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A Fascist Merry Christmas

December 23, 2020

Dear Friends and Relatives,

These days, I am reminded of a favorite expression by my late brother-in-law: “We’re havin’ some fun now.”

I dredge that up with irony dripping off me like foam sliding down a glass of beer poured too fast. How in God’s

Like so much in life, this evil has a good side: It exposed the corruption lying dormant in people whom we never suspected of harboring such malevolence. The other day, during my run around the villa condo complex, I stopped to chat with Betty, a friendly Southern gal, about 80, who had waved at me. I’d engaged previously in pointed conversations with her about Trump, but thought his behavior leading up to, and since, his defeat might have swayed her against him. Huh-uh. She voted for him, “and I’m proud of it.”

I told her that we came close to losing our democracy, and heatedly asked, “Is that what you people want?” I stalked away, and will not be speaking to her again. I can’t associate with people enthralled with a cult figure who is morally rotten to the core and a traitor to our country, aside from being pitifully incompetent as a leader.


What’s even more frightening, though, is that none but a few Republicans in Congress spoke out against him. In fact, 60% of the House Republicans endorsed the seditious lawsuit brought by Texas asking the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out the votes of Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia, which would give the election to Trump. That’s not because most of these legislators favor him. They were just bending to the will of their constituents to help their re-election.

Venezuela in crisis


Cuba


Think of it: A majority of the majority ethnicity in this country voted for that traitorous criminal, a sociopath in every sense of the word, a man devoid of conscience whose sole concern is for himself. He got 55% of the white vote. Seventy-four million people voted for a person who not only is abysmally incompetent, intellectually and emotionally, to hold the presidency, but who demonstrated a total lack of concern for these very people in encouraging behavior that resulted in deaths to hundreds of thousands of them from the coronavirus. He was so short-sighted that he thought suppression of the facts about Covid-19 would help him politically, when in fact strong leadership in the crisis would have gotten him re-elected. Most repugnant of all was the support of the evangelical community: 81% voted for Trump. So much for Christianity. The Bible condemns idolatry, and that’s exactly what Trump discipleship is: worship of a false god. He is the antithesis of Christian – worse than the Golden Calf, which at least couldn’t do any harm.

So what madness was it that moved so many people to support him? It’s a question that has engendered endless debate among pundits, sociologists, psychologists, and other educated people in myriad fields. I think the main reason is obvious. All one has to do is look at the racial and ethnic divide in the vote. The minorities voted against him, which is why he was defeated.

Worshipping the Golden Calf


Not many years in the future, whites will no longer be the majority in this country. For the first time in our history, they will comprise less than half the population. Who among us whites will not admit that it’s felt pretty darned good being in the catbird seat all of our lives? It’s a bit daunting to realize that whites will no longer be in total control of our society, but will have to share it with people whose skin hues, and maybe hair textures, are different from ours. That is particularly threatening to those reared in homogeneous environments – small towns and rural areas – which foster a narrowness of viewpoints, or Weltanschauung; and those of limited education.

Consider that these people are hypnotized by a man documented to have told around 21,000 lies during less than four years as president, and who issues such Tweets as this from a few days ago: “Tremendous evidence pouring in on voter fraud. There has never been anything like this in our Country!” He is crazed, flailing and bellowing like the village idiot. Don’t his supporters see what abjectly gullible fools they’ve become by attaching themselves to this buffoon?

My barber, Marie, an astute immigrant from Mexico, told me Wednesday a gang was congregated on an I-95 overpass, waving pro-Trump signs, dancing and cheering for their hero. I thought that had stopped after Nov. 3, when I witnessed an identical scene farther south. If I had the time and talent, I would have stood on the other side of the bridge with a huge horizontal sign I’d have constructed, on one end reading: AMALGAMATED ORDER OF AIRHEADS, and on the other, CRETINS, INC., cretin defined in Webster’s as “a very stupid or foolish person.” I’m considering having a bumper sticker made. The one sporting my Mazda is getting old: Trump’s face carved into a pumpkin, with the adjacent text, “Trumpkin. Orange on the outside, empty on the inside, and should be thrown out in November.”

Rush Limbaugh


Beyond racism, another salient sociological underpinning of the Trump phenomenon is, I think, the overwhelming influence of the radical right-wing media. Fox News has been Trump’s mouthpiece – although even its lies and misleading and heavily imbalanced “reporting” are not sufficient manifestations of loyalty to satisfy this bottomless font of neediness. He likewise is supported by Sinclair Broadcast Group, which operates 193 television stations, and by Rush Limbaugh and others of that ilk. Talk radio is dominated by ultra-conservative hosts.

The extremism we are witnessing has been evolving since the days of Ronald Reagan. Paul Krugman had this assessment: “There has always been a conspiracy-theorizing, science-hating, anti-democratic faction in America. Before Reagan, however, mainstream conservatives and the Republican establishment refused to make alliance with that faction, keeping it on the political fringe. Reagan, by contrast, brought the crazies inside the tent.”

President Ronald Reagan


The Reagan administration, Krugman said, was “remarkably hostile to science.” Further, the religious right “became a major political force under Reagan … and is now a major driver of the party’s rejection of facts – and democracy. For rejecting facts comes naturally to people who insist they’re acting on behalf of God. So does refusing to accept election results that don’t go their way.”

Today’s Republican Party is like a gang of criminals who turn on each other. None cares a whit about the others; all are using each other for their own purposes. Thus, it was not fondness for, or agreement with, Trump that led politicians and government officials to keep silent, or sycophantically support, this sick cult figure in his outrageous personal behavior, corrupt dealings, traitorous associations with foreign governments, and policies detrimental to our country and the world. Rather, it is out of concern for retaining, or acquiring, power, which can be accomplished only with the backing of their constituents, to whom they pander. There is no surfeit of courage in Washington, or even in the halls of most state governments.

Paul Krugman


Against this backdrop and a raging pandemic, yours truly has waged a difficult campaign to make his new book a success. I signed a contract for Blood on Their Hands in January 2019, and TouchPoint Press didn’t publish it until early May this year. Incredibly, the freelance editor to whom manuscripts were farmed out abandoned ship without telling the publisher, who had to scramble belatedly to find another. The edits (she made a few good suggestions, but others were misguided) were completed in March, and I had only a month to do a pre-launch; three to six months is standard.

But I’ve received a lot of quite complimentary reviews, though many more are needed. They’re not coming in as fast as I had hoped, or expected. The primary theme is racial injustice and bigotry, and even though there is plenty of intrigue and suspense, along with humor, most readers seek escapist literature and can’t be bothered with messages. It’s why many Pulitzer Prize winners have lower Amazon ratings than do thrillers by the likes of James Patterson, et al. Music follows the same pattern: Cheap rock and its cousins are far more popular than jazz and classical genres.

About one million new books are published annually, most self-published and often raggedly written, and carrying little cachet. But all go up on Amazon, which is where the big majority of sales occur, and quality books get buried in the pile. Thus, the trick for authors is to draw attention to their books, which means that books of authors with the best marketing skills often outsell those of higher quality. By far the most time and effort is spent in pursuing myriad promotional strategies than in writing. And that involves use of technology, which frequently pushes one to the outer limits of frustration, especially for those of little patience, such as myself.

Wedged among these efforts, managing a stock portfolio, and tending to domestic concerns (my abode is a mess), work on my next book suffers. I do have 45,000 words, likely more than half of the completed total, but it takes a back seat to my other projects. A filmmaker in Texas hopes to make a movie of the subject of the book, a woman who spent her formative years in orphanages, married an itinerant preacher, entered into a life of crime and substance abuse, and married a man on Death Row who gave new meaning to the term when guards beat him to death. She sued the Florida prison system, and reforms resulted. The filmmaker held back a trove of documents until I’d written about 35,000 words, and I had to make numerous revisions.

Betsy DeVos


President Abraham Lincoln


Returning briefly to my political tirade, I want to make something clear: I do not consider politics a game like football or basketball, with fans choosing teams to support. I will vote for a Republican if I think he’s the better, or less egregious, candidate, and did so in October. I can appreciate the ideology behind conservatism, even if I don’t subscribe to it. I firmly believe in personal responsibility, but the philosophy of individualism is far less relevant since, say, World War II as the world has become increasingly interdependent and economic forces work against the lift-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps mentality. Capitalism works far better than socialism because competition is in our genes. But there is no pure capitalism nor pure socialism in our country, if there ever was. Consider our way of life, which is almost entirely regulated. Does anyone (except for the repugnant Betsy DeVos) want to do away with public education, roads and bridges standards, building codes, driver licenses, air traffic control, food inspections, restaurant inspections, occupational licenses, health care regulations, Social Security, veteran’s benefits, banking regulations, and on and on? Those are all hallmarks of socialism. Our lives would be chaotic without them. Staunch opponents of welfare for the poor oppose some of them, insisting every man must fend for himself – until they need help, such as happened with the Wall Street folks in 2008, when the taxpayers bailed them out, for which they showed gratitude by awarding their executives big bonuses.

The Republican Party, the party of Lincoln, has become a garbage organization, and people of conscience are abandoning it by the droves. Will that be enough to save the republic? The new administration in Washington offers hope, but there are no promises.

On that cheerful note, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Bob Brink

#PaulKrugman #Venezuela #AbrahamLincoln #SocialSecurity #GoldenCalf #Weltanschaung #RushLimbaugh #BetsyDeVos #RonaldReagan #Cuba #I95 #bloodontheirhands #TouchPointPress #DeathRow #SinclairBroadcastGroup #catbird #FoxNews

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