Impeached again…

Last night, just as I was about to fall asleep, I saw the news that the House of Representatives had impeached Donald Trump for a second time. This news didn’t surprise me. I had a feeling that Trump would be impeached again due to evidence that he incited last week’s violent uprising at the Capitol. What makes the second impeachment remarkable, though, is that ten Republicans voted to impeach. Usually, when presidents get impeached, legislators vote according to their party affiliation. But this time, ten Republicans decided that Trump’s conduct was worthy of formal censure. By voting to impeach even though they are in the same party Trump is, they proved that they have basic decency.

For the past four years, I’ve watched and listened to Donald Trump. I’ve seen people champion and praise him. I’ve read comments from loved ones claiming that people didn’t give Trump a chance. And I just wonder what in the hell that man has to do before decent people wake up and realize that he’s a terrible leader and an even worse person. In U.S. history, there have only been four attempts at impeachment. Two of those attempts have targeted Donald Trump! The others targeted Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson. Richard Nixon was threatened with impeachment, but voluntarily left office before it could happen.

Here we have Donald Trump, who has been polarizing and controversial from the get go. He’s been involved in many shady business dealings, openly admits to harassing and molesting women, is insulting and rude to people who don’t kiss his ass, and curries favor with dictators. What, exactly, is it going to take before people realize that he’s completely ill suited to lead a country? Why are people committing crimes in Donald Trump’s name? It’s so obvious that he won’t be grateful for people’s efforts to keep him in office. He expects people to worship him, and so many people do… despite all of the evidence that he’s just awful.

I remember when I was growing up, hearing about Richard Nixon basically being forced to resign the presidency over the Watergate scandal. People often referred to him as a terrible president, even though he’d won a second term of office. Nixon resigned the presidency when it became clear that he was going to be impeached and removed from office. As he left the White House, he said he was resigning for the good of the country and asked Americans to support the new president, Gerald Ford. In Nixon’s case, he’d lost support from the Republican party, and it was obvious that he would be impeached and removed from office. But Nixon was also clearly a much better man than Trump is. He had the integrity to do the right thing.

If Trump had been in Nixon’s shoes, he would not have resigned. He would have gone through the proceedings and insisted that he was the best man for any job at all. Anyone who voted against him would incur his wrath, and he would spend his time finding ways to get revenge. Trump is a narcissist, and he can’t stand to lose. His four years as president have been terrible for the country on so many levels. I don’t write this because Trump is supposedly a Republican, but because to me, it’s easy to see that he’s just a despicable human being. And yet, some people keep saying that no one ever gave him a “chance”. Even my beloved Aunt Nancy, who has always seemed to be kind and intelligent, complains that Trump gets blamed for everything. Well, I will agree that not everything is Trump’s fault, but a whole lot of this shit is his doing. At the very least, he could have done a much better job asking people not to be violent and try to overthrow the government, right?

For God’s sake. The Capitol was ransacked by American people. The mob, who had come to Washington, DC at Trump’s invitation, threatened the lives of innocent people. Five people died. And Trump referred to the mob as “very special” and said he loved them. Only today, have I read that Trump has asked people not to be violent next week when President-elect Joe Biden takes office. And he only seemed to do that under duress. In fact, when the riots were going on, Trump wasn’t even there to be a leader. He didn’t accompany the supporters he’d asked to fight for him. Instead, he returned to the White House and criticized aides about how the scene had appeared, before attacking Mike Pence on Twitter. Trump caused the violence last week through his words. He should absolutely be removed from office or, at least be barred from running for office in the future.

I don’t have much faith that the Senate will do the right thing and convict Donald Trump for his obvious crimes and abuse of power. He clearly gets away with murder. I’m just relieved that we don’t have to endure another four years of this ugliness, even though I doubt Trump’s unhinged supporters will go away quietly. I feel sure that they will do what they can to undermine Joe Biden’s leadership. It does hearten me, though, to see that some Republicans do have a red line and Trump has finally crossed it.

Last night, I was sitting at home, where I’ve been for months on end. I was listening to disco and trying to boost my spirits, which have been pretty low recently. Every day, the news is worse… in just about every topic, ranging from the state of the environment and global warming to the surge of the coronavirus and new restrictions on our lives, to the masses of people who have lost their jobs and homes, to political unrest and violence. But Trump’s fans will continue to crow about what a “great” president he’s been. I just don’t see it. And I fear that if Trump doesn’t come roaring back, the way Hitler did, there will be someone even worse waiting in the wings to pick up where Trump leaves off.

It makes me very depressed and I wonder why I should bother sticking around.


A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall…

Yesterday, I received a copy of the soundtrack for the film, Born on the Fourth of July. I’ve never actually seen that film, which starred Tom Cruise and came out about 30 years ago. I am very familiar with the soundtrack, though, because a college friend of mine had a copy of it. It featured Edie Brickell & New Bohemians covering Bob Dylan’s song, “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”. I’ve always liked her version of that song, but the soundtrack for Born of the Fourth of July is out of print and I couldn’t find it available digitally (as of today, I have found an MP3 version of it on Amazon). I do have a bootleg cassette of the soundtrack, but it’s in storage in Texas. So a couple of weeks ago, I decided to order a used copy of the CD. I just got it yesterday, and have already listened to that song a couple of times. It still sounds awesome after 30 years.

This is such a fabulous cover!

I remember the college friend who owned this soundtrack used to play it and sing along with Edie. Regrettably, he didn’t have a very good singing voice, and because he was about 18 when he was playing this CD a lot, he had a propensity toward being raunchy. He changed the chorus from “It’s a hard, it’s a hard…” to “I’m hard, I’m hard…” I’ve found myself unable to forget that particular version of the song. Today, maybe I’ll be able to divorce my mind from my college buddy’s drunken, off key version of Edie’s masterful remake of Bob Dylan’s classic.

These are the lyrics:

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin’
Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
Heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin’
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, who did you meet, my blue-eyed son?
Who did you meet, my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony
I met a white man who walked a black dog
I met a young woman whose body was burning
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow
I met one man who was wounded in love
I met another man who was wounded with hatred
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

Oh, what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what’ll you do now, my darling young one?
I’m a-goin’ back out ‘fore the rain starts a-fallin’
I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
Where the executioner’s face is always well-hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it
Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’
But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

This song is basically about an oncoming struggle. It was written in the summer of 1962, and Dylan has said he was inspired by reading news articles on microfiche at the New York Public Library. Dylan wrote in his memoir, Chronicles: Volume One, “After a while you become aware of nothing but a culture of feeling, of black days, of schism, evil for evil, the common destiny of the human being getting thrown off course. It’s all one long funeral song.” I can relate to feeling hopeless in the face of what seems like oncoming doom.

This morning, I was reading the Recovery from Mormonism board, and there was a plea for help from a man who has never been LDS. He wrote this:

I am a divorced man with 2 daughters aged 4 and 8. I just found out that my ex secretly converted to Mormon a few months ago and has been taking the girls to church.

Looking for basic info on the church, particularly adult female converts, and ultimately ideas and strategies for protecting my daughters from becoming indoctrinated.

I am terrified of many things, not least of which the church being used to convince the girls to ostracize me since I am not LDS.

Based on what I read in the thread, it appears that this man is newly divorced and the split was very acrimonious. He shares custody with his ex wife, and claims that she is a “weak” person who, despite being highly educated, isn’t interested in having a lot of responsibility. I really don’t blame this guy for being concerned. After all, Bill and I have lived this scenario. Bill’s daughters were slightly older when he and his ex wife split. But his ex decided to join the LDS church when she and Bill were still married, and the kids were very young. They’ve grown up LDS and, sure enough, it was used as a parental alienation tool.

Fortunately, things eventually turned around between Bill and one of his daughters. A few years ago, despite seeming to be the most estranged from Bill, his younger daughter started speaking to him again. They Skype and email regularly, and I’m hoping Bill can visit her and her two children in Utah when he goes to Las Vegas in the spring. It will have been fifteen years since their last “in person” meeting. I don’t think they are connected on Facebook, although that probably doesn’t matter, since Bill doesn’t post much anyway.

As for the older daughter, who is now 28 years old and used to be very attached to Bill… she remains estranged and mired in her mother’s toxic influence. We’ve heard it’s mainly because she is the main caregiver to Ex’s youngest child, a boy with autism.

I have only met Bill’s daughters once. It was back in June 2003, when we’d been married for only six months. We spent barely 48 hours with them before we had to bring them back to their mother. After that visit, she made it virtually impossible for Bill to have normal and meaningful contact with his daughters. However, Bill’s situation is different from that of the guy who posted on RfM. He and his ex didn’t use lawyers, and Bill agreed to allow her to have sole custody. At the time he made the agreement, he felt like he was “over a barrel”. There was no money. He couldn’t pay for lawyers or court, nor did he have time to go to court. Bill had just come back into the Army full-time and needed to prove himself. He needed to make money so he could recover from their marriage, pay child support and alimony, and get on with his life.

I met Bill online about twenty years ago. At the time, he and his ex wife were separated. He was in Kansas and she was in Arkansas. She had a boyfriend whom she eventually moved into Bill’s house. Boyfriend immediately took over “daddy” duties to Bill’s daughters, who were at that time 8 and 6 years old. Boyfriend converted to Mormonism and the girls started calling him “Dad” once Ex married him. Bill was pushed out of their lives and the church was one of the reasons given as to why he wasn’t suitable to be their dad anymore. Ex seemed less interested in pushing Bill out of his former stepson’s life. He was older and wiser than his sisters, and Bill had been his “dad” since he was a toddler. But later, when Ex decided to punish Bill again, she reconnected her son with his bio dad, whom she’d once claimed was violent and abusive.

I don’t know what the RfM poster’s ex wife is like. She may not be as cruel as Bill’s ex wife is. I hope she’s not. He describes her as “weak”, whereas Bill never seemed to think of Ex as “weak”. It’s possible that she’ll put her kids first, particularly when she learns more about how the church operates and what the beliefs actually are. I really don’t think Ex put stock in every aspect of Mormonism. For her, it seemed to be more about having another parental alienation tool. She used the church’s teachings to convince Bill that he was a horrible person who fell short of being good enough to be a dad to his children. It sounds like the guy on RfM has an ex who is simply looking for a church to support her during a tough time. However, if his ex really is “weak”, I would be concerned that she’ll get linked up with a single Mormon man who will really cause some problems. Unfortunately, church leaders can be manipulative and single-minded when it comes to pushing their beliefs. And small children are easily indoctrinated and swept up into the church. They make it palatable and easy.

It’s good that this guy has found RfM. It’s good that he sees the church as a potential threat to his relationship with his children. There are a lot of people who can help him, to include his lawyer. A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall… it fell for us for a good long while. I’m happy to report that after twenty years, the sun has come out and there’s hope of reconciliation. Along the way, we’ve learned a lot and met some incredible people who used to be Mormons. Some of them didn’t believe our story at first… probably because people automatically like to give women more of a break. As the years passed, they realized we were telling the truth and became allies.

Bill’s daughter has made it clear that all three of Ex’s eldest children– including Bill’s older daughter– know that their mother is crazy. Younger daughter has seen the toxic, destructive patterns of her mother and grandmother and doesn’t want to repeat them with her family. Older daughter, whom we have heard is also on the autism spectrum, has said that she has no guarantee that her mother won’t toss her out on the street someday. Former stepson moved far away from his mother and supposedly doesn’t speak to her much. He doesn’t talk to Bill, and we don’t know if he’s still in touch with his dad. Ex still has a teenaged daughter and an adolescent son at home, and we’ve heard her husband isn’t in the greatest of health. He probably hangs on, though, because he knows that if he leaves the Ex, he will be leaving his kids in the hands of a madwoman who will use any means to smear him and ruin his relationship with his kids.

I don’t know if anyone, other than younger daughter, is still LDS. I suspect older daughter might be. It sounds like the rest of them may have gone inactive. But it would not surprise me if Ex used aspects of the church as a means to manipulate and control. She stops at nothing. I hope the guy on RfM, new to this church bullshit, will stick around and absorb information. That board is tremendously helpful and they will help him weather the hard rain that’s about to fall.