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The College Election

It’s an important day in the US, and for all of us, given the way the world is heating up.

I know it’s a bad idea to dis the President if you want to get into the country, but for the secret service dudes reading this, please understand, this is an exception…

So here’s hoping it’s a happy holiday for us all, and we can see some people who went to see the musical Hamilton paid attention, and we can stop thinking about how bad things are going to be in the New Year, but instead have some hope.   Here’s a couple of poems to mark the occasion.

The Clown Fools Us All

Remember when we thought this guy was a joke?

And now it seems so serious; yet still,

Even at this late stage, he could

Be red flagging us:

Showing us he’s seriously taking the piss,

Waiting for us to see it for what it is,

And pull the plug.

Mixed Blessings?

Remember when we used to say:

“Jays, we were blest with the weather today,”

As if we’d got lucky, and we didn’t worry,

Nor wonder what was coming?

Why vote Trump?

It’s obvious from my novels and poems, and my blog posts, that I’m a bleeding heart liberal ecologist.

At the same time, many of my readers will have voted for Trump this last week, and I have no wish to offend them – bleeding heart liberals hate offending anyone.

However, I have to admit I wish they ‘d waited this one out – held their noses and let the other candidate have these four years, despite her obvious flaws.

Anyone who loves animals, wildlife and the natural world just can’t accept a president who claims climate change is a Chinese hoax…. the world doesn’t have four years to fuck around with – the eight of George Bush and the congressional blockade of Obama have been bad enough, thanks very much. If that was the only reason for letting Clinton have her way, it was enough.

That didn’t happen, though, and I see why Hillary was so disagreeable to so many voters.

As Jonathon Pie so eloquently said in this video, we need to talk to those who disagree with us politically so we can find out the best way forward for us all.

I’m still confused about some things, though.

So if anyone can politely enlighten me, without ending up blocking me on social media (seriously) I’d be grateful.

For anyone who’s ever watched American Wrestling, you know that it’s all fake, and Trump was so clearly using that playbook for all his campaign. He was rousing the crowd to hate his opponent, but after a few pretend punches, they went out for beers together, counting the box-office take.

Whether or not you think he should be able to say the things he said (and I think many things, like mocking a disabled person should have sent him off the field straight away, no question) we have to ask ourselves if he really meant them.

The one about pussy grabbing is an exception – he said that before he wanted to run for President and had no reason to try shock people, and many women have come forward to say he did just that (and there’s him up in court for some nasty shit next month).

That said, does anyone believe that someone who has such a low opinion of non-drop-dead-gorgeous women really gives a shit if they have to get an abortion or not?

Whether or not you think Trump believes Mexicans are all rapists etc., do you really think a man who uses illegal labour himself is going to build a wall to keep them out? He and his buddies in industries like food processing make too much money.

Did you really think Trump was really going to “lock her up?” She was at his wedding for Christ’s sake! We know that’s bullshit now – he’s been singing her praises since winning and she’s thinking about working with him.

Do you really think that Trump will change the tax codes that Hillary never did – those ones that help out him and his billionaire friends? I agree that she should have done more, if she was really the liberal she claims to be, but Trump is hardly the kind of guy who shoots his own kneecap. He’ll double-down on keeping the rich rich. Otherwise his billionaire friends won’t want to play golf with him.

Do you think Trump is going to throw the dross out of Washington politics? He’s going to ask for their help to run things – since he’s obviously got no clue himself. He already said he wants Obama to help him. Rather than drain the swamp, he’s going to have swimming lessons.

For the sake of many people I know, who are minorities Trump also denigrated, I hope the nasty things he’s said about them were also bullshit. Since they’re powerless, though, he doesn’t really have to back-track there like he does with Clinton, politicians and the rich.

And I hope those of his voters who aren’t racist and xenophobic make clear to the ones who are ( and I don’t think anyone can deny there is a good whack of them) that his election doesn’t give them free reign to persecute their fellow Americans just because they don’t like the kind of America we have today and will have in the future.

 

The Bonfires of Halloween keep Burning

Watching the news of the demonstrations and disturbances across American cities, I can’t help but wonder how things would look like if instead of the defeated candidate and the outgoing president telling their supporters to give Trump a chance we had a defeated Trump, who had said the election was rigged, that he might or might not have accepted the result, and who has been inciting violence for the last year.

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Photo courtesy of http://wolf-bain.deviantart.com/art/Bonfire-185136996

I’d planned to write a post about Halloween, and this is mostly about that, but this last week is like a bad horror show that won’t end.

I went to Ireland for Halloween this year, the first time in at least a decade. In case you don’t know, Halloween is an Irish festival, called Samhain, which has been carried out since Celtic times. One of the most important parts of the celebration is the huge bonfires we have – which is my favourite part – despite ending up in the hospital ER after doing something stupid when lighting our neighbourhood fire at the age of thirteen.

The local councils always tried to take away our stash of firewood. I heard they are cracking down more nowadays – using drones to investigate the top of roofs and other inaccessible places, which is just plain cheating! It hasn’t happened yet – on my way through the working-class neighbourhood of Tallagh on Halloween afternoon, it seemed there was a bonfire for every twenty houses, and I wondered where the kids had got so much fuel from. There are not enough kids in my own neighbourhood to have a bonfire these days, but I hope the kids are able to outfox the councils and hide their firewood – if they’ve to stash it in their own garden sheds and garages, then I’m sure some will.

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Kids building a bonfire in the next housing estate to my home in Ireland.

Without the bonfires, there is a danger that it will dissipate into a simple consumer-oriented excuse to eat sweets, with kids saying trick or treat instead of asking for apples and nuts – not that they get nuts nowadays in the age of sugar over-consumption and peanut allergies.

In my memory, it was always a one-day event. The night of the 31st is when the dead can come back to the world of the living and wreak their havoc. Now, it’s at least a week-long affair, much like it is in America, where houses are decorated in the middle of October.

It was strange to go into the city centre on the Saturday night and see so many people dressed up two days before the traditional day for donning costumes to disguise oneself from roaming spirits. It seemed more serious in the old days – a night to be careful and avoid not only those original enemies of the dark, but the drunken assholes: one of which caused me to visit the ER a second Halloween night – though that guy was an asshole even when sober and got his comeuppance eventually in the form of a knife in the heart.

Which brings me to another new trend – the assholes dressed up as scary clowns jumping out at people with knives and chainsaws and whatnot to frighten the shite out of them. It reminds me of those pricks who film themselves insulting black people and other minorities to see their reaction. Well, a few of those clowns got a reaction they weren’t expecting and ended up in the ER themselves, just like those dickheads got their comeuppance and were given a few punches in exchange for their insults.

Many good people are fed up being harassed, and aren’t going to take it so good-humouredly. People say that the protesters across America are a disappointment to their democracy, but it’s an indication that they’re not going to take this rise of xenophobia lying down.

If Trump had lost, his supporters would be doing a lot worse, I’m sure, and he’d be egging them on.

I’ve a lot of friends in America who are minorities of various sorts. Some of them are military veterans. They’re scared and upset as they ponder the fact that a racist, sexist etc. wanker has been elevated to the position of president, and how much licence that gives the narrow-minded people who voted for him (and I know not everyone who voted for him is an overt racist, but please, they legitimised those who are).

But many of them are also galvanizing themselves for the fight they coming. They say they’re not going to face this hate with civil disobedience and peaceful protest. They’re going to arm themselves and fight back fire with fire.

That could make this bad dream cross the line into a nightmare.

And I apologise for that sentence to those I know are already living a nightmare.

Scary times indeed.