Signs of the Times

It was a bleak “Independence” day, though I managed to redeem it by starting a painting and walking my dog.

Bear is doing a lot better with the meds, and we took a walk after the golf course closed last evening. I always feel like I’m getting by with something when I’m out there during golf season, like I’m sticking it to the man. There was only one truck parked in the lot, two carts fussing around somewhere, and sprinklers running on the driving range and on the fourth and fifth holes so I don’t think we really were engaged in an act of outright defiance. I wish I’d remember my anti-mosquito bandana though. OH WELL.

As one might expect, it was totally uneventful and I am grateful for that. Life has been extraneously eventful enough.

When we got back home, a little dog was running down the alley across the high way. He seemed lost and confused, but I was in no position to help him out. I sneaked Bear in through the garage and then went out front to see if I could catch him. I didn’t see him.

What I did see is that my neighbor two doors down — in addition to his “Save America! Vote Republican!” yard sign — has hung in front of his house an immense American flag and an equally immense Trump 2020 flag. They are hanging vertically in front of the covered porch. It’s one of those things that you hope Google earth happens to glide by so it’s recorded for posterity.

I decided not to let it affect the after effects of a nice walk with my dog, the fact that she is clearly walking better and feeling happier. I did think, though, that years ago first, no one was likely to put up a display like that for a presidential candidate on the 4th of July no less. Then, while people might disagree about the person they wanted to win the election, they were unlikely to fight about it.

I listened to bits of OFFAL’s speech at Mt. Rushmore and was horrified. I listened to bits of OFFAL’s 4th of July speech and was further horrified. As I thought about my neighbor’s flags I wondered why he wasn’t horrified, too. I wondered why he hadn’t heard the dishonesty, the race baiting, the ignoring of the palpable reality of a wandering virus that was deadly for many people and maimed forever many more. I wondered why OFFAL has never spoken directly about the bounty the Russians paid for the deaths of American soldiers. I wondered how all of this is swept under the rug and NOTHING HAPPENS. I wondered how ANYONE likes him at this point, but people do.

I imagined this grizzled old guy (he’s my age +) sitting in his house smoking cigarettes watching Fox News, and I think I got a pretty good picture of his life. Last time I spoke with him — the only time I spoke with him — he said he just didn’t feel like going out anywhere or talking to anyone. His wife had died the previous year and he had had a stroke soon thereafter. He’s fine. The stroke didn’t leave him with physical disabilities, so he’s very lucky in that.

I might be completely wrong, and this might be an utterly ignorant analysis, but as I remember it, back in the day, the president was a guy Americans hired to do a job so we could get on with our lives which didn’t involve constantly paying attention to the president. Whichever party he came from, I think we expected him to be competent and reliable, even if we didn’t like the guy. Or maybe that’s just what I want in a leader.

Anyway, I won’t be putting up any yard signs for any candidates, not even state legislature. I’ve decided to hold my cards to my chest and wear a resolute poker face around this whole thing. “Never discuss politics or religion,” my dad advised long ago. “You’ll end up making enemies of friends.” He was right. Political signs today are not information about voting or advertising. In our sadly divided nation, they are invitations to a fight.

34 thoughts on “Signs of the Times

  1. I have to scroll past all those photos of him at Mt Rushmore. I cannot even look at the man. God forbid we get behind a car with Trump bumper stickers…it could get ugly. Glad Bear is doing better. Poor little dog. He needs to find you so you can calm him down. You think he’s a local one that just got loose?

    • I hope he’s a local dog who just got out of his yard. If I catch him (I don’t want to — he’s on the other side of a busy highway and should stay there) I’ll take him to the shelter. I just hope he’s not the little labradoodle puppy I met at the vet last week.

  2. Sadly true. It’s hard to have a discussion about politics where you can agree to disagree and no hard feelings these days.
    Years ago I helped out on polling day handing out how to vote cards for a political party. What surprised and pleased me was how well the volunteers from each party got along. If one volunteer took a bathroom break the volunteers from the opposing groups would point out where their cards were to incoming voters. On one cold, wet election day my friend and I shared chips with the volunteers from the other party. There was some disussion, most of it good natured, about politicians and policies. I wonder if that stil happens?

  3. Unfortunately, “recorded for posterity” on Google Earth is only temporary. In 2011, when our governor (now ex-, and now a Trump minion after dropping out of the 2016 presidential race) pushed through the infamous Act 10 (and announced his plan for decimating unions was “divide and conquer”), Google Earth captured a bicyclist riding past the Governor’s Mansion while saluting, middle finger raised high. Alas, that image is no longer there.

  4. I heard nothing and watched nothing from Rushmore, and offal is a good name. The maniac is really a complete idiot, an imbecile and danger and that anyone could actually support him is a mystery to me. With the exception of Erdogan in Turkey (another dicator) I do not think, at lest I hope to think, that no self respecting European government would support this man. Putin is just having a good laugh.

  5. I’m glad that the meds are helping Bear, and that you were able to take a walk yesterday. I have stopped flying a flag, even on national holidays, for the connection it implies to all that is wrong with the country these days! I did watch fireworks, but not the speeches, though I heard they were true offal! On to the summer ~ ~ ~

    • I was thinking that if all goes well, the next flag will not be like this one and the next president will not be Offal. If I had a flag and were to fly it, it would be upside-down. 😦

  6. I’m relieved that Bear is doing better and that you have started a painting. As for “OT” (as I think calling him offal gives offal a bad name) and his remarks – I avoided listening and have only been able to stomach the replay where I can pause and leave to regain my equilibrium. With both of our neighbors closing their borders and American’s not welcome in Europe I’m feeling even less safe than before and before I was not feeling at all safe! (deep breath) I can only imagine that the little dog on the other side of the highway is my emotional doppelganger.

  7. NO NO NO you have to see that flag! Condolences. Near the end of my street on a cross street, there is a local gardener who sells vegetables in the summer. His/her wooden vegetable shack is right next to the road – basically a tiny room with a door. When it was “closed” – from late fall until early spring – there was a HUGE flag hung next to the door. On it? “Trump 2020” with a caricature of a pumped up OFFAL in a Rambo like posture holding some kind of assault rifle. We had to see that every time we left our neighborhood. Shockingly the flag disappeared once the stand opened for business this season. Guess who is NOT buying produce there? 😝
    On a lighter note…good news about Bear!

    • I am not happy about having to see that flag — well, either of them. The irony is that his house is for sale and has been on the market for two years. Last year he painted it a dark avocado green ENAMEL (it’s a Spanish style stucco house) and I thought, “The person who would be drawn to that color is in the nursing home, dude.” Now the flags. I’m not sure he’s really that motivated to sell the house.

  8. I’m glad to hear your dog is doing better, and hope the other little one you saw finds his way home.
    RE: “the bounty the Russians paid for the deaths of American soldiers…” I don’t profess to be up on news, but never heard of this. Is this something that happened in this century?

    Re: “…a guy Americans hired to do a job so we could get on with our lives which didn’t involve constantly paying attention to the president.”
    Cynic I may be, but it seems those days are past. The media, esp. the US news media, has bought the patents on drama and sensationalism. There’ll be more competent, more popular leaders — and maybe some even less? — but I doubt we’ll ever get back to straight-forward news reporting. Like paparazzi, future media will focus as dramatically as possible on the lives, foibles and scandals of US leaders and superstars because this sells news.
    (I’ve been reading lately about tech addiction — which the media definitely feeds.)

    Your Dad was right. And Jesus was right, too: Christians should render respect to the powers that be, but stay out of political disputes.

    • the Russians paying the bounty money is substantiated by both British and American intelligence and it happened in the last year. Russia denies it.

      I agree. Things are never going back to that idyllic memory I have of government. We’re all hooked to a greater or lesser extent on technology and the power of the media has just grown since the sixties. It does sell news and that sells products and so it goes.

      One of the many things I love about those old Anabaptists was their determination to separate the things of God from the government. “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar and unto God that which is God.” Yes with my whole heart. ❤

      • I might get trolled for saying this, but somewhere American evangelicals picked up the idea that America was the new Israel and biblical laws should govern the country. That wrong track has led to various griefs, like Prohibition, and probably affects your current politics far too much. Honestly or deceptilvely, someone’s learned how to appeal to that thinking.
        This thinking herds evangelicals into the same “camp” as a lot of folks they wouldn’t normally agree with, further confusing things. (Kind of like the Mafia and Evangelical Christians both being in the NRA camp.)
        Now I should mind my own business. 😉

        • I think you’re right. It’s weird how some of the original tensions that existed in the colonies are still being fought over today. The religious ones, the racial ones, others, I’m sure. I pretty much hate it here at this point, but I’m here for the duration, I’m afraid.

          • For all its faults and political tensions, the US is still a great land of freedom and opportunity, especially for women. I think sometimes about the lives of women in Afghanistan, where “women are routinely beaten, raped and sold,” to quote one journalist. The penny may be dark on one side, but has a shiny side, if you just turn it over. 🙂

Comments are closed.