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CSotD: Doing the Aftermath

“The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on,” the Arabic saying goes, and, the DNC having concluded, the analysis begins.

Darrin Bell is unhappy that the convention speakers didn’t unfold a complete blueprint, but I’m not sure when that has ever happened. Even in the days when the platform was written and only then a candidate chosen to carry it forward, planks were promises rather than detailed plans.

There were plenty of promises made, some of which would at least require a cooperative Congress and a rebounding economy — here’s a quick rundown on some of those — others of which were more matters of mood and taste, like having a president who is compassionate towards a fellow-stutterer rather than one who mocks people with disabilities.

Several cartoonists addressed that latter point, leading to a three-way

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Ann Telnaes)

(Brian Adcock)

(Morten Morland)

The progression here is crucial: Telnaes expresses joy that Biden/Harris really did go high when Trump has consistently gone low, while Adcock draws more attention to the deliberate nature of that contrast, celebrating what Bell framed as an accusation.

Morland suggests that there’s no breakthrough but rather a return to things as they were, a status quo ante in the culture wars, but with that word “vaguely” indicating that you can’t simply turn back the clock.

 

Bill Bramhall rolls them all into one by casting the Democratic donkey in the role of a comforting, familiar diner waitress offering a battered America the chance to regroup.

It’s a well-chosen metaphor in the NY Daily News, whose readers may be more apt to grab a cuppa Joe and a donut than a six-dollar latte and a gluten-free brioche.

An appeal to basic decency does not have to be an appeal to liberals.

You don’t have to be terribly old to remember when behaving decently was a conservative value as well.

 

And then David Rowe goes straight into the lion’s den, pointing out how, if anyone chose to listen, Biden debunked the personal cheap shots that have taken the place of political analysis.

It’s a brilliant combination of catch-phrase and analysis, since the expression “Did I stutter?” has long been used to mean “I was clear, and if you didn’t get it, that’s on you.”

Plus, of course, the attacks on Biden as senile, which are outrageous coming from supporters of a man who has said we had airports during the Revolution and that the pandemic of 1918 ended the Second World War, and apparently thought Frederick Douglass was still alive.

And can’t read a speech without stumbling over the words he doesn’t mispronounce.

It’s not just the Trumpanzees, either: The other day, an NPR newsreader inserted the fact that, if he won, Biden would be the oldest president ever elected, without mentioning that the current recordholder is Donald J. Trump, who is only three years younger than ancient Joe Biden.

 

Machs nix. Paul Fell predicts a GOP Convention that will consist of fear-mongering, and it’s really not a “prediction” but, rather, an analysis of what has been said so far, plus a glimpse at the line-up of hostile dimbulbs slated for speaking roles.

And, as uplifting as the DNC has been, you’re a fool if you think the period of fear, paranoia and division is over. Or that everyone will suddenly awaken as from a bad dream.

I’ve just finished reading a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian hanged for his part in attempting to assassinate Hitler.

Watching him watch the rise of fascism in Germany was chilling, but the really frightening part was seeing how many German officers, politicians and citizens were prepared to overthrow Hitler but never quite made the move.

And, meanwhile, they followed orders, including the military atrocities of the Eastern Front and including knowing what was happening to Jews and other prisoners, if not the details.

I’m not saying Trump is Hitler, but I am pointing out that you can’t simply expect decent, thoughtful people to rise up and act, even when the crisis is completely out front and obvious.

If you want it to happen, you have to make it happen, and not by wishin’ and hopin’ and plannin’ and prayin’.

Clipboards, shoe leather and bright publicity are the only tools that have ever worked.

 

Now let’s address a regional issue

I’ve disagreed with fellow Granite Stater Mike Marland about our place in the Covid universe: It’s true we have more cases-per-population than neighboring Vermont and Maine, but while they are #50 and #49 respectively in the race, we’re sitting at #46, which ain’t bad, given our greater exposure to #14 Massachusetts.

 

But we’re of one (frightened) mind as Laconia Motorcycle Week kicks off, though I guess if they all look like that nice, clean-shaven young fellow on the Vespa, we’ll be just fine, I’m sure.

After all, Sturgis got through their festival two weeks ago just fine … wait … what?

Ah, well, never mind. In two weeks, the kids will be back in school and this will all be forgotten.

 

And, on the hyper-hyper-local scene

One benefit of the pandemic has been that we’ve had a chance to look around our places and say, “Where did all this crap come from?” and time to do something about it.

The non-benefit is that local charities are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of junk we’re all getting rid of.

Fortunately, unlike Lizzie in Reply All, I dumped off my stray mugs before the virus hit, because I’ve still got two dozen CSotD mugs left in addition to the half dozen I’m using myself.

Unfortunately, the Five College Book Sale was a Covid victim this year and so my cunning plan to cut back on never-gonna-reads and never-gonna-read-agains has resulted in a great reduction in clutter, but only because they’re neatly packed into seven banker’s boxes that take up more storage space than Lizzie’s coffee mugs and T-shirts combined.

And books are like flags and crucifixes: You can’t just throw them out.

 

(This song mentions books, but it’s mostly about getting rid of extraneous crap.)

 

Community Comments

#1 Darrin Bell
August/22/2020
@ 8:25 am

I always enjoy seeing my work in your column, Mike. But two things:

(1) You know what else has never happened (at least not within living memory for most of us)? An out-of-control pandemic, with enormous food lines, tens of millions facing eviction, foreclosure, and a sudden loss of their health insurance. A “We will stop the evictions” might be in order this time.

(2) The word “detailed” is not in that cartoon. It wouldn’t have taken more than one minute to say, for instance, “Experts say we will be fighting this pandemic for two years. We will work with the states to put a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for two years. We will establish a fund to cover property management and property taxes for landlords for two years if their tenants can’t pay them. We will expand SNAP eligibility so you won’t have to worry about feeding your children, and hospitals will bill the government, not patients, for all COVID-related expenses, so you’ll never risk getting with a six-figure bill.“

That’s a plan. It’s just not their plan.

#2 Bill Harris
August/22/2020
@ 11:21 am

Watching the Democratic Convention, kept thinking wasn’t it the Republicans in the 1990s that insisted “Character Counts”? It now seems like the Democrats want to be the party of character and the GOP pretends that it never said that.

#3 Scott A Hibbler
August/22/2020
@ 2:21 pm

Is America really ready for a cup of tired old Joe? The Dems didn’t think so and they added plenty of Kamala sugar and Harris cream. For many Americans it is still too hot to take a sip of it, but once it cools down some…

In the meantime, Trump and his cronies are out in full force claiming that the “cup of old Joe” is decaffeinated and will not give Americans what they really want, but the question remains: Is America ready to switch? Oddly enough, just as so many Americans have a hard time of giving up on Trump’s leftovers, they are also having a difficult time swallowing that old cup of Joe. Come November we will see if they are ready to switch to that cup of old Joe or if they will continue to eat the shit on a shingle that Trump is serving?!

#4 Mary McNeil
August/22/2020
@ 4:15 pm

And all the used bookstores are hesitant to take in donations – if they’re even open.

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