Thanksgiving Weekend 2020

The dazzling sunshine this morning ensured I was showered, dressed and astride my bicycle shortly after abandoning the lair. It was noticeably chilly, near freezing. Accordingly in addition to donning a T-shirt, Polo shirt and hoody I outfitted myself with a silk scarf from my tired collection of a former régime. Once mechanized I nonchalantly munched a crisp Empire apple then discarded the core in a verdant cedar hedge adjoining the property of the late Bessie Smolkin, Land Registrar for Lanark County. In the background lingered my recollection of the trendy butter I had bought yesterday.  And the awaiting baguette bagel for breakfast! Already I am contemplating how many days remain before snow falls. Because I have no intention of cycling in the snow I am wondering what I shall do for exercise and general distraction.

The outcome of the upcoming US presidential election continues to enthral the world. It has become a poker match.  All that matters now is who wins.  And a straight face; no conversation; just gamble. We have long ago evaporated or reluctantly withdrawn from any predictable reason for alliance on one side or the other. The federal politicians seemingly trivialize the task by simplifying the initial choice as one between conservative (GOP) and liberal (Democrat). It may help explain the distinction to know that in the late 18th century “democrat” originally denoted an opponent of the aristocrats in the French Revolution of 1790: from démocrate on the  pattern of aristocrate. This succinct distinction effectively captures the notoriety and pretence of the present Republican Party which has openly and repeatedly proven its myopic dedication to winning at all costs; viz., Lindsey Olin Graham, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

Yet in spite of this history of flip-flopping and subsequent vomiting obsequiousness, the current debate surrounds the broader question whether Americans will align with their putative history of democracy and equality (admittedly by any standards an evolving process) or just agree that all that counts is money and living in a gated community.

I’m sorry but everything coming out about Trump – including his most recent advertisement for the drug Regeneron (in which he and many others in government have greedily invested) – point to his singular devotion to capital and its enhancement even amidst a pandemic and his personal recovery from a potentially fatal and uniquely contagious disease.

What percolates among thinkers is the latest dilution of imperatives to what are the basics. It has become rather like talking about money when you know you’re dying; namely, anything other than the immediate need is not compelling. Notwithstanding the uncertainty of what looms on the horizon (summarized as pervasive plague, infrastructure erosion, threatening environmental changes, domestic terrorism and systemic racism) the only objective at this moment is to adjust the American dynamic to something approaching the intellectualism, moderation and ambition for which it has been known. The current political race is naturally between humans who universally and without exception suffer weakness, fault and occasional fragility, etc. But the indisputable fact is that Trump has succeeded to pervert this erstwhile socially acceptable convention of equals to a constant, essentially rude and angry kerfuffle on a school yard playground.