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Dear Hillary
Dear Hillary:

It’s been good to see you back in the news again in the last few months. It seems like ages since the 2016 campaign (even though you-know-who can’t stop talking about it), and I’m glad you haven’t just gone into your shell. I was a little surprised, though, to hear your most recent comment that “many, many, many people” had been trying to convince you to run again.

That is a lot of manys. More than I would have thought, really, and it got me to thinking about our last conversation. I hope you didn’t misunderstand when I asked you if you would ever run again. That was more of a, you know, rhetorical question. I didn’t mean to imply that I actually wanted you to run. Honestly, Hillary, that was the furthest thing from my mind.

Also, I don’t know if you see Michael Bloomberg very often around New York, but if you run into him, please tell him for me that it’s not that I don’t trust rich people. It’s the money itself that can’t be trusted. All it ever seems to do is cause trouble for everyone.

Anyway, I just want to say I don’t regret voting for you in 2016. And I want to make sure that I don’t have another opportunity to regret voting for you. So let’s not push our luck, okay? If you were including me as one of the “many, many, many,” then I’m sorry for the mix-up. With that one qualification…

All the best,

Tim
Wrong and Wronger
I keep trying, but I keep failing. Whenever I think I’ve found the answer, it always turns out to be unsatisfying, always inadequate. I’m beginning to think there is no solution for this puzzle, at least not in this world.

What is it, I continue to ask myself, that keeps Trump supporters going? Why do they persist in believing in this guy? I have explored several possible explanations in this space. One relies on the separate universe theory. Under this construct, these people receive their “facts” from the opinion shows on Fox News and from various online sources, and therefore they come to different conclusions about the world than those of us who rely on more traditional sources of information.

Then there is the hypothesis that Trumpers are people who have an authoritarian mindset — that is, they want a strong figure to tell them the way things are and exactly what to think and do. There is also the thesis that these folks are just happy to have an excuse to be cruel and hateful. Simple tribalism is another suggested motive, one which postulates that people tend to divide themselves into teams and tend to root for their own team no matter how it plays the game. The list goes on, but nothing on that list is completely satisfying, so I just keep straining to make sense of the motivations of MAGA-heads.

Which brings me to this week’s conjecture. We start with the premise that nobody wants to admit they are wrong…or that they made a mistake of any kind. Such admissions are confessions of fallibility. We would much rather be thought of as reliable sources, perhaps even as founts of wisdom. The more we admit to mistakes, the further away we drift from the ideal. Nobody wants to do that.

Based strictly on my own observations, I would argue that those on the right of the political spectrum are much less apt to admit they are wrong. More often, they choose to double down on their faulty assertions and count that stubbornness as a strength. That may feel right, but such a proclivity merely piles more proof of fallibility on top of the original error. Those on the left, conversely, display a tendency to apologize even when they might be right. Instead of simply bending over backwards to be fair, they are sometimes willing to tie themselves in knots to get there.

When it comes to Trumpers, the stakes are even higher. After repeatedly doubling down, tripling down, quadrupling down on the demonstrably boneheaded positions of their leader, it’s even harder for them to admit their mistake. To concede that they may have erred in ever believing this guy — much less to have believed in him — would be a much heavier lift than the admission of one little mistake. It would amount to an admission that they were fools. Colossal fools. Mistakes, after all, can be overcome by merely owning up to them, and perhaps even learning from them. But foolhardiness…that is a permanent condition.

Trumpers, then, have come too far to turn back. Whatever got them to this place, whether it was tribalism or authoritarianism or meanness or plain old gullibility, they are now stuck with no place to go but forward — or downward, which is where this whole mess is heading.

Unfortunately for those of us who sometimes admit when we are wrong, the Trumpers will still be there when we get to the other side of this. And they will still be fools…unless I am very much mistaken.
In the Dark
Maybe this is a metaphor for our new reality. Walting in the dark for the lights to come back on. Either that, or waiting in the dark for word to run like hell so as not to be burned to a crisp in a wildfire. I’m still not sure which it will be.

It is my belief, as I sit here, that my electricity will soon be returned to me, and that no immediate harm will come to me and my loved ones. That is not to say that life will return to normal, because normal isn’t normal any more. The good old days are not coming back.

Those days had problems of their own, of course, like the possibility of all-out nuclear war. That particular Sword of Damocles is still hanging there, but somehow its isn’t the source of dread it used to be. It has, however, has been joined by a new sword that’s all about global warming and the slow, agonizing death of human civilization. It is looming over me right now as I wait here for a siren, or a whiff of smoke, or a call to evacuate.

Nuclear war is certainly a horrifying prospect, but all it would take to save us from it, really, is a couple of good, strong treaties. Global warming, on the other hand, almost has a life of its own. It needs no ill will to motivate it, but instead grows more and more menacing even without conscious human participation. It seems too big, too complicated, too relentless to be stopped by mere human effort.

So here I sit, dividing my time between simple annoyance and existential dread, depending on which possible outcome I’m thinking about. No matter which it is, though, after the power is restored, I will still be totally in the dark.
No One But You
Are you tired of people?
Are you fed up with fools?
Has your mellow been harshed
By all of their rules?

Then why not just split
And cut off all contact?
Abandon your stake in
This lame social contract?

Just head for the hills
Find yourself a nice cave
Blow out the bear stink
And stop having to shave

Now you’re in charge, man
So kick back and enjoy it
None of those bozos
Is here to destroy it

I should mention here, though
One link is a bit weak
Cause if that bear comes back
Then you’ll be up Shit Creek
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Trump supporters are people who know what they believe.
~ JC, Bonny Doon