Weekly Letter to President Obama
Copyright © 2010
ofthisandthat.org. All rights
INAUGURATION, January 20, 2009
Drunk in its stale air
For two hundred years.
Fettered in mind and body,
The soul, the safe escape
To let me breathe the cries
Of my heart singing
Tears of mel-an-choly.
The tears flow free today
Washing the stains of blood
And sweat in brotherhood.
Raise the curtain then an'
Let the world look in
On this promised land --
We breathe free today.... almost.
--- Arshad M. Khan
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.
--- Native American proverb
July 22, 2016, posted July 26, 2016
Mr. President: The festival of demagoguery, jingoism and cult of personality is over,
and seldom has the public been deluged with such a combination. Is it any wonder
then that the GOP establishment is hiding in embarrassment. Should the Democrats
be relieved? They probably are, though they could have wished for it to run longer
as continuing proof of Trump incompetence. This was the worst, most poorly run,
boring convention ever. Mr. Trump had called the 2012 convention boring. He
topped it. He had promised excitement, glitz, showmanship, celebrities, stars.
Perhaps the latter refused to come as did all the past Republican presidents.
Where were the Republican senators and congressmen? Senator Ron Johnson of
Wisconsin spent ten minutes: he returned home to find the Koch brothers had pulled
$2million of support. Yes, the rich, powerful, ardent right-wing supporters of the GOP
cannot stand Trump. Yes, there was change: the main body of the Republican party
We were treated to a parade of prime time speeches by the family, the women, like
mannequins, indistinguishable, the men grim unless on camera, all larding us with
images of a softer Donald who had phenomenal rapport with the working man, for
whom he was going to fight.
He would bring back jobs, repair infrastructure while cutting taxes, renegotiate trade
deals, use American business leaders who know how to get things done ... . Really?
The 'how' remained missing. And the American businessmen? Suffice to say that the
loss of jobs and trade imbalances are caused by the very same businessmen
manufacturing in China, and elsewhere, to cut costs, and then importing the
products. It is all a matter of profits, and the profits are tied to share prices and their
In his campaign, Trump has alienated the Hispanics, the African-Americans, the
Muslims and the women's vote. His appeal is to the white working class, particularly
the less well educated. That is now a small demographic constituting less than a third
of the electorate. But, in an electoral system where the winner of a state gets all its
electoral votes, he can never be completely discounted. Minority populations are
centered in big cities, and there are plenty of states without them. One final caveat
(hope) though: In 2012, Mitt Romney won the whole white male demographic, yet it
was not enough to win the election.
The convention droned on, with miscues, mistiming, unscripted faux pas like a prime
time speaker, Ted Cruz, repeating mostly his primary campaign address, and then
refusing to endorse the nominee to a chorus of boos from the audience at the chaotic
end of his speech.
The best in the hall came from Mike Pence, the Indiana governor and
vice-presidential candidate. Looking clearly more presidential than the nominee, he
extolled the virtues of his tenure, bringing jobs to his state. His strategy was to offer
big corporate tax breaks and subsidies to beat out neighboring or competitor states.
On a federal level it's a different ball-game however.
What's more, Governor Pence's family seemed real; the public could relate to it. In
Mr. Trump's case, we listened in three days to a son from one marriage, a daughter
from a second and a wife from a third (who was also caught plagiarizing Michelle
Obama's speech from the 2008 Democratic convention). If Mr. Trump was seeking
balance on the ticket, he certainly got it.
So to the climax on the final day. Daughter Ivanka married to property developer
Jared Kushner (whose father is an ex-convict!) gave the introductory speech. Who
else could it be when he is shunned by the Republican establishment? Aside from
repeating the laudatory fluff heard earlier from siblings, she bucked the week's
repeated mantra of big government to actually offer a government program:
childcare for single working mothers.
Gross hyperbole was to follow from the nominee. It was not morning; it was the
darkest hour, midnight, in this great land. A raft of statistics to bolster ... but then who
was it who coined the phrase, "there are lies, damned lies and then there are
statistics?" For example, killings of police officers are about the same as last year,
not in some hyper overdrive as claimed. The speech was long, very long, in fact the
longest in living memory, almost all of it focused on problems, real and imagined,
followed by assertions he would solve them, yet hardly ever any hint of HOW. No
prescriptions, just assertions ... and the desperate will trust him.
The election of Donald Trump casts a pall; the election of "crooked" Hillary simply
appalls. What a choice?