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No, Thank You!
It seems to be widely accepted these days that Thanksgiving is the absolute best holiday. The feasting, the uncomplicated, non-religious camaraderie, and of course, the thanking are often cited as the reasons for its superiority. Yeah, well maybe.

Such assessments are relative in nature, of course. Every feast is sure to be accompanied by uncomfortable bloating. The camaraderie can be a bit forced. And the thanking…if it’s such a good thing to do, why aren’t we doing it every day? Now, I certainly don’t want to be ungrateful about Thanksgiving, but if it’s the best we’ve got, then our other holidays can’t really be that special. One has only to look at such unnecessary calendar-stops as Father’s Day to see what I’m talking about. As a self-respecting father, I am embarrassed by this afterthought of a celebration. It took almost 60 years after the establishment of Mother’s Day to get around to officially honoring dear ol’ Dad. Pardon me if I don’t dissolve into tears of joy. And don’t get me started about Christmas.

There is one exception in this parade of underwhelmingness. First, it’s a real day off, unlike most “special” days. Even better, it always falls on the same date, giving it a comforting predictability. There is no guilt or emotional investment of any kind associated with it. It is, in fact, the only purely free day on the calendar.

I speak, my friends, of New Year’s Day. Consider: it’s non-sectarian, it’s universal, and it’s surprisingly humane as holidays go. It might well have been called National Hangover Day, but that condition is not a requirement for its enjoyment. Here (it seems to say) is a completely unstructured day for you, citizen. If you want to plod around in your PJs all day, if you don’t want to answer the phone, if you just want to stay in bed and sleep it off — that’s okay. You don’t have to take part in a feast, interact with your fellow humans, or do anything you don’t feel like doing. Your government understands, and even approves. You don’t even have to go out to the mailbox and collect the mail…because there isn’t any.

In short, there are zero expectations for New Year’s Day. Feel free to sit around and contemplate the year just past. But no pressure. Cast your thoughts to the future, perhaps to examine your place in the cosmos, or to make resolutions…it’s all good. Or just be in the moment, whatever moment you like. Go for it…or don’t. Your call. You could even give thanks if you want to — silently, all by yourself, coiled up in a fetal position.

I almost hesitate to heap praise on New Year’s for fear it might attract too much attention. The last thing I want is for this quiet moment in our lives to be ransacked by commercialization or co-opted by God or loaded up with assumptions about what I am supposed to do. So please take this hint, and leave me alone. For one day, anyway.

Thank you.
Never Ending
Lather up.
Hunker down.
Go below.
Screw around.

Go along.
Get by.
Roll over.
Run inside.

Do without.
Fall behind.
Get one off.
Go outside.

Come on over.
Come on in.
Turn it on.
Go between.

Turn it around.
Work it all out.
Come from above.
That’s what it’s all about.

Where do you come from?
Where have you been to?
Where is your head at?
What are you into?

You know what I’m against?
Using a preposition
To end a
Sentence with.
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.
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Trump supporters are people who know what they believe.
~ JC, Bonny Doon