Righting a “Wrong”?

 

When Donald Trump descended the escalator at Trump Tower that fateful day in June 2015, Americans knew they were in for a rowdier and yes, sillier election cycle than normal. Donald Trump, incredibly successful businessman, celebrity, reality show host, and last but not least, American citizen, decided that he did not like the direction his country was taking and announced he was running for president. Many howled with laughter. Surely he can’t be serious! Doesn’t he know who he will be running against? Doesn’t he realize that it is Hillary Clinton’s turn? She has the money and power of the Clinton machine behind her, not to mention the mainstream media who will do what they must to get her elected. We now know that Hillary did what she had to as well by rigging the primary.  Apparently Bernie Sanders did not realize it was her turn either.

Fast forward to election night. Something completely unexpected happened. At least unexpected to the pollsters, the media, and every other entity that insisted on ignoring what those in the New York, D.C. corridor like to think of as “fly over country”. Average ordinary Americans decided they had had enough. Enough of business as usual in Washington, enough of the same faces running for office, enough of those same people getting elected based on the promises they made to those average Americans, then promptly forgetting those promises the minute they hit the city limits of Washington D.C. Donald Trump would be like no other president in American history. For the D.C. swamp, the elitists, whatever you want to call them, that was exactly the problem.

There are lots of people, many of them the talking heads we see every night who talk about the divide we see among Americans right now. They talk about how it seems to be getting worse. What they are referring to is the political divide between Republicans and Democrats, Conservatives and Liberals. But what if that is not the divide we should be concerned with? What if the most disturbing divide is among the elitist swamp creatures of the political class and the rest of us? What if the elitists witnessed in horror what happened on election night 2016 and decided that no, this cannot stand. We cannot allow the American people to duly elect this unsophisticated ogre of a man, this political neophyte, this outsider whose supporters chant, “Drain the swamp” to be the leader of the free world. They knew all too well that when Trump said he would drain the swamp, he was talking about them.

Now we are finding out the mass and the scope of the plan that was put into place. It is like nothing we have ever seen before. It involves the weaponizing of the FBI and the Department of Justice, it involves high ranking officials in the Obama administration, it involves an active spying operation on an American political candidate, and the very people who organized it and carried it out are the ones who should have been stopping it. We will for quite a while to come hear the names Comey, McCabe, Clapper, Mueller, and Rosenstein. It will also involve a propagandist media that is no longer populated with journalists but activists for the Democrat Party who will do their level best to minimize this and dismiss it as just so much Trump and conservative conspiracy theory. Now we are hearing the spin that, “we were just trying to keep an eye on what the Russians were doing. We were doing Trump a favor!” Move along silly average Americans, nothing to see here.

The question every American should be asking is, how on earth have we gotten here? How has a group of people who feel so privileged, so entitled, so superior to their fellow citizens come to feel that they have a right to carry out what amounts to a silent coup d’état? How do people who are in positions of power, who are charged with the protection of this nation rationalize the attempted destruction of every ideal this country was founded upon simply because they don’t like the president?

The answer is multifaceted, but part of it is really kind of simple. These people truly believed, and more than likely, continue to believe that they were just righting a wrong. President Donald Trump was never supposed to happen. Hillary Clinton was poised to make history. They all knew it with every fiber of their beings, and when it didn’t happen, history had to be corrected. And not only did history need correcting, they also needed to send a message that continues to be sent today to all other outsiders who think they might do what Donald Trump did. Don’t rock the boat, don’t think you will come in here and disrupt the status quo. Because if you do, we will destroy you personally and professionally, we will destroy your family, we will destroy anyone associated with you personally and professionally, we will make an example of you.

The more we learn of this, the more egregious, disgusting, and truly disturbing it is. A Hillary Clinton presidency would have kept this secret more than likely forever. And the clearer it becomes that Donald Trump was the history correction.

The Beauty of Getting Older

American societal norms can be a curious animal. It is probably why college students take classes called “Sociology”. In most places around the world, the elders of the population are revered. People look up to them and respect them for their wisdom and life experience. In America though, we frequently overlook the senior citizens in our population. We dismiss them, ignore them, younger people don’t really pay attention to them because they are not up to date when it comes to pop culture. They often end up in deplorable conditions.

But one American company is attempting to change the way we look at older Americans, particularly older women. When we think of models, we think of teenage to twentysomething girls who we just want to force feed a sandwich to. They do things like chain smoke and subject themselves to ridiculous dieting habits in order to maintain their refugee-like weight. They are all too aware that their years of modeling earning potential are about as long as Olympic figure skaters and gymnasts have to compete. By 25 they are has-beens.

Enter Cover Girl and their newest spokes model Maye Musk. Maye may not be all that well known in the U.S., but she ought to be. She was born in Canada, and moved with her family to South Africa at age 2. She began modeling at 15, and entered the Miss South Africa beauty pageant in 1969. Her face has graced the cover of such magazines as Time, New York magazine, and Elle Canada. She is also a Dietician, having earned a Master’s degree in Nutritional Science from the University of Toronto. On April 19, Maye Musk will celebrate her seventieth birthday.

American women have spent most of last 100 years being told what the ideal American woman should look like. She is very young, usually white, and extremely thin. With the advent of the Women’s movement in the 60’s and 70’s, those ideals slowly began to change. The women in those magazines don’t look like the women in the grocery store or at PTA meetings. They might have a few extra pounds; they don’t have hair and makeup people swooping down on them every day before they leave the house. The lines and wrinkles that inhabit their faces tell the stories of real lives. They are Black, Hispanic, Asian, and everything in between. They have jobs and children and some days are lucky if they have time to chug a single cup of coffee before they deal with real life.

It has taken longer than it ever should have for the beauty industry to figure out that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and ages. The fact that Cover Girl has put Maye Musk up as one beauty ideal sends a vitally important message to young girls and women in general. In a society and culture where women and girls starve themselves to look like the airbrushed waif on the cover of “Vogue”, watching Maye strut her stuff in a Cover Girl commercial is encouraging, long overdue, and tells women that they do not need to check off the beauty boxes that the culture has brainwashed them into thinking are mandatory. And if you learn about Maye, you learn that the combination of beauty in whatever form it comes in, self-confidence and brains is an unbeatable combination. It will take you where-ever you want to go.

With any luck what Cover Girl has started will spread to other cosmetic companies. American women, especially those who are over 50 are tired of being told that as soon as they reach that magical age they should no longer worry about their looks, that no one is looking anyway. Cover Girl is saying, “MAKE them look.” But the best message comes from Maye herself in a Twitter hashtag,

#JustGettingStarted.

Is Conservatism the New Counterculture?

Ah the 60’s, what a heady time. America was experiencing growing pains in a way she had not seen since her inception. It was a time of war, an unpopular one at that. It was a time of Americans demanding racial and gender equality. At times it was violent and ugly. It also spawned a generational gap that had never been seen before. Teenagers and college age students in the 60’s were a completely different animal than their WWII era parents. While tradition defined the greatest generation, rebellion defined their children. Those coming of age in the 60’s wanted completely different lives than their parents. Their values and beliefs were the opposite of their parents. It was practically a requirement, it was also hip and cool.

Fast forward to today. Those teenagers are all grown up. And quite a few of them teach today’s teenagers and college students. And they are guilty of the very behavior of the generation that came before them. They insist that they are all for freedom of speech, equality for all, tolerance and inclusivity all around. But that is not what happens on today’s college campuses. What used to be a sacred place for the free exchange of ideas is now a repressive safe-space filled place where one had better go along with the group-think of one’s designated group. So, one had better figure out quick to which group one belongs. Are you a minority, female, gay? Shut up and think with your respective group and no one gets hurt.

But there is a different group rearing its head, and the problem is, well, they appear to be free thinkers, and it does not look like they are going to reform their evil ways any time soon. We are talking about college conservatives. Go to any college campus and it’s the Conservatives who are the kooks, the freaks, the ones who just do not it in. They are insulted, if speakers they invite to campus manage to step foot on campus they are shouted down, threatened, and harassed. They are not allowed to say what they think, that is hate speech. And don’t even think about publicly supporting the political candidate of your choice. Because if it not the choice of those tolerant former flower children, it is not going to happen.

So, have conservative college students become the new counter culture? Are they the new rebellion? They are certainly the underdog, and in many cases, curiosity gets the better of those want to know more about the underdogs and why they have achieved that status. Will the curious want to know what sort of values and beliefs this totally unacceptable group holds and why they hold them? Will they mull conservatism over, roll it around in their heads, even agree with it? More and more studies are showing that the generation behind Millennials is leaning more conservative in their beliefs. Will they relish the idea that they are, in a way, the odd men out? And will it make conservatism hip and cool? Maybe not right away, liberals are not about to let the cool factor of being a hippie, even an aging one, go without a fight. But maybe the fight stage is where we are now. More conservative students speak up even when they see the treatment of others like them. They are standing up and fighting “the man”. Rather ironic that liberals have become exactly what they warned each other about back in the old days.

Liberals love to ramble on about revolutions and resisting. What may be on the horizon is probably not what they had in mind.