TRUMP….(sorry, I just have to)

I give up.

I generally avoid discussing politics either here or on social media but this time around I decided to test my toe in that turbulent torrent of turbidity. There’s an obvious target of course but writing about Donald Trump is akin to composing an unfinished symphony. I have drafted three posts but before I get them to the polishing stage Mr. Trump throws another sack of fodder into the trough. Honestly, it’s just too damn repetitive, silly, and depressing to pursue with any amount of enthusiasm. Add ‘easy’ to that list.

Coupled with President T’s confusing rhetoric is the influx of ‘fake’ news sites. These digital Enquirers pander to those who don’t have the wherewithal to spend a few moments researching real news. If you go by what you hear, even from some members of your own online circle, every news organization is fake or politically motivated. Even here in Canada news outlets from the CBC and CTV/ATV to my local paper present fake news or are bought and paid for by political parties…according to my catalogue of online friends. After careful consideration I have come to the conclusion that if the media doesn’t mate with your narrative then it is the media that is wrong.

Opinions are fine. I love opinions. That’s what this blog is. An opinion.

Opinions, however, are not always totally factual. An op-ed may be based on black and white fact but can easily be colored by the simple inclusion of the author’s opinion and sometimes separating the two can be difficult. That’s why we have to research.

As far as Mr. Trump is concerned I have to resort to my first line…I give up.

Following is the original blog I started two weeks ago. It’s a bit of a rant but I haven’t done that for a while so….

I tend to judge stories and comments based on presentation as much as content. If someone makes a point clearly and it sounds like they know what they’re talking about I’ll pay attention and often research what they have said. When it comes to Trump I usually don’t waste the time checking. When he uses phrases like “The CIA ‘are’…” I can forgive him. Fundamental English doesn’t build golden vanity towers I guess. When my grandchildren can spell better than he…well, I suppose I could blame the education system although I suspect he just didn’t pay attention. When he points to his head and says “Believe me, I’m really smart”…who is he trying to convince? If he was smart he would hire a communications secretary to look after his social media and try to keep him on track (or quiet) when there are cameras around. When he has to tweet that he is in charge…again, who is he trying to convince?

He has had many opportunities to correct the impression he made during the campaign. Instead he has taken every opportunity to show the world how self-obsessed he is. At a wall commemorating CIA members who gave the ultimate sacrifice once again he managed to make it all about himself. In his own words on video or Twitter he likened the same agency to Nazis yet it was ‘the enemy’, that ‘corrupt media’, that twisted his words. You said it Donald…on the internet and on camera. It doesn’t disappear because you delete or refute it.

When he can make a statement in a live, uncut interview then turn around and deny saying it, blaming the ‘dishonest media’ for taking something out of context or misinterpreting what he had to say, I know it’s only bull residue. When he can ‘tweet’ in the morning then six hours later unequivocally state that he never said it then, to my mind, there is a problem.

But, like it or not, Trump is the president. It’s as simple as that. I respect the position as I respect the position of Prime Minister of Canada. It’s unfortunate that the office and the person holding that office become one and the same. I’ve distantly dabbled in American politics since Eisenhower (yes, I’m that old) and I can’t recall any president disrespecting the position as much as Trump has. I’m sure presidents from JFK to Obama (and especially Nixon) dropped a few f-bombs in the privacy of the White House but they never did it live on national television.

Yet he was elected. What does this say about those who voted for him? That’s a question I won’t even try to answer. I don’t know what’s going to happen over the next four years and all those people tossing their comments around don’t know either. We can speculate but all the speculation in the world won’t alter what destiny has in store for not only America but the world.

He and his family all proudly state that Trump is the voice of the ‘common man’, Donald Jr. even commenting that his father was more blue-collar than the ‘average’ man. They’ve stepped on enough common men on their way up that I suppose they know what they’re talking about. Trump Sr. also declares that he’s building a cabinet of folks who understand ‘the common man’. Uh huh. Other than Mad Dog I’m not sure any of these people have ever experienced a ‘common’ lifestyle. To paraphrase…he drained the swamp and now he’s up to his ass in new alligators.

Some say ‘give him a chance…it’s early’. To a degree I agree although he was elected in November 2016. He’s had enough time to start acting presidential…to show respect for the office and the people. He’s had plenty of time to take off the campaign mask and show the kind of president he will be but he hasn’t…or has he?

If Trump can set up a government as transparent as he is then it could be an interesting four years but I doubt this will happen. He’s already backtracking on his promises. That bright light across America that you can see from space is the lightbulb coming on in the collective mind of his supporters.

 

FERGUSON

First…pardon my venting on the previous post. It was a knee-jerk reaction to the photograph and while I usually sit back and think about my approach to an issue before commenting this time I just charged ahead. Had I thought a little more I probably wouldn’t have uploaded it.

This is the good (and bad) thing about social media. Anyone can have an opinion published and sometimes that opinion is based solely on emotional outbursts. Sometimes comments are part of an agenda and, depending on the author, this agenda can take on a face that might not be representative of society in general. Events in Ferguson have brought about a glut of comments definitely emotional and opinionated on social media…mostly without reference to the facts released in the evidence documents.

I too was going to share my thoughts on the situation in Ferguson but I wanted to wait until I knew more about it. This morning I read a lot of the evidence presented to the Grand Jury and I’m still not sure what I think. At this point the way I see it everyone involved is both guilty and innocent. Regardless of certain eyewitness testimony (most of which was retracted after the evidence came to light) the forensics prove that Michael Brown did attempt to take Darren Wilson’s side arm (powder residue/bullet inside the car door) but I do question the extent of the “assault” on this police officer. The fact remains that Brown was trying to get the weapon and that’s enough for me to justify Wilson’s response. But, as I said, both parties are equally guilty in my eyes. The number of times Wilson shot Brown seems unnecessary. I feel that a few less bullets might have saved a life so, from that aspect, I feel the guilt falls directly on Wilson. I must also point out that my not being there and never having experienced a like situation makes it difficult for me to judge exactly what went through either Wilson’s or Brown’s mind during those terrible moments.

Perhaps if I take the time to read all the evidence I might have a clearer understanding of the situation but probably not. In this case it’s not about the evidence or the news stories and interviews…it’s about people and their environment.

I’m a white male living in Kamloops B.C. and I’d never heard of Ferguson until this story broke. I have no idea what it’s like to live there therefore I would expect (and rightly so) that my opinion would be lightly passed over by anyone who is from Ferguson.

The behavior of the citizens (a small percentage of them) after the decision was announced left a lot to be desired. It was a knee-jerk reaction on a grand scale and while I don’t for a moment believe that this was supported by the majority of people from Ferguson it is the face presented to the world. I can’t believe it was the good citizens that took away the livelihood of the families who live in and support the community with their businesses…those families who faced the cold morning reality of their burned-out buildings. There is no doubt that the people that created the mayhem would have done so regardless of the Grand Jury outcome. These are the few who want to raise hell and are determined to destroy any hope of peaceful protest. Unfortunately people like this have been around forever. Fortunately they are still the minority.

I believe Ferguson will pull it together simply because they have to. Perhaps some good will come of this debacle not only for Ferguson but the entire country. It certainly won’t make this story any more palatable but it might provide the impetus needed to forge ahead with discussion and action to create a world where stories like this become fewer and fewer, eventually disappearing from those 24 hour news channels.

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REALITY TELEVISION?

I’m sort of off-topic again but I know me…it happens. I ran into Alan, one of the older fellas that bought my book. He asked how the second one was coming along. I told him that I was doing a bit more research into the wolf and wolf-dogs so that I might be accurate in my portrayal of the lead character. He suggested if I really wanted to study wolves and wildlife I should watch “Yukon Men” on the Discovery Channel. Then he smiled and said it was pretty sensationalized.

I’d never heard of this show and now I truly wish it had remained that way. I have just finished watching “highlights” on the website and I find myself totally disgusted with the representation of both the humans and animals in this program.

If you haven’t seen it…good on ya. In my opinion it is one of the biggest piles of fertilizer in this genre they call “Reality Television”.

It centers on the town of Tanana, Alaska where (actual quotes from the site) “you live 24 hours a day surrounded by carnivorous predators” and you have to “kill or be killed”. One man claims he’s “constantly worried that a wolf might eat some of the kids” while a woman is under constant daily stress that “if I turned my head for a couple of minutes my baby would be gone”. If I was in that situation and they were making a TV series about me it wouldn’t get past the first episode. The sight of a moving truck backing up to my door while I get the hell out of there isn’t profitable television I’m afraid.  Aside from turning a Volkswagen bug into a dog sled the mainstay of this show seems to be claims of bear, wolverine, and wolf attacks. At one point the commentator dramatically announces that “there have been 20 fatal wolf attacks in the last 10 years”. Oddly enough after close to an hour on-line I can’t find a documented case of a wolverine attacking a human. As for the maligned wolf there are only two cases of a ‘supposed’ unprovoked attack by a wolf causing death, one in Saskatchewan (which scientists insist was a bear even though wolves were spotted in the area) and one in Alaska in 2010. So Mister Commentator (or Mr. Writer)…get your facts straight before you present them as, well, fact. And the people of Tanana…well, no comment. They’re pretty much the same as the hog chasers, duck hunters, and gator dudes of those other “reality” shows…the clowns in the circus of life. I probably should have watched more but I prefer my fantasy in outer space.

Alien

But what it did do was get me thinking about “reality television” and how these shows define the greater population. To a traveler from a distant galaxy who is studying Earth through our television waves it must create quite an impression (as it probably does to those in Europe, Asia, or Australia). Okay, it’s ‘reality’ so this must be what it’s really like. Foul-mouthed four-year-old beauty queens tearing a strip off Mum because she forgot to bring the gold tiara to the contest, guys that sit around chewing baccy and handcuffing themselves to chairs while questioning the whole second-cousin thing (is she really related?), over-sexed and under-challenged boys and girls living in a mansion trying to decide who’s the better lover and who to boot to the curb, extremely under-challenged dolts hanging out at the beach trying to find their toes, family dinners comprised of crushed glass and razor blades, people who eat rocks and drink their own…never mind, over-armed half-wits in the swamps killing alligators…the list goes on. Unfortunately it doesn’t end with these fictionalized realities.

Major news has become big business and, as much as I feel for people in disastrous situations, I see no need to play the same footage of grieving parents over and over again. It’s all about getting more viewers which gets more commercials which gets more money, usually at the expense of someone who just wants to get on with their lives. It’s all about sensationalism at any cost to make money.

I mentioned “de-thatching my brain” in the last post. This is part of the process. I am trying not to clutter my mind by coming up with a single rational, logical reason why 2,000,000 people consistently watch “Yukon Men” each week and in all honesty, I can’t (“I watch it for entertainment” doesn’t count…that’s like the old “I read Playboy for the articles” cop-out).

To Alan…next time we meet you’re buying the coffee.