Rich Wilhelm

217 Words about Donald Trump (# 2)

In Uncategorized on May 10, 2017 at 2:58 am

NixonPeople say that we need to fight the substance of Donald Trump’s proposed policies, not his style. While I certainly agree that the substance needs to be confronted, the problem is that, when it comes to Donald Trump, style equals substance. How could it be otherwise when the man has made a huge commodity out of that amorphous intangible product known as the “Trump brand?”

This is why, in certain circles, Trump’s blasé attitude toward American history isn’t considered that big a deal. It’s just Trump’s style, goes this theory, to cherry pick the bits of history that suit his narrative. And if he gets those bits wrong? Well, who cares? It’s not like Trump’s fuzzy interpretation of the Civil War is going to keep him from making America great again, right?

In other news, I recently found the old Nixon campaign pin shown above at a flea market. It struck me as funny and sad that bringing the scandal-ridden Nixon back from the dead would indeed be an improvement over the current administration. After all, the EPA started under Nixon!

But, now, the day that Trump fired FBI director James Comey, I’m seeing the dichotomy of the pin: now more than ever, Trump seems trapped in a corner, just like Nixon was. The investigations must continue.

217 Words About Donald Trump (# 1)

In Uncategorized on May 8, 2017 at 1:55 am

The first 100 days of Donald Trump’s presidential administration have come and gone. I have been relatively quiet. Giving him a chance, I guess.

Being quiet ends for me tonight. From now on, I will be occasionally post my thoughts on President Trump. I suppose my main reason for doing this is selfish: once this surrealistic nightmare is over, I want to be able to look back and see the evidence that I spoke out against Trump and his ideas.

At the same time, I don’t want to spend my life rattling on about Donald Trump, so I plan on limiting each entry to 217 words. Get in, express my dismay, get on with my life.

So, let’s get to it: Donald Trump’s garbling of United States history is appalling to me.  I realize that many people feel that a working knowledge of history is not necessarily a prerequisite for “making America great again,” but I disagree. Trump has not shown any real inclination to learn much American history, and this disinclination makes itself agonizingly clear when he says things like, “People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?”

Don’t be surprised when I return to this topic. It’s a huge Trump pet peeve of mine.

 

Living in America?

In Uncategorized on January 28, 2017 at 8:55 pm

I dropped by the local McDonald’s today for a quick lunch. I should avoid fast food, but McDonald’s has a new menu item that I had to try. The Mac Jr. To understand why I need to try this burger, I have to go back a few decades, to the early 1980s.

During those years, I worked at McDonald’s. When I’d go on breaks, I’d often make what I called (at least to myself) a “Li’l Mac.” Basically this was a single burger Big Mac and, at the time, I found it to be delicious. Just the perfect burger, particularly if I wasn’t working long enough hours that day to qualify for a complete Big Mac during my break time.

Incidentally, during my Li’l Mac-making years, President Ronald Reagan was talking tough about Russia. Remember when Reagan joked that he had just signed legislation that would outlaw Russia forever, and that bombing would begin in five minutes? That was cute, right?

While I sampled the Mac Jr. (not bad, but it’s no Li’l Mac),  the muted overhead television was showing CNN coverage of President Trump’s freshly signed travel ban executive order. You know the one, in which people from certain Muslim-dominated countries, are not going to be admitted into the United States. Of course, excluded from the travel ban is Saudi Arabia, the country from which most of the 9/11 hijackers emerged, but also a country with which Trump has done a fair amount of business. But I’m sure there is some other, alternative reason, having nothing to do with Trump’s business interests, that led to this exclusion.

As I watched the reports of uncertainty over which huddled masses are actually allowed to be in this country right now, James Brown’s 1985 hit song, “Living in America” was playing over the sound system. A song that was a huge hit back in Reagan’s America.

This is not some alternative fact that I cooked up to insert irony into this essay. It actually happened.

James Brown did not write “Living in America,” but one of the key lyrics (written by Charles Kaufman, Charlie Midnight and Dan Hartman) notes,

“You may not be looking for the promised land/But you might find it anyway/Under those old familiar names, like…”

Brown then shouts out the names of nine major American cities. Some of which may even be “sanctuary cities” today.

It’s probably worth noting at this point that “Living in America” was featured in Rocky IV, the movie in which Russian boxer Ivan Drago kills American boxer Apollo Creed in the ring. Rocky then steps in the ring to avenge Creed’s death. Cold war metaphors abound.

Speaking of which, Trump plans on speaking with Russian leader Vladimir Putin today. I’m sure that will go well, given that both Trump and Putin are upright, decent guys.

So what’s my point? I’m not even sure that I have one yet, other than thinking that, as much as I did not love Ronald Reagan or his policies–and I will not pretend I did–I don’t think Reagan would recognize the dark, cold, and pessimistic vision of the United States that Donald Trump endorsed this week each time he signed an executive order. This is in no way “morning in America,” and in the end, these actions will not “make America great again.”

Living in America? I’m not so sure that I  am right now.

 

 

 

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