Hazards of Hiking on Flat Trails

I have been certifiably insane, and I’ve written about it here. But, insanity happens to all of us — we suffer the insanity of anger, the insanity of infatuation, the insanity of greed, the insanity of lust — the list of possible insanities is very long, comprising the 7 Deadlies.

I think behind today’s prompt is Offal (Our Fearless Leader) and the question of whether he is insane or not. Lots of people think so and that he’s suffering from senile dementia (if he is suffering from dementia, not as much as we’re suffering from his senile dementia). I think what they are doing is relating to Offal — “I would only act like that if I were insane.” I think many people think this way because they are NOT evil and can’t directly relate to it. When they see him stand in front of the White House and yell to reporters that China should investigate the Bidens they see a crazy old man in the throes of dementia.

That isn’t what I see. I see a man who has built his whole life toward the position he holds now and who, caught red-handed with a crime (and he knows it’s a crime or he would not have buried so many phone calls in a super-secret vault) decides to brazen it out and use it to inflame his base some of whom do believe that Offal has the right to solicit the help of foreign powers to investigate the criminal behavior of Americans.

Offal knows perfectly that his base will rally around his “take” on events, his spin that the purpose of an impeachment proceeding is to overturn a lawful election.

Subtleties such as that in the language of the Constitution are lost on a lot of us, even people like me who are absurdly literate and biased AGAINST Offal. Hoping to get some light on this myself, I did research yesterday. Among the things I learned was this:

Alexander Hamilton warned specifically about a foreign power’s ability to cultivate a president or another top official. In Federalist Paper Number 68, published in 1788, Hamilton wrote:These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistry of the Union?

The Founders Would Have Impeached, etc.

Impressive as this is, The Federalist Papers are NOT the Constitution, so I went a little deeper (thanks to this article it wasn’t difficult). The founders were most worried, naturally, about the President of the new nation being a pawn of Great Britain.

So, do I think Offal is insane? Not at all. I think he’s something that most of us cannot readily imagine being ourselves which makes him LOOK insane to us. He is evil, ruthless, power-hungry, cynical and narcissistic.

In OTHER news, I’m now sure my foot injury is a sprain. Two days of rest, ice, compression and elevation have almost totally relieved the pain, but I’m not pushing it. I learned a lesson. AND it’s occurred to me WHY my old hiking boots had/have such stiff and heavy souls (yes, I wrote that on purpose). It’s to protect my feet from the trail itself. Since “the trail itself” injured me, I am rethinking this whole thing. Just because the trail where I was injured is mostly flat and “easy” doesn’t mean it is without hazards.

Most of the time I wear approach shoes which are a kind of hybrid between hiking shoes and climbing shoes. They are designed to allow the foot to FEEL the rock. Well, I sure felt the rock. SO my hope is Monday to head out in my heavy hiking boots and see what happens. If nothing else, my feet cannot MOVE inside of them and my foot will be held in place.

I’ll also try not to write about politics tomorrow but who knows what will happen today… 🙂

Something interesting to read.


Chairman Trump

I woke up to this in my Facebook chat this morning, “I’ve just had a thought. How similar the current offal political strategy to appeal to vulnerable, uneducated, xenophobic people is to that used in that country you visited.”

The country I “visited” is China. The text message is from a reader of As a Baby Duck Listens to Thunder, which is a memoir about the year I spent as a Foreign Expert in English in the PRC in 1982/83, just a few years after Mao’s death and the arrest of the Gang of Four. As I was writing that book I saw over and over the similarities between the residue of Maoist China and the US as some of the people in this nation would have it.

I’m always stunned when someone says Offal (Our Fearless Leader) is stupid. He’s not. Nor is he insane. He’s just power-hungry and ruthless. WAY more dangerous than stupid or insane. I’m convinced he knows exactly what he’s doing and that he began long ago with The Apprentice. To build a personality cult one first has to be a “Personality” (which is different from having one). He’s continued campaigning throughout his term in “office” because whipping up a crowd, being irreverent, cruel, and funny in a sinister “WE are cool, THEY aren’t” way is how to reach followers. He’s not a leader, he has never been a leader and it’s unnecessary that he be one. I’m not even convinced he’s “run” by Putin or anyone else.

The whole time this has been going on I’ve been stunned by the similarity between Offal and Chairman Mao. The difference is that Mao started out with an actual enemy (the Japanese who had invaded China) and Offal really has no enemy and has had to demonize Democrats in order to form “sides.” Mao was able to, finally, seize power because of the corrupt and fragmented nature of politics and the ineffectiveness of the “opposition” party — the Kuomintang — in China. Mao appealed to the peasants who had never, in the thousands of years of Chinese history, had a chance in hell of an education, a safe life, or even enough food. Still, once the Japanese were defeated, Mao had to manufacture enemies. Over the years of his “reign” hundreds of thousands of Chinese died as “enemies of the state,” intellectuals, those who had been educated abroad, shop-keepers — any group Mao was able to label.

Mao’s idea of revolution was (and this is his metaphor) a jar containing silt, sand, gravel, pebbles and water. The only way to maintain his version of “order” was to keep the jar shaken so that the various materials could never settle into layers. The shaken jar was the constant struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie.

Offal has managed to keep this nation in constant upheaval since he took office.

China’s history and the history of the United States have few real points of comparison that I can see. The Chinese peasants who rallied behind Mao were TRUE victims whereas the blind followers of Offal have never lived in conditions remotely similar to those of the Chinese peasant. What Offal is able to do is make his followers feel that they are victims of the evil Democrat machine and sinister immigrants who are coming to take what they have.

I think it’s human nature to want to find a villain, someone to blame. It’s a lot easier than looking straight at your problems and trying to find a way to solve them, or taking responsibility when we ourselves have done something. This is not to say we have a perfect system — I don’t think so — but things being proffered by the Democrats, such as universal health care, would improve the lives of Offal’s base. The thing about a personality cult is that reality is less important than maintaining the illusion. Scratching the surface of a follower, we find infatuation and identification with the “hero.”

Oh, wait, that’s pretty much a description of my romantic relationships… 🙂

Apologies to Andy Warhol but I think he’d have done this, too, were he here to do it.


Sexual Harassment and Abuse

I’ve closed comments for this post.

…have happened to me several times in my life. I will relate a few of the events as illustration, not necessarily to add credibility.

The first time I was a college sophomore and my creative writing teacher, a guy in his late 40s/early 50s, claimed to love my poetry, was taking me around Denver to various poetry groups to read. I believed he sincerely liked my work. He was a semi-famous poet, had been published in The New Yorker, so this was very nice. Then, when he brought me back to school after one of these, he grabbed my breast and tried to kiss me. We were ON CAMPUS in broad daylight, and he seemed not to have a second thought. I pulled away and ran.

From that moment on, I have doubted the quality of my work.

The following summer I got married. It was a mistake, and I knew it, because already before the wedding the guy kneed me in the groin. The marriage lasted six years and one good thing that came from it is that a friend (male) I had back in those days became a champion in Berkeley for abused women and began a landmark program to help them. In those days there was no where to go and the attitude was, “It’s your marriage.” I later learned from my mother-in-law that my father-in-law treated her similarly…

In grad school I was invited to a party by a professor, but the party turned out not to be me and a few others, but just me and some Scotch. First we played ping-pong in the rec room of the prof’s apartment waiting for the others, then we went up to his apartment where he poured me a Scotch (that I did not drink) and grabbed my tit. “Ooooh what a nice little booby,” he said. I was out of there in seconds, drove home on the Valley Highway to my apartment near DU, trying not to puke inside my car and, thank the gods, succeeding.

Though I have many more stories, I don’t want to say much more, but suffice it that stuff like this happened until I was nearly sixty — situations including not getting tenure because I had refused to “put out” to a guy on the tenure committee and being offered sex by students for a higher grade. “I’ll do anything for an A.”

And I was not then — or ever — an obviously sexy, provocative woman. I have no idea what part I played in any of this. I’m not sure I played any part in it.

So, to those of you who think that the Woman’s March yesterday is about bitter feelings because Trump won, no, it isn’t. Maybe you’ve never experienced these things and you’re willing to give a “chance” to a man who openly admits to having done them.