For Middle-Aged Ladies and Others

You want to help? Here’s how you can help.

Theoretically, we still live in a democracy, as long, that is, as President Bunker doesn’t dismantle it entirely with his next selfish, idiotic move. Sure, our voting rights are in peril. Thus has it been since the vote began. Poll taxes. Stuffed boxes. Gerrymandering. Not to mention the Putin bots. But despite those who want to trip you up as you attempt to do your civic duty, voting is still a thing in this country.

I’m old and cynical but I still believe that it’s not impossible to get some good people where they ought to be. Maxine Waters? She won an election. AOC? Got voted in. Val Demings? People voted for her and she won. The system is screwed up but every once in a while it works. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Supreme Court Justice who isn’t white and isn’t a crime against nature? (That was a little dig at Clarence Thomas, you’re welcome.)

This is a little off the point, right here, but grass roots politics, in my experience, seems to be the purview of the middle-aged lady. I really hate this. It’s so sexist. It’s just gross. What, my time’s less valuable than yours, Mr. Fancy Pants? What, you’re too important to make the calls, knock the doors, tweet the tweets, Mr. Big League? But whatever. I can’t let your, what–fear of failure?—hamper me in my efforts to make a better society.

Because what feels like “failure” is very often the name of the game.

Right now, we make phone calls. Right now, months before the election, we make calls and a Huge Percentage of them don’t go through—changed numbers, people who moved out of state, that weird busy signal you get when things aren’t as they should be. It feels like a huge honking Failure, a total waste of time to make these calls.

But you know what?

It’s absolutely not.

What you are doing when you get that busy signal is helping to clean up the phone records in preparation for the Big Dance. Every single sorrythisnumberisnotinservice you hear means one less wasted stamp to pay for, one less wrong number for a volunteer to call when the Rubber Really Hits the Road. That’s what you’re doing! You are preparing the garden for the bulbs! You are defrosting the chicken for tonight’s supper! You are measuring twice so you only have to cut once! Every single damn Failed Phone Call you make should make you shout hurray!

This is all to say this: figure out how to sit in your house and use your cellular telephone (or landline) for the good of our democracy.  In NC, you can get in touch with Neighbors on Call (neighborsoncall.org) to find out how to do it. You can sit outside if you’re not afraid of mosquitoes. You can put your feet on your dog, or, alternatively, your dog can sit in your lap. You can drink responsibly. You can do one of those facial mask things. Whatever! It’s up to you!

But remember: you sitting in your chair? And making calls for the Democratic candidates who will address some of the systemic racist inequities in our government and our culture? That’s you doing something.

Trump’s Lies

The Lies of Donald Trump: An Unsophisticated but Accurate If I Do Say So Myself Analysis

 

The Vanilla Lie

The Vanilla Lie is a straight-forward lie. Easy to make. Easy to disprove. Simple, if dangerous. But not a lot of fuss. A perfect example of the Vanilla Lie is the No I Didn’t Have an Affair with Stormy Daniels episode.

Everyone knows that Trump had an affair with porn star Stormy Daniels while a) he was not only married to Melania, but, in addition, b) Melania had delivered unto him a son four months previous. He had sex with Stormy and then, when she threatened to tell, he wrote a check for $130,000 to shut her up. He denies it. But everybody knows it’s true including, and this is an important point…including Trump himself.

He’s not the first president to have played around. Nor the first to deny that he did it when everyone knows he did it. I state the previous out of a sense of fair play. But it’s not my point. My point is to explicate the Vanilla Lie, to wit: Trump knew he did something naughty and he didn’t want to get caught. Easy peasy.

 

The Public Relations Lie

Trump is a PR dude first and foremost. He’s a spin doctor. Some pundits have called him a “cheerleader;” this, they say, is why he tells us that there are plenty of Covid19 tests when there are, in fact, not nearly enough. He knows there aren’t enough because, although he often acts mentally unsound, he’s certainly intelligent enough to hear a fact and take it in, even if he doesn’t like the fact. Surely he has been told (over and over and over) that there are not plenty of tests and thus he must know, somewhere in the depths of his brain pan, that there are in fact not plenty of tests.

But here’s the rub: while he may understand the fact of the test shortage, he actively and passionately does not want you to understand it. This is the cheerleader in him: the person who says, “rah, rah, go team go, we’re number one,” even as their team is going down the tubes, because it’s better, in their opinion, for all of us to think positive. There’ll likely be a better outcome, they think, if we all can “get behind” the lie. To Trump himself, this sort of lie is a good thing if it makes people feel better for a split second. (He also assumes, because he’s spoiled, that if he wants something, it’ll occur, but that’s not lying; that’s just dreaming.) (And, of course, he figures that it’s better for his campaign if things are good rather than bad—duh—and thus he’s looking on the bright side and hoping we are too.)

The problem, of course, is that many of us are adults and prefer information to pablum. We want facts so that we can prepare. We desire the data so as to be able to solve the problem. We deserve the truth rather than a buncha bullshit. Because, while a cheerleader may have his place in games…this virus here?  The running of a country? People’s lives and well being? Those things ain’t no game.

 

The Lie of Arrogance

The third type of lie is the Lie of Arrogance. The Lie of Arrogance is the most insidious and dangerous type of lie because the Lie of Arrogance is the lie that the liar believes himself. An obvious, though not-precisely-Trump-example is Brett Kavanaugh, who got too drunk to remember his misdeed, and then, because of an arrogance borne of privilege, was unable to believe that he had been capable of wrongdoing. He lied, but the first lie he told was to himself.

Trump’s lies of arrogance are epic. He’s the healthiest president ever to have graced the Oval Office. There were more people at his inauguration than at Obama’s. Mexico was going to pay for the wall. He thought the pandemic was a pandemic before anyone else thought it was a pandemic. The phone call was perfect. The malaria drug will cure Covid19.

 

Because of the way the psyche works, many of his lies begin as one type of lie and end up as another. He’s arrogant when he says that the US economy (pre-corona) was the best of all time, but this lie derives from his ignorance of history and economics. His claim that our elections are riddled with voter fraud (though study after study has proved otherwise) is a PR lie (for his base) but this lie derives from his belief that he knows all there is to know—arrogance at its apex. The aforementioned lies are easily disproved, but Trump is too sure of himself to believe that he could be ignorant of any fact. Ignorance, of course, is not a lie in and of itself, however, in a person who has the opportunity to learn but not the will, it does reflect a less than stellar intellect and a less than sterling character.

A nice example of the way one type of lie changes into another type is Trump’s claim that there are enough Covid19 tests for anyone who wants one. This lie began as a PR lie (as Rachel Maddow describes it, “happy talk”) but has recently morphed into a Plain Vanilla lie: the straightforward I’m-lying-to-get-out-of-trouble lie, in that Trump realized that if testing is kept to a minimum, the numbers of reported cases would be low, comparatively speaking. He doesn’t want to truth to get out because the truth hurts.

The fact is that if Trump were a complicated person, he still wouldn’t be good or interesting or worthy. What’s remarkable is that he’s so damn simple.