Trump’s Disdain for Norms

We’re in a slow-rolling crisis of democracy, with a president who disdains all norms other than those that measure his personal enrichment and scorecard on winning. His cabinet heads are Acting, so that Congress is prevented from inquiring about their philosophy of governance and their competence. His appointments to major bodies like the Federal Reserve are ludicrously unqualified. He rebuffs any attempts by Congress to exercise legitimate oversight. His white, male conservative judges are often shockingly unqualified. Yet Mitch McConnell shovels them through the confirmation process anyway. Trump refuses a legally well-grounded request to hand over his taxes. I personally believe that even if ordered to do so by the Supreme Court, he will refuse. He’s learned that there are no consequences from his base, and therefore no consequences from a Republican majority in the Senate.

Trump has brought out the worst in his core supporters, who seem untroubled by his trashing of the norms of democracy and eagerly join in when he attacks women, Muslims, people of color, immigrants legally seeking asylum — pretty much anyone he deems useless in his efforts to increase his family wealth and power.

This presidency is a disaster for our country, and the fact that 42% of Americans seemingly are in full-throated support boggles the mind.

Anyone for a Buttigieg/Stacey Abrams ticket, with either on top of the ballot? One focuses on competence, the other on voting rights. What a concept for a democracy.

Mayor Pete and Pence

Democrats had pretty much ceded the religious space to Republicans in recent elections. Hillary Clinton is a practicing Methodist, but she lost the religious right vote to Trump — who sounds even more ridiculous than usual when he tries to talk about bible verses or communion or anything remotely related to church.

Enter Mayor Pete, a devout Episcopalian who is as comfortable talking about his faith as smarmy Pence is.

I’m hoping Mayor Pete will begin to call out both Catholics and Evangelicals — the two largest religious groups in this country, second and third in numbers to “none” — for their indifference or outright hostility to immigrants in crisis who are flooding our southern borders. During the civil rights struggles of the 1960’s, clergy and churches of all denominations were at the forefront, marching, preaching, calling the larger culture to accountability and a stand for social justice. I think it would be just great if Mayor Pete, who has credibility in this space, to invite Catholics and Evangelicals to step to the forefront on behalf of the immigrant, the stranger, the “other”. For them to stand in solidarity with the poor and besieged would be biblical, after all.

Post-Wedding: Not Letting Go of the Buzz

Ben, Sara and I got home to Seattle in the wee hours of Friday morning, but I’m finding myself reluctant to let go of the elation that characterized the six days of the destination wedding. The wedding ceremony was pure joy. So too were the days and events leading up to and away from the actual celebration.

I developed my own little morning routine, which led to my meeting and talking with lots of wedding guests I didn’t really know. Several of us had access to the Grand Lounge — which you get with travel status in the Hyatt hotel chain, or in my case, because you’re traveling with people who have elite status. The Grand Lounge provides a complementary full hot breakfast from 7am until 10:30am. Later in the day there are cookies and fruit over the lunch hour, soft drinks and coffee, then a full happy hour spread with wine and mixed drinks. Bite sized desserts and coffee round out the evening.

I’d come down to breakfast early, shortly after 7am, and be the only one from our group. I’d have breakfast and my first cups of coffee while writing blog posts for that day. Gradually, starting at about 9am, other family and friends would begin to come down. I’d stop writing — finished, usually — replenish my coffee, and talk with whoever was there. I basically sat through three rounds of breakfast seekers, ending up at around 11am. I loved it. I can’t stay out in the sun all day, even with sunscreen, so was fine going to the beach later. I loved spending the morning in conversation, and feel that I learned a lot about a lot of really interesting people.

I also love early morning in the tropics — the bird sounds, the warm, damp air, the heavy scent of flowers and foliage. The Grand Lounge had outside seating, and that’s where I set up shop — being joined gradually by others as they entered and saw familiar faces.

I could live in a tropical climate in a heartbeat, wouldn’t miss the change of seasons at all. Of course I usually go in the hot, dry months — not rainy season in Panama or hurricane season in the Caribbean. The latter are minor drawbacks. Despite them I do love tropical weather, that dense heat that bakes all the way into your bones.

The air has been crisp and cool in Seattle, and the city is filled with beautiful blooms. All good, but I am having trouble getting back to normal and letting go of the buzz.