23 December 2016

A Little on Weather, a Bit About Christmas, a lot on Trump (yuck!) Then Something on Mental Illness and Finally Back to Christmas

Joulupukki, or Santa Claus to you non Finns

It’s cold, rainy and windy. Typically one adds: outside. I don’t see the point. If you are blessed with four walls and a roof and your windows are closed you should be experiencing neither rain nor wind in your domicile. Cold is another matter. This requires a heating system and proper insulation to avoid frigid weather. So as I was saying, it is cold, rainy and windy. My reaction to this is: huzzah! It’s December, it’s nearly Christmas and it is most appropriate that we have what many call “foul” or “bad” weather. I call it beautiful weather because I’m just the slightest bit odd. I guess you could scratch the “slightest bit” part. I find sunny cloudless days to be boring. Oh I don’t mind them now and again, particularly after a good hearty storm.

Despite my leftward political leanings and my indifference to religion and to the notions of god, jesus and virgin births, I love the Christmas season. I’ve made much of this fact in the past. The religious over tones of the holiday don’t bother me so much because I was raised with them and now find it simple enough to ignore them. The commercialization of Christmas is something people have been complaining about since I was a child (yes Christmas started before I was born ) and furthermore those complaints date back at least as far as the early 1900s. I like the break from the usual that Christmas provides. The colors, the trees, the gift giving, the huge meals, the family gatherings, the carols and Jolly Old Saint Nick himself. Plus you’ve got some darn good Christmas-related films (not to mention a plethora of bad ones) and a few good Christmas specials on TV. Most of these are from 50 years ago.

I have many other things on my mind besides Yuletide. I was asked recently what I thought would happen under a Trump presidency. Anyone who tries to predict the next four months, let alone the next four years, is full of it (I’ll leave to your imagination what “it” is). I challenge anyone to correctly predict the next four weeks. We are in unknown territory. The United States has never had a president who in anyway resembles this unbalanced individual. The potential for serious havoc being wreaked is unmeasurable. It does seem likely that Trump will violate the constitution (much as he has violated women) and suffer an impeachment. Indeed its hard to imagine this not happening. How much damage will be done in the meantime is incalculable. The president elect is a prolific liar, notoriously thin skinned, utterly capricious, malicious, narcissistic and totally incapable of understanding the niceties of diplomacy.

Meanwhile the country may well be torn asunder. Virulent racists are crawling out from under rocks, spewing their hatred, sometimes on the internet, sometimes in speechs, sometimes through graffiti and vandalism and sometimes directly at a person of color. Trump’s election has emboldened white nationalists, nazi wannabes, the KKK and all manner of racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and Islama phobic nut jobs. There will come a point when shots will be fired -- literally -- people will clash in the streets and more bombs will be explode. Because Trump has assembled a cabinet chock full of million and billionaires who have no regard for anyone beneath their station (i.e. the overwhelming number of the people they serve) we can expect massive indifference and devastating funding cuts to little things like education, research, alternative energy, housing and the social safety net. The Affordable Care Act may suffer and there’s but little question that — at this extremely critical time — efforts to combat climate change will be cast aside. It’s dumbfounding and depressing that we will have a president and his cabinet who deny what the rest of the world knows and what over 90% of climate scientists says is a verifiable fact. The inmates will be running the asylum.

Will Trump trample on basic first amendments rights? He may try. Will he ever release his tax returns. On a cold day in hell. Will he ever hold a press conference. Probably one, eventually, and likely he won't like the experience and it will be nigh on impossible to get him to do another.

As I alluded to earlier, I am very far to the left of the political spectrum (something I will address on this blog in the very near future). Trump’s election and his forthcoming presidency are pushing me farther to the left. My reading of late has included a lot about Vietnam, Nixon, Watergate, and most especially the radical movements of the Sixties and Seventies including two sets of memoirs by former members of the Weather Underground. Trumpism may well lead to a huge revival of radical leftist politics. It will unquestionably further arouse the progressive populism that Bernie Sanders stirred last year. It is conceivable that, in the long run, much good could come out of Trump’s buffoonery. It may lead to a meltdown of conservative politics and do severe damage to the republican party. Meanwhile the Democrats could move further left. They may, ala Bernie, stop trying to compete with republicans for moderates and state their case from the position of a purer form of liberalism.  Republicans successfully shifted far to the right in the Eighties with much success. Since FDR was president, Democrats, at least those who have earned the presidency and others in power, have betrayed their progressive roots in order to seduce conservative Democrats and die-hard moderates. While Obama did as much as he could given congressional interference to carry out strong liberal domestic policies, his foreign policy did not differ significantly from that of his predecessors from either party. Drone strikes killing civilians and damaging US status, were carried out pell mell. The fight against terrorism has gotten nowhere fast.

But enough about depressing topics. My own personal depression has abated significantly recently with nine of the last ten days seeing yours truly perfectly happy. I bring a message of hope to fellow sufferers that there are good days in your future no matter how bad it feels now. I’ve had some dark days that suggested my permanent condition would be one of terrible melancholy. I’m not out of the proverbial woods yet but I’m enjoying what I can one day at a time. Having experience with a 12 step program makes a lot of things in life easier to cope with. I have also been coping with the diagnosis that I am bipolar. I wasn’t surprised to learn that this was the case but I was amazed and hugely disappointed that something so obvious was not previously recognized. Especially since I bear all the characteristics of someone on the bipolar spectrum. Indeed I was ultimately quite relieved by the diagnosis as it gave me a label for some of my “problems” and one that I share with a great many people.

I am happy today and I look forward to enjoying tomorrow when I will be with daughters, wife, nieces, nephews, their spouses and their children and my sister-in-law for a traditional Finnish Christmas Eve celebration. Damn it I like Christmas and don’t care who knows it. Trump on the other hand….

No comments: