NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION: GO CRAZY OVER POLITICS An election, only months away, will change our country and our lives
THIS LITTLE BOAT, with its flag-style sail, is one of my favorite images from last year, suggesting - at least to me - this singular challenge: Can America make it safely through 2024? The boat sails alone under angry skies. But it seems to do so with confidence, suggesting that, despite ominous odds, it expects to reach its destination. As I took this photo last October, someone on board waved cheerfully at me as the boat moved steadily up Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay. I don’t know why. Maybe he was just a showoff. Maybe he was a terrorist, enlisting Old Glory en route to his rendezvous with Donald Trump, eager to join his cult's mission to turn the United States into a dictatorship and, incidentally, keep Our Leader out of jail. I prefer to think of the sailor as a patriot, proud of his country, its traditions and sacred symbols, suggesting that no matter how bleak the prospects, democracy can be saved. The day I saw the boat, I was taking one of my favorite walks, at Fort Adams State Park, where there are lots of ways to have fun: ruby matches, sailing programs, vintage car shows and the Newport folk and jazz festivals. Instead, I was obsessing about Donald Trump.
IT'S CRAZY. All I care about on any day, at any time of day, is politics and whether Joe Biden or Donald Trump will win the Electoral College. Instead of seeing a boat with a clever sail, I looked for signs about whether the United States, as we know it, will survive.
Please, no small talk. I don’t want to hear about the weather. Or how long the street repairs are taking, the price of eggs, the answer to Final Jeopardy! or the possibility that I paid too much for new tires or whether another celebrity has bought or sold a pricey home.
Maybe the boat was just a boat. Just enjoy it. Seems nutty to turn every little thing into a seminar on the election. Or is it? Is it crazy to be afraid that the worst president in history – a vicious cheat, a sex criminal and psychopath who almost overturned the election that he’d just lost – is not only trying again, but at the moment he's winning? What I’m hoping is that millions of people will recognize there's a catastrophe in the making, and realize there is only one thing that matters in 2024. It's not the economy, the climate, overseas wars, all of which truly are all critical, that counts this year. The life-and-death event of 2024 will be number of votes counted on Nov. 5. If Trump wins, there will be no going back: “Oops, I guess that a dictatorship wasn’t a good idea after all.”
WHAT TO DO? I have no special insight here. I’m just one insignificant elderly gentleman, who's no more worth listening to than any other loudmouth sounding off at the neighborhood diner. But in this national crisis, every voice, every idea, every opinion, every vote, counts. So, here are my two-cents about what to do:
Everyone should care about the Nov. 5 election. The more obsessed people get, the more people will be alert to the danger and how to avoid it. Big numbers are the only way to be rid of Donald Trump.
Stop complaining about Joe Biden age and other flaws, and start talking about the positive things he’s done, including not being Donald Trump.
Stop thinking of yourself, and your one vote, as insignificant.
Give money. Politicians, the good ones included, need lots of it.
Look for small things to do – go door-to-door, write letters, postcards and texts. Some of them may work.
If you have friends or relatives on the Trump-Biden fence, tell them – respectfully - how important this election is to you and how deeply you feel about it. One out of a hundred may care.
If you are an ace headline writer or advertising genius, write a slogan that nails Biden. So far, no one has. But there is an effective slogan out there somewhere; the right two or three words may win the election.
ON NEW YEAR’S DAY, which is supposed to be the final, joyful holiday of the season, everything seems grim, because it is grim. Biden is too old, and his many accomplishments are unappreciated. Millions of voters have already made up their minds and not in a good way. It’s impossible to understand anyone voting for Donald Trump, but they plan to. So, it's up to millions of other Americans to care about the peril we face as individuals and as a country. Politics will crush us. Or save us. It’s not hopeless. We can make 2024 the year Americans cared enough about their democracy to save it. Go crazy.
I'VE BEEN a reporter and writer for 58 years, long enough to have learned that journalists don't know very much, although I've met some smart ones. Mainly, what reporters know comes from asking other people questions and fretting about the answers. This blog is a successor to one inspired by our dog, Phoebe, who was smart, sweet and the antithesis of Donald Trump. She died Feb. 3, and I don't see getting over that very soon. Occasionally, I may try to reach her via cell phone.