Popular Culture

Oh My God, Again!

I popped another stress ball last night, watching another evangelical leader make excuses for Trump and his voters. It gives further credence to my long-standing assertion that God (American evangelicals), guns (the National Rifle Association), and guys (blue-collar laborers) elected Trump into office. Mind you, I don’t actually think God, guns, and guys made the U.S.A., but I certainly know that Trump voters think this to be true. It’s worth noting that Russians, under Putin, think a similar thing about their country. In both countries—Trump’s America and Putin’s Russia—in order to qualify as a patriot in politically-sponsored media, you must promote your allegiance to God, guns, and guys. As an opponent, it seems nigh impossible to successfully counteract any of the Holy Trinity of this New World Order.

The following is another unofficial transcript…this time for the best segment of last night’s episode of Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO (all segments were excellent, btw.). A well-known atheist and liberal arguer, Maher returned last night after a month-long break from the air (a well-earned vacation for which I chided him in a previous essay, stupidly) and interviewed evangelical spokesperson, Ralph Reed, the Chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. If there are any children reading this, then be aware that Bill Maher hosts an adult show with lots of swearing and adult stuff…just like I do throughout most of this blog. Unlike the last blog entry, I’ll have some commentary after this transcript’s conclusion:

Bill Maher: Alright, now Ralph, I know you’re praying for me, right?

Ralph Reed: I am. Praying for your soul, Bill.

BM: Hate the sin; love the sinner. Am I right? You love the sinner. OK. Alright. So let me ask you a few questions about what’s going on in this country. First of all, there was a big brouhaha about the Johnson Amendment. I know that’s something you must care a lot about.

RR: I do.

BM: That was, of course, the President Lyndon Johnson, something that was made back in the day which said that churches, which are tax-exempt,…therefore, the deal is because they don’t pay taxes, they should not endorse anybody from the pulpit. And now they want to change that with Trump in office. Isn’t that unfair to have it both ways?

RR: No, it’s not because I think what’s happened with the Johnson Amendment…First of all, it was put in the Internal Revenue Code in 1954, specifically because Lyndon Johnson, who was then the Senate Majority Leader, was trying to silence a radio evangelist who was being critical of him, and I don’t want politicians in Washington telling us who can criticize them on the air. I don’t want that for faith leaders. I don’t want that for you. I don’t want that for news organizations of any kind.

BM: That’s not what this is about, Ralph. Come on.

RR: No, it’s exactly what it’s about, and let me tell you what’s happened, Bill, because I’ve lived this for over thirty years. This has been used by the IRS to go in and persecute, harass, intimidate, and attempt to silence churches and major ministries…

BM: No one’s doing that, Ralph. This martyr complex…

RR: They’ll bring in IRS agents. They’ll stay there for long periods of time.

BM: Oh, come on.

RR: …And you’ll have churches, megachurches, with maybe a sixty or a hundred million dollar a year budget, racking up millions of dollars in legal fees…Why? Because a pastor said to a crowd, once, “I like this candidate.” Free speech is what made America great, and it applies to Christians and other people of faith just as it does to everybody else.

BM: OK, then pay taxes too. Just pay your taxes, because you know what?

RR [holds both hands up to calm Maher]: Wait a minute. Wait a minute.

BM: Churches are selling a product like everybody else. It’s an invisible product. Nobody ever comes back from Heaven and gives it a bad Yelp review.

RR: Bill, that’s not fair. Ninety percent of the homeless shelters in America are operated by either churches or faith-based organizations…

BM [chuckling]: OK.

RR [points finger and emphasizes some words]: …or ministries. And for the MILLIONS of people every day who go to a homeless shelter or go to a food bank in America, this is NOT an invisible product. People of faith MINISTER to people every day, and if you want to tax that activity because somebody…

BM [interrupts and returns hand gestures]: But we don’t have to tax…We don’t tax charities now. The charity part of it could be put apart, but that’s not the whole reason for religion…

RR: But that’s not what the Johnson Amendment does. The Johnson Amendment says you lose your tax-exempt status on ALL that activity, including helping the poor if you make one political statement.

BM: OK, well let me ask you this. Why do you think the Trump support among evangelicals is SO solid? More than almost any other President because he doesn’t…

RR: Over eighty percent.

BM: Over eighty percent!…because he does seem like the least Christian man ever.

RR: I’m a friend of his, and I’ve not found that to be the case. When I first got to…

BM [crowd audibly groans and Maher attempts to interject]: Ok, I…

RR: No, let me finish! When I first got to know Donald Trump over seven years ago, I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t expect to like him. I had a view and a caricature of him, which was based on his public image, and let me tell you what I found out about Donald Trump. And in my party, over the last three decades, if you ran for President, I knew you, and I usually knew you personally. Every time he told me he was going to do something, he did it. His word was his bond, and let me give one example. He ran for President, and he released a list of twenty-one nominees, potential nominees to the Supreme Court. He was the first nominee of either party to do that. He said if you vote for me…

BM: Yes, he kisses your ass.

RR [punctuates with finger]: …if you vote for me, I will not choose someone LIKE these twenty-one, I will choose ONE of these twenty-one.

BM: Right, so what you’re saying is…

RR: He kept his word. He not only got it done, he confirmed him in one-hundred days. That hasn’t happened since 1881, so you want to know why I support him? Because he said he would do something, and he did it.

BM: But what you’re saying is as long as he…if he keeps his word to you, but lies to everybody else…

RR [increased agitation with hands and head]: No. No. No. No, Bill.

BM [returns the animated gesturing]: No, that’s what you’re saying. Because you can’t deny that he’s a giant liar.

RR: No, because…

BM: He’s a giant liar.

RR: On October the 10th, it wasn’t just a promise to me. On October the 10th, he looked into a camera in the third and final debate with Hillary Clinton, and he said the same thing. It was a promise to the American people.

BM [using Trump voice]: You’re the puppet!

RR: Huh?

BM: That’s what he said. [Trump voice] You’re the puppet. I’m not the puppet! You’re the puppet!

[Maniacal Professor’s Note: Ralph Reed laughs with a sincerely good nature here, as he does afterward several times at Maher’s jokes. Reed’s words make my blood boil, but I can’t help but like his demeanor…and appreciate his candor.]

BM: That’s what he said in that debate.

RR: What he said, Bill, if I could remind you, is if I become President, I will appoint someone to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Antonin Scalia, who’s like Scalia, and he did it!

BM [trying to interject and becoming clearly frustrated]: Yes, right, yes, we’re not, OK, so you…

RR: It wasn’t just a promise to the faith community; it was a promise to the American people.

BM: Like I said, you forgive all the other lies because the one YOU care about, he kept.

RR: No. It isn’t just that. It’s the fact that he said that he would work to reduce the regulations put in place by Obama, and he’s done it.

BM: But all the other…

RR: It’s the fact that we have a million new jobs since he became President. [loud groan from audience, and Maher stops speaking and stares incredulously] It’s the fact that we have the biggest stock market rally in fifty-seven years after the election of a President.

BM: Alright, but when I think…[smiles devilishly] I don’t throw the term Anti-Christ around lightly…

RR [another genuine smile]: That’s comforting to know, Bill.

BM: …but when I think of Christ, and then Trump!…[quizzical look and pause for comic effect]…He’s…yeah…Anti-Christ….because let’s take the lying thing. You guys call Satan…You believe in Satan, right? No?

RR [laughs here, but it’s of the nervous, put-on-the-spot variety]: Yeah. Of course I do. I believe in God, and I believe in an enemy. Sure.

BM: OK. I could make fun, but I’m not ’cause I like you. OK, but don’t you call Satan, the Father of Lies? Isn’t that like a little name you have for him?

RR: It’s not my name. It’s Jesus’ name [for Satan]. Jesus called him the Father of Lies.

BM: Oh. My bad. OK, so Trump=Giant Liar; Satan=Father of Lies. OK, um, what about the thing that Jesus…He was sorta…He was not really fond of egomaniacs or rich people. Isn’t Trump a rich egomaniac?…who, who…everything is about money and doing well and winners and losers….It just does not seem Christ-like.

RR: You know, um, I don’t want to particularize this to you. I think it’s throughout the media universe. There’s what I like to refer to as SELECTIVE MORAL OUTRAGE about things that Donald Trump says and does compared to those that they support. First of all, Donald Trump never claimed to be a perfect man. He said that he made many mistakes in his life…

BM: He’s lived up to that.

RR: …and he acknowledged that, OK? But if you want to talk about lies, remember last November, we had a binary choice. It was a choice! It wasn’t just a referendum on him. We had to choose between him and Hillary Clinton. This was somebody who held a news conference and said she never sent or received classified material.

BM [frustrated]: Oh Lord…

RR: Lie! This is somebody who said…

BM [loudly interrupts]: OK, I’m not going to litigate that. She lost! You won!

RR: Over eighty percent of the American people said they didn’t trust her. They didn’t think she was honest.

BM: Right.

RR: And of the twenty percent of the electorate, Bill, that some pollsters referred to as the “Nuh’s,” they didn’t like either one of them. Donald Trump won those voters over sixty percent. They made a decision. They want somebody to go to Washington and shake things up.

BM: Why are they lying so much about Russia? Donald Trump, Jr….The subpoenas are out now. They want to know about that meeting.

RR: OK.

BM: When they first heard about the meeting, Donald Trump…It was just about adoption because we’re big fans of Annie. [laughter] …and uh, at first, it was, “We don’t know any Russians! We don’t know ANY Russians!…Then, OK, we know a Russian….Alright, we know three. Alright. we know eight.” There was one Russian at the meeting. OK, there were ten Russians at the meeting. Stalin’s corpse was at the meeting. The Bolshoi Ballet was at the meeting. But it wasn’t about the election. Then, it was about the election. If they have nothing to hide and this is a witch hunt, then why are they lying constantly until they get caught?

RR: First of all, everybody who was in that meeting, including Natalia Veselnitskaya, who was the Russian lawyer, says there was no discussion of any alleged negative information about Hillary Clinton…

BM: Well, if we can’t take her word for it, who can…[can’t finish his thought and doubles-over laughing]

RR: …Oh, and by the way, she [Veselnitskaya] told NBC News in an interview with her in Russia that she never talked to any Russian government official about that meeting, and I understand that there’s a COLLUSION DELUSION, and the media is fixated on chasing this story like greyhounds would chase a mechanical rabbit, but I got news for you…but for the average American, they don’t care, and they know it’s a distraction.

BM [concludes the segment with genuine laughter at Reed’s joke about the greyhounds and warmly thanks him, despite the audience’s negative reaction to Reed’s final comment]: You’re a good man to come into the lion’s den! Ralph Reed, everybody! It is not easy…

This morning, I played a recording of the show for my lovely wife to observe another reaction, and she started to talk at Ralph Reed in the TV just like I did the prior evening; although, her language is quite a bit more reserved than mine, as I tend to swear like a sailor when I get upset by good, ol’ American evangelical sooth-saying.  She said three things: “They believe their own truths,” in response to Reed’s statements about Hillary’s lies; “They SHOULD care!” in response to his assertion that no one cares about the Russia stuff; and “It’s a threat to our democracy,” when it was all said and done…

I highlighted two phrases, in the transcript, that Ralph Reed used in last night’s interview: SELECTIVE MORAL OUTRAGE and COLLUSION DELUSION. I think the former should be used as Fox News Channel’s new slogan, and I think the latter is the last desperate, faux-strategic attempt to defend Trump as the popular chief representative of the God, Guns, and Guys political party…

…and to Bill Maher, if you happen to read this, thank you, sir, for conducting such interviews and commissioning such diverse panels, when traditional journalists usually shy away from anything religious because they think it will chase away their viewers to the Fox News Channel, or worse, turn their local, rural TV to one of the many new Sinclair Broadcasting channels across the country. Real Time with Bill Maher remains one of the best forums to study where religion and politics meet in America. (Plus, the naked molerat, Peter Wrinklage, was a hilarious joke, even though the audience was lame…and the final skit was excellent, with the exceptional Obama impersonator, Reggie Brown, reading Trump lines…I gotta tell ya, if you don’t have HBO or HBOGo, then give it a shot. What with Bill Maher and John Oliver for political commentary, and Game of Thrones, Insecure, Vice Principals, Silicon Valley, Veep, and more, it pays for itself with quality literature!)

Scott C. Guffey, M.A.

A Defense of Morning Joe

I remember back when I didn’t watch morning news programs. I just didn’t care much, and the cheesy, corny interaction of morning television news hosts wasn’t really my cup of tea. Of course, Trump changed all of that when he rode down the escalator. It became necessary to include a morning program in my daily intake of news to “figure out what the hell is going on,” to throw Trump’s words back at him.

Of course, we American shoppers have three premium options at the 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week cable-news grocery store (Is this metaphor using a brick-and-mortar store as an example, or online-delivery? Besides the point. Sorry…). However, three hours of daily television is a lot of intake, so I could only commit to one show. I gave New Day a try, but CNN generally isn’t my cup of tea for the above-listed, first-paragraph, second-sentence pair of adjectives. I had watched some of Fox and Friends in the past, but mainly for the typical outrage value, or the daily comic performances by the threesome on the couch…

…That leaves Morning Joe. I have to admit that prior to the 2016 election and all of its highs and lows…I must admit that I could not stand Joe Scarborough. I thought he was too damn smarmy then, and the truth about it today is that I still think he’s smarmy. I’ve just grown to love that smarmy-ness, and today I must write in defense of my morning news show, considering Trump’s audacity and a solidifying malcontent coming from those voters who defend him.

I’ve been getting up at 5 am to watch Morning Joe many mornings for the last two years, and I’d vote for Joe Scarborough for President in 2020, in order to save the Republican Party from its own blind loyalty to Donald Trump and his gutter-politics. I figure I’d jump on Brent Budkowsky’s bandwagon from his article at The Hill. It is an intriguing idea. Maybe Mika could run on the Democratic ticket, and the “loser” could serve as Vice-President, in addition to being First-Lady or First-Gentleman?

I must admit that Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski (and Willie Geist, the legendary Mike Barnacle, Mark Halperin, John Heilemann, and so many more wonderful, intelligent characters) have created an appreciated daily sanctuary for intellectual discussion, rational argument, and authentic faith-in and love-for this country. It is my daily dose of personal sanity. I am informed and educated by Morning Joe, and this show is greatly appreciated by this blog-writer (even though Joe can be quite mocking of my ilk).

This morning’s episode—the day after Trump’s vicious Tweet attack at Mika during the conclusion of yesterday’s show—made me so proud of the cast of Morning Joe. This morning’s episode made me a bit verklempt several times, and I appreciated both the first-hour-segment, with its defense of Joe and Mika without their presence, and the second-hour-segment when Joe and Mika appeared (during their vacation) to defend the country-at-large.

In the first hour, Willie Geist moderated, perhaps, the most difficult panel of his life, because of the obvious friendship between him and Joe and Mika. Think about it: Geist co-chairs on a show where the President has attacked his dear friends, and he must maintain his composure for the duration. I am in awe of Willie Geist’s professionalism. Katty Kay and Donnie Deutsch engaged in a necessary back-and-forth about gender throughout the show, with a rational Katty balancing out an out-of-sorts Donnie (My wife didn’t think his comments were particularly productive. I agree, but I’m still glad Donnie gave Trump what-for!). Harold Ford, Jr. looked stunned and hurt, and I’m not used to seeing him that way. Jon Meachum provided good humor and sharp historic insight, per usual…but I think I became most emotional when Heidi Przybyla spoke with such power and dignity and read a “real person’s” words…her father’s words. He reached out to his journalist daughter to speak to Mika, since she just lost her father:

“Mika, why is it that Trump is always commenting on how he sees women? Maybe women need to start speaking out about what kind of a man they see in him.”

It’s a good question and statement, and Heidi Przybyla’s father speaks for me, too. My first thought yesterday when I read Trump’s Tweet was, “Good God, this woman’s father just died, and Trump’s gonna tweet this crap at his daughter a couple weeks after he’s buried?!” I clearly and recently remember when Mika returned to the show after Zbig Brzezinski passed away, and her bravery and composure to report at such a high level about her father’s legacy, importance, and compassion for America is ample reason for pride, patriotism, and admiration. Donald Trump sullies the country when he acts so callously to Mika Brzezinski, but it especially sticks in my craw that the President of the United States cruelly treats the daughter of an American treasure, Zbigniew Brzezinski, in public in such classless fashion…and according to Republicans, we’re supposed to believe in Trump’s “patriotism?” I don’t care if he won the election or not. When he acts like this, it delegitimizes any of Trump’s claims to being a man of the American people. He gets to stay in office whether I have any say-so or not, but I’ll be damned if I give such a man as Trump my allegiance. I love my country, and I’ll be damned if I celebrate such a President.

In the second hour, when Joe and Mika joined the desk, I was struck by how well they handled all this nonsense. I was especially shocked to learn how Trump had brought up Mika behind closed doors with members of Congress, and how he brought up bleeding in private to attack Mika, prior to this Tweet, which again used bleeding as an insult to a woman (Who does that?! I know some guys with no taste or scruples, myself included, that have traded some dark and nasty humor, and I don’t recall anybody going to the whole “you’re a girl and you bleed, so screw you” shtick). The story about Trump conspiring with the National Enquirer to personally attack Mika and Joe’s family certainly brought more distress…and I suspect that will be investigated as a potential crime at some point also…I mean, think about it: The President called his buddy at the Enquirer to send goons to stalk Mika’s kids in order to get Joe to call and give an apology to the White House for bad-mouthing him on the show?! Seems like blackmail or extortion to me. Did anybody tell Donald Trump that Joe has a Juris Doctorate degree?

This stupid Tweet of Trump’s doesn’t really seem to be particularly useful for attacking Morning Joe either. He’s lying when he says he doesn’t watch or care about Morning Joe, obviously, and Trump seems to think access to him is sought by all, since Joe and Mika were spurned three times. Boy, Trump, for being such a self-proclaimed rhetorical warrior, your insults don’t seem to carry much weight…or make any sense. Today’s Tweet simply confirms that, yeah, you probably did try to use the National Enquirer to get at Joe and Mika, ya moron…

If we’ve learned anything from this latest Tweet, it did confirm that Trump has a go-to descriptor for women who incur his wrath: bleeding. Complete allegiance is necessary from women from whom Trump wants fealty; otherwise, the third-grader “women are gross and bleed out of wherever” line gets used as his go-to gotcha attack. What a child our President is.

Without repeating all of the valid points and claims of this morning’s MSNBC broadcast, I’d like to challenge an ongoing premise of Morning Joe’s hosts (and the title/thesis of their Washington Post article): Donald Trump is not mentally ill. I understand that Joe and Mika (and Donnie) knew Trump before this iteration of Donald Trump as Dictator of America, but this is part and partial of Trump’s history and modus operandi: Trump makes people like him by pretending to be a swell guy, then he stabs them in the back when they cease to be useful to him. I understand it’s disappointing to learn that Trump is capable of putting on a nice face, and then later showing his true colors…but I don’t necessarily think it’s dementia. Can’t a guy just be a jerk, without going to the whole “it must not be his fault that he’s a jerk” response?

I have the utmost respect for Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, and I respect their desire to try to keep this from becoming a schoolyard brawl. I do, however, appreciate Donnie Deutsch’s desire to call Trump names in return (and Donnie’s insults are right: Trump’s a detestable pig). I don’t think Trump is capable of learning, until he does have his reputation thoroughly shattered on the global stage…and even then, who knows if he’ll quit Tweeting nonsense to the world?

So, in conclusion, Trump may dismiss all-things-not-Fox-News as fake, but the Maniacal Professor proclaims Morning Joe as The Great American Morning News Program. Long live the King and Queen of daily sanity, and all their friends who hold them up every single morning. Cheers to you all, and God bless your American contributions.

Scott C. Guffey, M.A.

My Maniacal Rant, Chapter Four, Part Four

Today, the ghost of Confederate general Stonewall Jackson possessed Jeff Sessions in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, as the Attorney General stonewalled America with Southern drawl and Southern defiance, disseminated liberally throughout the afternoon’s testimony. He made up new legal privilege—apparently, Sessions can anticipate the President’s use of executive privilege, if he believes it’s in his client’s best interests, within which we can also identify Jeff Session’s client as Trump instead of the country…because now Trump gets to claim executive privilege without actually claiming executive privilege. See! Trump’s bullet-proof!

We cannot keep playing this dangerous game. A White Nationalist killed two brave men in Oregon, stabbed another, and scarred two young girls in the name of hate. He appeared before a jury and started spouting about how his anti-Muslim ideology was American. This was a terrorist attack within our borders, and there was weak condemnation of this attacker from the White House, considering the fervor and passion Trump can potentially create with a wave of his tiny Twitter fingers.

Trump excoriated the Mayor of London in the wake of a truly gruesome terrorist attack. Is it “ridiculous” to assume Trump had targeted Sadiq Khan because he is Muslim, and therefore Khan represents the perfect Twitter-fodder for Trump’s ravenously anti-Muslim base? How horrifying to realize the answer.

Trump’s all over the map on foreign affairs lately. His love for Saudi Arabia likely inspired appalling ISIS attacks within Iran’s borders. It’s possible Trump thinks this is a great success because now Shiites are killing one another, and he can potentially claim political value out of created wars in which Muslims kill Muslims. Again, how horrifying.

This game Trump plays, where he’ll let you know when he’s good and God-damn ready…it is a waiting game in which he hopes dumb, ol’ America will just simply forget and move on to the next atrocity. If anything, he thinks of America as being infested with Kafkaesque Gregorian liberal worker cockroaches, and Trump’s the exterminator!…and Oh! by the way, on that note, let me just thank Fox News for not letting me down and never turning down the volume on your hatred of liberal America. Kudos!

We need to see through this farce, and speed up this lame reality show. Let’s stop stonewalling and get to the truth of the matter. This administration is doing damage by the day, and all Trump seems to offer is “Trust me. I’m going to make America great again!” This huckster still can’t have over 30 percent of Americans bamboozled, can he?

Sigh. At least Joe Maddon finally figured out a lineup that will produce runs for America’s team, and just like last season, the Cubs have been the perfect distraction to avoid overexposure to the horrors of Trump tonight. I’d like to shout out my allegiance to my country and my baseball team and my solution for the first:

Go America!

Go Cubs!

Go away Trump!

Scott C. Guffey, M.A.

The Maniacal Professor

My Maniacal Rant, Chapter Four, Part Three

I tried to water my lawn today to forget about all the bullshit I’ve been experiencing lately. There’s something about a nice green lawn and pretty, colorful flowers that appeals to me in this sad age of Trumpism. The problem was the temperature’s 95 degrees in Indiana today, and my water pressure’s low at the spigot, so I have to start early in the afternoon to make sure I get most of the yard. I spent a good amount of time thinking about deep stuff this miserably hot afternoon as my weak sprinkler dribbled on those crusty, crunchy yellow blades of grass…thinking about life in this country during this post-Comey testimony, pre-Sessions testimony American condition of tension and uncertainty.

It’s been about a month since I submitted final grades from the past spring semester, and I’ve been worrying about my lack of an income and Trump’s effect on my country. These two things may be mutually exclusive, but I can’t help but find the connective tissue, much like a floundering fish who has stuck itself on the shore, gulping air desperately while flopping on sun-dried mud…i.e., a situation of its own making.

I’m particularly frustrated because the mistakes I made while teaching last semester have become glaring to me while I reflected in the intolerant heat today. According to student evaluations I read weeks ago, I had a minority of students who became frustrated because I opposed Trump openly in the classroom.  I’m still not sure if I did the right thing. Should I have lightened up on my criticism of Trump, or should I have opposed him more stringently? I watched my cheap sprinkler slowly struggle this afternoon, and I managed to focus on the good stuff I did this past semester, like how I showed my students good, valuable humanist movies like Jeff Nichols’ Loving, Denzel Washington’s Fences, and Robert Redford’s Ordinary People. I remembered how a few prized students let me know how much they appreciated viewing those literary films in their college classroom. I smiled for a bit, but eventually I came back to wondering what the hell is happening in my United States of America at this awkward, contentious moment of dealing with a President who’s mentally-deranged.

Trump’s sucking the air out of the whole damn country right now, and considering his environmental policies, he’s definitely affecting the world’s young people’s chances to enjoy a good breath of fresh oxygen in the near future, no matter where they happen to live…

I don’t know if Jefferson Beauregard Sessions the Third is going to do the right thing tomorrow or not. He’s either going to admit that Trump told him to collude with the Russians, or he’s going to stonewall the Senate committee like Dan Coats and Mike Rogers did last week. Either way, this agony continues. Trump’s unapologetic to a fault, and the Republicans are willing to follow Trump in order to disgrace and dismantle the Obama legacy…unfairly and unjustly, I believe.

There doesn’t seem to be shit that anti-Trumpists like me can do except shake our fists and protest this rampant populism. The approval rate wavers from forty percent to thirty-three percent for Trump, but that doesn’t exactly represent a drop in his popularity. He’s still the tops for so many of my neighbors. These frustrating Mid-Westerners; these enabling Trump voters; these anarchists; these racist misogynists; these Breitbart Nationalists; these greedy, avaricious, selfish ‘Merican bastards and bitches, all of these Americans who still fit well into Hilary Clinton’s Basket of Deplorables: They all like what Trump is doing to the country, and they especially like how frustrated journalists, scientists, and teachers are at this painful American moment. They like how angry and frustrated I feel right now, and I feel my resentment for them continue to grow, despite my desire to love my American neighbor.

This American government sucks to high Hell. I hope Sessions does the right thing tomorrow.

Scott C. Guffey, M.A.

The Maniacal Professor

 

My Maniacal Rant, Chapter Four, Part One

As simply as I can express, within this American moment,…

There is some evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and this stubborn, ignorant President works against American interests throughout every Tweet, rally, and international meeting. Every. American. Day.

The Republican Party invited Trump within their avaricious party, most eloquently expressed by the Fox News network each insufferable day, because Trump was perceived as a winner against the Black President. Trump is a liar, pure and clearly, and there’s no way of changing that perception for sixty percent of Americans at this date. The other forty percent of America seem to buy the Fox News propaganda about “anything’s better than Obama.”

[Maniacal Professor’s Note: The morning after I published this blog-post, Roger Ailes, of Fox News died. I am no fan of his network, but out of respect, I have revised this essay, taking out some of the more inflammatory language toward Fox News and Sean Hannity.]

Personally, I masochistically keep waiting for a potential Messiah to arrive and save us from Trump, while simultaneously realizing that any simple idiot is more capable of being President than Donald Trump. Yay America!

Within America, we are many, many partisans who are tired of both parties and may be considering an alternative to the traditional political parties in 2018 and 2020. There’s a thirst for progressiveness within the citizenry, whether it’s a preference through liberal or conservative leanings. This coming movement may be mostly about social issues in the future (not the economy, which has become an ephemeral ghost of Ayn Rand’s worst nightmares!), and there’s certainly a potential for young voices within the American political process to speak, asking for compassion for our neighbor, rather than judgments based on the place of our American neighbor’s birth.

America’s not about your personal heritage. It’s about your individual contribution to the future of this country.

Trump has affected America negatively, but the product of his machinations remain to be determined, whether it be for four hard years of hard, practiced journalistic attention, or it be throughout an impeachment trial during the summer of 2017 that threatens to tear the country apart ideologically…

The Republican Party needs to find some compassion within their social policies, and the Democratic Party needs to cease their ideological purity, especially within the collegiate, legalistic, business-istic, and journalistic professional communities. America needs this to happen right now, for the little guy, not the investor.

My country is slightly in turmoil, yet I inherently know those who read my silly, little blog: All of you still love your country; you don’t want to leave your home and keep fleeing to an imaginary Utopia. We want to smile at our neighbor, not shoot our weird-looking neighbor with a gun for being nosey, or boisterous, or looking at someone’s woman, or whatever the fuck we keep insisting on the need to shoot each other all the freakin’, fuckin’ time….

Simply, I know America is more neighborly than judgmental. We are more agents than conformists. We Americans do not think sinister plots upon our neighbors, throughout the fifty states; instead, we hold up and help our helpless neighbor, not grind his chin to the dirt.

Trump is assuredly a mere speed-bump in American history, not a catastrophe. America will persist, despite Trump, and that’s worth investing some patriotic faith into our American institutions. It’s important to do so as American citizens, proud of our system of sharing wealth and community improvement.

This thesis, as inspired tonight after having watched our Congress slowly admit Trump’s liabilities, makes this turmoil, for me, a bit more digestible. I thought I’d share my thoughts on this highly turbulent evening, with love and hope for the future of the American people, within this very personal blog post.

Scott C. Guffey, M.A.

My Maniacal Rant, Chapter Three, Part Three

Once again, this should be simple to figure out, yet it seems so difficult to state bluntly about what happened here: America elected a Russian sympathizer as President of the United States of America.

This is probably because white-America thinks an alt-right, autocratic dictator would be better than the black, leftist humanitarian he replaced; also, women have no place at the head of American government, especially when the female candidate advocates Planned Parenthood, fair pay for all Americans, peace with our neighbors, and government-sponsored healthcare.

Putin had some good approval numbers here in America during the 2016 Presidential election, even with such obvious evidence of Russian journalists and political opponents being killed at the Kremlin’s doorstep, with the LGBT communities of Russia being oppressed and violated, and with strongly-mouthy female rock-stars jailed unreasonably as propaganda for a misogynistic government.

It should be obvious that Vladmir Putin wants to restore the Soviet Union…and perhaps a bit more.

The rumor is that Putin has a sex-tape with Donald Trump doing untoward business with a couple of Russian prostitutes.

My reaction is, “Who the fuck cares!”

We, as objective-minded Americans, have Trump clearly speaking on A/V recording, saying very clearly that he is a misogynist. The excuse of locker-room talk didn’t cover that Trump comment for me during the campaign, and I suspect all of the Americans who remember that bullshit may empathize with the following rationale:

I fully suspect a video exists of Donald Trump appearing within the same room as pornographic activity, and I further suspect if this video leaks into the American media, then nothing significant will really happen because of the leak.

His loyalists have already said, “So what? I’m not electing the Pope.”

Putin has nothing over Trump’s head. These two men have just found fellowship as ideologues who want to take over the world and plaster a white man’s name across the planet…kinda like Benji Netanyahu, who decided today to court the New World Order’s Boys’ Club for the benefit of a one-state Israel that creates second-class citizens of Palestinians.

We need to stop ignoring the state of our political system, America. If you’re a resident or consumer of these United States, then the events of the next year are highly relevant to your everyday American life. Don’t try to convince yourself otherwise, or you will be oppressed soon.

Here’s my American method of staying sane, as a 43-year-old Irish-American, Northwest-Indiana college instructor, who has tentatively managed over 100 college courses for over a decade now:

  • Do no harm to others.
  • Be patient in all things.
  • Never lose your temper.

Trump violates all of these edicts. He wants to be Vladmir Putin. He wants to be dictator of the United States of America. He wants to rob us of our liberty. He wants to bully his way, with the media’s help, creating a large wound through the concept of American democracy.

Just ask Trump’s 31-year-old Nazi counselor, Stephen Miller, who proudly shouts that Trump shouldn’t be questioned by other branches of American government, using the proper Nazi vocal inflection in all four Sunday news programs this past weekend.

If you’ve a problem with me invoking Nazism, then I’ll remind you that Adolf Hitler ran a political party.

Trump wants to rob Americans of their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

I’d love to call myself a conservative Republican again, but the damn Republican Party keeps backing this Orange Fool…

Yet, the Democrats in my life keep insisting that existing policies are the way to go!…

So, as an independent moderate, who cannot wait for a third American party, who thinks absolutism is the true cancer of America, who feels more and more compelled to speak up in this American Apocalypse…

Resist.

Scott C. Guffey, M.A.

To Hell With This Journalistic Fast…

I love you all because I WANT to love my American neighbor, but I NEED to remind myself constantly about my American neighbor’s tendency to gravitate toward the way things used to be…and I’m not sure the way things used to be is the best way to go. We’ll all have to see together, but I’ll be damned if I don’t personally watch these next four years like an American eagle on the hunt, to pick the best potential metaphor…

Let me remind America about its tendencies: We suck about how old, white men dictate all the laws, aggrievedly weighted toward the historical needs of old, white men, and we totally suck about how Americans collectively dismiss the rights of women, black people, Mexicans, gay people…and how miserably old, white men ultimately fail at this task in their governance of the United States of America for the last couple centuries.

We should also understand, as Americans, how truly young we are as a country on the world stage…especially considering how quickly we became the global template of civilization on this planet…

…Also, please consider the fact that we have elected an ignorant old, white man to dictate the law in this country for the next four years, based on the fact that old, rich white men are emboldened and engendered to potentially create the most intelligent Americans among us…

…Please consider how this is utter bullshit, from a professor of utter bullshit…

…To be more confusing in my rhetoric: if Trump indeed uses his position as President to make enough personal money, while being able to control his Internet, Television, and Twitter identity fiscally, then it has inevitably qualified Trump to govern with such unqualified vitriol and absence of shame to display America’s new identity as absent of moral or ethical responsibility, as long as the rich get richer…and the middle class will undoubtedly become absent from the American identity…

…I fear for America’s identity…for my American Neighbor’s sake…despite the fact that my American neighbor probably voted for Trump…

…Trump represents the old American white man, re-taking control of the American Government, and I cannot help but think Archie Bunker’s taken over the White House this January.

We are most political in our conversation lately and historically at the local level, and that is where the most violent atrocities so often occur in all fifty States, no matter the time, class, or environment of the location.

Let’s not let Trump bring us to the American brink, please. He’s a dip-shit asshole, and I’m going to watch him vigilantly…as Fox News has convinced me is a very necessary evil, based on their vetting of Barack Obama over the last eight years. I figure Trump’s Twitter feed alone would prove what a moron he truly is, but Fox News has been at his side to assuage the uneducated American that Fox News is the only media outlet that presents fair and unbalanced journalism…

You see, I believe that Fox News is personally responsible for the atrocity that is the current Trump presidency…In the voice of Kathy Bates as Bobby Boucher’s Mom from The Waterboy: “Fox News is the Devil! Sean Hannity is the Devil!”

However, my basic disappointment for this year’s election results is simple: The concept of a good man is no longer Barack Obama, but Donald Trump.

This I feel is America’s greatest shame in 2016.

However, let’s remember that this has not been the first horrible President-elect to creep up on America; I imagine Richard Nixon was a horrible frog-in-the-throat for Democrats in the aftermath of November 5th,1968…but please understand, my online reader, that these next four years are truly unprecedented, and we need to be vigilant about our collective rights as Americans.

Be wary during this Trump Presidency. Vigilant.

Please and amen. Love to those who believe me, and hope for those who cannot comprehend what I write.

Scott C. Guffey, M.A.

My Maniacal Rant, Chapter Two, Part Ten

In my last entry, I wrote that you’ve gotta have faith…

…re-reading it tonight, I realize what a load of bullshit that was.

Donald Trump is our President-elect, and I’ve lost all my faith.

My faith in this country’s goodness, my faith in my family and neighbor, and my faith in my American-defined God: all of my good faith has been dashed to bits upon the Giant Rock of Entitled-White Man, Conservative-Christian, Blue-Collar Republican Stubbornness tonight.

Tomorrow in America is now officially terrifying. Congratulations, American voters. We will reap what we have sown.

This officially concludes the Maniacal Rant for awhile. I’m going to stop paying attention to the American experiment now. I’ll be too busy figuring out how to explain to my daughters how a simple, misogynistic asshole became the leader of the free world in their lifetime. God only knows how I’m going to muster the gumption to step off my porch into the American populace for the next four years…

With sincerity, peace out from the Maniacal Professor:

Scott C. Guffey, M.A.

The Cubs Go To The World Series

I remember my grandfather, Edward Guffey, as a Cubs man. He taught me about baseball; hell, he forced my father to play catch with me in his backyard in Lynwood, Illinois, when my Dad didn’t want to play with me…to make my father interact with me when he wasn’t sure how to do so because the father-son bond was somewhat awkward…I used to sit in my grandfather’s kitchen, with his candy corn and VIP pipe tobacco mixed together in the middle of the kitchen table, while we watched summer Cubs games during the Fergie Jenkins/Jody Davis/Ryne Sandberg years…I listened to Harry Carey and Steve Stone broadcast games with my Grandpa and Grandma and loved every moment of it…I learned how to cut grass on a ride-on lawn-mower while he watched from the back window, and listened to both of them about the history of Chicago baseball,  literature, and culture.

My grandfather was a carpenter on many of Chicago’s sky-scrapers, specifically the very dangerous construction of the elevator shafts. He saw some of his co-workers plummet to their deaths while building on the Hancock building and others. He had to un-screw a rivet from his hand one day, and he didn’t go to the emergency room like most sane other men would have done. He went back to work as soon as he could, because he was from Chicago…

…and he was a Cubs fan.

I love tonight’s victory, and it’s made me think about my grandfather in a most loving way. Have a great World Series, Chicago!

Scott C. Guffey, M.A.

My Maniacal Rant, Chapter Two, Part Nine

When we step out of the white noise and take a look from outside the media fish bowl, we can see that this election is not that hard to figure out.

This is not about being loyal to a party, or conservative versus liberal; blue-collar versus white-collar; or city versus country discussions lost to the rhetorical void of infuriating, frustrating American deadlock.

This is a vote for a moderate or radical President.

Trump’s going to throw a temper-tantrum from now until November 8th, which is guaranteed to continue after the election. He’s going to throw all kinds of shade and drum up anti-Hillary sentiment to the point of violence. The only thing moderate about Donald Trump—if you consider human fallibility to be a trait that needs moderation—is his tendency to snort on camera when he’s thinking, “Holy Shit! I’m really doing this!”

Clinton’s going to step aside, act cool, and hope nothing radical happens…like if she decided to scream at Trump on stage at this last debate, as I wanted her to do…because then Trump would inevitably shout, “See!! She IS a screaming harpy! Let’s not put her in jail! Let’s scream, ‘BURN HER!’ like they did in that Monty Python movie!!!” Laughter, applause, and a lynching follow…

Look. I get it. Hillary Clinton doesn’t inspire confidence, but Donald Trump is obviously the radical choice, and those choices almost always have consequences.

I’m not going to ask you to go out and vote, like most people seem to be broadcasting, most specifically at the youth, for whom I can testify are terrified at the “adult” government. I perfectly understand how much stamina it’s going to take to stay politically aware and go out and vote on November 8th.

Stay home if you want to. I’m willing to bet the ones who go out to vote are the Americans with the strongest feelings, understanding, and conscience for American values…

…and the one thing I retain from my religious upbringing: You gotta have faith!

Scott C. Guffey, M.A.