Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Greenwald, Trump, and Normalization

Shortly after the election news broke, I navigated over to The Intercept to hunt for signs of mea culpa or -- I briefly dreamed -- perhaps even of an olive branch extended to the rest of the Left, after the devastating result. I was curious to see if Greenwald would show any flickers of self-doubt or second-guessing, now that all that vituperation he had penned against Clinton and the establishment Democrats had proven to be directed against an increasingly irrelevant target. I was wondering what Greenwald would find to do with himself, what he would write about, now that the Democrats were in abject defeat across the board, and he might actually have to devote some energy to criticizing the Trumpists who are now in power. Greenwald, I thought, was one of many people that this election had essentially put out of a job.

Friday, November 11, 2016

La Lucha Continúa

One is constantly "grieving" public events in the circles in which I move, but this time it's for real. "Grief" is one of those many words -- like "demagogue," like "fascist," like "racist" -- of which one suddenly finds oneself having to recover the original and literal meaning this election year. Over the past few days, I really have had to carry myself through an expedited version of that mourning process that people somewhat pseudo-scientifically like to describe in the Kübler-Ross vein, with its neatly unfolding five stages. In its fast-tracked way, this week has felt how I imagine the sudden loss of a loved one would feel. Not because I "love" Hillary Clinton. But because I had plans for the next four years. I had an idea of what the immediate future was going to look like; the same way -- when you envision the years to come -- you assume that all the people you love will be there too. Not only that, I had mentally closed the door on this election weeks ago -- even to the point that on the night of the election itself, I was still making dumb jokes -- ones that I now monumentally regret -- to the effect: "Oh, you all know you're going to be just a little bit disappointed when it's all over tonight and boring ol' mainstream Hillary is elected." I voted early. I had forked over dinero to the Clinton campaign on a semi-regular basis. There were the Trump tapes. Clinton was ahead in the polls. It was over.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

The God of the Line-Cutters

When This American Life aired an episode this past weekend about the woes of the "moderate" Republican, the "conventional" Republican (and just how conventional were they ever, really?) in the face of the white nationalist eruption that now controls the GOP, you might have thought you had already heard that story done from every possible angle. But no. Instead of yet another news item about Trumpism at the national level, the figure of the Donald faded pretty far into the background of this one, if he was mentioned at all. Instead, the focus was on what might be called the substructure of Trumpism -- the years of organizing that has taken place at the state and local level of terrifying groups like "Act for America," which have now gone on to furnish the anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim shock troops of the alt-right movement in this country. Evidently, Islamophobia has what every campaign is being tiresomely urged to acquire this election season: "ground game."

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Two Poems


I Met Elizabeth Bishop's Moose

I met that moose! Or one of its kind, 
Though hers came wreathed in dignity, whereas mine
   -- though it too emerged
 From the New England woods --
was otherwise quite different
 it bolted out of
Someplace in New Hampshire and I
Was in a small blue car and talking
With a friend spilling
Half a remaining coffee cup and I had to
Spin the wheel and the tires and go
Into the oncoming lane when I