You Say You Want a Revolution?

“You say you want a revolution / Well, you know / We all want to change the world.”

— John Lennon and Paul McCartney

They say a competent prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich. Well, this year in politics, people are so angry that they just might elect one to the presidency. People are so angry that they’re mad.

An election that was supposed to be between the wife of one former president and the brother and son of two others has become a train wreck into a Dumpster fire at a homeless encampment.

The people’s anger is justified. Government doesn’t work, and I mean that statement in all senses.

But that’s been the case for a long time. This year, something is different. Two distinct phenomena have fanned run-of-the-mill anger into stark raving madness. One is on the left, and one is on the right. Continue reading

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No, I’m not Albert

“Are you Albert?” A stranger asked me that question as we rode up a lift during Gay Ski Week.

Except that his pronunciation of “Albert” put the emphasis on the last syllable and dropped the “t” at the end. So it came out more like “Al-BARE.”

I always try to make our foreign visitors feel welcome and wanted to do the same with this fellow from, I guessed, Argentina. His “Al-BARE” was obviously a Spanish pronunciation of “Albert.” As for the identity of this “Albert” for whom he mistook me, I hadn’t a clue.

Keeping with my welcoming heart, and always on the lookout to impress people with the multilinguality I perceive in myself, answered him in Spanish. “No, mi llama Glenn.”

“Hi, Glenn,” he replied. “I was wondering if you’re Al-BARE?” He remained in English, which was perfect with no trace of accent, with the exception of his Spanish pronunciation of “Albert.”

His insistence on speaking English annoyed me slightly because it reminded me that whenever I’m in a Spanish-speaking country, they always seem to prefer that we converse in English. In fact, they pretend not to understand my Spanish. I’ve concluded that people in Spanish-speaking countries don’t actually speak Spanish.

In any event, I reasoned, I always have to speak English in their Spanish-speaking countries so they should have to speak Spanish in my English-speaking one.

But I digress. I answered in the language he seemed to prefer, and very directly this time. “No. I’m Glenn, not Albert.”

“No, no, no, no-no-no.” He was chuckling and shaking his head. “I’m asking if you’re a bear.”

I looked at him puzzled. “A bear?”
Continue reading

Is Trump Just Like Hitler?

“Trump is just like Hitler,” proclaimed an amateur politico on a social media site the other day.

I thought that was overblown and said so. Donald Trump is sometimes a buffoon (and sometimes not). But Donald Trump is Adolf Hitler the way Dan Quail is Jack Kennedy — not at all.

The person who posted the Hitler comparison replied to me by listing policies of Trump that he didn’t like. I told him that I shared his dislike for some of those policies but not others. I noted that in any event, these policies fell short of sending people to the gas chambers.

His contention that Trump was just like Hitler, I told him, seemed to just be another way of saying he didn’t like Trump. Fine, but his dislike for Trump does not make him Hitler.

Then I told him that comparing Trump to Hitler is worse than a mere exaggeration. It constitutes a demonization of a person merely for disagreeing politically — a tactic to which Hitler himself was prone. Finally, it trivializes the monstrosity of Hitler and the plight of his victims.

At that, he exploded. He said he could not carry on a discussion with a person like me, who disagrees with him, and implied that I was just like Hitler, too.

Then I remembered Godwin’s Law. That’s the principle Continue reading