about one thing.

It was about a state that proved not to be such a sweet home to his brand of bitter divisiveness.

It was about Alabama.

 

 

 

Cope With No Hope

Vigil

Cope With No Hope

Another long night, another slain teen

Take a sneak peek, as the dawn bleeds

Splash of cold water, read the tweets

News, views – more prayers for peace

By dusk a vigil, let the cycle repeat

Darkness descends, hear the screams

So go cope with no hope on these streets

So go cope with no hope on these streets

 

Up for air, come pastor and the priest

How many of these have they seen?

Hear what you want, not what you need

Sing a song, prayers for peace

From all this, who will take heed?

Maybe one day we all can break free

Until that day comes, hear the screams

So go cope with no hope on these streets

So go cope with no hope on these streets

 

Now it’s less than a week later

Pick up the local newspaper

Story is gone, never to be followed

Back to the zoo and its baby cougars

Those with jobs, head back to work

Once numb, how much can it hurt?

The root cause, never gets learned

On and on and on, the fire just burns

 

All that is said cannot be believed

Like blaming it all on the police

Is it the poverty or the money?

The money we all think we need

Take it past these prayers for peace

Prayers end when you hear the screams

So go cope with no hope on these streets

So go cope with no hope on these streets

-Gordon Glantz

 

 

 

Double Vision and Head Games

Split Screen

By GORDON GLANTZ

Gordonglantz50@gmail.com

@managing2edit

GORDONVILLE – Go ahead, look up at that picture. Study it closely. It will tell you a lot about who you are and which side you are on in this country strewn by an endless and vicious cycle of subdivisions.

The picture has been making the rounds on Facebook a lot lately. What makes it intriguing in Meme World is that is a missile deployed by both supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders and those diametrically opposed – supporters of Donald Trump.

Sanders is on the left — naturally (wink) — getting arrested during a Civil Rights protest in Chicago, where he attended college. Trump is on the right, donning a military-style uniform that has medals attached to the chest (and it is not from his “college years,” as the labeling suggests).

Sanders people will say that their man was standing up for others, instead of attending a folk hootenanny and calling it a college experience. Trump backers will say that Sander was a malcontent while their man must have been in the military – perhaps serving in Vietnam – while hippies hid behind their fake morals and causes.

Well, every picture tells a story, and these two pictures – melded into one – tell a story as well.

And here it is.

While Democratic rival Hillary Clinton was campaigning for segregationist Barry Goldwater at the time, Sanders was fighting for Civil Rights and rightfully wears that past proudly. The picture is real. And the arrest – for disorderly conduct and a $25 fine — is listed in newspaper clippings.

The picture was snapped during a 1963 rally against segregation in Chicago, which was in line with Sanders leading a rally against draconian segregating campus housing policies. Sanders, a student organizer for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), was passionate enough about this cause to be on the front lines on the home front.

Trump, contrary to what a lot of people would like to believe, never came close to a battlefield – whether in Vietnam or on the streets of a nation as divided by black and white as he has helped make it again with his presidential run.

The son of a wealthy Nazi sympathizer and closet Klansman, Trump was so misbehaved that he was shipped off to military school – the New York Military Academy (NYMA) – for eighth grade and kept there in high school.

At NYMA, he played dress up and marched around enough to be called a “captain.” Hence, the above picture – and “punch-me, please” smirk.

While he has arrogantly claimed to have emerged from this glorified reform school for rich kids more prepared for war than “most in the military,” he curiously avoided Vietnam with Houdini-like prowess.

Declared medically eligible in 1966, Trump received four student deferments while attending Fordham. In 1968, when the time came to show off his soldiering skills, he suddenly developed “bone spurs” in one – or both – feet (he can’t seem to remember).

“I actually got lucky because I got a high draft number,” he has since been quoted as saying.

No doubt he did. Money buys a lot in this country. It even buys you the ability to magically “get lucky” – which those who served, or who lost loved ones, should be deeply offended — but then have the gall to turn around and pander to veterans for support with a empty “Make American Great Again” slogan.

The thing is this, though. Who cares?

Our culture tends to judge the man by what war he fought and deduct testosterone points if he didn’t (even if, like Barack Obama, there was no war in which to serve during the “man-up” years).

In case you haven’t guessed, I am supporting Sanders for president. And while his past of being on the right side of history at almost every turn makes for a nice back story, it is more about what he is standing for in the present – with visions of a less dismal future for coming generations — that has made more passionate about a presidential candidate as I ever been in my five decades on the planet.

I believe Trump has appealed to the lowest common denominator among the American populace, ripping some pages out of Adolph Hitler’s shameful playbook, and that’s just unacceptable (Plus, I developed a strong dislike for the guy when he ruined the USFL back in the 1980s.).

I would rather see former Eagles’ coach Rich Kotite elected president over Trump, but it has little to do with what did or didn’t do during the war.

Anyone who served in Vietnam was a pawn in a game, poor kids offering themselves up as sacrificial lambs at the behest of their rich masters. It was not the World War of their fathers and uncles. It was an ugly and needless war.

But in that place and time, in that moment, there was not much choice for some but to go when called. And we have no choice but to thank them for their service and try and comprehend what they endured.

Anyone who didn’t serve was being just as brave, just in a different way. Sanders was a conscientious objector, and does not pull a Fred Astaire – like Trump, with the rotating bone spurs — when asked. He didn’t believe in the war, but does not disrespect those who served. He has a long history in government of standing up for the rights of veterans – often working across the aisle with Republicans – to back that up.

How veterans support Trump but not Sanders amazes me as much as how blacks, especially in the South, can support Clinton over a man like Sanders, who attended the 1963 march on Washington and was inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech.

Trump? Well, as outlined above, it’s a little murky what he was all about back then. While it should not change to much in the present, we are in some serious perception and reality terrain and we could use a GPS to find our way out of Meme Hell. It should be cause for pause for anyone looking at the picture above with an objective eye.

I admit I don’t have one, but I will tell you what I see.

I see Sanders as the hero here, not Trump. I will choose wisely.

If Trump went to war, and served admirably, different story. He seemingly hid behind daddy’s checkbook and got deferments. If you think that’s OK, what you are really saying is that Civil Rights – Sanders’ war at home — was not a just cause.

And that is why America was not great then, or now, and won’t be until we face that reality and deal with it.

 

 

 

 

Pope Brings Hope

PopeFrancis2

By GORDON GLANTZ

Gordonglantz50@gmail.com

@Managing2Edit

GORDONVILLE — The Trail of Tears. Slavery. The Civil War. Jim Crow. Women’s rights (or lack thereof).

Chapters of American history many would like to sweep under the rug.

Just like those pesky witch hunts, first in Salem, Massachusetts in the late 17th century and in post-World War II era when Sen. Joseph McCarthy tried to galvanize the country, and raise his political profile, with hearings – modern-day witch hunts – against Communism, real and perceived, on these shores.

McCarthy enjoyed some popularity at the outset. Warning about a “red under every bed,” he was seen as a bit of an American hero. The thinking: If he ruined a few innocent lives along the way, eh, so what?

By June of 1954, his star was beginning to fade a bit. Television was just taking its place in American culture and ABC — broadcasting to what was its largest audience — put itself on the map with a live broadcast on the 30th day of Army-McCarthy hearings (the senator was taking aim at some Army lawyers).

Under questioning about a lawyer at his firm named Fred Fisher, Army lawyer Joseph N. Welch had enough of McCarthy’s hateful act. When McCarthy brought up Fisher’s name, without warning, Welch lashed back.

After some banter, we are left with this sound bite that proved a turning point in the public consciousness.

“Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator,” said Welch. “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

McCarthy persisted, but Welch stood firm on his moral high ground.

“Mr. McCarthy, I will not discuss this further with you,” he said. “You have sat within six feet of me and could have asked me about Fred Fisher. You have seen fit to bring it out. And if there is a God in Heaven it will do neither you nor your cause any good. I will not discuss it further.”

How and why is this relevant?

Depends how much you believe in learning the lessons of history, whether tragic or triumphant.

Because of Donald Trump, the guy with the bad hair who is sitting in the driver’s seat of the clown car that carries the hopefuls – and hopeless — from the Republican party.

After a three-hour debate, during which he was rightfully a marked man by those eating his dust in polls, Trump went on to New Hampshire. There, one his backers – wearing a Trump tee-shirt – engaged in the typical psychobabble about President Barrack Obama being a Muslim who was not born in the U.S.

Trump fostered this notion, of course, when he spearheaded — and financed — the sickening “birther” movement that wanted to know where Obama was born, refusing to take a valid birth certificate as an answer.

After taking some heat in the media for his lack of a coherent response, the other GOP challengers have turtled.

And only Jeb Bush — perhaps Trump’s only legitimate competition, when it is all said and done — came out and refuted those claims, instead saying it is about Obama’s progressive policies (as if progressive, instead of regressive, is a bad thing).

Trump kicked off his campaign with Neil Young’s “Keep on Rockin’ In The Free World” in the blasting in the background and then launched into a tirade about illegal immigrants.

Young, a Canadian anyway, yanked the song from Trump and willed it to my candidate of choice, Bernie Sanders, but the mantra about the illegal immigrants not only stuck, but gained traction – especially with those who attend tractor-pull competitions (and wear Trump tee-shirts to political rallies).

The use of hate speech to become a demagogue should not be taken lightly.

I really don’t want to call Trump another Adolf Hitler, but his attempt to cite one ethnic group to galvanize his base is eerily like ripping Page 1 out of the Nazi playbook.

And if he is running off-tackle with a swastika on his helmet, he is going to a play-action pass with Joseph McCarthy in his heart.

So who is going to put an end to it?

Who is going to play the part of Joseph N. Welch and expose and publicly pull down Trump’s pants and expose his wayward sense of decency?

It’s not going to be any of his fellow candidates, like the milquetoast Bush or comatose Dr. Ben Carson, because they all need to gather steam with some of Trump’s hot air about plans to “ship them all home” and rip families apart based on false claims of them all being rapists roaming the streets at night looking for your daughters.

The Democrats are so polar opposite in this hopelessly divided country that nothing they say, from their own well-worn playbooks, will have any sway.

But someone else just might.

This lapsed-beyond-repair Jew is putting all hope in the pope – Pope Francis.

And he just happens to be on his way to our shores — like a superhero, fresh from a phone booth — right now.

Instead of bemoaning the inconvenience posed by his visit, consider listening to his message.

He just made may save the soul of a country.

Pope Francis has spoken passionately about the plight of those who have come here, like the ancestors of many of us, in search of a better life.

America has never fully cured itself of xenophobia, as every group as faced the hate. But workers were needed during the industrial revolution, as were conscripts for the Union during the Civil War, so grudging exceptions were made.

These days, if you look different and speak different, there is no easy path – or even a doable path – to citizenship like in times of yore.

There are plenty of undocumented souls here – from all over the world – who overstay their work or student visas.

Many are seen with a blind eye because, well, they blend in with the scenery. Like comedian Chris Rock says, “If you’re white, it’s all right.”

Asians have been brought up by some candidates, including Trump, but that rhetoric doesn’t seem to feed to electorate beast the same way as the bull’s eye on Hispanics does.

And if you are from an Arab country, where they often burn American flags, you mystically seem to fly under the radar – at least in comparison to Hispanics, mostly from Mexico and Guatemala.

Pope Francis, born in Argentina, is seen as a beacon of hope for those being outright persecuted for political gain on the American landscape.

During a recent broadcast – ironically on ABC, the same network that made its name back in 1954 when Welch took McCarthy out to the woodshed – the pope fielded questions, via satellite, from many of the misunderstood (and miscast by Trump) and responded with tender and insightful answers.

All eyes – and cameras – will be on the pope during his time here. It will be a healthy shift away from Trump coverage, 25/8.

He will surely speak about his key issues, like climate change and income inequality – you know, the taboo subjects (along with gun control) at the GOP debates – but also on the Trump-inspired wrath on other human beings seeking to make the words on the Statue of Liberty come alive with coherent meaning once again.

And I suspect, he will target Trump — although maybe not by name — about his sense of decency.

That will be enough to take him to school — Bible School.

And I hope – we Secular Humanists don’t pray – it turns Donald Trump into another piece of American history that our children’s children will live to regret.

 

 

 

 

 

This Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore

donald-trump1

By GORDON GLANTZ

Gordonglantz50@gmail.com

@Managing2Edit

GORDONVILLE — I only have one working windshield wiper, which is probably the result of trying to use them to swipe away layers of ice –usually without much success — this past winter.

Because the non-working wiper is on the passenger’s side, and because I won’t have time to get it addressed until after Sofia starts back to school in a few weeks, I’m just keeping an eye on the weather forecast and doing rain dances.

We could use my wife’s Honda Civic for long drives, but it’s so cramped in there that it leaves my back aching for days.

So, I was within my rights to have Sulu signal a yellow alert when a few sprinkles appeared on my already scratched windshield on the way to the American Music Theater in Lancaster Monday evening to see Loretta Lynn in concert.

Life is tough with only one windshield wiper, but nowhere near as tough as it is when you live in A country where too many around you have one working brain cell.

We were fortunate Monday. We sort of out-drove the rain and made it to our seats, front and center and in the fourth row (why can’t I get those for Springsteen or U2?).

As we looked upon the stage, with the rain coming down much harder outside, the stage was figuratively set for an ideal night.

All in all, Sofia would have rather been at home playing with her American Girl dolls and watching her reruns of reruns on the Disney Channel, but she will thank us one day for taking on the tour of legends.

It began last December, when we saw Bob Dylan from the nose-bleeds SEATS? at the Academy of Music and continued this summer with Gordon Lightfoot at the Keswick and Lynn on Monday.

Plus, unlike Lightfoot, we figured this would be a short concert. Lynn, after all, is 83 years old – making her the oldest performer I’ve seen (not counting my grandfather, Poppie, who played just about any string instrument that was ever made).

Much to our chagrin, a warm-up act, Walker County, was announced. I warmed up quick when I saw the  two sisters, Cutie and Pie, in the three-piece band. They were pretty talented, too, playing more of the Americana country that I enjoy. Pie, the singer with Maria McKee-type pipes, said they would be in the lobby during intermission selling their CD and signing autographs and was “hoping to meet all of y’all” out there.

Sofia professed an interest, and I gladly volunteered to take her to their table – at intermission.

But there was no intermission.

After Walker County exited stage left, Lynn’s “kids” — 51-year-old twin daughters, Peggy and Patsy, and 62-year-old son Ernie — did a few ditties. Then, Lynn came out onto the stage to a lot of the justifiable pomp and circumstance due an icon. There were a few pauses in the action, as other members of the group did some songs to give her a rest.

But, more or less, Lynn rolled through her hit songs to a crowd so long in the tooth – and as white-skinned, and haired, as the driven snow that damaged my windshield – that I felt as young as Sofia.

She did the two songs I knew and liked enough to download on iTunes – “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man) and wrapped up “Coal Minter’s Daughter.”

All in all, a cool experience.

But it had to be tarnished.

Toward the end of the show, Lynn said Ernie , who already ruined a tender moment about the death of Conway Twitty with some sort of quip that earns a yahoo strips in a trailer park, wanted to make a political statement. He hollered out “Trump” and the crowd roared with approval through their dentures while stomping their canes.

Something didn’t connect, but everything fell into place.

We were in America – and relatively close to home – but on a distant planet. Cancel the yellow alert and beam me up, Scotty. No intelligent life down here.

We just listened to this woman, a great American rags-to-riches success story (read the book, see the movie … or at least Google her)  – roll through many of her self-penned songs that, for their time, gave voice to working class women before it was fashionable – and those who felt a connection with that music, whether they had also been wronged by their man or came from humble beginnings, roared their approval for a billionaire candidate who started his personal race about a foot from the finish line because he was born into wealth.

How and why could this be?

Won’t wasted too much time scratching the hair of my goatee.

The same reason that President Obama, despite the fact that it was him – and not Reagan, or anyone named Bush, that gave the Coal Miner’s Daughter with little formal education the Presidential Medal of Freedom — meets with derision.

Racism, plain and simple.

To me, something about Trumpmania is a bit Hitleresque. Not saying he is Hitler, but there are parallels – with the scape-goating of an ethnic to tap into people’s fears – that should not be ignored.

We didn’t defeat Nazi Germany in World War II to become Nazi Germany in an era where more than a 1,000 veterans of that war die per day.

I first thought about this uncomfortable parallel watching Trump babble – in a football stadium, no less – in front of a crowd with the combined wealth of his shoelaces in Mobile, Alabama a few days back.

It hit home in the American Music Theater in Lancaster Monday night when Ernie Lynn did his thang.

And from that moment on, the show was over in my mind.

Some of the other guys in the band did a passable cover of “Peaceful, Easy Feeling” but I was feeling anything but peaceful and easy, especially with my daughter being exposed to that nonsense.

When Lynn finished singing “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” there was a moment of indecision in the room.

Was it over, or was there an intermission?

The side doors opened, the house lights went up.

Right on cue.

At Sofia’s insistence – she is the alpha of the family – we went to the lobby to find the girls from Walker County.

Their real names are Sophie Dawn and Ivey Dene (their daddy, Billy Walker, plays guitar and helps write the tunes) and could not have been any nicer, posing for a picture with Sofia and signing an autograph.

When I wished Sophie Dawn good luck, and told her how good they sounded, she put down what she

was holding and shook my hand and thanked me.

All good, and we have a young band to root for, but it could not erase the sour taste.

We played the Walker County CD on the way home, and didn’t say much as we listened. When it ended – it’s an EP (only six songs) – Laurie and I discussed the scenario and how it related to the state of the country.

One of Sofia’s new pop idols, Becky G, came on the radio — Disney Channell, which now one of my presets (gulp) — and Laurie mentioned that the Mexican-American teen who went to work at age 9 to help parents who were struggling – likely as much as Loretta Lynn’s were — had recently written a song in response to Trump called “We Are Mexico.”

I’m sure it’s not my kind of music, but it’s the type of message we need to send.

Perhaps, while we are taking Sofia to see as many older musical icons while they are still standing, she has a role model with her finger on the pulse of a divided country.

When Trump entered the contest, I laughed. When he surged to the top of the polls, I chuckled.

I figured he would divide the GOP enough that the way would be paved for a Democrat – hopefully Bernie Sanders, but not likely (more to do with his ethnicity than being a “s-s-s-socialist”) – to win the election next November.

Now, I’m not so sure. Now, I really think this guy can win.

Before Obama even had a second foot through the door of the oval office, haters started hating, saying they wanted their country back.

To put a spin on Lynn’s aforementioned hit, I fear Trump may just be man enough to take my country.

I would say I don’t get it.

Sadly, I do.

And this joke isn’t funny anymore.

I may only have one working windshield wiper, but I can see clearly now.

It’s not a pretty picture.