“…evil appears as good in the minds of those whom god leads to destruction.” – Sophocles, Antigone
“It is a mistake…as events since September 11 (2001) have shown—to suppose that a government can promote and participate in a global economy and at the same time act exclusively in its own interest by abrogating its international treaties and standing apart from international cooperation on moral issues.” Wendell Berry, In the Presence of Fear, #XVI
“It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” – Robert Kennedy (South Africa), 1966
“America is a religious nation without a coherent creed, a believing people hungering for a faith to which to give its assent…much of what you…hear…springs from a fatigue and failure of nerve that would ensnare you and your strength in its weakness. Beware of it; do not be charmed by it. Do not become one of those who only has the courage of other people’s convictions…A liberal education is not an education for the impractical; it is the intensely practical act of self-fashioning that occurs as you develop your intellectual and human powers across a variety of areas of intellectual inquiry and methods and values…it is not a product, freeze-dried and wrapped in a plastic bag…I am concerned that we have given up on history.” – A. Bartlett Giamatti, A Free and Ordered Space: The Real World of the University, 1988
“…in the unbearably sharp light of hindsight, things sometimes pop up that suddenly make sense.” – Jussi Adler-Olsen, The Scarred Woman, 2017
“We will have to repair our own sense of time if we wish to renew our commitment to liberty.” – Timothy Snyder
“You can’t be either ‘liberal’ or ‘conservative’ to be genuinely civilized. You have to embrace the better angels of both: charity and compassion on the one hand, and a sense of order on the other, linked by common sense, belief in science, and a passion for justice.” – Headless Horseman
“We’re poor little lambs who have lost our way, baa, baa , baa…” – The Whiffenpoof Song
While a majority of white Americans have been willing to have black, brown, yellow and red Americans suffer or die for their freedom via slavery, ethnic cleansing or coolie labor for the past 400 years, it is less clear how many beneficiaries of white privilege have been willing to sacrifice to the same degree for that freedom, despite impressive examples and statistics over the course of U.S. History. Many white Americans, of course, have been willing to pay the ultimate price for their freedom and for others, white or not; but one treasonous coward, Donald J. Trump, who never put his life on the line for his own freedom, or anyone else’s, is currently President of the United States. Sick at heart about this, I sought consolation among my KGB renegade buddies.
High Plains Reader: Dear friends! Just as Mississippi becomes the final Confederate State to urge us to celebrate the 4th of July together, President Donald Trump desecrates it in divisive rhetoric and dictatorial behavior, when we would rather explode firecrackers. How depressing!
Lena: Not at all. Americans are just setting about a revision of the Declaration of Independence that finally makes meaningful the word “equal” in Jefferson’s “all men are created equal.”
HPR: We’re not there yet.
Rasputin: No, but you’re closer. Just stick to the work you are already doing. Impeach the tyrant Trump in November like you did the tyrant George III in 1776, without real warfare.
HPR: But we will have four to seven months of full-scale political strife, some violent, with plenty of time for Vladimir Putin, China, and Turkey to do more damage to us, and to our allies.
Putin: Your politics are always warfare, and thanks to Trump, you don’t have any allies. You also do plenty of damage to yourself by not following doctors’ orders re: Covid-19. In the name of “freedom” too many of you mess with Mother Nature, and she is going to get you for that.
Lena: Vlad Putin has problems as well. Ukrainians, Poles, Hungarians; many other Europeans haven’t forgotten Stalin or Khrushchev, even if Americans have. Trump’s Russian pal also has his own response to Covid-19 to deal with, while the European Union has curbed the curve, and is back in business, along with Pacific-rim countries like New Zealand, Taiwan and S. Korea.
HPR: Those European and Asian countries were rescued from fascism and communism by America, back when we had responsible, bi-partisan leadership under Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. But it wasn’t enough, was it?!
Mr. Swamp Fox: Least of all in your own backyard. Heroic legacies of WWII and the Cold War hid past addictions to Imperialism by U.S. individuals and corporations, unabated in later Centuries, as well as added addictions by y’all to material benefits of that Imperialism.
HPR: While fighting Nazism and Soviet Communism, we didn’t seriously question exploitation going on at home of our people of color, as well as in Michael Harrington’s Other America. We did even worse things abroad in the name of “liberty.” And now Trump takes his coward self out to Mt. Rushmore, a monument carved from land once accepted as Native American, but stolen by white folks for the sake of gold. Presidents who are celebrated there were, with one possible exception, slave owners or Imperialists. All this to glorify an American holiday that, following the Civil War, wasn’t celebrated in Confederate Vicksburg, MS until 1942, after Pearl Harbor.
Kim Dog Un: Correct. One of those Presidents carved where Trump railed in a “4th of July” rant against his favorite fake “isms,” was Teddy Roosevelt, who, in a secret protocol, gifted the Japanese Empire with the nation of Korea. Teddy’s cousin FDR’s grandfather, Warren Delano, as entrepreneur, also carried America’s Imperialism to Asia. Along with a host of European and Japanese opportunists, he made a fortune, while gifting China with opium addiction. Super store corporations in the U.S. have since gifted the American continent with strange bugs, beetles, and parasites from cheaply made Chinese products, via cheap labor, that devour your hardwood forests and make it into your bodies, along with plastics from your home grown chemical giants.
Omar Khayyam: Despite disasters in Cuba, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, American illusions about the glory of being #1; reliving World War II into the 21st Century, covered up injustice against people of color at home and abroad, despite challenges as early as the 1940’s.
Ms. Recovering Republican Lap Dog: Young people are demanding, and deserve, better explanations of American history as it actually was, but, instead, are met with tear gas and rubber bullets from local police, and gas lighting and hate bullets from the White House: sloganeering about their so-called “cancel culture.” Such simplistic nonsense even finds its way into the turgid prose of faux conservative columnist, George Will.
Torquemada: Refusing to abandon his self-appointed role as national “sage on the stage,” Will, unlike principled conservatives like Steve Schmidt and Rick Wilson or columnists like Mona Charen, has yet to reject America’s fanciful notions of itself that self righteous conservatives and “4th of July pundits and historians” have fostered over the years. Instead he lays out his laundry list “from Mt. Olympus,” of things “an incoming Biden administration” must do, while the rest of you are struggling to ensure that Moscow Mitch and Barracuda Bill Barr don’t cancel November elections. Even Daniel Snyder, monetarily repentant owner of the Washington NFL franchise, who is preparing to drop its racist nickname, is doing better than George Will.
HPR: And now we have a President who would be King; a composite bigot, idiot and coward, compiled from our worst historical examples. Trump’s 21st Century selfishness has exposed U.S. historic self-centeredness to the world. His followers practice freedom for themselves and no one else. Their embracing of racism mocks previous efforts to erase that stain on our heritage.
Schickelgruber: At the Nuremberg Trials of major Nazi War Criminals, 1945-1946, American prosecutors challenged the German nation to face their racist and genocidal past. Germans have done that in the 75 years since. The least you can do in 2020 is dedicate yourselves to doing the same thing, in order to become a “kinder, gentler nuclear power and military behemoth.”
Jim Crow XV: Just because Trump believes, like the French king Louis XIV, that “he is the State,” doesn’t make it so. Whether he knows it or not is unimportant. He is too busy being Vlad Putin’s “super spreader” of Covid-19 and racism viruses. My numerical namesake, Louis XV, though as self-centered as his father, was more aware. He said “after me, the deluge.”
HPR: That sounds like what Republican Senators are thinking and saying. They don’t know whether to “continue to sell out, or to go blind.” President Hoax, and the jokes are on them.
Mr. Crying Wolf: It was the grandson of Louis XIV, Louis XVI, who got his head chopped off, mainly because he didn’t know how to change, anymore than could his self-centered, high life style, low productivity, nobility, about one to two percent of the French population.
Headless Horseman: Senate Majority Leader, Mitch “1%” McConnell, has the same problem, along with aristocratic minded Republican Senators who fear “be-heading” by the voters in November. Other than Mitt Romney (R-UT) none of them have been willing to change their behavior and vote against a tyrannical, treasonous President.
Señor Perro: Weasel wording is the best Republicans can muster. Efforts to bail out sinking electoral fortunes by “bailing” on the President, are complicated by their need to bail on lies they have engaged in the past four years for the sake of tax breaks and right wing judges.
Chicago Dog: Mitch, the “Grim Reaper” himself, could get harvested this Fall. He must regret that John Bolton didn’t step up, like Mitt Romney, Ambassador Yovanovich, and Colonel Vindman. Trump’s sellout of our soldiers makes most of Bolton’s book superfluous, except for historians. As National Security Advisor, Bolton could have given Mitch necessary “cover,” had he testified to Russia’s bounties in Afghanistan, known by him in 2019, and now spilling out.
Putin: Trump’s cowardice and cupidity kept Bolton from getting his war with Iran. Bolton’s cowardice and cupidity deprived the American people he was supposed to serve, of the truth when they needed it. I understand why former civil servants would be refusing to buy his book.
HPR: I bought the Nazi war criminal, Albert Speer’s three books. Just because he was an ardent, opportunistic Hitler lover, didn’t mean he wasn’t a good source on his fellow Nazis. Take out any views about himself, and you have some interesting reading. I bought Bolton’s book for much the same reasons, but they will be merely footnotes with all that is happening.
Ms. RRLD: George Orwell once wrote that one should never take an autobiography seriously, unless the author reveals something truly damning about himself. In Trump’s case, with more lies than facts coming out of his mouth, his autobiography will have to revealed by someone else: Vladimir Putin, the IRS, or a relative. Its sales might reduce the national debt.
Mr. Swamp Fox: Moscow Mitch and Attorney General “Benito” Bill Barr, Trump’s Badass Barracuda Barrister (B-6th power), aren’t waiting for those truths to be verified. They are going to make Trump an offer he can’t refuse. My alligator allies filled me in on their conversation:
Moscow Mitch: OK Bill, this is what we need to do. We’re going to tell Trump that either he has to resign and take a pardon from the new President, Mike Pence, or I will give Nancy (House Speaker Pelosi-D/CA), Chuck (Senate Minority Leader Schumer-D/NY), and Adam Schiff (D-CA) the high sign that a speedy impeachment and conviction trial could be done this Summer, and President “Bonespurs” can take his chances with authorities from the State of New York.
B-6th power: Got it. You will have no trouble getting votes from Republicans who are up for reelection in November. They are losing their minds at their plummeting poll numbers. I have enough dirt on the Republicans who are not up this year to whip them into shape. They already have seen what I did to honest, courageous men like Robert Mueller, so they know that cowards and cads like themselves won’t have a prayer. But what about (VP) Mike Pence?
Moscow Mitch: He has no choice, but he’s a team player. Look at the pride he has swallowed under Trump. But we won’t let him in on it until the last minute. His office leaks like a sieve.
B-6th-power: I’ll say. Pence isn’t as stupid as he looks and acts though. He already is feeling the heat, and is not happy about it. I dug up some disloyal scribbling by one of his staffers:
Sing a Song of Mike Pence: A Pocket Full of Lies – By The Anonymous Anal Amen Chorus
“It used to be so easy to be just;
I’d strut my stuff just like a silver fox;
But as V.P. I have to keep the locks
Upon my conscience clear, or ‘bite the dust.’
With Trump there is no exit, no excuse;
To baffle voters as we did before.
Our polls have simply hit the bottom floor,
And now our necks will surely feel the noose.
It could be worse; A Big Mac Heart attack
Could vault me to the top: Such bitter pills;
No time to shed Trump’s rank cupidity;
For then, I’d have to cut his sins some slack;
And pardon his dumb ass: ‘to cure our ills’
Of his misconduct – worse – Stupidity!