Faux News: Breaking News–Martial Law Under Consideration

Faux News has learned that President Trump is considering an Executive Order imposing martial law that would take effect immediately following his declaration, which is expected within the next two to three days. He has explained to close associates that the reason martial law is necessary is the hostile invasion of the country at the border with Mexico. He said he has seen on Fox News mobs attacking our country, armed with rocks and soiled diapers. He declared that if drastic action is not taken immediately, the invading mob will overtake the entire country. No U.S. citizen, he believes, is safe from what he  described as the “angry horde  from the South.” One associate who was at the high level meeting but has requested anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the situation, quoted the President as saying, “Hey, these thugs and criminals have trudged 2,700 miles on foot with babies on their backs. If they can do that and run through tear gas, if they get into the U.S., there is no telling how much damage they can do. I have heard they won’t stop until they take over the government.”

Republican Congressional leaders who attended the high level, secret meeting were said to have voiced their full approval. Mitch McConnell was quoted as saying that if we do not stop them now, we might as well surrender to Honduras and El Salvador.” Paul Ryan said he fully agreed with the President’s decision, and Lindsay Graham was quoted as saying he wanted to go to the border right now so he could be the first one to fire a shot. No Democrats were reported to have attended the meeting.

There is no clear understanding of exactly what martial law would entail, but those close to the President believe that his first action would most likely direct all available military personnel to construct the Wall that he has been requesting and also shut down major news outlets which he has accused of spreading fake news, such as the Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, PBS, MSNBC, and the Weekly Reader, and jailing all reporters who are associated with those organizations or others like them. The second action would most likely be suspension of the Mueller probe and destruction of all evidence collected in the investigation, which the President has described as “fake evidence.”  The third would be the arrest and imprisonment of all who are considered to be allies of the invading forces from the South. Aides say that those who top his list include Robert Mueller, Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Barack and Michelle Obama, and LeBron James. Elections would be suspended, and the midterm elections of 2018 would be considered void for the U.S. House of Representatives due to massive voter fraud, which the President has stated is “fully documented.” Aides also report that all military personnel in Europe would be reassigned and immediately relocated to the United States and would take over and direct all law enforcement efforts throughout the country, reporting directly to the President.

It is not clear if Congress or the Supreme Court would be required to ratify the President’s declaration of martial law. One of his aides told Faux News that since the President now controls all three branches of government, Trump believes getting their approval would not be a problem. However, just to be sure that he will not run into resistance, he has told aides that he will also suspend the Constitution. Another aide pointed out that the President said the action to impose martial law must happen now before the Congress of 2019 is sworn in in early January.

When asked by our Faux News reporter how long martial law might be imposed, one aide who attended the meeting reported that the President said that martial law would be in place “as long as it takes to restore order at the border and throughout the country,” which he added, “could take years, perhaps decades.”

Several participants who were observers at the meeting were reported to be heading with their families to Reagan National Airport the day following the meeting to board planes to Canada.

More information will be reported as it becomes available.







Faux News Returns After a Thanksgiving Break: The Trump Press Conference, November 26, 2018

Note to readers: Allie Ritzenberg, subject of the “Allie’s 100th” blog post, died peacefully at his home surrounded by family on Thanksgiving Day, just 11 days after the 100th birthday party.

Now the press conference.

President Trump:  I will start off by saying how thankful I am for myself. This was the blessing that I gave at Thanksgiving and I will give it again today: “Thank you, God, for me and the gift of me to the USA and the world. Amen.” Now first question.

Reporter 1: Sir, what about the report issued by the federal government just after Thanksgiving that states that climate change is real and will be catastrophic to the United States and the world if we do not take action?

Trump: Yeah, yeah. Fake news. I’m not going to waste  my time reading it. Trash. Obama trash.

Reporter 1: But the report was  authorized by Congress and put out by a group representing 14 government agencies. Over 300 respected scientists contributed to it.

Trump: Not gonna waste my time. Fake News. Climate change is a hoax, and most people know that.

Reporter 1: But, sir, how could you not even read it when wild fires are destroying California, hurricanes are wiping out coastal cities and islands, and temperatures are rising? This is a report by the federal government. You are the head of the federal government.

Trump: Coal is king and will continue to be king as long as I am king, I mean, President. Officers, remove this reporter and take his credentials. Next question?

Reporter 2: What about the California fires and global warming?

Trump: Take this woman’s credentials too and remove her from the room.

Reporter 3: What about the Saudi crown prince and the murder of the Post reporter?

Trump: What murder? No one has found a body. No body, no murder. Simple as that. Besides Mohammed bin Salman—I just call him Ben—is a good guy and Jared’s best friend. If he says there was no murder, then there was no murder.

Reporter 3: But he admits there was a murder but says he did not authorize it.

Trump: Same difference. Whatever. Officers, remove this reporter. Next?

Reporter 4: What about all the tear gas used against those in the caravan and closing the border with Mexico?

Trump: These people are thugs and thieves, and I am issuing orders to shoot to kill on sight. We will teach them a lesson once and for all. No caravans of criminals and terrorists allowed in the US anymore. Period.

Reporter 4: But women and children will be killed. Most are asylum seekers.

Trump: Officers, take this reporter’s credentials and escort him out. Next?

Reporter 5: Sir, it looks like the Democrats will gain 40  Congressional seats and will control the House. How do you interpret the results of the mid term election and what will it mean for your presidency?

Trump: For one thing the election was a huge success for me. First, the Party of Trump–I mean the Republicans–gained seats in the Senate, and that has never happened before in a mid term election for a President’s party, and that is all due to me. They got elected because of me and only because of me. And as for the House, every Republican who lost lost because he or she did not support me strong enough. If they had, I–I mean they--would have won every seat. And believe me, The Party of Trump—I mean the Republicans–now fear me more than ever. They can’t win without me. As for the House Democrats, I say so what. They won’t get any law they pass through the Senate where I call all the shots, and just wait ‘till these lawsuits they are filing reach the Supreme Court where I control five votes. It is over for the Democrats, and they know it. Besides, we really don’t need any laws anymore since I will rule by Executive Order from now on. I am not going to waste any time with these Democrat scoundrels and malcontents.

Reporter 6: Are you still planning to shut down the government if you do not get money in the budget to build your border wall?

Trump: Yeah, but they will cave and give me the money. They always do. Next?

Reporter 7: What about the big deficit that was created by the tax law? What do you plan to do about that?

Trump: Well, as every member of the Party of Trump knows—I mean, as every Republican knows—deficits mean nothing, and the tax cuts have already paid for themselves. The deficit is due entirely to government giveaways and handouts, which I am ordering to stop immediately. Just ask Paul Ryan. He worships me. They all do.

Reporter 8: And do you believe anything will come out of the Mueller investigation?

Trump: Of course not! No collusion! No meddling! All fake news, but that is going to stop when by my Executive Order, any reporter responsible for fake news will go to jail and stay there, and the worthless, failing newspapers they work for, like the New York Times, and Washington Post, will crumble when they are convicted of libel. Fake news has ruined our country and will be stopped, and you can count on the Supreme Court to put an end to that once and for all. First Amendment nonsense! You know I now have five justices in my pocket. As I said, it is a new ballgame. I already am the greatest President in history and will stay that way for very, very long time. Thank you, God, for me, thank you, for me.

Now off to a golf game. Press conference over.

Reporter for Fox News: Amen! Hail to the Chief!

Fighting Injustice

It was my second real job when my boss made the comment in his good-bye remarks when I was moving on to take a new job, “Joe Howell has the greatest sense of moral outrage and self righteous indignation of anyone I have ever known.”

That may be true, but my defense is that you have to fight injustice at all times and in all places, whenever and wherever it rears its ugly head. Of course, there are different levels to fight these battles, and the ones I have been most successful with have been on the personal level. If you get dissed or screwed by the more powerful, you fight back. This is especially important when you are dealing with the government or major corporations. Most innocent victims surrender, concluding that they don’t stand a chance. This actually is not the case. You just need to know how to take on the bureaucracy.

I learned my first lesson when Embry and I were living in New York, and the street-wise, Episcopal priest whose inner city church we were attending announced that his wife had figured out how to get any problem solved involving the government of New York City. “All you have to do,” he said. “Is to ask a couple of questions, first, what is your employment ID number and, second, what is the name and telephone number of your immediate supervisor. It rarely fails. You immediately get what you want or are transferred up the chain of command. More often than you would think, you end up speaking eventually to the head of the whole department.” Rumors in those days were that if you were persistent, you could end up speaking to the Mayor himself.

I have found this approach to be work in almost every situation.

The second tool at your disposal is “The letter.” A good letter can go a long way. The ones that have worked best for me are slightly tongue-in-cheek, with a touch of hyperbole. For example, years ago when Federal Express failed to deliver my handouts to a major conference, I was left stranded with no PowerPoint slides and nothing to hand out. When I complained using all the outrage tools at my disposal,  I was told over the phone by the supervisor of a supervisor of a supervisor, tough luck, that there was nothing the company could do given the timing and furthermore that only a handful of the several million FedEx packages delivered each day get lost. It was too bad that mine was one of them. So get over it.

I managed to get through my presentation ok , but still. This injustice had to be addressed.

I immediately sent a registered mail, overnight (NOT by Federal Express) personal letter to the president and CEO of Federal Express, describing in great detail the ordeal and my extreme suffering and announcing I was suing the company for the following amounts: $38.25 for typing and reproduction, $45.75 for the FedEx fee, and $27 million for irreparable pain and suffering. The next day I received a FedEx package with two dozen red roses, a fruit and cheese basket, and a hand written note from the president (actually probably from his assistant) apologizing and begging for my forgiveness. Score one for the underdog.

I had an even worse experience with JPMorgan/Chase after my wallet and credit cards were stolen in Madrid during our trip around the world. Chase never sent me a new credit card, continued to charge me annual fees, and then despite my protests had my credit score lowered for not paying the annual fee and the interest on the fee.

I seemed to have met my match at Chase. I explained to one supervisor after another as I worked my way up the food chain that my credit had been ruined, and that I was never supplied a new credit card after mine was stolen. They explained to me that they could not give me a new card because my old card was “on hold,” but it could not be released until I paid all the fees and penalties. Plus because my credit score was now so low, they could not offer me a new card even if I paid up. I used every argument I had to no avail. I even told the last person I talked to that I was despondent and contemplating suicide. (Actually I realized I had gone too far when she immediately gave me the suicide crisis number and hung up. She gave it to me so quickly I figured she must get several suicide threats a day.) No one would give me any contact information on Jamie Dimon, the Chase CEO. Most just laughed and hung up. This went on for months. I mean, these guys (actually all women) were tough. I was ready to admit defeat.

Then my luck changed. At a cocktail party I was holding forth about this hideous ordeal and how Chase was destroying my life and how my proven methods weren’t working when a stranger came up to me saying that she had overheard my ranting and that she had a friend who actually knew Jamie Dimon, and she would get me his personal, home address. Two days later, bingo, there it was in an email! My  special delivery, outrage letter followed, describing permanent psychological damage and hinting at lawsuits totaling hundreds of millions that would surely bring the company to its knees. Two days after that I received  a new card, all past fees and interest forgiven, and future annual fees waived. No personal apologies from the Big Guy, but, hey, a victory nonetheless.

This year I have continued my quest for personal justice at all times and at all places. The first was my knee replacement. Kaiser Permanente, my health care provider, typically does not like to do any procedure that costs them money since it is  an HMO, and any operation is on their nickel. If somebody at Kaiser ever tells you that you need an operation, head for the operating room immediately. Believe me, you need it. For several years I had suffered from a worn-out knee but was quietly ignored by the orthopedic surgeon specializing in knee replacements. “Yes,” he would say, “the cartilage is gone, but other people are in worse shape than you are. Give it another year or so.”

After a couple of these encounters, I wrote the following email to the surgeon:

“Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following two statements: one, I need a knee replacement. Two, Kaiser will not give me one.”

About 10 minutes later I got a return email from the doctor saying. “Come in tomorrow morning and get your knee replaced.”

The operation actually occurred about a month later, and I am happy to report was successful. I am back to walking three or four miles several times a week. Score another victory.

My latest personal injustice ordeal involved a refund on small, propane, outboard motor which I purchased from Best Marine (not its real name) in August. The motor exploded when I was trying to screw in the propane tank and fuel spewed out of the motor. It was not a huge explosion, but someone could have been hurt. The brand new motor never even touched the water. I returned the motor to Best Marine the day after Labor Day and demanded that they fix it immediately since I had several cruises scheduled for the fall and needed the motor for the dinghy. I had even paid a premium to Best Marine, a massive company with a nation-wide presence, to provide for them to coordinate all motor repairs in an “expeditious manner.” When two months later the motor was still not repaired, I told them I wanted my money back. I had no use for a motor that explodes and that takes months to repair. I was told by the store manager that it was not possible under any circumstances to return a motor. The reason he gave had to do with some contract technicality between Best Marine and the motor manufacturer.

We talked a couple of times after that leading to no resolution. He stated apologetically but firmly, “Mr. Howell, there is no way we can give you a refund. I have talked to my supervisors and it simply can’t happen because of legal reasons. This decision is final.” I gave my outrage act a second shot (“This is unbelievable,how could you…”) with no success.

On the next call, I went to Plan B, my backup approach, which went something like this: “Randy (not his real name), you seem like a nice person and want to do the right thing, so here is the way that it is going to work going forward. Right now we are at level one and level one is not going in the right direction, so we are moving to level two. In order to facilitate level two, you will provide me with all contact information for your supervisor and his or her supervisor and the CEO of the company, including his or her home address and telephone number. I do not believe you want to know what level three involves, but I will refer to it simply as the nuclear option. I will give you one week to report back as to progress.”

He reported back this past Wednesday that I would receive a full refund.

Works every time. Well, almost.

So, my friends, when a personal injustice occurs, you do not have to surrender. Hold your ground and do not fear using your best outrage act, but always do it with a smile and a twinkle in your eye and hold no personal grudges. But you have to be prepared to go to the nuclear option if you have to, but really, you don’t want to know what that is.


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Editor-in-Chief, Faux News

Allie’s 100th

Allie Ritzenberg was born on November 11, 1918, the day marking the end of what at the time was called “the Great War.”  His 100th birthday was celebrated on Armistice Day this year in his home nestled atop a bluff in the Maryland suburbs of Washington with breathtaking views of the Potomac River. He has lived there for decades but for  the past several years has lived alone, following the death of his wife, Peggy, who died in her mid nineties. Until last year he was still driving, playing tennis, collecting tennis memorabilia, and preparing his own gourmet, vegetarian meals.

His house was jam-packed with family, friends and admirers that included his four middle-aged children and spouses and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren along with many of Washington’s elite, whom Allie had gotten to know during his 60 plus years as the tennis coach of Saint Alban’s School and tennis pro at the Saint Alban’s Tennis Club. The Washington Post commentator, David Ignatius, was there as was Don Graham, the former owner and publisher of the Post, and probably a whole lot of other famous people I did not recognize.

I was a member of the club and played there once or twice a week, often during the middle of the day when most of the courts were free and Allie was looking for someone to chat with. That led to a friendship and later a request to help him with writing his memoir, which he had been working on for a number of years. I agreed with some trepidation but surprisingly found the experience to be relatively stress free with no pushback from him whatsoever. I think he was desperate, having given up on two or three previous helpers.

My pay for helping him pull his story together was one free lesson for every chapter completed. This was probably the best business deal of my erstwhile writing career.

The book, Capital Tennis, was published by the Francis Press in 2004. It is a good read: a kid from a working class, Jewish family somehow ends up in the halls of Washington’s elite, WASP society. One of the themes that runs through the book is the nagging question of whether he was ever truly accepted by that society as an equal member. (I believe the answer would be a resounding yes.) Another is how far he would have gone competitively if the U.S. Open and other championship tournaments had been open to professionals when he was playing his best tennis. (My guess is that he would have gone a long way.)

But Allie also describes in his book how he was just as committed to helping Washington’s inner city kids as he was to giving lessons to Washington’s best and brightest. He started an organization that reached out to these kids and did more than anyone to introduce them to the game he loves.

Allie is an icon in Washington. He was playing tennis with Robert McNamara when he got the word about the Cuban Missile Crisis and with George McGovern when he learned about his running mate’s previous mental problems. He was Jackie Kennedy’s personal tennis coach. During the Kennedy and Johnson years, any serious tennis player in those Democratic administrations would have belonged to the Saint Alban’s Tennis Club. Most would have taken lessons from Allie. The wait list to get in was measured in years. As long as he was running the club, that trend continued. He has been ranked number one in the “over 80” category for many of the last twenty years and was playing competitively in tournaments around the world well into his nineties.

This birthday celebration, however, was different from his 99thwhen Allie was in true form, holding forth about the state of the country and the world, always with a twinkle in his eye and often a devilish grin. This year he was solemnly seated in a wheel chair connected up to an oxygen tube. His son said that about four months ago he started a decline and now has 24/7 nursing assistance. He made a brief appearance and shook hands but retired well before the event was over. Though there was still a sparkle in his eyes, he was not his old self. Somehow I think we all had assumed that Allie was immortal, that once he turned 100 he would be ranked number one in the over age 100 category forever and that one day, if he did die, it would be from a heart attack on the court after thrashing a much younger opponent 6-0. But, alas, that is not to be. One can only hope that the checking out process for Allie will not involve suffering or be too prolonged. And isn’t that what we all hope for—to be able to live a rich and full life and to keep on going strong for as long as we can, squeezing the last few drops out of the lemon?

 If only we all could be so fortunate.


Faux News Breaking News: US Congress Set To Curtail Gun Violence. Again.

Following the most recent mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California, a suburb of Los Angeles, on November 7 where 12 people, mainly college students, were gunned down in a nightclub, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell vowed to move on gun legislation immediately. Ryan told Faux News, “ These mass shootings seem to be happening almost on a weekly basis. We can’t wait any longer. We must act now or never. That is why we will get historic legislation passed by the lame duck Congress.”

McConnell agreed with Ryan at a hastily called press conference where he described the highlights of the bill, which he said was a slight variation of the last three Republican legislative initiatives on gun violence. “The most important thing is that once this popular bill becomes law, every bona fide American twelve years old and older will be required to carry a loaded weapon at all times. Also every person will be required to undergo target practice, and anyone failing the test will not be allowed to attend school if they are under age 18; and if they are over age 18,they will be denied a driver’s license or have their license revoked until they can shoot straight.

 “Can you imagine what would have happened in that night club if everyone there was carrying heat? Sure, the killer might have knocked off one or two people, but someone would have nailed him after he had fired a few shots. This is a terrific bill and hugely popular among Republicans who, I would like to point out, still control Congress until January 3, 2019. The only controversial aspects of the bill are whether the required age should be 12 or an older age, like 18, and what the shooting skill levels need to be to stay in school or get a driver’s license. There are also some questions as to whether 80-year olds should be required to carry loaded weapons. Note also that an important part of the bill excludes all illegal aliens and persons born to illegals. In fact they will be prevented from purchasing weapons, which should make the gun-takeaway advocates happy.

“But, mind you, this bill will pass. We are even tossing in some goodies to placate our namby-pamby friends across the aisle by providing subsidies to poor people, who can’t afford to buy weapons. The subsidies will be modeled after those in the Affordable Care Act, and state exchanges will be set up for this purpose. We are even exploring whether we can expand Medicaid to cover the cost of weapons. How could any self respecting Democrat oppose this? Plus anyone purchasing a weapon will receive a tax credit for the full cost; and if the weapon is an assault weapon, you will get double benefits. The tax paying public will love this. Also subsidies will be provided to all public schools to cover the cost of shooting ranges, which are required by the legislation. ”

The first question asked by reporters was why after every mass shooting, Republicans have promised to pass a universal, mandatory, gun-carry bill, but so far none have become law. McConnell blamed the Congressional stalemate on the Democrats whom he accused of being weak-kneed when it comes to firearms. “That is exactly why,” McConnell said, “we have to get this passed now during the lame duck Congress. Once Democrats take over the House in 2019, our chances are gone for responsibly curbing mass shootings and gun violence in this country. It is now or never.”

Asked by a reporter why with a population of almost 130 million people and with strong gun control laws, Japan had only nine gun deaths in 2017, McConnell responded that the Japanese don’t count since they are Asians. Besides they prefer knives, he said, and there are no statistics on that. 

A second question related to the United Kingdom, a country of over 55 million, which had fewer than 25 gun deaths last year while the US had over 33,000. The reporter pointed out that the gun murder rate in the US is over 160 times that of the UK, a country which has strict gun laws. Several other questions referred to other countries with strong gun laws and murder rates a mere fraction of those in the U.S., countries like Germany, China and South Korea. The two officials shrugged off the questions as irrelevant citing the much higher gun death rates in El Salvador.

The proposed legislation, while opposed by the majority of the U.S. population, is expected to pass if it is voted on by the lame duck Congress since both houses are still controlled by Republicans. President Trump strongly supports the legislation calling it the first responsible gun law ever proposed and at 3:25 AM this morning tweeted, “Pass the gun-carry bill now. Founding Fathers would love it.”

Democrats vow to revisit legislation in 2019 once the new Congress is in session. They remain committed to curbing gun violence by passing stronger anti-gun laws and revoking any gun-carry law that passes. Any legislation limiting the Constitutional right to bear arms, however, is considered dead on arrival by most observers. Trump tweeted at 4:07 AM, “Try to knock down gun required-carry laws and be jailed. You are against the Constitution. Un American. Would stand no chance in my Supreme Court.”

In a related news item, Donald Trump Jr. announced this morning the opening of a new chain of retail outlets with the name,  “Son’s Guns,” which he said by the end of 2019 will have over 1,000 outlets “located in every city, town and hamlet in the United States.”  Following the press conference stock prices of every major gun manufacturer had risen by over 25%  and were still rising at the time of publishing of this article.

Ryan concluded the press conference by thanking the reporters who attended and stated, “This is a great day for America. It will be my legacy along with the deficit reducing, tax breaks we Republicans passed. Praise to our beloved President! He is truly making America great again. Promises made, promises kept.”






Faux News Special: The Greatest Mid Term Election of All Time

President Trump hailed the results of the 2018 mid term election as the greatest of all time and praised his loyal base for turning out votes for him even though, of course, he technically was not on the ballot and Democrats won at least 30 House seats, assuring them a majority. “It is now clear where power in this country lies,” he told our Faux News reporter, “It lies with me and exclusively with me. Sure, we lost the House by a tiny margin, but do you know why? The answer is that every single one of the pathetic, so called Republicans who lost, and lost bad, lost only because they did not support me 100%. If they had stayed totally loyal and obedient, we would still be in charge come 2019. Some even refused to campaign with me. Can you believe it? Well, they paid a price, and make note of it: any Republican who does not commit to total, complete and 100% loyalty to me from now on is toast. They will be primaried out by my loyal followers, and if by some fluke they make it to the general election, they will lose to Democrats. But that won’t happen anymore. There won’t be any Republicans who are not obedient. Just look what happened to Little Shorty, Jeffie Sessions. The Age of Trump is here.”

Fellow Republicans lauded the President and lined up in front of the White House to pay homage to him and thank him for his historic victory and in formally ushering in “the Age of Trump.” Senator Lindsay Graham from South Carolina boasted that he was going to introduce legislation which would change the name of the “Republican Party” to the “Party of Trump”, and that this would happen during the lame duck Congress before the Democrats take over the House. Other elected officials applauded the action. As loyal officials stood in line for hours to get into the White House to kiss the President’s ring and kneel before him, they chanted continuously, “Party of Trump, Party of Trump” and “Bye bye Short-tee, Bye bye Short-tee.”

Earlier in the day the President had held a press conference where he stated that he was looking forward to working with a Democratic-controlled House provided that they did not ask for his tax returns, say anything negative about him, voted to jail Mueller and supported the president 100% in all that he was doing to move the country forward. Following his bi-partisan overtures at that press conference, Trump expelled two dozen reporters   for asking dumb questions and had them jailed.

“It’s a great day for the county,” Trump told reporters. I am not worried about the Democrats. They will fall in line eventually. This is the Age of Trump.”

Democrats were curiously silent when asked to respond to the boasts by the President. One Democratic member of the House, who asked to remain anonymous, told Faux News, “Bro’ Fox, he say, ‘lay low’. The fun is about to begin.”


Understanding Trump Supporters

Last week I received an email from a good friend and Trump supporter with a copy of a Wall Street Journal op-ed essay (October 22) written by a computer science professor at Yale, David Gelernter, who stated his reasons why so many people, including himself—over 40 percent the adult population of the United States—support Trump. He cited many factors—Trump’s  “unwillingness to walk away from a fight, his bluntness, his certainty that America is exceptional, his mistrust of intellectuals, his love of simple ideas that work, and his refusal to believe that men and women are interchangeable,” among others.  His main reason, however, boils down to an us-them feeling on the part of “average Americans,” who feel dissed by the liberal, elite establishment.

As blog readers know, I have been obsessed with Trump and cannot stomach him or what he stands for. However, as I read the Gelernter op-ed piece, I could not help realizing that I belong to the tribe that according to him is in part responsible for the divisiveness in our country. When I see angry people at Trump rallies waving “Make America Great Again” signs, I cringe and shake my head, wondering who are these people.

According to Gelernter they are simply ordinary, hard working Americans who believe for a variety of reasons that they have gotten a raw deal and are looked down on by liberals, intellectuals, and “leftists” of all types. They are “the farmer, factory hand, auto mechanic, machinist, teamster, shop owner, clerk, software engineer, infantryman, truck driver, housewife.” Trump, for these average Americans–many  from the [white] working class– is their ticket to payback time. He is shaking up the establishment as he said he would and is making life miserable for those who have lorded it over them for them for decades. The ancient proverb, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” says it all. It is no wonder that his popularity remains remarkably stable regardless of how outrageous or hateful his tweets are.

Gelernter sums up what he thinks  the attitude of liberals is toward ordinary Americans: “What I see on the left is often plain, unconditional hatred of which the hater—God forgive him—is proud. It’s discouraging, even disgusting. And it does mean, I believe, that the Trump-hater truly does hate the average American—male or female, black or white. Often he hates America, too.”

I believe that Gelernter has a point in arguing that the resentment of class prejudice is a major reason behind Trumpism. He is also right that many “leftists” and Democrats have contributed to the divisiveness  by patronizing these “average Americans” and in the past taking their votes for granted. We are in some ways guilty as charged.

The year Embry and I spent with blue collar families on Clay Street gave us a perspective that we would not have had without that experience. Hard Living on Clay Street, published in 1973 and still in print, came out with a third edition this year with a new cover endorsement by Joan C. Williams, a Berkley professor, which reads, “If you want to know why Trump won in 2016, read this book.” The characters in the book were hard working Americans but were struggling to get back by. They were proud and independent but also felt marginalized. I have no doubt that most would be Trump supporters today. Yet they were good people. Given the odds they were fighting and the hands they were dealt, Embry and I could see then and understand now how they could feel resentment and alienation. And rightly or wrongly, they did not see themselves benefiting from government programs and were especially fearful of their diminished position in an America becoming more racially and ethnically diverse.

So Gelernter is  right. We liberals are in part responsible. Shame on us! We need to do better.

But wait a minute! You can surely hate Trump without hating his ardent followers. And you can surely speak truth as you see it: Trump is a fraud. Trump has never cared about working people, and the policies and actions he has promoted do not make their lives better. The tax breaks went mainly to the top 10 percent. Weakening  Obamacare does not help working people nor does his opposition to increasing the national minimum wage. He is anti union. His trade tariffs are at best a mixed bag, helping some working people but hurting others. The next target for Trump and his party will surely be dismantling the social safety net, using the massive deficits created by the tax breaks as the excuse. He is promoting hatred and discord. He is a consummate liar.  He has not stood up to racists or Neo Nazis and spreads fear about people of color entering our country. His number one concern is himself. Many people believe that he is edging the country toward a tyrannical future. 

Yes, I can certainly understand why many in the white working class cast their ballot for Trump as a protest vote. But in the end they chose the wrong horse. They were duped. Agreed, the economy is doing pretty well right now, and people have jobs, but the income gap is not getting any better. The growth we are seeing this year is a sugar high caused mainly by the tax cuts, which are overheating the economy, a situation for which we will have to pay the piper sooner or later. The Trump presidency will turn out to be a disaster for working people.

So what are we to learn from people like the Yale professor and others who cast us as demons? We can agree that we Democrats and progressives have at times let down working people and that too many of us have disrespected and looked down our noses on the “average Americans” who now are Trump supporters. We have to do better. But we can’t take our eye off the ball. We have to champion a progressive agenda  and  hammer away by supporting policies that will make life better for working people— affordable health care, greater access to higher education, stronger unions, higher wages, available childcare, a strong social safety net, and laws that ensure a level playing field regardless of race, ethnicity, sexuality or one’s place in society….The list is long. We have to keep up the fight for what we believe in. We have to work hard for a more tolerant and inclusive America.

On Tuesday our country will vote in what has been described as the most important mid term election in generations, perhaps ever.  On election eve we do not know how it will turn out. The Republicans–more accurately “The Party of Trump”– will probably gain seats in the Senate, and the Democrats will gain seats in the House but are not guaranteed a majority. In order to put brakes on the Trump presidency it is critical that Democrats retake the House. Talk of a blue wave has subsided as the polls show the preference gap narrowing for Democrats. Voter turnout will determine the outcome.  It could be a cliffhanger.

Nail biting time.