Book : : The UNWINDING : An Inner History of the New America, by George Packer

Each of us has arrived on Earth with a sacred rear-view mirror.  This blessed feature of being human enables us to learn from our mistakes by watching instant replays of the past.  Some of them are etched in our memories for decades. And some of these get viewed with a preface If only I had . . . 

This ability to learn from our mistakes requires peering into that mirror, as much as it may discomfort us.  Yes, some of us are quicker than others to catch on.  But pain is a patient and persistent teacher.  

Photo by John Pollard, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

George Packer understands this :  We live in stories, and thousands of instructive stories dwell inside of us.  Learning to squeeze juice out of them is key.  Too often we glory in our own retelling, rather than extracting the lessons for application today.

Packer has paid close attention to the events of the past 50 years of American history.  He’s a brilliant storyteller, using an unusual approach — close-up accounts of the lives of (mostly) regular citizens.  Yes, there are a few “great men”/great women who people his historical tellings, but he’s inclusive, and  uses a full-spectrum palette,  His real life characters present a slow-motion train wreck of the country’s recent past, with hope for the future.  As we approach our next presidential election, Lincoln Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians would likely find  THE UNWINDING  entertaining, edifying, and informative., refreshingly without polemics. (Published before Trump was nominated originally.)  National Book Award, nonfiction, 2013.  (A shout out to friend Jeff for lending me his copy!)  There’s a forward-looking article by him about America’s dawning opportunity in the October issue of  The Atlantic, online.

 

FAKE LEADERSHIP : : with a degree and commission from Trump University !!!

I am the very model of a modern Major-General  ~Don, the Con’

    The item excerpted below, written by David Frum, former GOP speech-writer for President George W. Bush,  offers a brisk recounting of the timeline of Trump’s slow-motion disaster, titled  THIS IS TRUMP’S FAULT
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EXCERPT:
“I don’t take responsibility at all,” said President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden on March 13. Those words will probably end up as the epitaph of his presidency, the single sentence that sums it all up.
     Trump now fancies himself a “wartime president.” How is his war going? By the end of March, the coronavirus had killed more Americans than the 9/11 attacks. By the first weekend in April, the virus had killed more Americans than any single battle of the Civil War. By Easter, it may have killed more Americans than the Korean War. On the present trajectory, it will kill, by late April, more Americans than Vietnam. Having earlier promised that casualties could be held near zero, Trump now claims he will have done a “very good job” if the toll is held below 200,000 dead.
     That the pandemic occurred is not Trump’s fault. The utter unpreparedness of the United States for a pandemic is Trump’s fault. The loss of stockpiled respirators to breakage because the federal government let maintenance contracts lapse in 2018 is Trump’s fault. The failure to store sufficient protective medical gear in the national arsenal is Trump’s fault. That states are bidding against other states for equipment, paying many multiples of the pre-crisis price for ventilators, is Trump’s fault. Air travelers summoned home and forced to stand for hours in dense airport crowds alongside infected people? That was Trump’s fault too. Ten weeks of insisting that the coronavirus is a harmless flu that would miraculously go away on its own? Trump’s fault again.  [. . . more. . . ]   SOURCE : The Atlantic
SEE ALSO, a detailed timeline article at NYTimes, excerpted far below.
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BUT MAYBE, just maybe, it’s our fault for electing someone so incompetent, to lead us.  Yes, we’ve hired  Fake leadership !!!   Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.
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Beneath the cartoon are illustrations from Trump’s leadership logic, and his past.
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At his Tuesday circus-like press briefing, ostensibly about the coronavirus crisis, a reporter pressed him on his opposition to voting by mail. While he declared categorically that voting by mail is bad, the reporter pointed out that he, in fact, votes by mail.

Trump had no coherent response.

“But you voted by mail in Florida’s election last month, didn’t you?” a reporter asked.

“Sure! I can vote by mail,” Trump said, refusing to recognize his contradiction.

“How do you reconcile that?” the reporter responded.

“Because I’m allowed to!” Trump shot back. Of course, the whole question at issue is whether everyone should be allowed to vote by mail.  [. . . more. . .]

SOURCE : Alternet

Excerpt > > from Nick Kristof  (NYT)   on Blowhard Contagion :

[In 2009] Donald Trump called into Fox News and dismissed concern about the swine flu, telling host Neil Cavuto that “it’s going to go away.” Trump also cautioned that “the vaccines can be very dangerous.”

Far-right members of Congress like Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun, both Republicans from Georgia, scorned the flu as a case of “panic” and “hysteria” and denounced government plans for spending money on a vaccine for it.

[In 2020] “We’re going very substantially down, not up,” Trump said on Feb. 26 of the number of infections. This was completely incorrect, and he piled on more narcissism: “We have it so well under control. I mean, we really have done a very good job.”  < end excerpt, NYT >

NEWS FLASH  (cnn) :  Trump has just re-tweeted somebody’s call to fire one of the few scientific thinkers in his inner circle, Dr Anthony Fauci, cleary not a “yes man”.  Yep, FAKE LEADERSHIP.  No expertise allowed.

 

JOE BIDEN : : SLEEP WALKER

 

Click here to watch Joe snooze.   short video  / no ads

Dear Democratic National Committee :  I promise to stay home on election day if you nominate Sleepy Joe Biden, a slam-dunk loser, an instant replay of Hillary 2016.  Please wake up!

From TheAtlantic [emphasis added by me] :  This spring, Joe Biden, who entered the 2020 presidential campaign selling himself as the Democrats’ Trump-slayer, gave a speech in which he discussed the event that, nearly 30 years later, remains an open wound for many: Anita Hill’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee alleging that Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her. “She was abused through the hearing,” Biden acknowledged. “She was taken advantage of. Her reputation was attacked.” He paused. “I wish I could have done something.”

Biden failed to mention that he had been the chair of the Judiciary Committee during the hearing—that, in fact, the person in the best position to have done something to help Hill had been Joe Biden. But the kind of slippery nonapology he offered—at an event called the Biden Courage Awards—was standard rhetoric for Biden, so common that the Hill family had turned it into a joke. Whenever the doorbell rang unexpectedly, Hill said last year, someone in the house might shout, “Oh, is that Joe Biden coming to apologize?”

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For a hard-hitting, but deeply-caring look at our governance problems, I invite you to read “The Enemy Within” – an  essay from Truthdig by (NYT) Pulitzer winner, Chris Hedges, cautioning against more of the same from both parties.