The paradox: Can a legitimately elected president be illegitimate? As Ian Millhiser has written, “to declare him illegitimate is to shake the foundations of the American system, to fail to do so is to risk leveling those foundations to the ground.” Both are terrible choices. He is legitimate because, under the rules (and they are of course remarkably stupid rules) governing the election of a president, he won the election. He is illegitimate because it seems clear that he does not feel bound by the rules, written or unwritten; regulations; customary practices and the like that have governed the presidency. Beyond the groups that he has announced he will target, especially undocumented residents and Muslims, the rights of everyone is at risk. He will make the press a frequent target of his attack, and he will ruthlessly attack critics—never has the term “bully pulpit” been more appropriate, and he will use every tactic and gambit available to maintain his power, and vaingloriously magnify himself, a Caligulan presidency.
Paul Ryan is conducting a phone poll on the ACA (Obamacare), hoping to hear overwhelming popular opposition to it. If you would like to express your support for the Affordable Care Act, call 202-225-0600. There is 20 to 25 seconds of silence, then the recording comes on so don’t hang up.
Press 2 to weigh in on the issue.
Last night at the Children’s Defense Gala you were honored for your lifelong work on behalf of children. It was, as you said, very difficult for you to come. But you showed up and told us that we matter. So in my garden I still have your 2016 campaign sign, a reminder of what really matters.
We, the people who supported you want you to know that in the coming years as we face serious challenges we will recall your tireless work here and around the world for women’s rights that is human rights. We will continue your fight for justice. We will show compassion and do for you what you would have liked to do for your mother when she, a frightened child at age 8 was sent away on a train to an unknown future. We will hug her/you and tell you that your name is already inscribed on the distinguished list of the finest world leaders who care about humanity and respect human rights. On the campaign trail you said that you spoke in prose, yet your lifework for human rights is remarkably poetic.
So, to complete my horrid week, last Saturday afternoon, Clemson’s football team, previously undefeated, ranked #2, was upset by the University of Pittsburgh, 43–42, on a last second field goal. I went to the game with the expectation that I would be able, at the least, to cheer at least one victor last week. No such luck.
Now, when you lose a game by a single point, there are almost an infinite number of possible reasons for the loss; if only we had picked up that first down when we were 4th and I at the 6-yard line; if only our star quarterback hadn’t thrown that interception right into the hands of the defender in the end zone; if only we had been able to tackle the running back behind the line of scrimmage, before he feinted and went on a 70-yard touchdown run; if only the officials hadn’t called that phantom pass interference call on us; if only the refs had called an obvious pass interference call them.
On Thanksgiving weekend, in 1980, I went to the Weavers Reunion concert at Carnegie Hall. It was a memorable evening. The original four members of the Weavers—Pete Seeger, Ronnie Gilbert, Lee Hays, and Fred Hellerman–hadn’t appeared together in concert in about a quarter century. For people from left-wing (a euphemism for communist) households, like myself, having grown up listening to the Weavers since my nonage, it was an irresistible opportunity and an unforgettable evening. The concert took place a few weeks after Reagan was elected, and there weren’t a lot of Reagan voters in the crowd. Lee Hays, a few months before he died, his gravelly baritone now reduced to a whisper, told the crowd “this too will pass, like a kidney stone.” I think that gets it about right, with a glance towards the future, and a recognition of the coming of hard, immediate pain.
During times of challenge I choose to be like a tree in a windstorm, with its roots buried deep within the soil. Swaying from side to side, its branches stretched outward embracing whatever comes. Its leaves jingling like bells, sweetly saying “I am okay, I am okay.”
During times of challenge I choose not to be like a piece of debris in a windstorm, being whipped up into a vortex, spinning wildly with no direction or tossed from here to there with no roots, no safe place.
I choose to be a tree.
As I look at the results this morning, Hillary has about a 200,000 vote lead in the popular vote, and the Times is predicting (as if we should ever again take any election prediction seriously) that it will hold. But of course, winning the popular vote in a presidential election is meaningless, and Trump, like George W. Bush, will operate as if he had an overwhelming mandate. But it only shows how utterly divided we are, and how Donald Trump is the last person in the world to bind up our nation’s wounds, and show charity to all and malice to none.
As I mark my vote for a woman for president of the United States and without making a sound I recite the traditional Jewish blessing of Shehecheyanu.
I recite the blessing for doing something for the first time, “Our praise to You, Sovereign of all for giving us life, sustaining us, and enabling us to reach this event.”
I cast my vote for the first woman for president of these United States and I feel the presence of millions of women my age who are filled with gratitude that we have lived long enough to “reach this event.” I think of all the women who for centuries fought for women’s equality and for human rights. And today Susan B. Anthony is at the center of my immense gratitude for reaching this event.
I am down in North Miami Beach with a cohort of alte yidden, elderly Jews walking for Hillary Clinton.
My cohorts have bad backs, aching feet, hearing loss and my own contribution of visual impairment. We are getting out the vote for Hillary.
We are staying at a lovely home and going over every poll from sunrise to sunset and beyond. We have been walking around in mostly African American neighborhoods where almost everyone is pro Hillary. Will they vote? Polls are not so encouraging and my people are tense. It is hot.
After the first Democratic Presidential Debate on October 13, 2015 we went to sleep in America and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was a book of fiction. A year later we find ourselves in the thick of the book’s madness with the Queen of Hearts/Trump screaming, “Off with their heads.”
We recognize in our midst Lewis Carroll’s central character the Queen/Trump that the author describes as a “blind fury,” a foul-mouthed, ill-tempered, irrational monarch in which the King/Paul Ryan is attempting to mitigate the awful decrees.