Sunday, December 9, 2018

Sanity Sunday Musical Break- Tribute to John Lennon

by Nomad


Yesterday marked the anniversary of the death of ex-Beatle John Lennon. It is just impossible for me to believe that 38 years have passed since that senseless murder outside the Dakota Apartment Building on 72nd and Central Park West.

When I heard the news, I recall thinking "how could this have happened?" (Today, inexplicable shootings by lunatics are almost cliche.)

Lennon's murder seemed to me even at the time like the end of a cycle. Conservative Ronald Reagan had only a month earlier been elected president. A right-winger who proudly said that he would have voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which ended segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin,.
This was a man who once said
“Unemployment insurance is a pre-paid vacation for freeloaders.”
And with him came a philosophy that proudly rejected so much of what Lennon stood for.
Here's a playlist of John Lennon songs. It begins with the news of his death.

Strange Days, Indeed

In a very real way, what we are presently living through with Donald Trump is the logical progression of the Reagan cycle. Even though it had once been carefully camouflaged, radical conservatism lacks a fundamental concept of the common good. 

The conservative approach was fairly simple. It taught Americans to hate the poor. And it showed that intolerance, including racism, was defensible.

Some people deserved to be rich (for whom we must shower admiration, glory and more tax cuts) and some are destined to remain poor (for whom we should never empathize nor share the merest crumbs from our table.) And, to seal the deal, the Far-Right Christian support added: God doesn't love the poor in the same way that He loves the rich.

It was only until the middle class was included in that cruel calculus that voters began to wake up to the reality of conservatism. Until that point, the American middle class could afford to not to give a damn.

Borrowed Time

In March, Drew Magary, writing for GQ Magazine, pointed out that, as awful as Trump seems, he is hardly an anomaly among Republicans.
There are shades of Trump in every Republican president of my lifetime. In Reagan, there is Trump's vacuous celebrity. In George H.W. Bush, there is a touch of Trump’s signature horniness. In George W. Bush, there are Trump’s malapropisms, his disdain for intellectuals, and a rich Northern boy’s need to look and sound tough. In all three men, there is Trump’s steadfast belief that the USA is exceptional, a literal gift from God and a shining beacon to the world. And my lifetime doesn't even cover Nixon, who could claim Trump as his spiritual love child.
It is obvious what Trump acquired from Nixon: the mentality of the "untouchable president." That's something every conservative president has believed (until Democratic presidents assume office.)

Every week- and every day- for the past two years, President Trump has been putting to the test Nixon's famous defense: when the president does it, that means it is not illegal.  
This political philosophy says that the buck does not stop at the presidency. A president can feign ignorance about what his underlings/ sons/daughter/ and son-in-law were doing and then, when guilt is undeniable, pardon them all and waltz out without fear of incarceration.

Fingers crossed the cycle is now coming to end.