Biden, disasters, Military, politicians, politics

A comparison of presidential condolences…

This morning, I read an article in the Washington Post about the father of one of the Marines who died last week in Afghanistan. The father, whose name is Mark Schmitz, was at Dover Air Force Base, waiting for his son’s remains to be repatriated. Schmitz’s son, Jared, was 20 years old when he perished. Schmitz was reportedly angry, and initially didn’t want to speak to Joe Biden. He didn’t vote for Biden, and he blames the president for the fact that his son died.

But then Mr. Schmitz changed his mind, and he and his ex wife did speak to President Biden, just days after losing Jared to a suicide bomber in Afghanistan. Schmitz said he “glared” hard at the president, so Biden paid more attention to Schmitz’s ex, speaking of his son, Beau, who died in 2015. I suspect that Biden might have thought that reminding the grieving family members that he’s lost a child, too, was his clumsy attempt at empathy.

Naturally, Mr. Schmitz didn’t want to talk about Beau Biden. He wanted to talk about Jared, who died much too young. And Schmitz is pissed off at Biden because his son is gone. He said to Mr. Biden, “Don’t you ever forget that name. Don’t you ever forget that face. Don’t you ever forget the names of the other 12… And take some time to learn their stories. ”

According to Schmitz, Biden’s response was “I do know their stories.”

Schmitz did offer “kudos” to Biden for one thing. Biden pulled out a card that he carries in his breast pocket that shows the number of Americans who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the end of the card, Biden had written “Plus 13.” Schmitz was apparently glad to see that Biden wasn’t totally full of it, even if his comments seemed “scripted and shallow”. Schmitz also recognized that the meeting must have been very hard for Joe Biden. Schmitz said:

“It had to be one of the hardest things he’s ever had to do. You make some calls, here’s the aftereffect. It’s got to be difficult. I’m not saying it was easy at all. But you can’t run up and hug someone as if you had nothing to do with it. It’s not going to work that way when you’re commander in chief.”

Other people were a lot angrier at Biden. One person said she hoped he burned in Hell. Roice McCollum, the sister of Ryan McCollum, one of the fallen, said this to the Washington Post:

“He cannot possibly understand… My dad and I did not want to speak to him. You cannot kneel on our flag and pretend you care about our troops. You can’t f— up as bad as he did and say you’re sorry. This did not need to happen, and every life is on his hands. The thousands of Afghans who will suffer and be tortured is a direct result of his incompetence.”

As I read this account of the “tough” meeting Biden had with the families of the mostly very young American servicemembers who died in Afghanistan, I couldn’t help but remember an incident from October 2017 involving Donald Trump. On October 4, 2017, there was a deadly ambush in Niger, and two weeks after the event, Donald Trump made phone calls to family members of the fallen Soldiers. One of the calls he made was to Myeshia Johnson, widow of La David Johnson. La David Johnson was one of four Army Soldiers who had died in the ambush.

Prior to making the phone call, Trump was advised by former Marine General John Kelly, who lost his own son in Afghanistan when the 29 year old stepped on a land mine. Kelly told Trump a story about how his best friend, Joe Dunford, was Kelly’s casualty officer, and said something along the lines of this:

Kel, he was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into by joining that 1 percent. He knew what the possibilities were because we’re at war. 

In my 2017 blog post about Trump’s interaction with La David Johnson’s family, I wrote:

It seems to me that if you are two guys in the military, brothers in arms, as it were, it would make sense to say something like what General Kelly’s friend and casualty officer said. People who serve in the military understand that there is risk when a war is going on. They can talk to each other about the business of war, because they have a concept of it. They understand the job; they’ve been through the training and indoctrination; and saying something like “He was doing exactly what he wanted to do…” makes sense. However, I don’t think the same thing is true for family members of the fallen.

In the course of Trump’s phone call intended to express condolences to Myeshia Johnson, he forgot La David Johnson’s name. He told Mrs. Johnson, who was pregnant at the time, that her husband “knew what he signed up for… but it hurts anyway.” And then Trump said, “He was doing exactly what he wanted to do…” If memory serves, Trump also repeatedly referred to La David Johnson as “your guy” to his grieving wife.

I don’t know why La David Johnson joined the Army, and I certainly don’t know what his wife knew about her husband’s motives for serving. Maybe he wanted to be a Soldier because of a sense of duty, or maybe he just wanted the money and benefits. Maybe it was a combination of factors that influenced him to join. But I am willing to bet that Johnson would have preferred to have been with his wife and children to being in Niger. Even if Johnson actually did prefer to be working in Niger, as a spouse, I sure wouldn’t want to hear that my husband preferred a war zone to being at home with me. I’ll bet Mrs. Johnson didn’t want to hear that, either.

When Mrs. Johnson later complained about how tone deaf and insensitive Trump’s phone call was, Trump didn’t apologize. Instead, he tweeted “I had a very respectful conversation with the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, and spoke his name from beginning, without hesitation!”

Meanwhile, Myeshia Johnson said that Trump’s phone call had made her feel worse. She said, “… I was very angry at the tone of his voice and how he said he couldn’t remember my husband’s name.”

As people condemned Trump’s graceless handling of the Niger ambush, Trump took the opportunity to throw shade at past presidents. He said, “If you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls – a lot of them didn’t make calls.”

Now… I’m not saying that the families of the fallen who met with Joe Biden are wrong to be angry. I’m sure that a lot of them didn’t vote for Mr. Biden, and they think Donald Trump would have handled leaving Afghanistan better. They see Biden as “weak”. He has a very different personality than Trump has. He doesn’t come across with as much charisma, force, or bluster. They perceive Biden’s less flashy personality as less effective, and they blame Biden for “fucking up” the exit from Afghanistan as he ended America’s longest war.

Personally, I am shocked that only 13 Americans have been lost, so far, in the departure from Afghanistan. I think if Trump had been in charge, the fallout would have been much worse. Moreover, I am impressed by the number of people who were successfully evacuated from Afghanistan. According to the Washington Post, over 124,000 people have left Afghanistan alive. Yes, we did lose 13 Americans last week, and that’s a terrible thing. And there’s nothing anyone can say or do to make the families of those who died feel better. But, I do think Mr. Biden’s attempt at offering condolences was much better than Trump’s attempts to comfort the bereaved.

Some people seem to have forgotten that Donald Trump has historically had no empathy for other people’s pain and suffering. I remember what he said about the late John McCain, who was captured and tortured in Vietnam. Donald Trump, who never put on a uniform because of his “bone spurs”, called John McCain a “fucking loser”. Trump also said of McCain, “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.”

Trump also memorably referred to members of the military as “losers and suckers”, having canceled a trip to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery near Paris in 2018. At the time, Trump falsely claimed rainy conditions had made it impossible for the helicopter to fly, and the Secret Service wouldn’t drive him there. The truth is that Trump was worried about his hair getting mussed in the rain, and he didn’t think honoring the American war dead was important enough to risk messing up his hair. According to an article written by Jeffrey Goldberg for The Atlantic:

In a conversation with senior staff members on the morning of the scheduled visit, Trump said, “Why should I go to that cemetery? It’s filled with losers.” In a separate conversation on the same trip, Trump referred to the more than 1,800 marines who lost their lives at Belleau Wood as “suckers” for getting killed.

As I read about people who are angry at President Biden because 13 Americans died at an airport suicide attack in Kabul, then they criticize Biden’s attempts to express condolences and apologize, I can’t help but wonder how they would have reacted to Trump in the same situation. People died during the Trump administration, too. I wonder if Trump would have met personally with those family members, having remembered each and every servicemember’s name and story. I wonder if he would have pulled out a card with the names of the fallen written down. I also wonder if there would have been more dead servicemembers sent home.

The United States has been engaged with Afghanistan for 20 years. A lot of money, time, and talent has been wasted on a country whose people are still living in a different era. It was time for the conflict to end. I don’t think there was a way to win in this situation. It was bound to be messy.

Many people, safe at home, are blaming Biden. Some are also blaming military leaders, claiming that they should have recognized the threats and addressed them. I guess it’s only natural to try to second guess what people do and the decisions they make in a war zone. I just wonder if people ever stop and think about it longer than a minute.

My husband spent thirty years in the Army. He never went to Afghanistan, but he did go to Iraq. Bill never talks about what should have been done in Afghanistan, in spite of his experience. He can’t speak to what should have been done, because he wasn’t there. Most of the people who are criticizing the president and the military don’t have a concept of what was going on in Afghanistan, beyond what was in the news.

I get that the families of the fallen are grief stricken. I understand that many of them preferred Trump to Biden, and this is a great opportunity for them to cement their hatred of Biden. But, as the wife and daughter of military veterans, I can’t help but notice the difference between Biden’s style of presidential condolences and Trump’s. I think I would much prefer Biden’s clumsy attempts to comfort– talking about his son, Beau, and compulsively looking at his dead son Beau’s watch– to Trump’s tone deaf attempts– forgetting the names of the fallen, bickering with widows on Twitter, and falsely claiming that he cares more than other presidents did in similar circumstances.

In my view, Donald Trump would not have done any of this better. It probably would have been an even bigger fiasco. More people would have died, and fewer would have been evacuated. And when it came time to comfort the grieving, history shows that Trump would have probably really fucked things up even more.

I have never served in the military myself, but I have been surrounded by veterans my whole life. One thing I’ve learned is that everyone who serves knows that there’s a chance they could be killed. That’s something that comes with the territory of military service. But, if you think about it, there’s a risk in everything we do. Hell, nowadays, just breathing can get you killed.

I’m glad that the people who met with Joe Biden had the chance to look him in the eye, speak to him, accept hugs from him, or even tell him they hope he rots in Hell. Under Trump’s watch, they would have probably just gotten a phone call at the very most, with glib cliches about “knowing what they were getting into” and “dying doing exactly what they wanted to do…” coupled with forgotten names, awkward stammering, and no chance to respond.

Joe Biden didn’t kill those people who died in Afghanistan last week. They were killed by a terrorist. The young man who strapped 25 pounds to explosives to himself, went to the gate, and blew himself up for his god is the one who did the killing and maiming. If anyone should be blamed for those senseless deaths, it’s that guy, and people like him. The last military plane left Afghanistan this morning. Thank God for that. I hope we don’t ever go back. I congratulate Joe Biden for finally ending our 20 year war with Afghanistan… and for having the courage, humility, and decency to meet with the people who are grieving the tragic loss of their family members.

There’s a stark contrast in Biden’s sense of duty compared to Trump’s… Again, from my blog post from 2017, regarding La David Johnson’s death:

La David Johnson was laid to rest yesterday.  His devastated widow was there with the children and Sergeant Johnson’s other loved ones.  Mrs. Johnson kissed her husband’s casket goodbye as she clutched two folded American flags. 

Trump, by contrast, was playing golf, as usual… and, ever classy, he posted on social media as mourners were preparing for the funeral…

What a tragic disaster this man is.

Think about it.

Standard
business, politicians, politics, true crime

Seagull leadership and scary Facebook posts…

Yesterday, as Bill and I were preparing to eat at our second culinary destination in one day, I noticed a scary Facebook post in a local group I’m in. It seems there is a gang of women in our town who have been trying to break into houses. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, Bill told me that one of his coworkers, who happens to live in our town, caught someone trying to break into his car. And there have been two posts in our group about criminals trying to break into people’s homes, even when they have gates. These criminal bitches have tools and have been caught trying to breach the gates.

Naturally, reading about this made me nervous… so as we sat in a Parkhaus turned Michelin one star restaurant (until the usual venue can be rebuilt after a fire), I went on USAA and upped our insurance coverage. It may not have been necessary, but it wasn’t like the extra coverage cost that much. And it did offer peace of mind. On the other hand, how sad is it that I was looking at my phone before a Michelin one star meal? And how sad is it that I could buy extra insurance coverage in a matter of minutes, using my phone? Technology is a double edged sword.

Then, while we were waiting for dessert, I happened to notice a post from a former colleague of mine. Actually, colleague is a stretch. I worked as the cook at a summer camp, and he was one of my dishwashers. He posted a rude meme about Joe Biden, likening him to the Taliban’s greatest employee. I had to have a laugh at that. If anyone is the Taliban’s employee of the month, it’s Trump. Trump made the deal with The Taliban in the first place. And this pullout was destined to be a mess regardless.

I was reminded once again of a post I wrote for my original blog, in which I wrote about how Trump’s leadership is the perfect example of “seagull leadership”. You know what that is? Basically, the seagull comes in, makes a huge mess, and leaves, expecting others to clean up their shit. I think Trump is the poster child for the seagull style of management. I really don’t think he would have been better or done more to make this transition better.

What is sad, though, is that so many Americans WANT to see him fail. They are screaming about impeachment, seemingly forgetting that if he leaves office, their worst nightmare will happen. Kamala Harris, a biracial woman, would take over. Do they think they would get better treatment from her? I don’t know. I think she can do the job, but I’m not sure that’s what the Republicans really want. A lot of them are both racist and sexist.

I read a comment last night from some guy who said he didn’t vote for Biden became of WHO he is– even though he knows Trump is a narcissist. Sorry… I just don’t get it. Trump, as a narcissist, is the worst kind of person to be leading. Narcissists don’t care about other people. I voted for Biden because of WHO he is… and who Trump is. I say, if you know your party’s candidate is a bastard, why not demand better? I would prefer a younger, more dynamic candidate myself… but I would easily choose Biden over Trump. Biden isn’t a narcissist, and that automatically makes him much more qualified, in my opinion. But I realize that not everyone understands why narcissists are such bad news.

Anyway… we just had a huge lunch, and I am about to fall into a food coma. So I will quit writing now… and hope that shit will improve soon. I see that ISIS is coming in now, complicating matters and, for sure, delaying our departure, forcing us to deal with the aftermath of the pullout…

The 20th anniversary of 9/11 is coming up. I hope people are on their guard. I wouldn’t be surprised if ISIS has something planned, while we’re dealing with Afghanistan.

So… until next time… sayonara. I have to take a nap now and digest the fabulous fresh trout we had for lunch.

Standard
Biden, narcissists, politicians, politics, Trump

Sorry folks, but Trump would have been way worse…

Sorry to bring this up today. I’d rather be writing about something really hilarious. But I feel the need to bring up something that has been bugging the crap out of me ever since the Afghanistan debacle happened.

Last night, one of my relatives posted a nasty diatribe about Joe Biden’s handling of Afghanistan. He called Biden a “POS” and then berated people for thinking Trump is worse than Biden is. I fought to stop myself from commenting. I decided not to, mainly because my relative has a huge number of conservative friends, as well as lots of mutual family members hanging out on his page. And I just didn’t feel like getting into it with anyone last night, especially since we’re about to leave town.

Sadly… and what makes it worse is that I know a lot of people who support Trump aren’t like him themselves.

I also recognize people’s rights to post what they want to on their social media. It’s almost always better to just scroll by things that are inflammatory and/or hide the post. So that’s what I did. But my husband, who has over 30 years of military experience, as well as actual experience “downrange”, did decide to respond. I haven’t gone to look at the aftermath of Bill’s comment, because again, I don’t want to feel the need to respond. The “need to respond” is definitely a troublesome family trait on my dad’s side of the family, and it doesn’t always lead to things that are good.

Trump doesn’t think about what he says before he speaks, and he acts impulsively. He regularly says things that are incredibly hurtful and offensive, and he does harmful things without a second thought about the outcome. A man who brags about grabbing any woman he wants by the pussy is not someone who would handle pulling out of Afghanistan with any grace or finesse. He apparently doesn’t even operate that way in the bedroom.

We have had four years to see Trump’s way of handling things. Maybe the optics would have been more palatable to the armchair warriors who are safe at home, watching the news… and being manipulated like everyone else is by the way the media portrays things. But I don’t in a million years believe that the outcome would have been better. In fact, I think it would have been much worse.

Anyway… here’s why I think Trump would have botched Afghanistan much worse than Biden has. It’s because Trump is probably a malignant narcissist. That’s really the main reason. Trump’s narcissism is apparently off the charts. And that fact, in and of itself, is what makes him a terrible leader, and what would have made him seriously fuck up Afghanistan in a way that probably would have gotten a lot of people killed.

What is a malignant narcissist?

You can click this link to read a pretty good description of what a malignant narcissist is. But in brief terms, a malignant narcissist is someone who is completely preoccupied with their image and has superficial charm. They seek to win at all costs, and don’t care what they have to do or who they have to hurt in order to win. They can’t handle criticism, listen to counsel or advice from others, or regulate their behavior. And they are amused by other people’s pain and suffering.

Dr. Grande also presents a pretty good look at Trump and narcissistic behavior.

Donald Trump regularly and obviously displays his extreme narcissism. He says and does whatever he wants. He doesn’t care when people get hurt, unless it suits his narrative. When the cameras aren’t rolling, he doesn’t give a shit about other people. There are thousands of people who are affected by what’s going on in Afghanistan. And, as it was said on one of Dr. Grande’s videos, “Narcissism is a barrier against reason and logic.” If there’s a time when having reason and logic is paramount, it’s now.

Another video worth watching… and a reminder of why Trump is dangerous, and would not have handled Afghanistan well. He talks a lot about characteristics good leaders should have.

I know some people don’t think Trump’s narcissism is significant. But if you have had personal dealings with this type of person, you will come to know all too well how narcissists put other people in grave danger and serious personal risk. Seriously narcissistic people like Trump do not care about anything or anyone but themselves. That is a fact. And given that, he would not care about the people of Afghanistan or the Americans who are trying to get out of there safely.

Is it better to have a “weak” person like Biden handling pulling out of Afghanistan? Or is Trump’s bluster and perceived “strength” better?

In my opinion, Biden is clearly a better person to be handling this crisis. Let’s be honest. This was a mess 20 years in the making. Joe Biden didn’t start it. In fact, he didn’t even really end it. Donald Trump made one of his famous “deals” with the Taliban last year. Trump wanted to get America out of Afghanistan, but instead of dealing with the Afghan government, he cut a deal with the Taliban. Maybe the Taliban still would have struck if Trump had dealt with the government instead of an extremist terrorist group, but as Trump likes to say, “it wasn’t a good look” for him to be negotiating with terrorists.

Trump wasn’t wrong to want us out of Afghanistan, since the war was a huge cash drain. Moreover, history has shown us that Afghanistan doesn’t want to “change”. Other countries have tried and failed to bring Afghanistan into the 20th century (and yes, I do mean 20th, not 21st).

So Trump wasn’t wrong to want to end the war… But he made a deal with the Taliban. He basically sold out Afghanistan to a bunch of terrorists. And then he lost the election– and yes, he DID lose– but there was still that deal with the Taliban. We had to get out of there, and it was not a secret that we would be leaving.

Biden clearly didn’t handle this situation perfectly, but I think this would have been a shitstorm regardless. And I would much rather have someone like him leading the country– someone who does care about others and has pledged to try to help the Afghans who helped the U.S. military for twenty years. Biden’s priority is to get Americans out, as well as those who helped Americans. He’s doing that. Thousands of Afghan refugees have already arrived in Germany. In fact, one was even born on the transport to Germany from Afghanistan. Thanks to my husband’s work, I know that those people are being taken care of. I doubt they would have been under Trump.

Donald Trump has proven that he doesn’t think much of brown people. But aside from that, Trump doesn’t know what he’s doing, and won’t listen to anyone who does. So I think that if he had been in charge, the situation would have been much, much worse. There certainly would have been more death and destruction.

Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan with lots of cash. Why did he take off? Because of what happened to his predecessor when the Taliban took over. According to The New York Times, Ghani left because he was afraid he’d be lynched. In 1996, former Afghan President Mohammad Najibullah was executed and strung up in a public square. Prior to his execution, the former president was castrated and beaten.

Ghani did not want to be tortured and executed, nor did the world need to see another leader desecrated in such a way. I can’t really blame him for getting out of Afghanistan. But when it comes down to it, Afghanistan was Ghani’s responsibility, wasn’t it? And they had 20 years. Biden’s first priority was getting Americans out of Afghanistan. That’s what he’s been doing.

My relative is a military veteran, but he left the military after four years. His service was in the 1990s, which was a relatively peaceful era. I don’t think he’s ever even been to Europe, let alone a place like Afghanistan. I’m not sure what he thinks qualifies him to criticize Biden and the way he handled this situation, which was bound to be a chaotic shitstorm regardless.

So… the bottom line is, I agree that this situation is tragic and could have been done better. But Donald Trump was certainly not the one who could have done it better. I think if Trump had been in charge, it would have been a huge catastrophe. He doesn’t care about anything or anyone but himself. That makes him a totally unsuitable leader. I’m really glad he’s not the president anymore. I hope more people will realize how dangerous he is, but more importantly, I hope the American people won’t vote in someone much worse than Trump.

Well… we’re off to the Black Forest for a few days. Gotta get our teeth cleaned and burn up some leave.

Standard
Duggars, true crime

Even the Duggars are turning on Trump…

This morning, I was reading the Duggar Family News Facebook group, when I came across an article about Josh Duggar’s latest efforts to stay out of prison for downloading indecent photos and videos of minors being abused. Personally, I have a feeling that Josh’s goose may well be cooked and reading for serving. I don’t know how he’s going to escape the allegations against him. He was pretty much caught red-handed.

But desperate people will do desperate things, and at this point, I would say the Duggars are pretty desperate. In fact, they’re so desperate that they kind of threw some shade on the Trump presidency. Yes… I was shocked, too. The Duggars, like so many other so-called red-blooded Christian, patriotic, conservative leaning folks, have always been big supporters of the Republican Party. And recently, that means being supporters of Donald Trump and his ilk.

Still, the idea of going to the big house must scare the bejesus out of Josh, because his lawyer, Justin Gelfand, just filed a fourteen page motion-to-dismiss. Why? Because, Gelfand argues:

When federal agents started looking into Duggar in 2019, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) was under the control of Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan, and the probe continued into the tenure of Acting Secretary Chad Wolf. The Government Accountability Office later found that Trump appointed both men unlawfully, circumventing the normal process of congressional approval. Federal judges later ruled similarly, invalidating some of the agency’s actions under their control.

Basically, he’s saying that because Trump didn’t appoint McAleenan or Wolf by using the proper and legal channels, they had no authority to open an investigation against Josh Duggar. Gelfand further wrote:

“As the actions by DHS HSI in this case were all conducted under the authority of individuals who were acting as Officers of the United States in violation of both the Appointments Clause and the applicable federal statutory scheme for temporary officeholders, the investigation proceeded without lawful authorityBecause Appointments Clause violations are structural in nature, Duggar need not show prejudice to obtain relief.”

Josh is hoping to get off on a technicality, since Trump didn’t appoint these two men with congressional consent. While Josh and his ilk probably don’t care what Trump does, as long as it doesn’t affect them personally in a negative way, now they have the nerve to use Trump’s unhinged “drunk uncle” style of governing for their own benefits. Isn’t that just typical? Once again, it’s a celebrity who is desperately grasping at straws.

From six years ago… we were shocked then, not knowing what was coming…

I know people can be fickle, and an awful lot of folks are completely uneducated about the political parties they support. Donald Trump taught me that it’s very dangerous not to know about the people who are tasked with leading the country. He was a TERRIBLE president and is a deplorable person, and he fucked up in myriad ways. And if Josh Duggar does manage to get off because of Trump’s lack of care for procedure and disregard for propriety, that will be just one more reason why he and his buddies should never have another opportunity to be involved in politics in any way, shape, or form.

It’s pretty clear that Josh Duggar has some serious issues. He’s already been outed as a “sex pest”, since he molested four of his sisters and a baby sitter. He’s already been busted as a philanderer who likes rough sex and is willing to pay adult sex workers for it, even though he’s supposedly a Christian and “happily married” to the mother of his six, soon to be seven, children. The legal issues he’s facing now haven’t yet been proven in a court of law, and he is as entitled to a defense as anyone is. But I seriously doubt he is going to get off, because the evidence is pretty strong that he’s guilty. This is a federal case, and the feds don’t tend to mess around. But we’ll see what happens…

I just think it’s interesting that some people are still doggedly supporting Donald Trump. Even the Duggars are turning against him, and if it turns out Josh is acquitted because of Trump’s incompetence, that could be a huge miscarriage of justice that will put women and children at risk. And while I maintain that I “get” people wanting to support their political parties, I still don’t know how a person can be “decent” and still support Donald Trump. So I’m going to assume that most people who are still on Trump’s train are willfully ignorant… and yes, I’m still very sick of willfully ignorant Trump supporters. And I will keep stating it, even if people like ‘ol Steve continue to harass me. The fact that certain people can’t let me state my opinions on my blog without harassing me is just a sign that they aren’t as confident in their position as they’d like me to believe.

Standard
music, musings, psychology, stupid people

“I wanna pull on your coat about something…”

Go ahead, Tom… pull on my coat about something.

Back in the summer of 1993, I was employed as the cook at a Presbyterian church camp in Virginia. I had a small kitchen staff, which included three teenaged guys who washed dishes for me. Two of the guys lived in West Virginia; the other lived in North Carolina. One of the guys, a British citizen whose stepfather worked in Maryland, even though they lived in West Virginia, had really awesome taste in music. He made me a mix tape, which he sent to me at my college in Virginia. One of the songs on the mix tape was Tom Waits’ hilarious song, “Emotional Weather Report”. It was my first exposure to Mr. Waits. Below is the version that was on my tape. In it, Tom Waits says, “I wanna pull on your coat about something.” He means he wants to tell you about something on his mind.

What did it take for Tom Waits to come up with this? The mind boggles.

Just like Tom Waits in 1975, I wanna pull on your coat about something. Yesterday, I wrote about the song “Ladies Who Lunch”, which is a great Stephen Sondheim number from the show Company. I learned to sing it, inspired by some hate mail I got from a guy named Steven Jenkins. Ol’ Steve left me a rude comment, implying that I’m “stupid”. He didn’t like my negative opinions about Donald Trump and apparently felt compelled to tell me so.

I decided to send him a very short emailed response in which I advised him to stay off my blog and go fuck himself. He wrote back, and admitted that he was overjoyed that I had tossed him a bone. His email was full of the word “fuck” and more insults. I’m assuming he thought that would offend me. Obviously, he doesn’t know me at all. Moreover, in reading the guy’s message, it occurred to me that I definitely wasn’t the stupid one. He actually asked me how one fucks themselves. I would have figured a guy like him would be an expert at that, but maybe the lack of stimulation is what gave him such a “charming” personality and expansive vocabulary.

Anyway… I was focused on learning my new song, and I think I was quite successful with it. Not that it matters to anyone but me, of course… I just derived a lot of pleasure from trying the song, complete with bitchy overtones. It occurred to me that I probably would have been good at playing bitchy women if I had been a musical theater enthusiast when I was younger. Then I watched the movie, Camp, which is a great sleeper film and features a bunch of young people with enormous talent, including Anna Kendrick, Caitlyn Van Zandt, and Sasha Allen. Every time I watch it, I get choked up, and yesterday was no exception.

As I was watching Camp, ol’ Steve visited again, this time hanging around for a bit longer. He tried to post another comment on my blog. To be honest, I didn’t read it, although I did notice that there were many curse words in it, as well as insults… and more dogged, embarrassing, and reverent devotion to Donald Trump. Once again, I realized that I’m clearly not the stupid one in this situation. And it’s obvious that ‘ol Steve is in serious need of attention and validation, or something… Poor guy.

As I banned Steve from commenting and trashed his message, I pondered the situation. I ended up with a lot of questions. What motivates a person to send hateful comments to a blogger? What is his motivation for trying to engage me? We obviously have nothing in common. He likes Trump, and has the verbal skills of an intellectually disabled chipmunk. Was he thinking that I would approve his comment? Was he thinking I would even read it? Does Steve have anything in his life besides an Internet connection?

Does Steve have friends? Has he a job? Has he family– a wife or husband or children or pets? I am curious. Why is he so starved for attention that he would send me abuse on my blog? In fact, I wonder how Steve even found my blog in the first place. Was he looking up rants about Donald Trump? Does he think that my reading his stupid drivel is going to change my mind or silence me? Does he think it’s impressive to worship a malignant narcissist who brags about sexually assaulting women and ripping off people?

I think the American public was duped. Before Trump was in office, he came off as almost likable. Trump had a certain comic charisma, that I think a lot of people found entertaining and refreshing. Personally, I think he should have stuck to being an entertainer. He could have indulged his massive ego and made a lot of money without revealing to the world what a revolting person he is.

Before Trump was president, I didn’t really care too much about what he said or did. But then he was president, and it was like watching a horror movie starring the world’s biggest asshole. And because he was elected, Trump has emboldened many asshole minions who want to be just like him. I can only assume that ol’ Steve is a Trump asshole acolyte who doesn’t understand that Trump wouldn’t give someone like him the time of day. Steve wouldn’t even rate a free Big Mac at the White House.

But then in 2020, the Trump era came to an end. Trump’s minions were devastated as he was forced out of the White House, despite all his cheating and threats, as well as baseless claims of election fraud. I was immensely relieved to see Trump go, although I’m afraid that there’s someone worse than him waiting in the wings. I worry that there’s someone younger, smarter, more charismatic, and better looking just waiting to fill Trump’s shoes.

Ol’ Steve found my blog and was obviously moved by my piece about how tired I am of “willfully ignorant Trump supporters.” I’m even more tired of them today than I was in November of last year, when that piece was written. For some reason, guys like ol’ Steve can’t take it when someone dares to say out loud what so many of us rational people are thinking.

To clarify, I do get people having conservative beliefs. I do understand wanting to vote for Republican candidates, even if I no longer identify as a conservative myself. I don’t understand thinking that Trump is the right person for the job. He was mostly a failure as president. Just my opinion, of course, but I know I’m not alone in thinking that… and at least for now, I still have the right to share my opinions, especially on a blog space that I paid for. And because it’s space that I paid for, I don’t have to indulge people like ol’ Steve. I don’t have to read or publish his inane comments. And I will continue to write my opinions as much as I like, even if ol’ Steve continues to email me with his silly profanity laced twaddle. I enjoy profanity. I also enjoy wit. Steve has shown me that he can deliver profanity, but I don’t think he’s very witty. And since he still worships Trump, a man who wouldn’t deign to piss on him if he was on fire, he’s clearly not very intelligent, either.

Still… I can see that ol’ Steve wants attention, and I don’t mind obliging. I get inspiration from people like Steve. If this keeps up, I might even write a song about him. Or a fiction story… I like to turn negatives into positives. When someone tries to victimize me, I tend to fight back in creative ways. Moreover, I find Steve amusing. My first reaction to his comment was irritation, but when he sent two more yesterday, I realized that he’s just pathetic.

Melania would tell Steve to “Be best.” So that’s what I’m going to do, too… Be best, Steve. Don’t engage in cyberbullying. And while you’re at it, go fuck yourself.

Standard