The Raving Lesbian
Stephanie Donald| Publisher, LGBT-Today
Make no mistake: I was born a proud American from the earliest memories I have, but the ridiculous election of 2016 has made me more ashamed than I have ever been of my country.
This prompts the question of exactly what went wrong with this nation. It can summed-up with one word: Ignorance.
I can tell you what it was like in the America I grew-up in and you can draw your own comparisons.
I remember (barely) the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower, a well-respected military leader who coordinated the allied forces in the European theater during World War II, Eisenhower seemed like a nice man when we saw him on television, but years later I would learn that he allowed Senator Joseph McCarthy and his Vice President, Richard M. Nixon, to turn the once mostly benign House Un-American Activities Committee into a kangaroo court of lies and ruination of many lives, violating the United States Constitution and not allowing Americans their right to belong to a socialist or communist party. Everything “communist” became the Islamophobia of that era.
During a field trip with my class, I went to the White House and our class was chosen to meet President John F. Kennedy in the Oval Office. I still remember the meeting vividly. It was 1961 and just before the Bay of Pigs fiasco.
When my father got home from work, I enthusiastically told my father about the meeting and asked him, “Is President Kennedy a good man and a good President?”
I will never forget his answer. He said, “Any man who is elected to the Presidency deserves our respect and our willingness to do things the way he sees it. To answer your question,” he mused—please remember that my father has been a lifelong Republican, “is that yes; I believe he’s a good man and a good President.” My father was a U.S. government civil service who was, at that time, serving the Department of Defense and the Air Force at the Pentagon.
That attitude got me through to the Nixon Presidency, when my father and I split our views of the world and what was right and what was wrong. I believed Nixon was a monster, while my parents believed that Nixon was the saving grace that would deliver us from the horrors of the Vietnam War.
I paid attention when my peers spoke, although I was a complete outsider to having any friends until I went to high school. There was something about me that other kids just didn’t like. I guess I was a bit too enthusiastic for their friendship and I tried too hard to win them over. I was branded as a person to pick on by the bullies. This ended when I got to high school because by then I was introverted and didn’t try at all to have any friends. Up to that point in my life, anyone who befriended me was usually setting me up for some ultimate joke at my expense. I wanted to believe them, but I was always the butt-end of the joke and had come to distrust others immensely.
This is the primary motivation for my feelings of what was right and wrong. I hated bullies and we had the biggest bully of all serving as President. I cheered when Nixon was forced to resign from office. I was briefly in the Air Force at the time things got rough for Nixon. I was fresh out of basic training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas and on an evening pass to the city when I happened to notice a crowd of people around the TV set in the lobby of a tall hotel. I went in to see what everyone was watching. Spiro Agnew, caught in a web of indiscretions when he served as Governor of Maryland, had just resigned and Nixon appointed Congressman Gerald Ford as his replacement.
My generation was the one that started disrespecting the office of President over the Vietnam War and Lyndon Johnson’s lies compounded by Nixon’s discussing himself in the third person during speeches. I’ve been told that talking about oneself in the third person was a definitive sign of mental health issues. He would say things like, “Only Nixon can go to China.” It was spooky and incited hate in me for a man whose ego was larger than the State of Texas and who was obviously lying about the Watergate break-in and his role in this drama.
Once Nixon resigned, President Gerald Ford served as the only un-elected President in our nation’s history. He didn’t win the re-election. He was defeated by a kind, gentle and Southern courteous type of man and former governor of Georgia, named Jimmy Carter.
Carter couldn’t tell a lie if his life depended on it. America needed this man badly. He inherited an economic mess left behind Nixon and Ford. The void in jobs for Defense contracts and aerospace had bottomed-out after the Apollo moon project and the Vietnam War ended. We deep into a recess that lasted from 1974 until about 1978. It was mostly eradicated by a jobs program Carter invented called C.E.T.A. (Comprehensive Employment Training Act).
We were just beginning to see daylight again under this program, which cut the unemployment rate from more than 20% to just under 10% within a year of putting the program to use, then the Iranian’s overthrew the Shah of Iran, an American puppet installed during a CIA black ops program to prop the Shah up and made him sing and dance for the American people. Every Iranian knew what happened, but were powerless to do anything until they got mad enough. The end result was the capture and hostage crisis at the American embassy in Tehran.
That’s where the world of Islam began their fierce hatred of Americans and it spread throughout the Arab world like a wildfire. Carter tried to have the U.S. military run a rescue operation to extract the hostages, but weather prediction wasn’t nearly as accurate as it is today. The planes and helicopters crashed after running into a zero visibility sandstorm on the Iranian border. Two planes crashed into each other in formation and each plane was carrying troops to run the extraction operation. Everyone died and the public blamed Carter.
Perhaps that blame was correct and Carter made a mistake, but never think that the President of the United States is somehow bereft of making mistakes. The American people made another mistake during his run for second term; they chose an actor turned politician by the name of Ronald Reagan and the age of neo-conservatism roared as a false jobs bottom was put into place known as “trickle-down economics.”
It trickled-down alright. It was yellow and smelled like urine, but Reagan would simply schedule a fireside chat, much like President Franklin Roosevelt did during his three terms in office. Roosevelt died shortly after winning a fourth term and just before the end of World War II. Reagan wanted to erase all memory of Roosevelt’s “New Deal” that brought America out of the Great Depression.
The con job was on the move, but by the end of Reagan’s second term, the bottom had begun to drop out of the jobs market and the stock market made several downward spirals over the course of President George H. W. Bush’s one term in office. Bush had hoped to use the first Gulf War as a distraction for the American people behind a wave of ardent nationalism begun by Reagan, but the war ended after just 100 days and the unemployment situation came rapidly back into focus.
During Bush’s last year of office, the Soviet Union fell apart due to too many years of economic damage through the arms race, the space race and the peace race.
Reagan swore to bring the Soviet’s to their knees and he succeeded, but the Russian government was still made-up of former Soviet officials who were still registered communists—in name only. Nothing after the death of Vladimir Lenin was anything like the communism prophesized in the Marx doctrine. Joseph Stalin, who had allied with the United States and Britain during World War II, but immediately following the end of that war, Stalin and the Soviet Union would become enemies of the supposed free world. This ignited years of crisis after crisis and was the root of the Vietnam War where hundreds of thousands Americans died ultimately for no sane reason at all.
Through the next seven Presidency terms, I saw Bill Clinton get skewered and lambasted by the GOP, saw one of the most dangerous Presidency’s during George W. Bush’s two terms, and saw my country tear apart President Barack Obama for no other reason than he was “a black man in da White House.” His critics couldn’t detract from Obama bringing this nation out of the worst economic recession since the 1930s. They could only criticize his race and they played that card several times a day for eight years.
Now, the country, in a colossal motion of ignorance, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and Islamophobia, elected the biggest con man of them all; Donald Trump, a man whose business record showed a total of 19 bankruptcies of various divisions of Trump International, a man with no experience in politics and international relations, elected to the office of president (I will never capitalize the “P” in President for Trump because he doesn’t deserve it) and who used trickery and the Electoral College, an institution that progressive politicians have called for the end to since the early 1960s, to take the popular vote away from OUR real President, Hillary Clinton.
Now we’re faced with damage to our nation that is more than likely irreversible after a very short period of Trump’s first term while he hacks away at our economy, jobs and promotes hate in place of reasoned opinions. This is a man who will be single-handedly responsible for appointing his kids to the cabinet and trying to bully nations into submission using the military and our nuclear arsenal as a hammer.
Make no mistake; America died one week ago and I’ve been in mourning ever since. That’s why I haven’t published a word over this week. Even I didn’t think the American public was this stupid—too stupid to see the dangers of handing the launch codes over to a man who has been called “dangerous” and “someone who can’t be trusted as commander-in-chief,” according to George Bush’s National Security Advisor, most of the retired Armed Forces Chiefs of Staff and a host of ex-CIA executives.
My wife and I are presently trying to immigrate to Canada because we don’t wish to watch this nation drop from the currency standard and fall into a third world nation because our infrastructure is collapsing and we can’t even make a Band-Aid because we sent all the machinery to China. You think Trump is going to help you get your outsourced jobs back? Guess again, because more than 90% of Trump’s businesses have ties to manufacturing in China, India and other nations who pay ¼ of our national minimum wage to their workers to get the bids.
Pablo Picasso once said, "Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction." If that was the intent of the voters, you’ve probably just succeeded in destroying a once great nation. What will rise from the ashes of this Phoenix is anyone’s guess.
But one thing is for sure; I won’t sit around and watch my wife die because the GOP wants to destroy Obamacare (a silly name for the National Healthcare Act) and she can’t afford the insurance because the United States is the only civilized nation on earth that doesn’t have free single-payer health insurance. I urge you to watch the Michael Moore movie “Sicko” because he illustrates the ridiculous nature of privatized health insurance in America.
But we aren’t sticking around for the big bang that will ultimately destroy our country.
I hear it’s beautiful in Vancouver, British Columbia. Canada is the perfect place for an old activist to retire; because none of you are reading this anyway and Canada is the alternate universe America could be if it really wanted it bad enough. The LGBT community is completely equal and it’s part of their constitution that no incitement of publicly expressed hate by verbal, printed or expressed publicly in any manner.
Hell, at least we can get a break from the evangelical hate posturing and Fox News. Those are outlawed in Canada as well and if free speech is curtailed for the right reasons, they prevent the sort of disaster that Trump caused altogether.
I will still write and publish LGBT-Today for those who do read us, but my spin will mostly be about a former American citizen who is exiled in relative safety (if there is such a thing after Trump gets the launch codes) and reflects on just how bad Americans really are at heart, how mean and cruel and what bullies they are.
It will be a miracle to live without those kinds of bullies in our twilight years. Meanwhile, I hope you all enjoy the seeds you sowed last Tuesday.
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