Weekly Letter to the President
Copyright © 2017
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
May 3, 2019
Mr. President: Tomorrow is Derby day. Lexington, Kentucky presents its annual
festival of the best thoroughbreds. Out of them will emerge a winner, without one
hopes the not infrequent horse-racing accident when a bone gives way, usually a
lower spindly bone supporting a half-ton of horse.
The truth of the matter is simple: for a horse to run faster, the leg bones have to be
rigid. Over generations of breeding for speed, these can be quite brittle. The horses
run faster but at greater danger of a stressed bone snapping -- a misstep or an
uneven spot on the track and tragedy results.
Another sphere and another race and I don't mean to imply any tragedies in this one.
The run for president is underway and a new contender has announced his entry.
'New' perhaps is the wrong word for he is actually the oldest with many political
campaigns behind him including twice as President Obama's vice president. Joe
Biden is certainly the most senior of the candidates with a legacy of positions on
issues. Who was it who said, "Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds"? Joe (he
likes to be called Joe) would endorse him wholeheartedly. He has been on every side
of every issue (almost) during his illustrious career.
A surefire way to attract donors from across the political spectrum, he is a fundraising
machine: in the first 24 hours following his announcement, he raised $6.3 million.
Joe Biden will be 77 this November, 78 when he takes office, if he wins. On the
positive side ... the old are less likely to go to war.
The dozen plus Democrats ready to do battle to challenge Trump believe they can
beat Trump. It is not going to be as easy as they think. Unemployment is the lowest
in memory; the economy is booming. So who wants to upset the apple cart? Yes,
minorities are angry with Trump for many different reasons, but all together they do
not constitute a majority.
The president has a solid core of support and the economic boom will be drawing
more. He has also, so far, eschewed war as an instrument of policy unlike his
Democratic predecessor. Among current targets, Iran would be an awful mess and
Venezuela only a little less. Plus the morality of the old saw, fighting for freedom, has
been too frequently discredited.
What exactly do the Democrats have to offer? A vicious interventionist foreign policy
with repercussions across the globe; medical care that is the disgrace of the
developed world -- at least the Republicans have been more open about doing little;
fund raising that makes them beholden to major donors -- Trump uses his own
money; perpetual squabbling that can be crooked -- remember what Hillary Clinton's
hand-picked supporters in the Democratic National Committee did to Bernie Sanders
last time around; and the self-destruction in hotly contested primaries.
Good luck to them but it looks like Trump is here to stay (foul mouth and all). The fact
remains, even if one has to admit it grudgingly: the country is at peace and the
economy is booming.
Too bad for the critical issues of global warming and the environment will have to rely
on private efforts; safe to say, one can expect nothing from the Trump administration,
now or in the future.