Sharknado 2016 – The Anarchy

I guess it was about 4pm on a humid east coast afternoon when the cop stopped me on Elm Street. It was the day after the GOP convention and I was was talking to myself – waving my arms in what the police later described as someone “engaged in a threatening debate with the an imaginary combatant.” The cop rolled down his window.

“Sir, have you been drinking?”

“Drinking? Hah!” I scoffed. “There’s not enough alcohol to medicate my reality — or yours, Officer…” I walked over and searched his chest for a name tag.”…Officer Blue.”

“Sir, you’re spooking the locals and exhibiting  erratic behavior. It’s bad for business and you’re being a public nuisance. Are you on any medications ?”

“I’m just tired. Hell for all I know, I may have the Zika virus. Feels like my brain is shrinking. Speaking of Zika, the way our athletes are dropping out of Rio, I may be named the third alternate on the US archery team.Actually, officer if you must know I’ve been watching the Republican convention. It’s an orgy of D list celebrities and people who get their instructions from space ships. The only guy they did not trot out to endorse The Donald was Carrot Top.”

He could see I was legitimately troubled. I had been hiding at home for almost a week tweeting inane comments on Morning Joe and The Hill under the name “Carlos Not So Dangerous”.  I had been waiting for some post convention sanity to return like the swallows of San Juan Capistrano. The Democratic gathering had not been much better but I had to admit they stayed more on message. The days of civilized debates hosted by a spinsterish librarian from the League of Women voters had been replaced by a Jerry Springer paternity fight  The dignified party conventions of my father had declined into a mud-slinging WWF show-down.

The cop tried to commiserate. “Sir, everyone is upset with the potential that Hillary Clinton could get elected but we can’t act out in public.”

“Hillary?” My head whipped around to confront the young officer. “What about freaking Trump?”

“Well I just assumed if you lived in this town you were a Republican.”

“Frankly, I don’t know what the hell I am anymore. I’m not L,B,G,T,Q…E-I-E-I-O!  I’m feeling kind of left out of the funny farm.”

He looked through his windshield and sighed. “Yeah, I hear ya. Law enforcement can’t trust anybody — our Union or the public officials. They reneg on retirement and benefits commitments. They kick the can down the street and refuse to fund retiree plans. It’s a tough gig being dressed in blue right now. We don’t know who to trust.”

I nodded in sympathy. “Hell, I hear you. There is no worthy Presidential candidate. One is a corrupt, public trough piglet who has fed on the public dole teat for years while the other is a dangerous self promoter who make outrageous statements like he invented the question mark. He gets a permanent get out of jail free card granted by his constituents. I’m in a permanent state of disbelief at what Trump is doing to the electoral process. He has immunity from accountability and says whatever comes into his head. By the way, there’s a lot of room in there for garbage. No one seems to give a shit if he doesn’t make sense.”

The cop tilted his head toward a woman pushing a stroller.

“Sir, your language.”

The officer glanced at his watch and smiled. “You remind me a lot of my old man. He’s retired in Florida. He’s home every day with the TV blasting the Fox Channel while he writes large-font emails to my sister and I and everyone he knows about how the world is going to end. I guess I get it. Listen, why not follow me over to Zumbachs and we can grab a cup of coffee.

A half hour later I was spilling my guts to this thirty something. He could feel my frustration.

I looked out the window as the Metro North blared its ubiquitous horn.

“It’s official. We’re screwed. We’re living in a bizarro world of opposites and doppelgängers. Nothing surprises me. Anything is now possible. In the old days, once you betrayed the limits of authenticity, you lost the People. Presently, I can no longer separate the sacred from the profane, truth from rhetoric or Sunnis from Shias. Truth is optional.”

The officer shook his head. “It’s even worse for us. People are actually shooting us. We are expected to serve and protect. I used to work some tough areas and did two tours in Iraq. I know a lot of about what hyper-vigilance and anger can do to anyone in enforcement. The anxiety and resentment builds and can flare up during a routine traffic stop. Being a cop in certain areas is like assuming the role of a UN peacekeeper. You can’t afford to live where you are policing or you don’t want to. Now, its like we’re soldiers returning from Vietnam. They give us that baby killer look. Hell, I was rescuing a cat from a tree the other day and the kid who called filmed it on his phone and ager said I was rough with the cat. It’s total BS.”

“Tell me about it. My son told me he hated capitalists and then asked me for $100.”

I held up two fingers to Will, the friendly barista wearing the Choose To Be Happy tee short. “I guess the good news is I believe anything now. Halloween and Christmas will be fun this year. It also means 70 % of all TV is now available for my viewing pleasure. Last night I watched Sharknado.”

The cop perked up. “You too? Hell, I found myself crying when Fin jumped into the maw of that cyclone-spun great white to rescue Tara Reid. Man I thought she was a goner. You know she still looks pretty good.  If I wasn’t married…”

I elbowed him as two high school girls walked in. “Sir, your language.”

I laughed. “Remember the scene where Fin used that chain saw to cut his way out of the 20 foot megaladon, it was awesome. You know, I want a chain saw for Christmas.”

The officer sipped his coffee.

“Same”

I perked up. “Megaladon” is actually a perfect portmanteau word to describe Trump.”

The officer rolled his eyes. “I actually don’t know who I’m going to vote for. I think Trump would be better for cops but as a father and citizen, he scares the crap out of me. Hillary’s a dirt bag but she’s just better at corruption than the average official who has long forgotten politics as public service and the art of compromise.”

I smiled.”Look at it this way. The world is a more dangerous and magical place now. We have stepped off platform 9 3/4 and are on a train to Hogwarts. We can now believe in Santa, the tooth fairy, Valdemort, and the lost city of El Dorado. Maybe the next time I go to the market to buy some groceries I’ll meet someone with some magic beans. I’m ready to take on a giant and a beanstalk.

We sat across three more coffees and compared notes on the polluted political process we call two-party democracy. His dispatch called and he sped off to interrogate a man who was arguing with the traffic attendant over using a handicap spot to get a quick latte at Dunkin’ Donuts.

Yes, life had become Sharknado and it was getting more bizarre with each week.

My world is leaching with the pollution drift of dislocated people, terrorists, disease, social fault lines, greed, corruption and demagoguery — and that’s just in youth sports. “Remember”, my friend Carll reassured me. “It is all just the buzzing of flies.” Maybe so but where there are lots of flies, there’s usually a pile of something else.

I am now in mid-life shuffling toward my next doctors appointment and the snap of latex glove. “This may feel a little uncomfortable.” I am searching for a new tribe — Perhaps there is a Facebook page for October Ovines — middle aged smart-aleck, slackers who can’t lose weight and wont watch Game Of Thrones. I secretly want to attend a Day of Rage March so I can rail against the man — even though it is clear that I am now the man. Friends are fleeing our overmatched Governor to new homes in the Carolinas, Florida, Texas and other far off red state economies where the ratio of public to private workers remains tolerable and the fiscal spending is not so disjointed as to portend calamity.

A staggering 40% of Americans over age 50 have zero saved for retirement and another 20% have less than $100k. I suppose one will work until they die. And in a world where artificial intelligence has jumped from the pages of Assimov to the world of knowledge workers, I’m not sure what dislocated generations of Americans will do for a living wage.

Why is it that the most affluent among us suffer from fear — self centered angst about losing what they have or not getting what thy want. Fear permeates everything these days and makes any optimist look like a buffoon drunk on the nostalgia of some old movie where the bad guys lose and social fractures are healed. Boy gets girl. Kid learns valuable lesson. Clarence gets his wings.

Depend upon it, Sir,” said Dr. Johnson, “when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”

I’m focused again but I still can’t believe what I’m seeing. Tomorrow night they are debuting Sharknado 4. Perhaps I’ll be able to find some answers.

Why Conservatives Bother Listening To Trump 

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I recently published a post ( The Orange Man Inside of Me ) on why I think Donald Trump is bad for America and how “Trumpism” is tainting public opinion and polarizing parties.

I admit that my politics are a mongrel confusion of liberal and conservative beliefs based on personal experiences and influenced by the true north of Karma and the practical GPS of different moral and real world coordinates — data points provided by my friends, my own education, upbringing, sense of justice and my business experience. My DemoIndependican views do not fit neatly in a box and at times, are at war inside of me as the fiscal conservative battles the open-minded altruist for a solution where peace and prosperity can reign supreme. Human nature does not always allow for happy endings. Sometimes we have to choose between civil liberty and national security. It’s not always simple to know the right answer.

I love my friends because they care enough to engage. One close friend, Kaleb, chose to take some umbrage with my recent manifesto about Trump — although we both agree we would like Trump to go away. He felt the need to defend the core of the Conservatives. Interestingly, many of his views and beliefs guided my early years and to this day, give me a healthy respect for those Conservatives like my father who have stuck to their guns. It seems everyone’s message is being attacked these days. You can’t raise the public’s political IQ without giving equal time to help us all find the truth in the middle.

I’m reprinting Kaleb’s response as it is articulate and spot on in reminding us of a platform that has not been able to get traction in Wsshington despite a majority presence for Conservatives inside the beltway…I yield the floor to my colleague from California.

“Turp, Conservatives are not mad because the number of minorities are increasing. We’re not racist, sexist or homophobic. We don’t hate nature or love war. We believe in American exceptionalism, law and order, and liberty and equality under the law – not in the fairness of an outcome. We have observed in human history that progress is made when energy, intelligence and free markets pick winners. Governments are incapable of doing that for long. We have a wise approach to solving the world’s problems that is based in reality and achieving results, not sitting in a coffee bar and enlisting support of “do-gooder” causes that are actually counterproductive to addressing the causes – rather than the symptoms – of many socio-economic problems.   

We view people as individuals, not as members of tribes or groups incapable of thinking in ways other than identified by the mass media. With remarkably few exceptions compared to the mounds of demonizing crap heaped on us by the Left, we don’t demean our opponents or impugn their integrity or motives unless they do it themselves. We can win on the merits of our own social and economic arguments and don’t need to resort to Clintonesque tactics outlined in Rules for Radicals. 

So here’s the background for understanding Trumpism. Trump is an egomaniac and an ass. The only reasons he’s given prominence by the left wing media are because he “sells papers” and more important, his approach will do long term damage to the GOP campaign prospects by pitting “law and order” Republicans against those who have a more common sense approach to immigration issues. He’s the perfect candidate for the left wing media. Through the Trump campaign they can cover and embarrass Republicans while feeling good that they have been “fair” in covering the waterfront of political positions. 

“Trumpism ” is about Republicans who are pissed: not about losing power – but about having gained it and having it not exercised in Washington for conservative solutions. We have the largest number of Republicans in Congress since Hoover, a majority in the Senate and on the US Supreme Court, 31 governors, the largest # of state legislatures under GOP control (68 of 98 partisan chambers) and the most GOP legislators ever elected. Yet the taxing, spending, regulating, Constitutional lawlessness, record borrowing, executive orders instead of legislation, withdrawal from international obligations, using moral equivalency to undermine allies and support terrorist organizations, implement treaties w/o Senate approval, impose more federal mandates, use government intimidation of conservatives … it just keeps going on and on. So Trump calls BS on this, as someone needs to. Good for him. I hope he now gives way to someone responsible who can win the presidential election and turn the tide so that those majorities rule. Isn’t that what democracy is about?”