I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
August 25, 2016 - 11:04 a.m.
Let's see if I can start an entry without discussing how tired I am. Nope, I can't. Yesterday was my best day since starting on the Hydroxyzine, I only napped on a bus ride and I often do that anyway. I wasn't my regular peppy self but my eyes weren't closing of their own accord most of the day. Now they are. Part of me wants to stop writing and close my eyes and I know that means falling asleep. I just made an epic yawn. Do you make a yawn? How do you put that? While I'm asking about grammar what's the possessive of sister-in-law? The plural is sisters-in-law but sister's-in-law can't be right. With questions like that hanging over my head, is it any wonder I suffer from anxiety?
Yesterday was therapy. I love my therapist. I am also getting the commute down pat, at least if I get a ride to New Rochelle. I arrive just five minutes before my session. We ran a bit long because of making new appointments. I then walked back to the train station and just made the 2:53. I usually have to wait for the 3:23. Of course I have changed my schedule for now on so that won't be happening again. But I also won't risk being late for the session and the waiting will be equally divided before and after the session. Afterward I usually wait for the bus.
I made my connections and got home early. Even though I was feeling awake I stayed in. I had nothing particular to do so why go out?
I finished the Sarah Jane Adventures and tried the free episode of K-9. That was horrible. I'd say don't watch it but then you'd never know how truly bad it is. Everything is wrong about it including redesigning K-9 to make him cuter, he now has floppy ears. He also flies.
Now to turn political. I'm going to write about something I've seen written about but I haven't seen my friends discussing on Facebook. That means there's a void to be filled. I'm going to put it in a context I haven't seen before.
Trump seems to be setting the stage for him to claim the election was stolen when he loses. He'd mobilizing his supporters to police the polls. He's saying that he's clearly ahead, well as long as you ignore polls and just look at the size of rallies, so if he loses it must be because of monkey business. We've never had candidate not concede an election even ones with legitimate disputes as Nixon's loss in 1960 and Gore's in 2000. What happens if a significant portion of the country does not accept the results of an election? That could be disastrous. If the president is illegitimate, then the rule of law is in grave danger. Will it happen? I doubt it, America's institutions are too strong, but it's a danger. What makes it more likely to happen, if not now, then in the future, is that it's part of a trend of delegitimizing the president.
It started in Bill Clinton's second term. The GOP emboldened by their success in the congressional elections decided to impeach Clinton over something which is in no way an impeachable offense. They tried to literally turn marital infidelity into a federal case. It failed but it set the staged.
Then came 2000. George W. Bush not only lost the popular vote to Gore but the result in the key state of Florida, and thus the election, was decided by the Supreme Court on a strict party line vote. Gore was a mensch and conceded. The Democratic Party was not vindictive on an official level but many people, including me, had trouble accepting the Bush presidency. I accepted it but through gritted teeth.
Then came 2004 and sadly despite lying and bringing us into war Bush was reelected. This time he won the popular vote. He clearly won the election but many Democrats, again not at the official level, couldn't accept it. They cried, "Fraud!" The rationale was that the early exit polls from Ohio showed Kerry winning and then he lost Ohio, and the election. But exit polls are not designed to predict winners. The sampling is far from random. People leaving the polls are asked to do a long interview. There are known biases that favor Democrats in the process. The purpose of exit polls is to find out the reasons people voted as they did, not predict the winners. But that didn't stop people from claiming that Bush stole the election. There was also a movement to impeach him. As much as I hated him I feared that. I didn't want the losing party if they gained control of congress to routinely impeach the president. If Bush had been impeached there's a good chance that Obama would have been too.
Then came Obama in 2008. He soundly beat McCain and nobody doubted that. So the attack on legitimacy switched to Obama's eligibility to be president; the infamous claim that he was born in Kenya. A huge number of Republicans still believe it. Now it got worse, members of congress were questioning his legitimacy. One of the leaders of the "Birther" movement was Donald Trump, who is now the GOP candidate.
In 2012 Obama beat Romney in a closer election than the previous one. The Birthers didn't give up their attacks and now prominent Republicans were claiming the election was stolen as they "knew" Romney had more support. It was still at the level of bitching and griping and didn't gain much traction. The Birthers had more legs.
There's one more layer to this, the Republican effort to enact Voter ID laws. They are really to suppress minority votes but the justification given is to fight election fraud. If they keep saying that election fraud is a big problem, they have to expect that some people will come to believe them.
The results of the last five elections have in some way or other been challenged by the losers. This is not something new to Trump. One of the challenges, 2000, was justified. The others weren't. Is this going to become the new normal? Have we become a country of sore losers? As always in these things we should start by watching our own behavior. There are consequences to not accepting election results that go beyond that particular election. The behavior of the GOP leaders will be crucial. We can be sure that if Trump questions the results his most ardent followers will too. But that's a minority of a minority. We have to hope it doesn't spread beyond that. It's the duty of responsible leaders to lead, not follow the crowd. I hope they step forward.
OK, it's bacon and eggs day here. That's far more pleasant to think about than politics.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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