Monday, March 25, 2019

Perchance to Dream

Like most dreams it didn't have a beginning, at least one that I remember. How and why my subconscious chose to build that particular hallucination, I truly have no real idea. My best guess is that as I slept, my brain just threw together random elements it found in the dusty and cluttered attic of my mind. Unlike many people, I do not believe dreams are necessarily glimpses into the mind of an individual showing off their wants or desires. Nor are they cracks in our reality allowing us a view of another version of ourselves. For me, I'm in the camp that believes dreams are just our brains blowing off mental steam. I added that last part to avoid anyone from getting the wrong idea about what I'm about to report.

Since my health issues emerged my dreams have been chaotic. Nothing out of the ordinary there, as far as I know dreams usually do not follow set story lines. But my dreams have been uncomfortably disjointed with many having an atmosphere of deep foreboding, as if a great evil was lurking in the shadows nearby. For that reason during such dreams I usually forced myself awake and then spend several minutes shaking off the aftereffects. So a particular dream I had a couple of weeks ago was an unexpected and happy departure from my usual nighttime sleeping fantasies.

This dream took place in some sort of ornate room. I can't say anything about my dream's location other than I have a fuzzy idea it was some type of resort, but no place I have ever visited in real life. I was laying back in a large, fancy recliner which was covered in a fur-like fabric. Where this dream radically departs from my recent experiences is that I was sharing the recliner with a woman who possessed beautiful brunette hair. No, don't worry my dream didn't develop into a ridiculous porn fantasy. But this fantasy woman and I did share a kiss, which was incredibly intense with how real it felt. The other item that set this dream apart from others was that the woman was wearing an unknown perfume that was equally realistic as the kiss.

Like I said, the dream didn't go any further than just a kiss. Because as I was settling into the dream, actually hoping it would continue, a scratching noise and feeling began to invade my fake reality. I actually remember trying to ignore the scratching sensation by concentrating on the woman. But as you probably can guess, the scratching commotion popped my dream like a child's soap bubble.

I opened my eyes to find one of the dogs scratching my side of the bed with his front paws and looking at me with adoration. At quick look at my watch told me it was past time to feed both him and the other dog, who was still sleeping curled up next my wife.

Yeah, as I feed the dogs I had to deal with a nice piece of disappointment that one of my very few pleasant dreams was cut short. I'm a big boy, so that disappointment faded quickly as I feed the dogs and began to deal with the new day. That didn't stop me was giving the canine interloper of my sleep some annoyed looks.

Like I wrote earlier, the majority of dreams have no bearing on real life. Although I'll probably freak out if I catch a real life whiff of that unknown fragrance my fantasy brunette was wearing in the dream.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Bad 2020 Omens and Portents

Above all understand that I have hated Donald Trump for years. Back when he described himself as a Democrat, every time I saw him on television the impression I came away with was of a degenerate conman suffering from delusions of grandeur. I never watched his realty show, but somehow video clips of it always ended up being featured on programs that marketed themselves as news programs. Even worse were his cameos in such diverse television broadcasts as “professional” wrestling and various movies. To me, all I saw was someone craving attention and glorification. There were several times his appearance on some programs were so weird that they left a bad taste in my mouth.

I'll give the devil some credit, for decades he played the media, both real journalists and glorified infomercial hosts, like Mozart played a violin. Trump is by no means a smart person but he does possess a low-grade cunning akin to what an alpha male chimp would use to take control of his group.

Trump crafted an image—or “brand”-that the semi-literate masses jumped on like flies to a fresh pile of shit when he entered the world of American politics. Trump learned to tickle the irrational fears and ancient prejudices of a group of Americans who have no desire nor apparent ability to adapt to a changing world they refuse even to try and understand.

His ascension to the highest office in the land was not totally a personal victory due to his talent for manipulation. The Republican Party sowed the field with decades of Orwellian doublespeak. Trump was just the final result from Tricky Dick Nixon's Southern Strategy when he sheared white folks away from the Democratic Party. Trust me, as someone who has lived in the South for the majority of his life, nothing scares the snot out of white people more than black folks wanting to have little things like justice and equality.

Conservatives like to joke about something called “liberal guilt” over the plight of African-Americans. To them, we liberals are supposed to be all tied up in guilt over black poverty and crime, which we dissuaded with welfare and food stamps. However nothing compares to the near unconscious but deep realization from conservative whites that they fear violent retribution from African-Americans over centuries of slavery and oppression.

The Democrats helped Trump into the White House back in 2016. The biggest hand they gave was deciding to have a civil war over political purity. Even when Trump was giving speeches clearly telling how much of a monster and potential dictator he would be in office, they couldn't unite to defeat the obvious danger. Secondly, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee had more than enough political baggage to sabotage her own campaign. Lastly, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee fell victim to the same mistake that defeated her back in 2008. She assumed that 2016 was her election, that she was owed the nomination and victory in November.

Now with all that history behind us, I regretfully have come to the conclusion Trump will more than likely win reelection in 2020. Yes, the Democrats took back the U.S. House in the 2018 midterms and are highly motivated to defeat the Orange Bastard but quite frankly they are their own worst enemy. With around a year left before the first caucuses and primaries the Democratic Party is already fracturing and dividing into bitter tribal cliques. That fact that there are over a dozen people who have declared candidacies for the Democratic presidential nomination only makes the divisions more acute.

As a Democratic, my personal philosophy falls somewhere between what is generally called a “moderate” and “progressive.” I know the United States is in some deep societal and economic shit but I do not believe the Utopian rhetoric that hard-line progressives preach will work. Yes, healthcare should be a right, human-caused climate change is real and dangerous, and some form of college should be readily available for kids but I do not necessarily believe Bernie Sanders nor Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) have workable proposals. Frankly, I find Bernie about as detached from reality as Trump and suspicious on a number of fronts, while AOC plays fast and loose with basic facts.

To hard-line progressives, my humble and pragmatic stance makes me more of an enemy to them than the average Republican. But that does not take away from the fact that if the Democratic Party moves too far to the left it will certainly alienate moderates like me and, even worse, Independent-minded Americans. Progressives seem to have forgotten that right now the American economy appears quite healthy with record low unemployment and even some upper movement in wages. Even with Trump's corruption and personal immorality, Independents will not vote him out if the alternative is a someone the Republicans have successfully labeled a nasty socialist out to tax them into the poor house.

Of course, if the economy tanks or the Mueller Report hits Trump with clear and irrefutable evidence of working for Putin, all bets are off. Unfortunately, a recent NPR interview I heard with the lady running the International Monetary Fund has her stating there is no evidence of a recession taking shape in 2019 nor 2020. As for the Mueller Report, while I believe Trump is both a degenerate criminal and possibly working for the Russians, there is no certainty that any clear evidence brought to the public attention would destroy his 2020 reelection chances. As of this writing, certain United States Senators are working hard to prevent the Mueller Report from going public at all.

Many called the 2018 November midterms the “most important election in American history.” While true at the time, the 2020 presidential race will more than likely decided the fate of the nation. Trump wants to be a dictator, his existence is based on adulation and acquisition of power, especially to destroy anyone who hinders his goals. If Trumps gets another term, he will most certainly get to pick two more Supreme Court justices and hundreds of lower ranking judges. Trump's recent declaration of a national emergency to circumvent Congress is a full-blown constitutional crisis that he is certain to repeat the next time he doesn't get his way.

Just to show it can get worse, Trump openly threatened anyone who opposes his policies saying in an interview that he had the police, military, and “bikers for Trump” on his side and that it could get really bad for those of us on the left. That statement is an unbelievable degradation of civility worthy of a dystopian novel or third-rate banana republic. For years some right-wingers have expressed support for “Second Amendment remedies" so they can “save America” or “take back their government.” The vast majority of these idiots would never actually attempt political violence on fellow Americans. But that is underestimating the hardcore crusaders who finally have a leader that they believe would look the other way if he told them to act.

I personally know people who listen to alt-right internet news broadcasts and believe the insane conspiratorial crap they spew. All these individuals I know love their guns and think liberals want to ban Jesus and force their kids to become gay Muslims. I have heard them utter admiration for Trump to such a degree that it borders on religious worship. To them, Trump is a man's man unafraid to bust heads and do everything he wants no matter the consequences. They believe everything Trump says and instantly discount his moral failing and unethical behavior. If Trump told them to take to the streets they would comply and once this mob had assembled everything that happened next would be extremely bad.

Yes folks, the United States is standing on a cliff and staring straight down into a 2020 abyss. Given how stupid and selfish many Democrats and the nation as a whole can act, we may just decided to jump.