Then again, did Trump have anything at all to do with electing Trump?

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Adventure.  Romance.  Drama.  Suspense.

Love ’em.  Why do you think I (mostly) write fiction?

I’m not alone.  Why do you think there’s so much news coverage for a presidential election?

But what if the (reasonable) assumption that the campaign might have anything al all to do with the outcome of the election is, like the stuff I write, also fiction?

Below is a link to National Public Radio’s Hidden Brain podcast.  Check out the interview with Allan Lichtman in Episode 51, entitled “What Happened?”, from November 15:

http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510308/hidden-brain

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Two-Way Street

lib·er·al  ˈlib(ə)rəl/  adjective  open to new behavior or opinions and willing to discard traditional values

Truth be told, I’ve never really respected the opinions of anyone at all religious, let alone fundamentalist.  And my traditional values have always included Ralph Waldo Emerson’s distinction between freedom and license.  (As I see it, according to Emerson’s distinction, I should have the freedom to get high on whatever odd substance I chose and have sex with my dog…assuming, of course, that he or she is a consenting adult…in the privacy of my own home.  But the minute I walk out my front door and inadvertently kick a leaf into my neighbor’s yard, who will then have to remove it or endure its potentially unwelcome presence on his or her property, I have committed an act of license for which I should be held accountable.)

These and other of my opinions and traditional values justify referring to me as a liberal, part of the “coastal elite” who pompously presumed…when an elegant, intelligent black man was elected president to serve for two terms…that “fly-over” America was finally beginning to “grow up.”  (“Grow up” meaning, of course, see things from my point of view.)  Part of the coastal elite that never actually took anything rural America had to say all that seriously anyway.  (It all seemed so preposterously irrational after all.)  Part of the coastal elite that was totally floored when what I originally took as what must be some kind of joke, Donald Trump running for president, actually resulted in his being elected.

So I understand my fellow liberals’ horror all too well, as we struggle to come to grips with Trump’s election.  I share the pain of feeling helpless and lost and powerless as we witness our country on the brink of being taken over by what appears to us to be total illogic.

But what does rural America feel whenever a Democrat is elected?

The link below resonates with many coastal elite, myself included.  But does it, like all the liberals with which it resonates, fail to see beyond its own myopic ways of thinking enough to realize it has very successfully answered the “unanswerable” question it poses after all?  The answer is accepting that rural America has a right to arrive at conclusions without utilizing the methods coastal America uses.

Now that the bloodbath that was the election campaign is over, both Trump and Pence are promising to represent and care for all Americans.  But are we, who call ourselves liberal, open to new behavior or opinions, willing to discard any of our traditional values, and equally prepared to accept all Americans, including those that voted for Trump?

http://forsetti.tumblr.com/post/153181757500/on-rural-america-understanding-isnt-the-problem

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The Taliban Within

“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

Matthew 7:3, The Holy Bible (King James Version)

That beam is the election of Donald Trump, if not by the majority of the people that live in this land…at least by the people who live on a very clear majority of the actual, physical land mass of the United States.  That brother…depending on what the Trump administration does to the rights of women and other equally important groups of people who aren’t white, Christian, and heterosexual…is the Taliban, about whom we as a nation may soon lose any right to complain.

I never went to college so my Alma Mater (though I never finished it either) was Berkeley High School.  There, where even Bob Dylan performed in my high school auditorium, I gathered for lunch every day with most of the rest of the students to make and listen to each other’s political speeches and calls to action.  In the link below you will see that, over a half century later, Berkeley High’s student population still congregates in the exact same places where we did in the 1960s.

It therefore comes as no surprise to me that half the student population walked out of Berkeley High School in protest against the man who was elected president.

To quote the words of the woman who did in fact win the election by popular vote, and would have been our next president were this country actually a democracy:  “Never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”

But, as we fight, we must still…at least in my opinion…heed that beam, in fact “own” that beam, in our own eye:  Whose rights…whose anger…did we so grievously ignore for such a long time that even just the Electoral College could elect a man with as much hate and as little political experience as Donald Trump?

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/91870480-132.html

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Tales of the Storage Space, Part 9

Karen knew where Martin was headed.  Finally she released his hands.  One immediately shot up to her breasts; the other snaked between her legs and headed toward her clit.

Whore, she thought of herself.  You’d do this just to delay being alone?

Martin’s hands trembled; Frank’s never had.  She could hear Martin catch his breath, then inhale deeply.  Frank would never have been so obvious, so transparent.

Martin found her clit.

Yet…  She and Martin had been friends, good friends.  Having sex with him was a little shallow, perhaps, but…  Why not?

What a mixture of feelings.  She remembered the first time with Martin, like two giggling kids who’d just discovered a whole new dimension to playing doctor.  But then she remembered the first time with Frank.  That voice.  Those hands.  Crying when she came.  Then looking deep into Frank’s eyes and thinking she could see infinity.

Sex with Frank made sex with Martin a shallow joke.  But sex with Frank was dangerous and vulnerable, like some highly addictive drug.  Sex with Martin was even a little bit funny, something that she had to admit she could feel a bit smug and aloof about.  Sex with Martin was the absolute, the ultimate, in safe sex.

Karen moaned as Martin got her on the floor and started taking both of their clothes off.

Vanilla latte kisses.  Karen smiled; she’d almost forgotten.  Playful, she rumpled his hair.  He smiled, but then took the opening her raised arm gave him to bury his face in her breasts…so he didn’t see her smile turn into a wince of pain.  She’d seen Frank do that.  When she caught him in bed with her forever-lost friend Marie.

Martin got his pants off.  He was beautiful; Karen had to give him that.  But the real beauty about being with Martin?  Karen tested herself, envisioning walking in on Martin in bed with her ex-friend Marie.  The real beauty about being with Martin was that she could walk in on Martin in bed with Marie, six orangutans, and the odd kangaroo.  Really and truly she wouldn’t care.  For that alone Karen grabbed his face and gave him a kiss that threatened to remove every last vestige of every last vanilla latte he’d ever ingested.

Was that Martin’s long, almost agonized groan?

But Martin stopped and pulled away, giving the front door a sharp look.

Greedy now, Karen knew where to touch him to make him forget about the front door, the back door she knew led out to the garden, or any other kind of door.

There was a sharp thud at the front door.

Martin, though naked, leapt to his feet.

Another even sharper thud.

Karen pulled some clothing over herself without thinking.

The front door hit the floor so hard Karen could feel the reverberations in her bones.  But she didn’t turn toward it yet; she was transfixed by the look of sheer, unadulterated terror on Martin’s face.

“Fr…  Frank?” Martin choked out.

Her Frank, thought Karen.  No, that was impossible.  Martin never met her Frank.

Then she heard a voice there was no mistaking:  “Karen, how could you?”

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Tales of the Storage Space, Part 8

Martin’s once-lost, now-reclaimed, friend-with-benefits…and oh what benefits!  As he ushered her in through the front door of his garden apartment, Martin mentally checked getting laid Saturday night off his list.  But when he saw the luggage Karen was pulling in behind her, Martin almost dropped his vanilla latte.

Damn Yankees!  With all he owed his bookie, he couldn’t afford to replace a single dropped vanilla latte.

Still startled, but having saved the vanilla latte, Martin helped Karen with her luggage.  “Lots of…sex toys?  A whole lot of…skimpy lingerie?”

Karen looked down.

Lots of sex toys and skimpy lingerie that would embarrass even a sensuous bae like Karen?

Hopeful, Martin grinned.

Karen collapsed into the mustard-colored cushions of one of Martin’s vintage Danish Modern armchairs.  Martin would have preferred the matching sofa; it could have all started with him “comforting” her, assuring her that he wouldn’t think less of her because she’d never resorted…no, wrong word…never had the great idea of bringing sex toys and skimpy lingerie before.

Karen looked up at him.  Were those tears in her eyes?  Was she that glad to see him?

Martin dropped the luggage on the other side of the room, actually ran toward Karen, then slid across the floor till he was seated by her knees.  It reminded him of the totally American custom of sliding into home plate.  But this was one Americanism a “cold Brit” like Martin could pull off.  It also reminded him yet again of how much he owed his bookie and those damn Yankees.  But he brushed that thought aside as he stroked Karen’s thigh, starting with outer but planning to move quickly to inner.  “Gobsmacked to see me again, is it?”

Karen smiled, though a little weakly, and took his hand.  “Martin, Martin.  It was so easy between us, wasn’t it?”

Martin was distracted for a moment when he thought he heard a moan.  Fearing Jennifer, he looked at the little window next to the door.  Yup, he’d forgotten to close the curtain after letting Karen in.  But what he thought he saw instead of Jennifer was the face of a man with a scar on one cheek.  A moment later it was gone.  Martin figured he must be imagining things and turned back to Karen.

Karen squeezed his hand.  Then she looked down again.  The “stuff,” to use Jennifer’s pet term, in her luggage?  Funny, Karen in bed was anything but shy.  He used the hand she wasn’t holding to stroke her other thigh, planning to move upwards this time.

But Karen grabbed that hand, too, and squeezed both.  “I…owe you an apology.”

Now Martin started to worry.  That’s exactly what she’d said the night he’d thought he was going to get laid as usual, but Karen had only come over to tell him in person that she was marrying some guy named Frank.  Some guy Martin had never even met.  Martin squeezed Karen’s hands back but knew it was a bit too hard.  “You’re going back to Frank?”

“No.  Not that.  Not ever.”  But she teared up, choked up, and bit her lip.  Finally she squeezed his hands, almost as hard as he’d just squeezed hers.  “I was apologizing to you for my luggage.  I had no right…”

“Your cases?  What’s in them?”

“Everything I have left that I didn’t put in storage.”

“You’re…”

“Moving in, just…for a little while.  I’ll find someplace else.  Obviously I should have asked you first but…”

Martin, fearing Jennifer again, thought he heard a faint shrieking outside, but dismissed it.

“I’ll contribute toward the rent.  I just couldn’t stand to be completely alone and don’t have any place else to go.  I…know it’s pathetic.”

Bollocks!  Right after getting rid of Jennifer?  This Martin wasn’t prepared for.  Then again…  Karen…  And some more money coming in…  Maybe he better play along for now and work out a way to get rid of her later.  Another entry for his trusty to-do list.

Something else…  Martin was trying to remember.  In all these years he’d only met his bookie in person once…but hadn’t he had a scar on his face?

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