Barbados Redux

We were first in Barbados about thirty years ago on an emergency trip from London in search of some March fun in the sun.  Darling Wife S. and I had booked rather late, but there were many flights on British Airways to the former island colony.  In fact, Barbados did not get its independence and enter commonwealth status until 1966, so the remnants of the Caribbean raj were still much in evidence.  If one stayed at the iconic Sandy Lane, (still going strong), one might have thought to be on the coast of Devon with, of course, some tropical accoutrements.

Today, things have changed. Time does that, doesn’t it?  I no longer hear the lilt of of the natives speaking with a faint English accent.  Believe it or not, it’s now the American that I hear coming through.  All along the beach at least, near the Cobbler’s Cove hotel where we stayed, are now very large, maintenance-deferred, somewhat tawdry beach mansions built, I assume, by the English in better days.  Greek Revival, faux Mediterranean, and a little of everything else.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, you can still get kippered herring for breakfast, but the bacon has become Americanized.

I detected a little melancholia in attitude of the locals that I spoke to.  Our guide and driver, Adrian, lamented that tourism was the only revenue producing industry still standing – besides rum, that is – and even rum making is in jeopardy due to the islands inability to consistently produce enough sugar cane syrup.  Later Adrian admitted that the island was self-sufficient only in a surfeit of tourists.  Not enough oil, not enough food, no (or little) high tech, no off-shore finance.  Just a constant stream of cruise ships and airplanes bringing pasty-skinned gringos in search of early spring sun with their dollars and pound sterling in pocket.

I’m sure that most of you are up to speed on your Barbadian history, but let me refresh you on just a couple of points.  Barbados was initially inhabited by the Amer-Indian around 500 CE, probably from Venezuela, and a later wave of Arawaks in the 8th century, and finally the Caribs (a mean group if there ever was one) in the mid-13th century.  Sooner than you you would think, the Portuguese were poking around the islands looking for gold, as was their wont, and stumbled on the eastern most of the Caribbean islands.  They named it Barbados, or the “Bearded One.”  No, the Caribs had not forgotten to shave, the beard idea came from the local fig tree that sported long tendrils much like a beard.  Go figure.  Not long thereafter the Brits showed up and stayed the course for some 300 years.  Finally in 1966, the island gained its independence and assumed Commonwealth status which it still enjoys, or doesn’t, depending on who you talk to.  However, the Brits have not stopped coming here for the very good reason that the weather really sucks around March in England, and most self-respecting Brits are looking for someplace with certain sunshine to repair too.  Just as my family did in 1986, our first visit to the island.

Oops.  One important part of Bajan history that I omitted.  Slavery.  Yep, they had that here too.  It was here from the beginning – initially established by the Portuguese and Spanish.  It continued on as the need for cheap labor on the sugar cane plantations overwhelmed common sense and humanity…at least until 1807, when a first step was taken by the British to abolish the slave trade, but not slavery.  Clever fellows those Brits.  There were a few hiccups along the way.  In 1816 a mass slave rebellion was undertaken by a chap named Bussa and about 20,000 of his fellows.  This uprising ended like most of its ilk with lots of black slaves being killed and a few hundred white plantation owners made richer.  In 1834 when England abolished slavery for themselves and all of its colonies, the then governor in Barbados slipped in a four year “apprenticeship” clause wherein the former slaves still weren’t paid, but provided a form of housing and a continuing “job” in the sugar cane fields.  Again, clever fellows those Brits.

Fast forward to 2017.   A lot has changed, perhaps some of it is even for the better. They still drive on the wrong side of the road and navigate roundabouts instead of intersections. There is still kippered herring on the breakfast menu, they are still a member of the Queen’s commonwealth, and the people here are still friendly to the tourists, but one has to think that there’s more that could have been done. While education is compulsory and free for children until age sixteen, they only have one two-year community college and one four-year Anglican college.  They are members of the University of the West Indies which serves eighteen English speaking countries in the Caribbean.  The problem, of course, is that few can afford even the nominal costs associated with higher education.  It is, more or less, Commonwealth oriented with an enrollment of 36,000 on four campuses…but none in Barbados.  Their balance of trade is a disaster.  They export roughly $600 million and import about three times that.  The commercial landscape is dominated by British and American brands.  Barclay’s Bank, Kentucky Fried Chicken, et al.  The one Barbadian brand that has been a winner is the convenience-store-cum-fast-food franchise, Chefette.  Okay, I know the name could use some work.  They are known locally as the McDonald’s killer.  Get this.  They were recognized by Travel+Leisure magazine as one of the top fast food chains.

I dunno where this all goes.  Every Barbadian I talked to loved their country, and wanted to spend their lives here.  They all have relatives in New York City or Houston or London. But home is where their heart is.  There is an Association of Caribbean States composed of twenty-five countries of the Caribbean Basin, but it hasn’t been seen to make much of a positive difference in the economic development of the region.  I wonder if anything can.

So back to Cobbler’s Cove.  This hotel is tipped to be one of the top two or three on the island, but I suspect the final standing depends on what you’re looking for.  As I said, it has its quirks, but they go into the mix…which comes out charming if you’re somewhere north of Medicare age and obviously don’t have kids; or are from the north of England and will do anything or stay anywhere there is sun and other Brits, kippered herring, and The Daily Telegraph.  I was amused by the Rules of the Road for using the restaurant.  It said that children were allowed “so long as they could sit up properly in their chairs and did not run around.”  I swear.  Those are the exact words.

We did not meet nor socialize with any of the other patrons, which is true to form for us in most cases.  Although I was tempted last night.  There was an American blowhard in a navy blazer complete with pocket hanky and no socks (that’s three strikes from the outset) holding forth at the bar.  S. and I were minding our own business playing a pre-prandial game of electronic scrabble, but I could not help but overhear this guy’s BS.  When he got around to Martha’s Vineyard for the second time and his boarding school experience, I could take it no more.  I made a move to the bar, but S. gave me a deadly finger wag for which I learned the meaning long ago.  I tried to explain to her that all I wanted to do was provide some learned and well-cultivated counter-BS.  It was to no avail.

As I mentioned at the outset, it’s been thirty years since our last visit here, and  I suspect it will be at least another thirty.

 

The Ties of Trump

I’ve had this post in mind for years.  Well, maybe not years, but certainly for months or days.  I was finally motivated to act (or write) by being scooped by none other than that liberal rag, The New York Times.  A presumably professional journalist named Richard Thompson Ford published on Feb. 10, 2017, an article entitled “The Ties That Blind.”  I know you’ll agree with me that this is a really weak title…and beyond that, his piece was shot through with mistakes.  He starts out by saying that Trump cannot tie a necktie properly.  Hah!  Now I’m certainly not a Trumpy, but I know a well-tied four-in-hand when I see one. And then, said journalist goes on to criticize the length of Trump’s tie, falling as it does well below the belt line.  What a crock!  As you will soon see, that is exactly where Trump’s tie should terminate…at his crotch.

First, let me give you my bona fides with respect to neck wear and sartorial matters.  As a young buck, I was the chief, in fact, the only, tie buyer for the dry goods store in my college town.  I remember vividly my first foray into the Dallas Apparel Mart with the explicit mission of of buying the season’s supply of ties, shirt and socks.  I can only be glad that I didn’t have to eat what I bought and then couldn’t sell.  After college, my first job was with a large downtown department store as an assistant-manager-in-training in the Menswear division…which, of course, included responsibility for the tie department.  Let me tell you, I’ve been really deep in ties for a long, long time.  If you add to this the fact that I’ve always been “tie challenged,” you will understand why I have empathy for Trump’s Tie Dilemma.  My own tie challenge arises from the fact that I am perhaps the world’s tallest sitting man.  The length of my torso and my legs are disproportionate in the extreme.  At 6’1″, I have the sitting profile of an NBA player, but, unfortunately, my legs are those of one barely rising to 5’6″.  I learned early in manhood to deal with this bodily distortion, except, that is, with respect to how to tie the perfect necktie.

A few basics on men’s neckties are in order.  Your average men’s tie is 57 inches in length, with a “long” stretching to 60 inches. The problem, of course, is that virtually no men’s store ever has any long ties.  I’m not going to get into tie fabrics because, well, it’s just too complicated.  For example, can you tell me exactly what a “silk rep” tie is?  No, I thought so.  I can’t either.  Same for color.  Let’s talk about knots.  That’s where the NYT guy went astray.  Did you know that according to some Swedish pundit in Stockholm there are 177,147 ways to tie a man’s necktie?  I don’t know how he figured this out, but like so many other things involving big numbers, there’s no way to prove them wrong.  A pair of Cambridge mathematicians determined there were 85 ways to tie a tie.  I think even they are stretching it a bit, but, who knows, they may be including string ties and bolos for all I know.  I dug through some old books on men’s ettiquette and found one that said there were only 18 traditional tie knots.  Not bad, but, and you need to listen to me on this… there are really only 4 knots (3 if you exclude the bow tie) that your normal man needs to know to be in the first rank of tie tiers.  There is the aforementioned four-in-hand, half Windsor and whole Windsor.  Most guys get the four-in-hand confused with the half Windsor, so you really only have to worry about 2.  The half and full Windsors.  I’m a half Windsor man myself, due in large part to the fact that a whole Windsor takes up so much tie fabric that the resulting end point only hits about my breast bone.  Not good! (as Trump would tweet).

Let me digress for a moment to the dreaded bow tie. I say dreaded, because there are only 3 or 4 people in any decent-sized metropolitan area that know how to tie a classic bow.  Everyone else uses the clip-on.  A case in point…years ago I was hosting a black tie business event at a toney London hotel.  I thought I had packed carefully to include the newest version of a dress bow tie – it looked like the real thing, but actually buttoned on in back.  Alas, I found minutes before the start of the event that I had, in reality, packed a “real” black bow tie, which defied being tied by me or anyone else that I could call on in that moment.  My options were limited…go without a tie, use a normal tie with half Windsor knot, or run for cover.  I opened the door to my hotel room and saw a room service waiter, wearing a black clip-on bow tie, delivering food to the room next to mine.  A few quick, pleading words and 20 quid later, I had my tie.

So back to the Trump Tie Dilemma.  I know why he wears his ties so long, and no, it’s not because he wants the end to point towards his, um, you know what.  It’s simple. Trump is a big man, and looks to be getting bigger as the days of his presidency wear on and the calories add up.  His waist line is expanding at an expanding rate.  His sartorial choices are becoming more limited.  I learned long ago as I raced past the 36-inch waistline of my middle age, to always remember to use the concept of verticallity.  Nothing horizontal ever.  Surely you’ve seen a guy that’s on the wrong side of too many cheeseburgers, wearing a garish polo shirt with broad horizontal stripes… What does he look like?  You got it.  He looks like the Pillsbury Doughboy gone to seed. No way.  But Trump does it right.  He wears a long, and I mean extra long, tie to emphasize his verticallity. He makes himself look taller and slimmer with a $500.00 custom made tie.  You got to admit, it beats liposuction.

To quote my favorite political analyst, P.J. O’Rourke, “Trump is 6’3″ and wears a Windsor (it’s really a four-in hand) knot.  How does he get the tip of his tie to go where no tie has ever gone before, hanging midway between his nuts and his knees?”   O’Rourke answers that he does it on purpose.  He works at it.  And it works for him.

There has been a scurrilous photo circulating on the internet showing the wind blowing Trump’s tie to the point where one can clearly see the patch of scotch tape holding the two ends of his tie together.  Some have poked fun at him for using such an artifice.  Not me, I’m only glad that he’s not using a  more than tacky tie tack.

So for those of us of a certain age and shape, long ties are in.  Trump included.

 

How to Confirm a Supreme Court Nominee

I can safely predict that you will be more than sick and tired of originalism / textualism / strict constructionism / original intent / original meaning and judicial activism by the time that Trump’s first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, has been dispatched – or not – as the newest member of the Court for Life.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to try to persuade you one way or the other with respect to Mr. Gorsuch.  And it may come as some surprise to those of you who have rightly identified me as a left leaning, progressive Democrat of the rascal, yeller dog variety, that I believe the prez should be given quite a wide latitude with respect to his nominees to the Court…no matter how painful the result may be.  Yes, I got it that there has to be a certain amount of to-ing and fro-ing as a part of the political theatre that has come to be the norm for this confirmation process.  And in light of the Repubs refusal to even give Obama’s last nominee a hearing, I can understand the need for more than a little grousing from the Dems.

I don’t want you to just trust me on this, so let’s go to the source.  Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution says simply that “He (the prez) shall nominate, and by, and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint…judges of the Supreme Court.”  That’s it.  No qualifications required.  No age, no gender, no ivy league education mandated.  Not even a law degree.  Presumably the nominee would be a citizen, but as to the “advice and consent of the Senate,” I guess the prez could nominate pretty much anyone or anything, including a three-legged dog and expect to get him confirmed.  And that’s how it has turned out over the years…well, excepting Robert Bork.  BTW there is nada for guidance on what constitutes “Advice and Consent.”  But we do know this…the process by which Advice and Consent is arrived has become a torturous process that consumes an infinite amount of air time and column inches, as well as unmeasurable quantities of hot air expelled by the givers of said Advice and Consent.  Let’s see.  When William Brennan was nominated in 1956 by Ike, it took the Judiciary Committee three hours (barely enough time for opening statements today) to determine that he was qualified.  It took seven hours for the Judiciary Committee to vet and approve William Rehnquist in 1972, even though he had more than a little problem with the truth on some matters, but John Roberts and Elena Kagan required over twenty hours of mostly disrespectful grilling.  Hmmm?  Go figure.  Were Roberts and Kagan more dubious characters than, say, Clarence Thomas?  I doubt it.

Obviously, politics unfortunately looms large on the stage of political theatre…which is what these hearings are all about.  And now we will have to suffer god knows how many hours in an effort to discern where Gorusuch lies on the ideological spectrum between the recently departed and sanctified Antonin Scalia (darling of the originalism crowd) and Ruth Bader Ginsberg (queen of judicial activism).  We should not be surprised when a president selects one with his own ideological leanings as a nominee.  Thus, when Trump nominated Gorsuch, we can be sure that it validated Trump’s judicial philosophy of original intent, or was it original meaning…or maybe it’s his penchant for textualism within the context of originalism…  Yeah, you bet.  I’m pretty sure Trump doesn’t know the difference between strict constructionism and a Swedish meatball.  And furthermore, he doesn’t care.  The Federalist Society – Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon and a partridge in a pear tree – whispered, “Gorsuch” in his ear, and, presto-chango, Gorsuch it was.

Yes, originalism will get a lot of play in the upcoming hearings, if only because Scalia was its godfather, and, of course, we need someone in the image of Scalia to replace Scalia…maybe without the opera.  Oddly, the term and the judicial philosophy of originalism did not come into currency until the mid-1980’s.  These were the Reagan years, and lots of strange ideas were floating around.  Now we have a new poster boy for a judicial concept that almost no one understands and absolutely no one can explain.  But if you parse it down to the basics:  the Court should be guided only by how it (the Constitution) was originally written.  Huh?  Whazzat?  I don’t know if you’ve recently read anything written circa 1789, but it might just sound a little strange.  And then there’s the context of the times.  When TJ and a few other old white dudes were writing in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3, that, “the United States Congress shall have the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states and with the Indian Tribes…,” do you think he really believed that commerce with the Indian Tribes would be a big issue for us going forward? For christ’s sake, they didn’t even have casinos then. Or how about the “great compromise” language, wherein our founding worthies agreed to count slaves (other persons) as 3/5 of a person for purposes of apportionment.  Did we get the “original intent” right?  Is there any question as to the “original meaning” and “strict construction” of “other persons”?  Oh, you say, things have changed.  Yep.  You bet.  We now have toaster ovens and no longer have slaves.

I’ve never heard the big lie put to the “original intent” discussion any better than a call-in guest to one of the NPR shows recently.  Cut me a little slack here, as I don’t have her exact words, but, in essence, she said, Why should she give a flip about the original intent of anything written by a bunch of old, white guys who constitutionally permitted slavery and denied the right of women to vote?  You gotta admit that she’s got a point there.  I’d loved to have been a fly on the wall when Madison and Hamilton, for example, discussed the “original intent” of the 8th Amendment, which says in part, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment be inflicted….”  I don’t know what was considered to be excessive then, but I’d bet a lot that what Madison thought was excessive then and what a young black man busted for selling some crank thinks excessive today would be considerably different.  I can just hear the echo:  Hamilton, “James, don’t you think that putting one in stocks and flogging them may be a bit ‘cruel and unusual?'”  Madison, “No way, we do it all the time down in Virginia and no one’s ever complained.”  Hamilton, “What about hanging?”  Madison, “Been doing it for years, it’s a good way to get rid of the bad apples.”  Obviously, something has changed.  The 8th amendment now is clearly understood to preclude flogging, and hanging is also out…but giving someone a toxic cocktail of chemicals to kill them while “witnesses” watch is now okay.  BTW, the last “judicial” flogging was mandated and took place in in Delaware in 1952.  So much for “original meaning.”  Just how did flogging, relying on the constitution in 1790, move from being accepted practice by the body politic, to now being determined to be “cruel and unusual,” when the 8th amendment stands intact with no changes?

But the best example of all is the Plessy v. Ferguson case of 1896 which validated the concept of “separate but equal” as it applied to the attendant rights of the negro race. But in 1954, the ruling of the Supreme Court in Brown v. Topeka Board of Education found that Plessy was no longer valid.  Separate schools for blacks was contrary to the Constitution and would no longer be tolerated.  It was unconstitutional.  In the interregnum between 1896 and 1954, the Constitution did not change.  It was, in 1954, exactly what it was in 1896, yet Brown completely changed the rules of the road, with respect to race in America, that had been more or less constant since 1787…or maybe better said, since the end of slavery in 1865.  The Court had now determined that the “original intent” of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution precluded the use of the Plessey doctrine of Separate but Equal.  Hmm.  The “original intent” changed.  But how could it?  Original is original, isn’t it?  No, of course not.  What changed was the views of society regarding racial relations in America, and the Court’s view reflected that change.  In the view of the Court, what ever the “original intent” of the framer’s of the 14th Amendment didn’t matter.  What mattered was what was right today.  And thank god they reflected that in their ruling.

So perhaps the best we can do with Mr. Gorsuch, is to focus less on his judicial philosophy and more on him as a human being.  What kind of person is he?  Is he well educated?  Does he have the requisite experience?  Is the sum of his life, lived to date, reflective of the kind of person we should trust to render legal judgements on the construct of our government and on fellow human beings?  If we can figure out the answer to those questions, the vote ought to be pretty easy.

 

 

 

I Lead Two Lives

Under Construction-to be competed soon

Remember the old kitschy spy series, in which the lead character was a normal citizen, spy and double agent…yeah, I thought so.  It dealt with the complexities of life that demanded the behavior of a regular joe, a communist spy, and an FBI counter spy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that my life which has devolved to life in the big city and life in the country is fraught with similar complexities.  Not by a long stretch.  Although, it does have its moments.

My plan was to live, more or less in equal parts, in our condo in Dallas county and our farm in Fannin county.  Actually, that’s not quite true.  I have never lived in Dallas county, but in a more defining subset known as Park Cities or better known as “the bubble”.  On the other hand, if you live anywhere in Fannin county, you pretty much live in Fannin county.  And the half and half has morphed in to much more time at the farm with only doctors and kidsport viewing pulling us back to Dallas.  I first alluded to the differences in a blog Doc’s Cafe in May of 2007.

Let me give you some context by using zip codes.  75446 for Fannin county and 75205 for “the bubble”.   Please do not read any of these stats as pejorative for any particular point of view.  I offer them only as a backdrop to my own somewhat bifurcated behaviors. The population of 75446 is about 3500 mostly in the eastern third of Fannin County and a small portion of Lamar county.  It is, of course, rural in nature with its target population center being Honey Grove with some 1600 souls.  It is, of course, very rural.  Before I spent much of my life here, I would have considered anyplace that was more than five minutes from a 7-11 store to be rural.  The nearest place to buy a loaf of bread of more than ten minutes away from our homestead here.  75205 is, on the other hand, a

 

Why I Would Never Vote for Trump.

I’m sure that the last thing any of you, discerning readers, want is more, any more, about the presidential election, or Hillary or the Trumpster. And yes, I know that I promised that my last posting on him would be my last. But like most politicians, I lied. I cannot help myself.

I recently read an interesting piece by a reporter for that reportedly liberal rag, The New York Times, wherein he posed a question to himself. It went something like this, “Will I be able to explain to my kids that I did all that I could to make sure Trump did not become president?” For those like me who are aghast at even the remote possibility of Trump as the leader of the free world and President of the United States, this was a form of a wake up call. Have I done all I should have done? Probably not.

Yes, I’ve made my thoughts on Trump known to all who will listen, and many who won’t. I’ve written two pieces posted on my blog web site detailing many, but not all, of the negative aspects of Trump. I’ve got two Clinton, Kaine yard signs posted at my farm. I’ve hosted a fund raiser for the Fannin County Democratic Party, and cheered on down ballot candidates for the  Party. As an aside, at the aforementioned fund raiser, Glenn Maxey who is the Legislative Director of the Texas Democratic Party and who bills himself as the first openly gay Texas state legislator commented with only a hint of tongue-in-cheek that in this part of Texas it’s often easier to be openly gay than openly Democrat.

So this is my last shot at Trump. I promise. I do this advisedly, knowing full well that some who read this will be Trump supporters for reasons of their own. And in this democracy, everyone has a right to vote…for reasons of their own. I respect that. But let me tell you why you should reconsider.

THE THREE (of many) REASONS WHY TRUMP DOES NOT DESERVE YOUR VOTE :

  1. Trump discriminates.  Trump has discriminated against blacks and other racial minorities his whole life. He and his father, Fred, purposefully set up a system keep blacks from renting apartments at their properties in New York.  They did this, presumedly under the theory that the presence of “people of color” in their apartments would diminish the value of the properties.  In short, he engaged in racial discrimination to make money. Plain and simple.  Yes he settled the discrimination suit that the Department of justice brought against him without a formal admission of guilt.  But that does not change the facts of what it is clear that he did.  His on-going discrimination against Latinos is in some ways more subtle but more evil.  He conflates one undocumented  Latino who commits any crime with all Latinos and concludes the only way to solve it is to build a big, beautiful wall, and send them all home.  He discriminates against those of a different (non-christian) religion by denying them entrance to the United States.  He discriminates against the physically disadvantaged by mocking them.  The discriminates against the weak and impoverished by paying no personal income tax for needed services.  He discriminates against some women by using his celebrity to sexually abuse them.  He discriminates against all women be demeaning their humanity while focusing on their sexual attributes. More on this later.  He discriminates against the small business owner and employee for refusing to pay their legitimate bills.  He discriminates against large financial institutions by repeatedly hiding behind the bankruptcy laws to avoid repaying legal debts.  In short…Donald Trump discriminates against those he has or can get power over.  He discriminates against pretty much everyone.  Character counts.
  2. Trump objectifies and demeans women. If you do one thing before you enter the voting booth, listen again to the Access Hollywood tapes, or take a look at the video.  I’m a 73 year old male of the species and I’ve seen and heard some pretty nasty stuff.  Nothing I’ve heard even approaches these casual statements by Trump.  When caught, he passed it off as “locker room talk”, and even his wife, Melania, said in an interview it was only “boisterous” talk, you know, boys being boys.  Are you kidding?  Straight from the mouth and mind of Donald Trump…

…..”I did try to f*#k her…I moved on her like a b@#ch”

…..And when you’re a star, they let you do it.  You can do anything.”

…..”Grab ’em by the p@#sy.  You can do anything.”

There are only two explanations for this behavior.  Either he said it and meant it, or he was bragging.  I don’t really know which is worse.  Worse, I mean as a reflection of the depravity of his character.  If I had to bet, it would be on the first of the explanations mainly because of the supporting evidence of the twelve women who have publicly revealed his behavior towards them.  Who knows how many more there are?

Is this what we want from a president?  I think not.  Would you bring him home for dinner? I think not. Invite him to your next church social? I think not. Represent you to the world at large.  Surely not.  Character counts.

3.  Trump mocks and demeans people with disabilities.  What, you say, does this have to do with his qualification to be president.    It may say nothing directly, but it says everything about his character, or lack thereof.  Let me give you the details in case you missed it.  Serge Kovaleski, a reporter for the New York Times had commented on Trump’s assertion that there were thousands of Muslims in Jersey dancing in the streets in the aftermath of 9-ll.   Trump took his comments as an affront to his personal veracity.  Which it certainly was.  What Trump then chose to do was not to argue the “facts”, he attacked the reporter.   Kovaleski suffers from a congenital disease called arthrogryposis.  Which, over time, causes joint contractures of one’s limbs. It can be a horribly disabling and disfiguring disease.  At one of Trumps rallies in July of this year, in an apparent effort to discredit the journalism of Serge, Trump gives his own mocking impression of the aforementioned reported. He contorted his own arms and tilted his head in an effort to portray the disfigurement of the reporter. When asked later about the mocking Trump said, “I’ve never met the guy so I couldn’t be aware of his condition, if I did (ever meet him) he should stop using his disability to grandstand and get back to reporting for a paper.”  Someone who will use the physical disability of another person to their own advantage is, well, I can’t come up with the right word for it.  All I can say is that for me this behavior represents an astonishing lack of character…particularly in one who has had every advantage in life.  As the old curmudgeon said, “this ole boy was born on third base, but told everyone he had hit a triple.”  Ok.  Everyone uses hyperbole to their advantage.  We all tell a few whoppers.   Some of us more than others.  But as Obama would say, “come on now…”, no one, and I mean no one has the right to demean another human because their body isn’t perfect, or their mind isn’t sharp.  Character counts.  Character counts a lot in a president.  And Trump doesn’t have any, or what he does have, as evidenced by the recitations above, is of pretty low class.

So these, then, are my disqualifying three.  There are many more.  Most of you know what they are too.  But with only these three…I would be embarrassed, even horrified to have Donald Trump as our president.  No, if, on the off chance that he wins, I will not “pick up my musket” or encourage others to exercise “their second amendment rights”.  I will bite my tongue and encourage all elected officials and citizens to make the best of a bad situation.

Our democracy is strong enough to carry on.