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Why It’s So Hard To Support Trump, Part Two

I was going to title this post “The Perils of A Simple Mind” but given my post of a couple of days ago, why not go with a part two.

One of Donald Trump’s campaign themes was the idea of ending America’s involvement in endless wars. Iraq. Afghanistan. Syria. We’ve spent the last eighteen years in a never-ending series of wars in the Middle East. A place that defines “quagmire.”

When we first went into Afghanistan, I supported the action because Al Qaeda and the Taliban needed to pay for 9/11. And I thought it was also a place where America could do some good. While dealing with Osama and Mullah Omar and all the rest, we could spread some American wealth and resources around the country and maybe, just maybe, end the decades of tragedy that have existed in that country.

Then I read The Places in Between by Rory Sparrow and I realized how hopeless such a dream was. Then I watched as the Bush Administration completely screwed up the intervention and then got distracted by a needless war in Iraq, and I lost hope that we could actually do the right thing in that part of the world.

So, yes, we need to stop these endless wars. These conflicts that drain our resources and lead to the death of our soldiers. I support this wholeheartedly.

But, it has to be done wisely. With consideration for the consequences.

And here is why I simply cannot support Trump’s efforts in these areas. He views the only objective as ending the endless wars, of getting American troops home, and letting others fight their own fights. He appears to believe the only thing that matters is if he can get American troops home. He is a man of simple mind.

In a complicated world, every time we put troops somewhere, every time we join forces with somebody else, every single thing we do on the international stage has layers of entanglements and complications. It is just not as simple as “bring the troops home.”

When we abandon Syria and our Kurdish allies, we not only leave them to be slaughtered by the Turkish military, we also tell other allies that we cannot be trusted. If we just cut and run in Afghanistan, we leave a vacuum that our enemies will fill. If our only objective is to bring American troops home, we leave the world stage to be dominated by our enemies.

This is a thing I’ve struggled with for decades. I am, on some level, an isolationist. I would prefer a world in which we were not the world’s policeman. A world in which we take care of ourselves first — which, yes, there is a whole lot of that which needs to be done. A world in which other countries bear the burden of their own battles. I am so tired of our country bearing the cost, both financially and in lives, for the world’s battles.

But … we live in a complicated world. We have, for decades now, taken on this role. So, it’s not so easy to just … withdraw. We can’t do that. So, we have to be careful and thoughtful and respectful and introspective, and we need to consider the consequences of our actions.

And these are the things that Donald Trump is simply incapable of.  Careful? Yeah, right. Thoughtful? Umm, no. Respectful? Please. Introspective? Hah! Consider the consequences? Oh please. I got the troops out, what else should anybody else care about? That’s his response. he seriously is surprised that people, both Republicans and Democrats, are outraged at his actions in Syria.


Because he is a man of simple mind and doesn’t recognize the complexities of the modern world and that these things require more thought and more consideration than what he in his, great and unmatched wisdom (which is uninformed, uneducated and self-centered), is remotely capable of.

We are in the midst of an experiment in chaos and narcissism. I’m not liking the results.


I Need Your Help

Regular readers know about my struggles with my fiction writing. I’m at a crossroads. Hell, I’ve been at a crossroads for years now, and I’m still stuck. No idea which way to turn, or if straight ahead is the best option.

So, here’s where I’m at…

The Irrepairable Past is pretty much ready to go. A 30,000 (or so) word novella about an old man who lives alone on the shores of Sullivan Bay. The story looks back on how it came to be that he ended up alone and why he is perfectly (well, almost) fine with that.

Northville Five & Dime is ready to go and has been for some time. Another 30,000 (or so) word novella about Lily and Sophie, who were orphaned and injured in a car accident. They’re now on their own when Peter comes into their lives. Northville tells the story about how they come together as a “social family.”

The thing is that once I completed Northville and my son read it in one night and complained that the story did not end, I realized there was more story to tell. And I’ve been stuck there now for a couple of years. I’ve written another 25,000 words on Northville, part two, which I could wrap up in a few thousand more words. So, that could work as a second novella in a Northville series. And in my head, I’ve mapped out the idea for a third novella. Which really means I’ve mapped out the idea for a complete novel. Or three novellas. Take your pick.

But for some reason I find myself so incredibly stuck on wrapping up the second part of Northville. I know what I want to do with it. I even know how to do it, but … pffffft!

So, I realized something. Maybe I just need to do work on something else, and here’s the idea I’ve come up with. Publishing three novellas that are unrelated to each other. Publishing each as a stand alone novella, and publishing them together as a collection. Which is why I’m here, and you’re there, and I’m asking you for help.

What novella would you like to see added to the mix? (Vote early and often.)

  • K Street Stories — I started this years ago. It’s a series of interconnected short stories that bind together to a larger story. The stories are based on people I’ve come across in my time working in downtown Sacramento — homeless people, state workers, etc.  Truth is, this may be more than a novella, but maybe not. Maybe, novella length would be perfect. I wrote several “chapters” years ago, and maybe it’s time to go back to it.
  • Carlota — What I refer to as a space romp. Life on planet Earth is coming to an end. But a huge space ship has been built to take a few humans to an Earth-like planet to colonize and extend our existence in the universe. Carlota, a Colombian beauty, is on the ship and … well things happen. Again, I started this years ago, wrote some chapters, some thousands of words, and it sits there waiting for me.
  • Untitled — I wrote a series of “experimental” short pieces based on characters who work in a circus. I’d like to do more with this and turn it into a longer set. Novella length may be good, but this is undeveloped enough that I’m not sure. But … I really like what I did with it.
  • The Jump — my dystopian tale of an America with a dictator as President, a road trip, a place where the rules no longer apply. I wrote the first five chapters and then stalled. Maybe it’s a novella, maybe it’s a novel. Maybe it’s nothing other than those five chapters. (In case you want to check this out, you can find those first few chapters here.)
  • Wark Creek — a brand new idea that came up a month or two ago. A co-worker was describing this seasonal creek that crosses his property in the foothills of California. I suggested it should be named Wark Creek (his last name). And that there’s a story to be told about Wark Creek. This has intrigued me ever since. Fully unformed, no words yet written, but … there’s something there. I think.

So, there you go. As I move towards my semi-retirement that will be arriving in December, I’m trying to figure out what it is I want to do with my writing. I want to find the thing that I will focus on and move forward with. But the options that exist are maybe part of the problem. My dad once told me to finish what I started once I started writing it — or I may never finish it. He was right. I’m struggling with … this or that or the other thing. And while I struggle with that, I get nothing done.

I want to come up with a concrete plan for publishing The Irrepairable PastNorthville Five & Dime (at least part one), and a third novella to complete the set.

What say you? Which of the ideas above intrigues you as a reader? Feel free to say “none of them. What the hell are you thinking?”



A Song For Today

Spotify does all sorts of tailored playlists for its subscribers. I was listen to one of those playlists today and this song came on. While I was running a quick errand today. And my windows were rolled down. The sun was out. It was such a beautiful day.

Amos Lee is one of those artists who always impresses when one of his songs pops into my music listening experience. Always does. This song is a perfect example of the thing. And as an added bonus, I’m giving you three different versions of the song.

Windows are rolled down
Sun is rising high
Windows are rolled down
Feel that wind rushing by, hey-ay-ay-aaah

Read more: Amos Lee – Windows Are Rolled Down Lyrics | MetroLyrics

First, the studio version:


Second, a live version with the Colorado Symphony:


Third, an in-studio, solo acoustic version:

Why It’s So Hard To Support Trump

There have been a couple of instances in the last few months where I’ve struggled with the endless criticism heaped on Trump. As with Obama and the right-wing opposition to him, we are living in a world in which a segment of America will not agree with what Trump does. No matter what.

Those two instances are (1) his attempts to deal with the Taliban; and (2) his removal of American troops from Syria.

It appeared that Trump’s administration had reached an agreement with the Taliban that would have allowed U.S. troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan. They were secretly planning on having all of the parties come to Camp David where the accord would be signed and announced. Then the Taliban laid claim to an attack in Afghanistan that killed a couple of American soldiers and Trump called the whole thing off.

The uproar from the left over all of this was immediate. How dare he talk to the Taliban!! How dare he bring them to Camp David!! I saw one commentator refer to Camp David as a sanctified representation of the American Presidency. Or something like that. HOW DARE HE!!

Doesn’t this all sound so incredibly similar to the right’s outrage over Obama’s efforts to talk to our enemies? It does to me. And to which I say this: it is far better to be talking to our enemies than to not be. The only way we could ever get our troops out of Afghanistan is to talk to the Taliban. So be it. I’ve got no problems with talking with the Taliban and applaud Trump’s administration for doing so.

Which brings us to Syria. I support any efforts to get our troops out of these messes in the Middle East. There is no “solution” in Syria that America can be, or should be, a part of. It’s a complete mess, as is Afghanistan. Instead of endless quagmires where our troops are injured and killed, where our resources are wasted away, I support ending our entanglements there.

The problem I have with full support of Trump in getting these things done is that I have absolutely no confidence in him getting it right, and I have no confidence in him doing it for the right motives.

The situation in Syria now is a perfect example of this. It appears to have been a spur of the moment decision based on a phone call with Erdogan and those who have to implement it weren’t consulted. And now our Kurdish allies are being slaughtered while Trump, in his “great and unmatched wisdom” sits back and does nothing. And Turkey, our “ally”, buys weapons systems from the Russians.

And back to Afghanistan — from all accounts the deal Trump’s administration had reached with the Taliban was essentially a nothingburger. Other than getting our troops home, we got very little. On some level, I’m okay with that. Getting our troops out of these situations is too important to let the perfect be the enemy of good enough. And there may be no real way to get anything more than that. There are no security guarantees in places like Afghanistan and Syria. There really is nothing we can get out of these places. So why bother even trying.

But the thing about Trump … he wants a deal just to be able to say he got a deal. This isn’t about making good American policy. It’s about Trump and his ego and his ability to claim he achieved something, that he won. If he could have got a “deal” with the Taliban and been able to have a glorious ceremony at Camp David, he would have got what he wanted to stroke his ego. The details are completely unimportant to him.

It’s why I simply cannot support him in anything he does. He has established a track record of self-centered glorification, inconsistency, blatant dishonesty and outright lying at a level unseen in our politics in a looooooooooooong time. He can never be trusted. Never. It’s why it is so hard to support him. I never will.

Well, You Know …

It’s been quite some time since I blogged about the American political situation.

It’s not for a lack of material.

I just don’t know what there is to say anymore, to be honest. We have the most corrupt (both morally and financially) President in modern history accusing everybody else of the deeds he and his family are committing on a daily basis.

He is a toddler in a sandbox, throwing sand and toys at anybody who dares cross his path.

He believes that chaos is the only way he can “win” and doesn’t care how much damage his brand of chaos causes so long as he “wins.”

He and Republicans are focusing on his one call with the Ukrainian President, while ignoring the months of activity both before and after that call that all add up to him trying to get a foreign government to dig up dirt on a political opponent. And using his power as President as the incentive for said digging of dirt. There’s no question about this.

And yet, most of the Republican Party and the right-wing media that supports him are blindly spewing his talking points in an effort to distract from what he did. And continues to do since he publicly and openly suggested China should conduct a similar effort.

What’s funny is that the liberal blogs I read all provide detailed and concrete, fact-based, explanations for why the Bidens didn’t do anything wrong. While the right-wing media sources just say the Bidens are corrupt, without citing any actual, you know, facts or evidence to support the allegation.

Meanwhile, any Republican who pops their head up and says, hold on a sec, maybe we have a problem, gets said head chopped off by our President. The gloriously stable genius that is an orange clown. It’s just so fascinating and depressing.

Today’s latest — after Mitt Romney showed he had cajones and blasted Trump, the orange clown did what he always does. Via Twitter he dehumanized Romney, attacking him, and ultimately … calling for Romney’s impeachment.

I will never understand how any sane, rational Republican can continue to support this man. There needs to be a groundswell in the Republican party — of adults in the room who are willing to put a stop to this.

The question is … are there enough adults left in the Republican Party?

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