I heartily disagree with J. D. Vance. We are spending all kinds of time and ink trying to gentrify ugliness, because these belief holders are our relatives, our neighbors or our friends. We cannot face the simple notion that these attitudes framed by Donald Trump and embraced by his followers (Mexicans are criminals, Muslims are terrorists, blacks are lazy, etc.) are simply racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, cruel and hateful.
I sit in deep blue California at restaurants, social settings, bars and gatherings and listen to the things people say when they are liberated from social niceties and decorum, and I can confirm that a really disturbing number of people you would call financially comfortable and educated believe these things are true. There has always been dissatisfaction with the job, the government and so forth. What Donald Trump has tapped into is not that. He, with the aid of the media, has sought to popularize hatred.
Note from KBJ: When did Donald Trump say that "Mexicans are criminals, Muslims are terrorists, blacks are lazy, etc."? Are you making this stuff up, Nancy? Surely what he meant, even if he said those things (which, to my knowledge, he did not), is that some Mexicans are criminals, some Muslims are terrorists, and some blacks are lazy, all of which are patently true. With all due respect, Nancy, it sounds like you're the hater.
Gorgeous autumn weather in North Texas. The temperature was 72º when I left the house on my bike ride and 78º when I returned. The sky is bright blue. Today's ride of 34.3 miles gives me 583.1 for September (in 17 rides), which is an average of 19.4 miles per day. I now have 4,777.3 miles for the year, with three months to go.
According to Karl Rove (a.k.a. Bush's Brain), Donald Trump's "retorts" during Monday night's presidential debate with Hillary Clinton were "flip and undisciplined." Has this man not been paying attention? Donald Trump is where he is (viz., the Republican nominee for president) because he's not your standard politician. He was terrific during the debate. He did everything he needed to do and more. Was he polished? No, but that's what people hate about politicians. Was he steeped in facts? No, but that's not what we expect (or want) from our president. (We want character, management ability, and leadership.) Was he composed? Yes. No normal person would stand idly by when aspersions about his or her character are made, and Trump didn't. He exuded manliness, which, in our feminized culture, is refreshing.
Does Rove not realize that the main thing people like about Trump, and the reason many of us support him, is that (pardon the vulgarity) he doesn't take shit from anyone? How could someone not know this at this late date? Let me say it again: Trump wiped the floor with Clinton. She came across as Nurse Ratched (to use Rush Limbaugh's apt comparison). She's shrill, smug, contemptuous, and, frankly, boring. Yada yada. Trump proved that can hold his own with a lifetime politician, and that makes him the winner of the debate.
Some of you will recall that I'm reading the 10-volume Encyclopedia of Philosophy (second edition) at the rate of two pages per day. I've been at it since 24 April 2007. Today I finished the letter "T." Among the entries I've read are:
Tagore, Rabindranath Teleological Argument for the Existence of God Tense Terrorism Thales of Miletus Thinking Thomism Time in Physics Truth and Falsity in Indian Philosophy Turing, Alan M.
I read the two pages first thing in the morning. It takes about 15 minutes.
Re “From ‘Dunderhead’ to Demagogue” (Books of The Times, Sept. 28):
I read Michiko Kakutani’s review of a new book on Hitler with alarm. Hitler is described as an “egomaniac” with “characteristic fondness for superlatives.” Hitler was also known for his “bottomless mendacity.” He was also an “effective orator and actor” who peppered his speeches with “coarse phrases and put-downs of hecklers.”
Hitler presented himself in messianic terms promising “to lead Germany to a new era of national greatness.” His actual knowledge of matters was limited. Hitler’s rise could have been halted, but was not, given an “erosion of the political center” and the country’s resentment of elites. There was government dysfunction because of the unwillingness of political parties to compromise.
Many in the country believed that they needed “a man of iron” to shake things up. Hitler was willing to do away with the rule of law and separation of powers. He had a dark view of the world.
Are not all of those characteristics applicable to Donald Trump? As Thomas L. Friedman concludes in “Trump? How Could We?” (column, Sept. 28), “Electing such a man would be insanity.”
I sincerely hope this country’s citizens are not insane.
Note from KBJ: I thought this letter was about Barack Obama until I got to the penultimate paragraph. Think about it. We elected a community organizer, i.e., a rabble-rouser, as our president. Where was Marc Chafetz with his Hitler analogy when we needed him?
Katherine, her nine-year-old grandson (my stepgrandson) Lukas, and I went to the Ballpark in Arlington yesterday evening to watch the Texas Rangers play the Milwaukee Brewers. The Rangers have clinched the American League West Division title, but are still trying to gain home-field advantage throughout the playoffs by having the best record in the American League. (The American League won the All-Star game in July, so the American League team will have home-field advantage in the World Series.) In short, the game mattered.
The Rangers fell behind, 3-0, but rallied to tie the game and eventually won, 6-4. Usually, we sit in the third deck (which I enjoy), but for this game we got seats in the first (lowest) deck. We were in the eighth row near the third-base (Brewers) dugout. Luki brought his glove in case a foul ball came our way. Nothing came close until late in the game, when a man two rows behind us retrieved a foul ball struck by Brewers player Scooter Gennett. To my surprise, the man handed the ball to Luki! Needless to say, Luki was overjoyed. He held the ball tightly and stared at it, smiling. We thanked the man for his kindness. What a nice gesture!
After the game ended, and as fans filed out, we noticed a Brewers player near the stands talking to people and signing autographs. I decided to take the bull by the horns and try to get Luki an autograph. As I waited, unobtrusively, with ball and pen in hand, I realized that the player (whom I didn't recognize; keep in mind that the Brewers play in the National League and are rarely on television here in Texas) was greeting family and friends. (It turns out he's from Denton, Texas.) An older man was between me and the player. He was smiling and happy. I said, "Do you know this player?" He replied, "That's my son." I said, "You must be very proud." He saw the ball and pen in my hand and said he'd have his son (relief pitcher Corey Knebel) sign the ball for us, which he promptly did. I told him Luki would be a fan of his son's for life. He laughed and said, "Now you have to root for the Brewers."
What a perfect evening! We had great seats; the weather was delightful (temperature in the low 70s at the start and the mid-60s by game's end); Luki got a baseball (against all odds); and he even got a Major League autograph. Oh yes, the Rangers won. The two teams contending for best record, the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians, lost.
Re “Democrats Try to Reel Back In the Disaffected” (front page, Sept. 16):
For the past 30 years, Hillary Clinton has been accused, investigated, questioned, subpoenaed, summoned, condemned through innuendo, wrongly and repeatedly described as untrustworthy by the media, and held to a higher standard than a man as she runs for president. And yet, over these 30 years, she has not been found guilty of a crime or misdeed.
Donald Trump is a businessman who has numerous documented instances of housing discrimination against African-Americans; of not paying workers and contractors agreed-upon expenses and wages; of lying, bullying, denigrating women and denying climate change.
Come on, people. Hillary is not a saint, and neither are any of us. We don’t have the luxury to ponder a vote for a third-party candidate. We can’t sit out an election of such importance. There is no “maybe I’ll send a message of protest,” there is no equivocation, there is no question! A vote for Hillary will beat back the dark forces of hatred and bigotry rising up before our eyes.
Note from KBJ: This letter to the editor inspires a slogan: "Hillary Clinton: Not Imprisoned Yet!"