Many Bosses, Precious Few Leaders

It’s something I say all the time when opining on the lack of a Churchill presence in our political world. There is a degenerative effect to such a void, and its chasm is a generational bumper sticker whose ugly residue can’t be chiseled off so easily.

Truth of the matter is, we’ve been finding our leaders on a micro level ever since Camelot was ambushed in Dealey Plaza. From Martin Luther King to Bobby Kennedy, the Beatles to Elvis, Harvey Milk to Hank Aaron to Hawking to Bono. The commonality in these names and all the others who’ve floated our rudderless boat over the past half century is that none of them resided in the Oval Office.

Leadership on a macro level has been usurped by scandal, attrition, Hollywood and every other man made disaster known to Henry Cabot’s log. Leadership from the very top of the Beltway became a trivial pursuit question the moment Nixon became Tricky Dick. And no matter the conservative revolution of Reagan or Boomer Clinton refurbishing a tired standard, or even the cultural significance of Obama. We turned these men into caricatures thirty seconds after their close up.

Is our current state of shit storm a self fulfilling prophecy? Is it the result of us having collectively thrown up our hands after Kennedy was stolen and Nixon was found to be a paranoid crook? Did we forget to cancel our subscription to the Zeitgeist after the failed leadership that turned Vietnam into a verb in perpetuity? Did we never mind the details for too long a time because iconic stimulation was a much more palatable cup of Joe?

Since then, the electorate has behaved like the baseball manager who keeps going to his bullpen until he finds the pitcher who fucks the whole thing up. Trump has been warming up in the bullpen for a long time. And now I have to wonder if this period in our history will make us smarter and more discerning of the process. Or will the idea that Trump could game the system and win polarize us even further?

I hope to hell it’s the former. I hope it has occurred to us that Trump is what happens when we refuse to build consensus. 2016 is what happens when the need to be right prevails over getting it right. We get a President who is a meme master, but who couldn’t lead us out of a wet paper bag.

It’s time to wise up or quit bitching. We can’t have both.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fight To Regain Sanity

There’s a scene in the movie Goodfellas when wig shop owner and independent bookmaker Morrie Kesseler gets whacked most unceremoniously by Tommy DeVito (played by Joe Pesci). One minute he’s climbing into a Cadillac with the intent of negotiating his share of a big score over coffee whilst picking up a danish to bring to his wife Claire, and the next minute his brain stem is being severed with an ice pick.

This scene reminds me of what’s happened to this country since the 2016 Presidential election. We are Morrie. We were promised a danish and what we got was an ice pick in the neck.

Regardless of whether you climbed into that Eldorado or not, you sure as shit are wearing cement shoes. I realize this analogy is anathema to those peeps who think watching Fox News makes them a patriot. They are plenty fine excusing the unsightly state of affairs in Washington, believing it to be a matter of renovation.

On the campaign trail, a Trump presidency promised to ‘drain the swamp’ of business as usual politics. Instead, it is simply giving us the business. As usual. But with glaringly unique consequences whose comedy is perverse, insidious and downright hateful. It is as if the American people have been written into the scripted cheat sheets of a reality show. Only thing is, the shit ain’t funny and the scenarios are toting generational price tags. And maybe the worst part of this whole sordid mess is that, in the end, we can’t really blame the Russians or the flagellating GOP, or even the fucking Kardashians. Nope, the cold hard truth of the matter is that we’re all to blame.

This is what happens when the nation stops paying attention to the box scores in Washington. This is what you get when an electorate is more well versed in pop culture than who their elected representatives are. We got complacent. We assumed sides mattered more than progress. Debates became more a matter of being right than of getting it right. Somewhere along the way, we lost our compass and we just let the winds lead us.

So we were saddled with a President who wants to build walls; never minding the fact that such a mindset is analogous with burning bridges. We have a President who believes in name calling and alternate terminology and yet wants us to believe he’s a modern day Churchill. I have to think old Winston could’ve taught Trump a thing or two about what a national emergency looks like. And how walls are nothing more than symbolic trinkets compared to the heart and soul of a nation’s ability to stand together.

Listen, I am a fairly middle of the road sonofabitch with nary a sacred cow in my arsenal. I didn’t believe in Trump back then the same as I don’t believe Ocasio-Cortez now. I have a problem with using the nuclear option to expedite judicial confirmation, no matter whether it’s Harry Reid threatening it or Mitch McConnell using it. Being middle of the road doesn’t make me vanilla ice cream. It makes me rocky road. I trust my eyes more than my ears, every single time. And what I’ve seen over the last couple of years troubles me. Not as a politically affiliated individual but as a human being.

Trump’s campaign slogan vowed to make America great again, which was both demeaning to the current generation and ignorant to the struggles of generations past. To my way of thinking, the greatest strength of any true democracy is in its future. You win today for tomorrow, in perpetuity. Our founding fathers understood the consequences of walking backwards.

It’s a lesson we’re still learning.

Breaking the News, Beyond Repair

I wasn’t feeling a full throttle post this morning so I decided to put together a list of news items from the week that was with a YouTube video that came to mind. It ain’t Meet the Press but whatevs. That show jumped the shark years ago . . .

Trump dis-invites the Eagles- He stuck out his tongue, took his ball and went home. And I can’t even broach this topic without adding my gusto, so I’ll just say this . . for now. Both sides are wrong. The Eagles for not showing up, being above all the shit being thrown at them and attempting dialogue. And Trump . . for being Trump. The lone voice of reason in this childish back and forth was Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins who pulled a genius Bob Dylan act this week. MJ reminded everyone as to the genesis of these peaceful protests. We need more adults like him in the room.

 

Andrew Lincoln Bids Adieu to the ‘Dead’- I was feeling a breakup coming on with the Walking Dead anyway. What with Glen and Carl gone, the future looked bleaker than Melania’s Saturday nights. I held on thanks to Negan and Carol, and to see how Rick was going to take out his baseball wielding nemesis. But the truth of the matter is, this show has made an art out of doing just enough to keep us holding on. It might go on forever, as the creators have promised (warned) their fans, but I can’t help thinking five or six seasons of Holy Fucking Shit! would’ve been preferable to this. So next year will be my last as a fan. I’ll miss Carol and I’ll miss the music . . but I just can’t do this any more.

Kevin Durant is the best player in the NBA- For one night anyways. I caught the tail end of the Dubs Game 3 win and I’m not gonna lie. KD made me love him all over again with a 43 point hit job on the Cavs that effectively sends the Association into its summer business. Durant will always be my favorite inside this latest gen of players, but lately he’d become a bit of a dick. But his game ain’t care about any of that, and when he rolls the way he did on Wednesday night? He kidnaps my baller loving heart. His three point dagger with a minute left . . . should be set to Opera, and taught in schools and revered forever after. Yeah I’m adding a shit ton of hyperbole to his masterpiece, but that’s what certain players can do to me. KD is top of my list, still.

 

Walmart has a wine label– Yeah, no. Okay . . . maybe.

 

Baseball Fan o’ the Week!- W.P. Kinsella would bemoan the dearth of romance in today’s game. Gone are such quaint notions as the hit and run, sacrifice bunts and complete game shutouts. So big thank you to this baseball fan for bringing some old school back to the equation.

The last bit of news, worst. As I learned this morning that Anthony Bourdain took his own life at the age of 61 in Paris.  I was never a fan of the dude, once saying that ‘only women can deal with this guy’, which was really all he needed. Other than peace of mind, which he was never able to truly achieve. And it’s a sad fucking thing when the world loses interesting people. And I can’t think on this for very long or it just gets dark. So Imma end this with something hopeful, because the day asks for it. Every day, in fact.

Peace, love, happiness . . and Joy.