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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.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

After Trump

Maybe I'm just seeing what I want to see, but the look in Donald Trump's eyes lately is what I call "the Alzheimer's look." It's a mix of confusion and fear, of not quite having a grasp of what is going on, groping for words, speaking in the most rudimentary, makeshift manner, far below what one expects of the President of the United
States.

Examples are myriad of Trump's poor level of communication. His comments about the death of former prisoner of North Korea Otto Warmbier are typical: "A lot of bad things happened." He also said "It’s a total disgrace, what happened to Otto. It should never, ever be allowed to happen. He should have brought home that same day. The result would have been a lot different."

Trump didn't specify what day that same day might have been, but we can presume it was the day Mr. Warmbier was arrested. He also didn't elaborate on how the imprisonment of an American in North Korea would never, ever be allowed to happen. This is pretty emblematic of Trump's rhetorical style, but the mainstream media give him a pass, saying he's a man of emotion, not eloquence. Or variations on the theme. He's not like other presidents, blah, blah, blah.

The look in Trump's eyes reminds me of Ronald Reagan when he appeared at the funeral of Richard Nixon in 1994. He looked confused, and sometimes afraid. I couldn't find a good picture of that look, but the one on the right will do. He looks confused enough. He may have had the disease while in office.

Which is interesting, if you compare Reagan's speech while in office. Though he spoke mainly from scripts, Ronald Reagan, when he spoke spontaneously, expressed himself more intelligently and clearly than does Trump.

It might not be Alzheimer's disease, but a growing chorus of medical professionals is voicing concern over Trump's mental state.

For most in the news media, and in the ideologentsia (a word I just made up), it doesn't enter the conversation. News breakers and their pundit symbiotists depend for their paychecks on endless talk about what Trump supposedly believes and on what his "policies" are, when he has neither beliefs nor policies. Ideologues on "the left" look for excuses to call him a "right-winger." It is left (not "the left") to comedians, such as Stephen Colbert, to look at Trump the man, a deeply flawed individual with psychological problems.

We might wonder what Trump's declining mental state means for the country. In an era where there are multiple nuclear threats worldwide, it certainly portends danger and catastrophe. There are some who harp on how Trump controls "the football" that holds the "nuclear codes" that can be used to order a missile strike. He could start World War III.

I'm not so pessimistic. At least not about Trump. As far as he is concerned, I have great optimism that he will be out of office by the end of the year, and likely much sooner. Even if he is of sound mind - though evidence indicates otherwise - he is an incompetent. A bumbler, a doofus and a fraud. Though we have had some terrible presidents (Nixon, Reagan, Clinton and both Bushes come to mind), none has shown such thorough inability to perform the task at hand. Eventually his own party - at least the party to which he feigns loyalty - will see him as a liability and even a threat. They will find a way to get rid of him.

More likely, though, is that his progressing mental disease will force him to resign. If he indeed has Alzheimer's disease, it will get worse every day. That, compounded with his other mental challenges, will make Trump an embarrassment even to himself.

The departure of Donald Trump will be of little comfort. Climate change will still be getting more serious. Our unsustainable infinite-growth economic system will still be unsustainable - and closer to its inevitable collapse. The steady decline in our social structure - to say nothing of our physical infrastructure - will continue apace. Our advanced, mass commercial system is not built to solve these problems - and in our case to admit they exist.

Yet exist they do. We will face them when it is too late. Some say it is too late now. Maybe a new approach will work. Something more humble. It doesn't seem likely, but one can always hope. It will take a messiah. Or maybe Quinn the Eskimo.
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Here's a song. Alternate version. Alternate alternate version. Reggae version. The Hollies. String Cheese Incident. Phish. Kris Kristofferson. A short and weak version, but The Beatles. It seems that everyone is waiting for Quinn the Eskimo. Let's hope he (or she) gets here before this happens.

Here's the story of the song. The inspiration for it is likely the performance of Anthony Quinn in The Savage Innocents, a movie about the cultural clash between a family of Alaskan Eskimos and the dominant Canadian authorities. Quinn plays the lead character of Inuk the Eskimo.

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