Bully Pulpit

Agleam in the Los Angeles sun, the car pulled out of the semi-circular exit from the $$$ hotel.  Our feet, barely missed, as it moved slowly enough to allow my hand to reach out and thump the trunk in defiance for its failure to give way to pedestrians.  The handprint momentarily dulled the steel grey sheen before the heat of the late day sun evaporated the perspiration mark.  The sound, though, reverberated like a drum in a canyon. Thump-ump-ump-ump.  I looked at my friend with an ‘oops.’

In Britain, now my home, the driver’s response typically (albeit not always) would have been a raised hand in apology.  Perhaps a rolled down window with a ‘Sorry, mate.’  In Los Angeles, the driver jumped out of the car – screaming at me.

He came out with the conceit of his absolute power over me overwhelming his ability to gauge my expression.  He stopped, looking down toward me, shouting and gesticulating.  I said slowly and quietly ‘Are you threatening me?’  He paused.  I asked again, louder ‘Are YOU threatening me?’  His face move to a squiggly combination of rage, confusion and fear.  The third and last time I asked was at full voice ‘ARE YOU THREATENING ME!?!’  He now stood frozen.

The tirade of appropriate information he received about right of way, threatening someone and the availability of police/security to protect me from both – resulted in his awkwardly stepping backwards.  As if trying to keep his eye on me, he retreated into his not built for combat vehicle and drove off.

A lot of these types of moments have been coming to mind as I’ve worked to come to terms with the taloned toupeed twit of prey circling rapotor-ously around the White House, awaiting his final lunge to begin nesting in the Oval Office – 20th January 2017 – after which the opportunistic predator[1] will become the Bully in Chief a “blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.”[2]

When Theodore Roosevelt coined the phrase Bully Pulpit, the word bully would have been a verbal high five.  He used pulpit, found in sacred sites, instead of soapbox to express that the White House created a powerful platform from which political and social change could be influenced at a resonant level.[3]

Bullies react aggressively in a variety of situations, find it hard to control their aggressive tendencies and often have a positive attitude towards violence.[4]  Drumpf[5] has created an unbreakable manacle between himself, aggression and violence.[6]  While adult bullies can be difficult to expose[7], the DJ Elect mixes it up like a like a shock jock at a rave.[8]

Ecstasy inducing to revved throngs, the noise has raised complaints from those having to live adjacent to the furore.  This was framed, by the party goers, as whining, ‘cry-baby’ liberal mania.[9]  This while the Swamp Thing Elect declared war on his own people when he unleashed the ‘shock and awe’ campaign of the Trump Cabinet vetting process.[10]

When a leader, even before coming into power, has used every  available means to limit debate, enforce his own agenda and impose his will, the sacred recedes and the bully advances.

When criticism is treated by oppressors as if it has been oppressive,[11] then protector becomes the persecutor.

There was no stopping my outstretched hand, palm open, hitting the back of a vehicle then.  Fist clenched, now, with my wishbone, jawbone and backbone intact[12] – ready to stand up, to yet another bully, and those who stand with him.

They get their strength from his overbearing power.  They find their solace in their unquestioning loyalty.  They are made more in their own eyes by this lesser man.

Ironically, their pride has obscured their ability to look at anything but their own reflection.  They have not noticed, while gazing adoringly at themselves, that our expression is not one of acquiescence.  Our firm stare, merely representing that fact that we will not flinch; will not cower; will not be silent – nor silenced.

Context ‘Complex’

For those interested in the Middle East, thought I’d share what is being shared by the followers of the Purloiner Elect.

Just as they consider their current values reflected in the legislative acts that Lincoln undertook e.g. we’re not racist because Lincoln was a Republican[1]…with no historical understanding (or curiosity) about the inversion of those values to the point of their present nonexistence[2] – in fact ignoring or lauding the outright promotion of particularly racially divisive gerrymandering and voting restrictions which largely impact the poor and minority populations. [3] But hell, Lincoln freed the slaves…

They draw no correlation between the current treatment of Palestinians, amongst others, e.g. the vilification, blame and demonising of all Muslims – and the historic treatment of the Jews.[4] Islamic terrorism’s despicable acts seem to justify the turning of a blind eye to the larger scale, decades long, injustices[5] (it’s a bottle of wine discussion in terms of them looking at, questioning, understanding their own behaviour[6]). I don’t recall a similar response when it was the Irish carrying out the same sort of attacks (even when I first arrived here this was still ongoing).[7]

This kind of rhetoric is already empowering Israel to move forward on the building of further illegal settlements. They know that they have the blind support of the amoral imbecile who will be moving into the White House 21st January.[8]

Please don’t move to a NIMBY position.[9] This issue is just one of many in which the scales of reason, justice and morality have been tipped even further in the wrong direction. The environment. Women’s rights. Human rights.

This flagrant misrepresentation of history and the dismissal of any information which disputes their view – is not being shared.

The excerpt on the video link is the opening statement by the ‘expert’ who presents this bile.

Context ‘Complex’ CITATIONS

Stand Up

Thought I’d end the year here…where I started this blog…in defiance of the Idiot Elect who has wished us ‘losers’ a Happy New Year.

The ground has shifted, again.
The expectation may be that I will move towards appeasement.
I can assure you I will not.
The expectation may be that excluding me will have me learn to acquiesce.
I can assure you it will not.
The expectation may be that your victory will mean that the wrongs committed in its end will be forgotten.
I can assure you they will not.
Every day I grow stronger in my resolve.
Every day my anger subsides and my commitment increases.
There is no country in the world that means more to me than the planet.
There is no strength to a baseless, soulless, morally repugnant argument.
What I promise is that I will fight.
I will challenge.
I will focus.
I will stand up.

The Last Word

“We are 360 degrees opposite in our views.”

Pause.  Breathe.  Did I love her enough not to say anything?  I did and signed off my abstention from discourse with a platitude and emoji heart.  Enthusiastically I’d invited her back to my Facebook because I’d decided to stop posting about politics on my personal page.  It made no difference anyway[1] and my railing was derailing more meaningful relational engagement.

She accepted my invitation, bitterly I must say.   Her email explained that she would befriend despite my having been brainwashed by the British media to not accept God but to allow the Koran.

Pause.  Breathe.  Did I love her enough to not say anything?  I typed simply ‘I’ll ignore that.’ Semi-colon wink.

Munch dabbed oils,[2] while my visceral screech after 8th November 2016 was represented in sentence case Tahoma font[3].  In spite of my fury, the electoral cerebral aneurysm[4] had begun to manifest its destiny.  The bloodthirsty bulging of ballooning bullshit surging towards its inevitable rupture; Inauguration Day – 20th January 2017.  Apoplexy, truly unattractive on anyone, was particularly ugly on me.  I had inherited my mother’s ability to sharpen my chosen words and use them as weapons.

My friends and family on the Right accepted no other sources but Fox, Breitbart and the rest of the rightoric filled disinformation.[5] Lacking an OMFG graphic, I used news links, historical clarifications – alongside outright disdain – shot at 70 words per minute from my fully loaded fingertips.

My friends and family on the Left flailed.  Desperately sending protest and petition links.  Aimlessly imploring the newly demagoguerily elected disciples of division to come together for the common good, ignoring that they now held power by undermining those same values.[6]   That ‘no duh’ was also not available in icon imagery meant verbally sticking them with their own safety pins[7], highlighting statistical realities and their own complacency.

My friends in London, where I now I lived, all had a range of ‘couldn’t believe that the US could become even more intolerable’ responses.  On a continent where Angela Merkel, unexcitedly, had held power for over ten years on the basis of her intelligence and efficacy[8]; Teresa May had made headlines for wearing racy shoes and a V-neck top (that was red)[9] and Nicola Sturgeon, without flinching, stripped the son of a Scottish mother, also the Republican Candidate, of his GlobalScot ambassador status as a result of his racist, discriminatory remarks[10] – the reality television popularity contest between the billionaire buffoon and the experienced enigma had more followers than The X Factor.[11]

Ensuring no temptation remained, for over half a day the deletion of links and page likes was undertaken on my private profile.  True to my word, my feed-light was filled with bite sized munchies such as images of chicks warming themselves against a coffee mug[12]. Tastier morsels (teetering on the edge of my promise) included only a cover photo of Ray Collins image, ‘The Darkness Shall Not Overcome’ – a rainbow shining through a seemingly lightless sky – but she would have responded positively to Biblical reference[13]. Smiley face.

Scrolling down, now able to see more of what people were posting than news and information, I glimpsed ardent Reprobate Party supporters, as they staked their claim to the prize of wisdom, goodness and virtue by sharing a Jedi Code[14] T-Shirt advert:

“There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.”

Orwellian Doublethink “required using logic against logic or suspending disbelief in the contradiction.”[15]  Now it was also required that it fit onto 100% cotton jersey.  No irony found amongst them that the creed representing the mandate they’d brought to power would be more aptly expressed by the mantra of the Dark Side.

“Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.”

Shook my head.  Why was I researching this!?!  The new me moved forward without comment despite the difficulty experienced in not pointing out that the Jedi, Sith and Force were dramatic creations whereas the Dark Lord they’d elected would rule in the real world.

I believed I could do this.  Like: ‘Dogs in Snow’.  Cry: ‘George Michael found dead.’ Laugh: ‘Keith Richard found still alive.’

Moved through the meme reposted by many a disquieted Liberal which launched with a promotional banner above the “Message to My Trump Supporting Friends.” The header encouraged the disaffected effete to sign their names to have a Special Prosecutor appointed to investigate Trump-Russia ties.[16]  Wasn’t this was treated as secondary to the content of the hacked information, during the campaign? Unfortunately, they were not this energetic during the time that the gerrymandering,[17] vote restricting,[18] Supreme Court blocking[19] partitioners sliced through the heartland of the country over the last eight years (at least).  Like.  Will they sense the sarcasm?  Move forward.

Surprised as I noticed she quickly virtually unfriended me again (we remained real friends), I double-checked my recent posts.  Scrolled through funny videos, inspirational quotes.  Nothing political.  Then I realised.  I must have, at times, ‘raged’ by opting for the red-faced emoticon underneath my friend’s statements.

Certainly, understandable annoyance may have been justified with my comment that the (commode) Cabinet picks had resulted in the complete corporate and military takeover of the US government.

Slight wince having recalled the detour taken in the thread of my share of Julie Andrews reverence; so easily lured into discussing the Electoral College duty to oust people not fit for the Presidency.

The bit where I’d celebrated my not living in the country anymore, while deeply felt, was not necessarily going to be well received by the Matriot.  America was the best country on earth.  Any other view, not worth hearing.

I thought it wouldn’t be too bad, though, as she and I had such a strong respect for Hillary.  She’d forgive me the overall disdain expressed because – despite our differences – we stood on the same side.  She just didn’t know, didn’t understand that it would be 180 degrees if we were completely different.  Her accidentally saying 360 degrees meant that we were at the same place.

I wanted to say all that.

Pause.  Breathe.  Did I love her enough not to say anything?  I did and withheld factual corrections which would have incensed – not helped make sense – of our often frustrating for both interactions.

We both loved our country, which for her meant devotion.  She couldn’t see that impiety and sedition reflected my passionate desire to have the nation stand for something more than Nationalism.  How we could admire the same person so strongly and yet see what it means to be an American in such inverse ways?

I went back to reading her reprimand.  She had shown a post to someone else who “…also found it offensive and she does not even like Trump as I do.”

I had to make sure I’d read that correctly.

She’d bought the baseball cap.  ‘Make America Great Again.’

Opposite after all.

As usual, I let her have the last word.  There was nothing more to say.



Polarisation Station

A train journey, when trying to ‘be the change you wish to see in the world’[1], becomes a space to get things done.  Unfinished tasks pop up-like Android calendar notifications, annoyingly jumping into consciousness when in the middle of something else.   Try to swipe them away, and after many attempts -red x, Red X, RED X – they finally disappear.  The finger across the touch screen dims the notification, but the pressure just moves out of view.  On the mobile – very aware, not only of my volume, which as an American in London must be monitored, but also– of my accent.  I wished I didn’t have to speak to anyone.  Like so many moments over the last twenty years I worried quietly, blushed openly and waited tentatively; wondering when people would hold me responsible.  I finished my call and looked up, diminished.

We elected Trump – the only time since my mother died twelve years ago – that I have been broken.

A woman across the aisle, European – dressed intelligently, professionally – not staring, not turning away.  I wondered if she was French?  Does she experience this feeling when the police enforce the removal of a burkini?  Unlikely.  I, though, am born of the ‘World Super Power’.  If we don’t, we’re wrong.  If we do, we’re worse.

Despite all the protections against bedraggled that my environmentally unfriendly, made anywhere but here, 100% polyester wardrobe provided – both my clothes and self were crumpled.  Feeling shrunken, tattered – my eyes crinkled and filled with tears.  She smiled, kindly – a form of polite exoneration as if to say “It’s not you.”

Twitter notification, reflexively turn: “Relax everyone, it’s not the end of the world.  According to the latest polls.”[2]

+4, +2, +7 for the first woman Presidential candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton.  My partner, the queen of turning an ERII pound coin into an Elizabeth Fry fiver (at least!) – although the last few years of Man United probably made it all level – asked ‘Should I put a bet on 53% of the popular vote?’  Didn’t think it would hurt – albeit Barack Obama only made it to 52.9% – but 75-90% predicted odds in favour of green energy, gun control and civility?  In hindsight, we talked too long about this. It should have been an easy yes, even if we lost. I didn’t ask her if she placed the bet.  There are triggers, that would be one.

Article 50 would be another.  Cameron – up in the polls – felt safe playing down to the base (instincts) as he aimed a referendum right-wing at the target – UKIP voters.  At breaking point, Nigel’s Middle Englanders, longed to take back control.[3] Britain First!  The tattooed arms punched the flag of St George high as 52-48% results to leave were confirmed.  David stepped aside as the newly unelected Theresa May – answered the loaded question, ready to shoot the sterling bullet into the heart of the Eurozone – ‘’Brexit means Brexit.’

Very proud I only lost one virtual friend to the In/Out debate – my wife’s ex – kind of both dimwit and prat in our tit-for-tats.  For the US election, we abided by the rule that all views should be respected.  I was that annoying Facebook friend – reading everything – didn’t discuss an issue unless trying to understand, at least, both sides of it.  We had a system, kind of like comedy parents.  We wouldn’t comment directly, instead start a different thread on our own page.  ‘Murray, tell your father to pass the salt.’  ‘Dad, mom said can you pass the salt?’  ‘Tell your mother I will pass the salt, when I am done!’  It didn’t matter anyway, really.  We all knew who was going to win.

As the tax avoiding[4], draft dodging[5], racist[6], sexist[7], uninformed[8], reactionary[9],  fraudster[10]wiped the sides of his mouth – encrusted with bile and rhetoric – clean, the Conservative meme-onisation, driven by political social media site Breitbart[11] misinformation believers, shouted ‘Hang that nigger’[12], ‘Jew-S-A’[13], ‘Lock her up!’[14] and ‘Build the wall!’[15]

This stacked up nicely with the Liberal ‘news’ expositors punditically focused on the dogma of ‘the lesser of two evils.’  I’m sure it made sense over coffee at Starbucks for college educated Democrats who didn’t ‘Feel the Bern’ not cast a vote[16].  42% of Americans overall opted for appeasement in the non-action of boycotting their franchise rights.  As such the third-rate Reich won.

Politics, ‘the art of the possible,’[17] meant that ‘Whitelash’[18] triumphed.[19]  Caucasian men and women united and ‘drained the swamp’[20] clearing it for a bog-standard twit – with no character – who in 140 letters (probably all thumbs), tweeted about his Cabinet decisions “I am the only one who knows who the finalists are!”

Finalists?  Is this reality television?  Perhaps a beauty pageant?


Trains pulled in to an assortment of stations across the divided Kingdom.  My pre-booked cabbies – needed to talk to me.  Must be the main stream media.  Conspiracy theorists.  Socialist Left.  AltRight.  Combined with a relief that something had supplanted Brexit, they empathised again and again – regardless which suspicion was held – that it had not been the American people.  ‘It’s not you.’

My American lamentables reinforced this in their own minds.  The victorious Right ranting as they claimed the immoral high ground.[21]  The flagellating Left booing and protesting as they waived their own responsibility.[22]  Railing, the suffering fools on both extremes, exclamating ‘It isn’t us, it’s them!!!’

All I could think of was the popular vote winning loser – who’d inspired so much of my life – who said we’d be Stronger Together.[23]  Notification – green arrow, Green Arrow, GREEN ARROW.  ‘The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.’[24] My eyes, resolute, filled again.  Maybe it wouldn’t all be bad.  Only four years – we would survive this.  Despite flared tempers, we would find common ground.  These blips of idiosyncratic rage would calm.  I felt sure that I’d live to see a woman as President, albeit not the one I wished for.

Notification – ‘Marine Le Pen storms into the lead in French election polls!’[25]  Well, maybe sooner than I’d expected…


Polarisation Station CITATIONS

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