Seasonal Blues

So..happy post-Thanksgiving. I’ll be honest – I hate this time of year. It’s been stressful since the kids were small, but now it has some terrible associations: my father was diagnosed with lung cancer in November of 2005 and died in January 2007, and my brother died ten months later on Veteran’s Day. Not much to be cheery about.

This season has been full of ups and downs. Our middle daughter organized get out the vote efforts for Hillary Clinton and Democratic candidates in New Hampshire. Oldest daughter and I went up before the election and spent five days canvassing and doing paperwork. It was a real pleasure – having lived exclusively in red states, I’ve never been on the giving or receiving end of canvassing. MD’s area outperformed expectations, and despite the horrific Presidential election result, New Hampshire went blue, with a win for Clinton, a flipped Senate seat, and an all-Democratic and all-female Congressional delegation. We’re really proud of her and the work she did.

I keep looking for the overall silver lining, but it’s really hard to find. I miss the hell out of Danielle Juzan, who wrote here in the past as Del. I still can’t believe she’s gone. Her commentary on this election would have been priceless.

This place is called Birmingham Blues, and I definitely have them. But hiding under the covers isn’t an option in Trumpworld. I’ll shake it off. Resistance is NOT futile.

Reaching Out to the Working Class

Since the election, there have been many pundits spending many words explaining why the Democrats lost, and what we should do going forward. I won’t link, but they’re not hard to find. Many of them claim Democrats failed to reach out to the “working class”, as if said class is a Republican monolith that can only be persuaded, with great difficulty, to vote for Democratic candidates. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen much in the way of recommendations as to what “we” should say when reaching out to “them”, which led me to rant in a friend’s Facebook comments yesterday. As it is the day before Thanksgiving and family is here, I’ll recycle and reuse. Hey, it’s good for the environment!

I’m about worn out with these pundits telling Democrats that we’re big ol’ losers and out of touch and should be reaching out to the “working class”, however they define it. It’s usually limited to white people who vote Republican, which is ridiculous.

Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2 million and counting. While that doesn’t matter with regard to who will be president (unless an investigation proves vote tampering), it certainly shows that Donald Trump doesn’t have a mandate. And while these guys are telling us to reach out to the working class, how about they tell us what they think we should say? Should we lie, like Trump, and tell them we’ll bring back manufacturing and mining jobs? That might work in the short term, but it’s not a viable long term strategy, and it’s not one I would support.

Should we tell them the truth that those jobs aren’t coming back and we should be looking to develop, for instance, more renewable energy? That would be great for the economy and the environment, but Congressional Republicans (and some Democrats) aren’t going to go against the traditional industry lobbies. They won’t even admit that climate change is a looming disaster. So, once again, promises will be broken.

Conservatives have, for decades, pitted working class white people against people of color, defining them as a threat to all that’s good in order to get votes. Surely Democrats aren’t going to adopt that strategy. So what exactly is it we’re supposed to do?

Clearly real conversation is in order, but I have no idea how to facilitate it. Suggestions?

Donald Trump: I Was Just Kidding about That Blind Trust

Okay, that’s not a direct quote, but Donald Trump pretty much put to rest today any hope that he will separate himself from his business while he’s President:

Mr. Trump brushed aside questions about conflicts arising from his business dealings, declaring that “the law’s totally on my side, the president can’t have a conflict of interest.”

He said it would be extremely difficult to sell off his businesses because they are real estate holdings. He also noted that he had turned over the management of the businesses to his children. “If it were up to some people,” he said, “I would never, ever see my daughter Ivanka again.”

Though he repeated his assertion that his company was “so unimportant to me relative to what I’m doing,” Mr. Trump acknowledged that the value of his luxury hotel in Washington had been driven up by his election victory. The Trump brand, he said, was now “hotter.”

Mr. Trump suggested that under the law, “In theory I could run my business perfectly and then run the country perfectly. There’s never been a case like this.”

In other words, “Well, when the president does it, that means it is not illegal.” Thank you, President Nixon, for providing Mr. Trump with that out.

Mr. Trump also seems to believe that his supporters assumed he was lying when he promised to put his business into a blind trust or something resembling one and let his kids run it:

Of course, we know better now. As President-Elect, he has met with Indian business partners, spoken with the Japanese Prime Minister and Argentinian President with his daughter (you know, the one who is running the business) right by his side, and told Member of Parliament Nigel Farage to help stir up opposition to offshore wind farms like the one he thinks blocks his view from his golf course in Scotland. He holds the lease on the new Trump hotel in DC and has thrown a party encouraging visitng diplomats to stay there. He owes hundreds of millions to a Chinese government owned bank. He owes money to Deutsche Bank, which is facing a multi-billion dollar settlement with the US Department of Justice because of fraudulent mortgage practices. Nope, no conflict there. And the list goes on.

The Wall Street Journal called today for Trump to liquidate his holdings, give the assets to his children, and cut off all communication with them regarding the business (no direct link because the editorial is behind a pay firewall):

“One reason 60 million voters elected Donald Trump is because he promised to change Washington’s culture of self-dealing, and if he wants to succeed he’s going to have to make a sacrifice and lead by example…If Mr. Trump doesn’t liquidate, he will be accused of a pecuniary motive any time he takes a policy position,” the Journal said. “Mixing money and politics could undermine his pledge to ‘drain the swamp’ In Washington.”

I hope those 60 million voters aren’t holding their collective breath. Welcome to the kleptocracy.

I’m Back

Long time no write. Those of you who remember the old days of Birmingham Blues may be wondering where the rest of it is. Looks like it got disappeared when I neglected to update my credit card information. Oops. It’s been a long while since I’ve used WordPress, and it has changed quite a bit, so I’ll be working out the kinks as I go.

The world has turned upside down this week, and I’ll be using this space to process my thoughts and feelings. Comments? Questions?