While the security around Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue can dampen a Christmas window-walk, it can’t take away the joy of viewing the majesty and whimsy of what’s on display. Bergdof Goodman features an animal kingdom delight, the 57th Street side of Tiffany’s has a miniature diarama of the tree at Rockefeller Center, and Saks Fifth Avenue is a panorama of candy dances. Perfect antidotes to the current political fiasco:
With Trump’s choices of ex-investment banker/hedge fund billionaire Stephen Mnuchin to head up Treasury, and the King of Bankruptcy Wilbur Ross to head up Commerce, and self-declared crusader of ACA repeal Tom Price to head up Health and Human Services I thought it was a good time to remember what FDR said as President of the United States:
The prospect of the Trump presidency has me in knots. He is so quixotic and chaotic in the way he speaks and the topics he speaks on that it can only be characterized as that kind of behavior that can make one crazy. Trump’s recent on-again/off-again sit-down (can’t really call it an “interview“) with The New York Times speaks volumes as to the single issue that he truly cares about most: himself.
Whether he’s bragging:
I’ve never had a person boo me, and all of a sudden people are booing me. She [Melania] said, that’s never happened before…So it’s something that I had never experienced before and I said, ‘Those people are booing,’ and she said, ‘Yup.’ They’d never booed before. But now they boo.
he’s always contemplating his own belly-button.
I would find it embarrassing if a 10-year old was saying these things to me, but hearing it from the future President makes me think I have boarded a rudderless ship and we are heading straight into a glacier. There are some pundits of journalism who have adopted a “wait-and-see”, “give him the benefit of the doubt” attitude. The problem with that approach is that it focuses on Trump’s words, not his actions. He is masterful at channeling the energy in the room and refracting it back. There is a disconnect from the weight and responsibility of governing a country.
His actions have informed us that he will fulfill the agenda of the alt right and throw lots of meaty bones to the corporate elite (the Kochs), the ruling white (Jeff Sessions), the fascist right (Rudy Guiliani).
[WHAT TRUMP SAID]:
During the Presidential primaries, Donald Trump mocked his Republican rivals as “puppets” for flocking to a secretive fund-raising session sponsored by Charles and David Koch, the billionaire co-owners of the energy conglomerate Koch Industries.
[WHAT TRUMP DID]:
WHAT TRUMP SAID:
I am going to re-institute a 5-year ban on all executive branch officials lobbying the government for 5 years after they leave government service. I am going to ask Congress to pass this ban into law so that it cannot be lifted by executive order.
Which is absolutely hollow when his entire administration is filled with lobbyists from private industry with a vested interest in ensuring government doesn’t interfere with its former employers’ enterprises. Check out some of his choices.
WHO TRUMP PICKED:
For policy and personnel advice regarding the Department of Energy, Trump is relying on Michael McKenna, the president of the lobbying firm MWR Strategies. McKenna’s clients include Koch Companies Public Sector, a division of Koch Industries.
Michael Catanzaro, a partner at the lobbying firm CGCN Group, is the head of Trump’s energy transition team, and has been mentioned as a possible energy czar. Among his clients are Koch Industries and Devon Energy Corporation, a gas-and-oil company that has made a fortune from vertical drilling and hydraulic fracturing.
WHAT TRUMP SAID:
WHAT TRUMP DID:
Nothing when Richard Spencer, the president of the National Policy Institute, called out “Hail Trump! Hail our people!” and then, “Hail victory!” and proclaimed “I think, moving forward, the alt-right can, as an intellectual vanguard, complete Trump,”.
And don’t tell me that his disavowal at the Times interview counts for anything. He was chided into that and it was a weakling’s mewling words.
It is not to Trump’s political advantage to disown his racist supporters. They energize him. They give him the rah rahs he is so desperate for. Mildly put, this is worrisome. In reality it feels like a horror show because Trump will continue to fulfill his destiny as a man desperate for attention and adoration and as long as his current handlers, advisors and counselors are in situ, they will have their vision of a tax-cutted/regulation free platform economy churning out the bennies for the elites, including the Trump franchise which takes front and center stage. He’ll allow himself to be reined in when it works to his advantage and he’ll let loose like a cannonball when he and his phone are hanging out all alone. Nothing is going to change. He’ll be playing the American public for the next 4 years because he is a master of the bait and switch. The question is what will be the cost when we awake from the nightmare.
It took two recent encounters while wearing my $12.99, big, grasshopper-green, plastic peace-sign earrings (embedded with sparkly glass chips) for me to recognize their value.
I bought them years ago and have only worn them once. It was a Halloween party. I went as me — but with big, grasshopper-green, plastic peace-sign earrings (embedded with sparkly glass chips).
This past Tuesday, two days before Thanksgiving, I wore them to Stop and Shop for my holiday shopping. I was feeling that heightened swell of warmth that always hits me when Thanksgiving becomes the reason I am in the supermarket. That fellowship with everyone else who is there at the same time. That sense of communal preparation. Who cares that your cart is blocking the aisle! Sure, you can have that last package of Pepperidge Farm breadcrumbs! Here, cut in line! It’s Thanksgiving!
But this year I expected to feel the bleakness that the election has draped over conversations, social media, the streets, dinner tables. I was prepared for a sense of discord in the aisles; polarization in frozen foods; lost souls in checkout. So I went out adorned with ear-to-ear whimsy. I will not partake. It’s Thanksgiving.
An older couple approached me in the parking lot as I was closing my trunk after packing it with groceries. They asked for, and I handed over, my shopping cart. They smiled simultaneously and both said “Thank you.” The woman said, “I love your earrings.”
“We need to help each other as much as we can,” I said. I rubbed the woman’s arm. She nodded. We simultaneously chuckled reassuringly. It’s Thanksgiving.
Hours later, while walking my dog on my street, a young woman jogging by proclaimed to my earrings with a fist in the air, “Peace be with you!”
It really is Thanksgiving.
So today I will bring my whimsy to the Thanksgiving table. I’m planning to wear my earrings all day. I feel grateful. I will give my mom, who is suffering from severe dementia, a tighter hug.
And by taking note of all the things that she can no longer do — go to the Stop and Shop. Connect with a total stranger or three on the street. Walk the dog. Vote. Make stuffing. Feel grateful. Put on big, grasshopper-green, plastic peace-sign earrings (embedded with sparkly glass chips) — I will be reminded of how easily and unexpectedly it can all be taken away.
Happy Thanksgiving. Peace.