Festivus, but what for the Rest of Us

I was transported yesterday from the East Room of the White House back to 1997 when the President spoke yesterday before an assembled group of embarrassing open-mouthed American political seals. In that year, the Seinfeld episode entitled the Strike aired December 18, 1997 and introduced the pseudo-celebratory idea of Festivus. As one of its’ tenants the “Airing of Grievances” is essential. This involved the celebrants telling the assembled guest to whom, for the past year, they hold a grievance against. Well, in his best imitation of Frank Costanza, Mr. Trump, red-faced, at times incoherent, and fevered with rage, hurled insults, profanity, gibberish, and simultaneously heaped praise and scorn upon both his perceived enemies, rivals and sycophants.


In a word, this was one of the most embarrassing displays by an American politician since Burr shot Hamilton. This invective laced tirade came hours after attending the National Prayer Breakfast.  Having Mr. Trump run celebratory laps around the podium following his Impeachment, removal trial and acquittal were completely expected. For Republican pols like Susan Collins and Lamar Alexander who told us, and apparently dreamed, that the President would “learn a lesson” was as foolhardy as Mr. Trump himself.  The authoritarian use of verbiage, by the President, of the two-word phrase “the country” in place of his name, should be a warning to us all.  

Mr. Trump is following the example of dictators and giving notice that he is the State and in his words “fake news” is the enemy, much like past authoritarians.  In 2007 Hugo Chavez called the media “his next enemy of the state.” In 1997 a Russian paper staffed by 15 members was called ‘unpatriotic’ and ‘enemy of the state.’  So far, all the warnings signs of totalitarianism and anti-Semitic purges only elicit shoulder shrugs.  If you couple the followers of Trump with his open embrace of White Supremacy, and violence, even the President not leaving, if voted out, no longer seems like crazy cynicism. Maybe Bill Maher is not as, quote—funny—unquote, as we think:

After watching the President obviously look down, throughout his rant, at a predetermined enemies list, the idea no longer seems so far-fetched. Would a delusional man, fueled by his own rage, ignorance, and revenge admit defeat? Oh in my heart of hearts I have faith that eventually sanity would reign, and he would leave, but at what additional cost; another “perfect phone call?” The tightly woven patriotic threads of the American fabric have been so ripped that we may be left only with the tatters to keep us warm.

The abhorrent is becoming the norm under this President. A recent example was that experienced by Adrian Iraola a Mexican born American and business owner who ironically was attending a race and diversity forum in the school district his now-grown children once attended.        

For those of us who have lived with this throughout our lives, let me assure those who have not, it hurts, but not in the way you think. I have become inured to ignorance because you cannot survive if you do not. The pain comes when you fear for your young grandkids as they walk out the door for school and Tom Burtell awaits them.

Vote in 2020 for Change.