Trump is loony

Being a narcissist would be a positive step on the road to mental health for Donald J. Trump. Judging by the press conference he held today, that road’s a ton of miles long. The man is a loon, a whack-job, and, I think he is a danger, not just to my country, but to the world.

I am watching the first press conference Trump has held since July and  off his rocker.  “I will be the greatest jobs president that God has ever created,” he declared, with so much bluster I thought he was going to puff three times out loud.  And then came Trump attorney Sheri Dillon’s effort to comfort those in attendance by reminding them  “Trump can’t un-know he owns Trump Tower.” Phew! I hadn’t realized.

Trump just said: “I have many meetings with intelligence” which is a lie; they’ve never met.

 

Beware the sappatized word

It can be a lot of work getting here to this blank page. It was climbing a mountain of anxiety under the power of thought, and, okay, strength. I’m not comfortable with the word courage. I mean, yes, perhaps in a pure sense it applies, but for me the word courage has a boastful connotation, and I am not comfortable with that. So I respectfully reject it.

We fuck words up, stain them with the one-two punch of judgment and connotation. Sometimes we inject them so many times with some inexplicable insidous honey-like ethereal substance, we sappitize them. Sappy, holy shit! Like fingernails on a chalkboard.

Sappiness makes me want to flee.

I’ll give you an example of a word that’s been sappitized. Darling. Darling is a beautiful word. It derives, in part, from the word, dear, defined in the New Oxford English Dictionary as, “regarded with deep affection; cherished by someone: a dear friend.” Come to think of it, in some ways dear too has been sappitized. Let me put it this way, if a woman said to me, “Kiss me, dear,” I was born knowing tongues are not involved. I think full-contact kissing is impossible in response to, “Kiss me, dear.”

I am wrong.

Just now — in the writing moment — I realized I was dead wrong.

I have experienced being deeply in love. Our beings were in as perfect alignment as two beings could be. If she had said, “Kiss me dear,” perhaps during one of those sweet-gentle holding each other moments, I would’ve kissed her in a heartbeat — with all my heart and soul.

Stunning what emerges when you write.

Books Read – 2016

As those of you who’ve been following this blog over its 10-year life span know, I have the admittedly self-indulgent habit of publishing the list of  books I read in a given year. I would give all the gold in the world to see the list of books my parents and grandparents read. When I read a book I know someone in my family read, I know I am hiking on a trail of words they hiked before me. It’s a nice feeling. I miss them all, beyond the reach of any words ever written.

  1. The English Major, by Jim Harrison
  2. Greenwich, by Howard Fast
  3. The Sportswriter, by Richard Ford
  4. Point Counter Point, Aldous Huxley
  5. Aldous Huxley: An English Intellectual, by Nicholas Murray
  6. The Big Seven, by Jim Harrison
  7. Appointment in Samarra, by John O’Hara
  8. The Great Leader, by Jim Harrison
  9. The Summer He Didn’t Die, by Jim Harrison
  10. The African Queen, by C.S. Forester
  11. The Murder on the Links (Hercule Poirot, #2), by Agatha Christie
  12. Legends of the Fall, by Jim Harrison
  13. Break In (Kit Fielding, #1), by Dick Francis
  14. The River Swimmer: Novellas, by Jim Harrison
  15. The Ancient Minstrel: Novellas, by Jim Harrison
  16. Letting Go, by Philip Roth
  17. The Quiet American, by Graham Greene
  18. The Go-Between, by L.P. Hartley
  19. Everybody’s Fool, by Richard Russo
  20. A Question of Upbringing (A Dance to the Music of Time, #1), by Anthony Powell
  21. Dangerous Davies, the Last Detective,  by Leslie Thomas
  22. The A.B.C. Murders (Hercule Poirot, #13), by Agatha Christie
  23. A Buyer’s Market (A Dance to the Music of Time #2), by Anthony Powell
  24. Dangerous In Love, by Leslie Thomas
  25. The Acceptance World (A Dance to the Music of Time, #3), by Anthony Powell
  26. Can You Forgive Her?, Volume I, by Anthony Trollope
  27. At Lady Molly’s (A Dance to the Music of Time, #4), by Anthony Powell
  28. Dangerous By Moonlight, by Leslie Davies
  29. Casanova’s Chinese Restaurant (A Dance to the Music of Time, #5), by Anthony Powell
  30. What’s Become of Waring, by Anthony Powell

************

A letter to President Barack Obama

Dear Mr. President,

Roy Innis said a kindness to me years ago that significantly lifted my spirits. It was related to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a hero of mine for as long as I have memory. I’m 63. It occurred to me that the kindness Mr. Innis offered me is more accurately applied to you. Mr. Innis and I were members of a panel on a Newsradio 88 talk show in NYC in the wake of the Bernie Goetz shooting incident, December 22, 1984.

That I was on the panel with Mr. Innis was related to my experience with gun violence; I was held up and shot in the head at point blank range, August 24, 1984, the bullet remains lodged in the brain. Also, I was one of the co-founders of the NYC Chapter of Victims for Victims, a victims advocacy group, founded in 1982, by actress Theresa Saldana. Years ago, Jim Brady and I met during a Handgun Control (now Brady Center Against Gun Violence) convention. The moment was not without its humor; we agreed we were the founders of The Can’t Duck Worth a Damn Club of America.

Before I tell you what Mr. Innis said, I’d like to first, please, share a few thoughts with you.

I can’t begin to imagine what you are experiencing now, other than to point out the obvious, that we are in a democracy-gut-check wake-up call moment. Only when it happened, when this man was elected, did I realize something, nearly in an instant. The moment we are in now was bound to come. My hope is that we are witnesses to white power’s last gasp.

As for this election outcome, the fact is we the people dropped the ball. You didn’t. If even for a moment you notice your mind drifting in the direction of blaming yourself, please call it on back. Many of us, and that includes me, made the mistake of believing we were more healed on the bigotry front than we are. In short, we couldn’t help but be the flawed, sometimes dopey, and sometimes dangerous creatures, our species is capable of being.

While I wouldn’t wish your experience on anyone, Mr. President, I am grateful beyond-the-reach-of-words that history chose you when it did. It is inconceivable to me that anyone could have handled and managed the task of being the first black president with, what history will show — and many of us already know — the level of greatness you brought to the job. Your greatness, Mr. President. I’m dead serious. It’s not just charisma, a gift we’re all lucky you have, it’s your uncanny ability to manage your interaction in the moment you’re in, without taking your eye off the ball, while at the same time understanding the moment’s role, or potential role, in history. It’s like that moment in “Team of Rivals” when Mr. Lincoln was told the time had come to sign the Emancipation Proclamation, I think in Seward’s office. Lincoln had been shaking hands all morning with White House visitors. His arm and hand were a bit sore. When he lifted the pen to sign, his hand was a little shaky. He put the pen down, explaining to his staff that if his signature looked shaky, people in years to come would think he wasn’t sure about the proclamation, and, of course, he was. As you know, he waited until his hand calmed, and signed. He understood the moment he was in. Therein lies the brotherhood you have with this man.

Mr. President, you’ve recognized the moment of history you are in every step of the way with uncanny accuracy, you did your best for this country and all its people, every step of the way. And, you never lost your cool! Though, if my fantasy of dribbling, say, Ted Cruz up and down the court came true, and you were the ref, I’m willing to bet you might not call the foul, at least not right after the first dribble.

To Mr. Innis. On the panel, Mr. Innis sat to my right, Sen. Alfonse D’Amato was on my left, William Kunstler and Curtis Sliwa sat across the way. Mr. Innis proposed that civilians be trained and armed to help keep the streets safe. I disagreed, saying that I adhered to the nonviolent methods we learned from Dr. King and that arming civilians seemed to replicate the arms race. While I believed Mr. Innis’s proposal was from the heart and well-intentioned, he’d lost two sons to gun violence, I thought it misguided.

It was in the moments right after the show ended that Mr. Innis said the kindness to me, that I, Mr. President, would like to say to you. When we stood up and shook hands, I told him he was someone I admired. I told him Dr. King had always been one of my heroes, and how much I wished I could have known him. And then, it happened. Mr. Innis looked at me with a smile and said: “Martin would have been very proud of you tonight.” It was one of the most mind-blowing, beautiful things anyone had ever said to me. So, let me tell you now, Mr. President, Martin would be very proud of you. So would Malcom and Nelson Mandela. So would Rosa Parks, Medger Evers, Emmet Till, and, yes, Mr. Lincoln. All of them and more, Mr. President, would be proud of you and grateful that you are, indeed, the truly good and decent and courageous man you are.

I am one of many who genuinely love and care about you and your family. If our paths ever cross, my hope would be to shake your hand, give you a hug, and thank you in person.

By the way, the rallying cry that I am encouraging those around me to use, is: We Shall Overcome because Yes We Can. Like I said, Mr. President, Martin would be proud of you.

With great warmth and respect,

Peter S. Kahrmann

 

  • A hard copy of this letter was mailed to the president on November 18, 2016

Donald Trump: White Power’s new leader

The white-power movement has found its leader in president-elect Donald J. Trump. Our democracy is in danger. If it is to survive, if we are to survive as our founding fathers intended, we need recognize the dangerous reality we are facing, and we can’t blink. If we do, our democracy is lost. We are fools to think otherwise.

 
Trump is an all-around bigot with facist leanings and the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party are thrilled. Every individual he is considering for his cabinet has pronoucned racist-bigot. By definition, a bigot believes some segments of the population as less worthy of rights than other segments of the population.

 
Doubling this danger, of course, is Putin-Trump bromance.

 
You don’t need a cornflake’s imagination to envision Trump and his Drumpfian Klan trying to overthrow our democracy by selling pie-in-the-sky promises to white racists while shattering our declaration of independence and constitution along the way.

Now is the time for all of us, young and old, to stand up for every individual’s right – including the individuals who are illegal immigrants – to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If you really want to be kind of country that says they don’t have these rights, and or, it is not our problem, so sorry they might suffer, and in many cases, die, then don’t tell me you’re a practicing Christian and don’t tell me you’re an American.

 
The very rights that some are so quick to deny others, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, are rights memorialized in both our Declaration of Independence and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The latter includes illegal immigrants, people who are not the evil, slinking, shadowy enemy the newly empowered white-power movement would have you believe. The white-power movement is in part rooted in the culturally-fabricated belief that the darker the skin, the less valuable the life.

 
It is by no means a stretch to say the Pilgrims — white people — were the beginning of the white-power movment. White settlers were essentially illegal immigrants who went on to enslave, slaughter, imprison, and steal the land from American Indians and, as if that weren’t enough, claimed to be Christians in the process.

 
Any of this ring a bell, people?

 
The only ones that slaughtered innocents were the whites. For those inclined to cite American Indian raids let me reintroduce you to reality, we attacked them, they fought back, so get a grip. Many of our black brothers and sisters, as you know, are descended from those who did not come here voluntarily: slaves. White people are the ones who stormed this land.

Now, we have elected a president, praised by the Ku Klux Klan and Nazi Party members, who is making cabinet appointments that increases, not decreases, the roar of approval from white-power leaders. We have elected a facist who is just as willing to trample and slaughter as many white settlers were. This cretin doesn’t want to make America great, he wants to make it bigoted, white racist nation once again.

 
My father and uncle fought the Nazis in World War II. I grew up with a minister who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I’ve got good role models. I will fight, through nonviolent means, the newly empowered white power movement with all my heart and soul.