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While We Still Have Time

In spite of the grimness of the times in which we live, there is still hope. If you feel, like I do, that the usual discourse about matters of critical concern tends to be superficial, misguided, and false, then you might find some solace and inspiration here. I will try to offer insight and a holistic perspective on events and issues, and hopefully serve as a catalyst for raising the level of dialogue on this planet.

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Location: Madison, Wisconsin, United States

I was born in 1945, shortly before atom bombs were dropped on Japan. I served in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1971. I earned master's degrees in Economics and Educational Psychology, and certificates in Web Page Design and as a Teacher of English as a Second Language. I followed an Indian guru for eight years, which immersed me in meditative practices and an attitude of reaching a higher level of being. A blog post listing the meditative practices I have pursued can be seen here.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

A group of "leftists" in Madison is planning to have a "candlelight vigil" on January 20 as a way of showing "solidarity" against the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as our next president. By lighting candles and standing around it is hoped that, umm, the country will come to its senses and overthrow Trump.

Or something. Trump is well on his way to self-destructing, so maybe the vigil will be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Not likely. It probably won't even be covered on local news.

I went to one of these vigils - in 2005. It was a vigil for Cindy Sheehan, the goldstar mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, who had been arrested outside criminal Bush's "ranch" in Texas. It was totally bizarre. People walking around with little candles covered by dixie cups, speaking in hushed tones, speakers speaking of Cindy Sheehan with reverence. It was a quasi-religious event for atheists and fellow-travelers. I went home and quit Veterans for Peace, something I had been planning to do, but hadn't gotten around to it. The vigil was a catalyst.

Another group is having a "Resist Trump" rally earlier in the day. This one will be a more rhetorical, fire and brimstone speechifying, stand up to the man event. It will likely have more people in attendance, but who knows? Maybe both will attract a lot of hopefuls.

I'll be watching the inauguration of TV. It will be a hoot, I'm sure. Buzzfeed posted a comparison of the entertainers at Trump's inauguration versus those at Obama's. I was expecting Trump to have Meat Loaf and Ted Nugent perform, but apparently even he has his limits. No Pat Boone either.

I'm mainly interested in seeing if Trump even shows up. As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, I believe he is a criminal sociopath, and is in early-stage dementia. The interaction of these conditions, as well as other psychological problems, make Trump an extremely erratic and unpredictable character. He is about to become president of the supposedly most powerful nation on Earth, whatever that means, or meant. The job is far beyond his capability, qualifications and experience. He will have nothing but trouble, from the proverbial "Day One." He already is under fierce criticism for his gang of crooks Cabinet appointees.

So much for Trump. He won't be around for long. What we might want to do is figure out how we got into this mess, and hopefully avoid doing it again. In various ways I have been saying for a long time that "leftists" need to get off their high horse and look at what Trump did that "Democrats" didn't.

I can make it easy. He told a story. This is what "Republicans" do. It is what Ronald Reagan did in 1984 with his "Morning in America" TV commercial. George H.W. Bush had his Willie Horton ad. George W. Bush was the "Compassionate Conservative." And now, most absurd of all, Donald Trump with his "Make America Great Again" slogan.

What did Hillary Clinton have? "Stronger Together." She might as well have had "Greater United." It was lifeless, and unlike Trump's Make America Great Again, she used the slogan only as a prop, and didn't integrate it into her campaign.

Linguist George Lakoff was interviewed in Salon last Sunday, and he related how poor "Democrats" are at doing metaphor. He also explained how Trump was able to connect with people on an unconscious, emotional level, whereas Clinton relied on facts. Emotion will trump facts any time, but "Democrats" for some reason refuse to learn this.

It gets worse the farther "left" one goes. The vigil is an attempt to add some metaphor to people's lives, but it is too little too late, and does nothing beyond making people feel connected to others.

What even the candlelight vigil demonstrates, though, is that people need myth and they need ritual. It's all fine and grand to be intellectual and atheist, but metaphor is a need in human life as great as any other. Or, as mythologist Joseph Campbell put it, "It's all metaphor."

So here we are, with the impending doom, it seems, of the Trump presidency. I don't see it that way. To me it is a time of great opportunity. The entire "Republican" party is a criminal organization at this stage of the game, and what better person to be at the head than a blustering buffoon like Donald J. Trump? He is an international laughingstock, a ridiculous excuse for a world leader, and his failure will likely - if we and the "Democrats" use this opportunity wisely - pave the way for the revolution the world so badly needs..

Come up with some metaphors. A good place to start is to tell stories about how valuable government is - how it provides roads, schools, national defense, regulation of industry, clean air, clean water, clean food, national parks, subsidies to farmers, Social Security, veterans benefits, and a host of other goods and services that the private sector cannot or will not. Do it in story. Do it in metaphor. Start today. Tomorrow we get Trump and his perverse story - if he shows up.

Here's the Morning in America commercial.

Here's the Willie Horton ad.

Advertisements that tell a powerful story began with Lyndon Johnson's "Daisy Girl" ad in 1964. He was a "Democrat."

U.S. Blues. Young Americans. Here's a song that was played ad absurdum at the "Ponderosa" in Heidelberg, Germany when I was stationed there decades ago. Here's another Guess Who song. This song was Bernie Sanders' campaign song. It worked, but, as Donald Trump accurately stated, the election was rigged. Sanders at least understands metaphor.

Here's Hillary Clinton's campaign song, a tedious tune that heard once is heard one time too many, as the Washington Post observed.

This Creedence song fits. This too. This Stevie Wonder song fits even better. Pink Floyd. Alternate version. George Harrison.

Here's some Steppenwolf, an album I had when I was a soldier. I bought it at the PX for $2.50, heh.

If all else fails, sing this.

Update, Jan. 20:

Bookies are offering odds on impeachment.

Maybe some insight can be gleaned from Trump's signature.

Here's a theme tune for Trump. Or this.


Update, Jan. 21:

Madison's version of the national women's march brought over 75,000 people. I'll have pictures in my next post.


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