erik lundegaard

Politics posts

Tuesday November 22, 2016


This was a prominent headline on the New York Times site a day or two before the election. 

Clinton Aides May Bring Baggage to White House

I long for that baggage. The parade of racists, dumbfucks and sycophants that Trump is vetting, or “vetting,” reminds me of the last chapter in the great ESPN documentary, “O.J.: Made in America,” when our title character, post-exonneration but pre-incarceration, is living the saddest of lives in Florida with the scummy and the porny. It indicates how far he's fallen. The other indicates how far we've fallen. 

Shame on you, New York Times. 

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Posted at 06:22 PM on Nov 22, 2016 in category Politics
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Saturday November 19, 2016

Other Than That, Mr. Pence, How Did You Like the Play?

Mike Pence booed at Hamilton

Original cast. Raise a glass. 

I don't really have time for this but what the hell. It's the intersection of my favorite thing about 2016 with my least-favorite thing about 2016. Maybe my least-favorite thing in my lifetime.

Vice-President-elect Mike Pence went to see “Hamilton” last night and got booed by the crowd beforehand. 

Really, it's like the beginning of a joke. A homophobe in favor of gay conversion therapy went to Broadway and... What did he expect? Open arms? A hug? No, worse: A homophobe who is VEEP to a man who came to power by promoting racism, went to see a hugely popular Broadway show famous for its diversity, and ... 

Anyway, during the curtain call, the players welcomed him and addressed him, and Brandon Victor Dixon, the new Aaron Burr, said the following even as Pence was walking out: “We, sir — we are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us. We truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us.”

Response to that plea? Early this morning, President-Elect Donald Trump issued two tweets. Here's the first:

Here's the second:

So Dixon and the cast got their answer. All of us got our answer. As if we didn't already know it. 

The punchline is that I awoke to #BoycottHamilton trending on Twitter, which is so absurd I can't even come up with a metaphor for it: Asking to boycott a thing so popular you can't even buy tickets for the next year? Right. Send your tix care of me. 

On the awful morning of Nov. 9, I actually thought of “Hamilton” lyrics as a response to the election of Donald Trump. I thought this:

Alex, listen. There's only one way for us to win this
Provoke outrage, outright

That's right

Don't engage, strike by night
Remain relentless 'til their troops take flight

Make it impossible to justify the cost of the fight





Hit 'em quick, get out fast


Stay alive 'til this horror show is past
We're gonna fly a lot of flags half-mast

Raise a glass!

Apparently provoking outrage won't be hard.

Elsewhere yesterday, our president-elect settled a lawsuit for fraud for $25 million. Again. Our president-elect. Settled a lawsuit. For fraud. Not enough outrage on that one. Not enough press. The horror show is just beginning.

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Posted at 09:39 AM on Nov 19, 2016 in category Politics
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Tuesday November 15, 2016

Reader Comment, Post-Trump

This was in my inbox this morning. It helps. Every bit helps. Thanks, Daniel. 

I thought I'd let you know that this election reminded me of what you wrote about Philip Seymour Hoffman's character from the movie Patch Adams, and the way in which the humanity Hoffman lent to that character ultimately revealed Patch to be in some significant sense anti-intellectual and anti-expertise—vacuous even.

I knew that my country did not care very much about, to put it simply, knowing things, but I did think that a much higher percentage of people understood that when push comes to shove, for important jobs for our society such as the office of president, knowing things actually matters a lot. I had regarded our country as accepting an appalling level of ignorance, but I really thought someone like Trump simply could not win partially because knowledge OBVIOUSLY matters. And Trump's manifest ignorance is not even his most disqualifying characteristic.

I could say more, of course, but I'll leave it there. I'm glad you're out there writing and thinking, for what it is worth.


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Posted at 10:41 AM on Nov 15, 2016 in category Politics
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Monday November 14, 2016

Soul Searching

I stopped drinking early on election night—probably around 6:30 PM PST. Once all of the pundits started sounding confused, once the numbers began to come in badly, I sobered up fast. The impulse is to get trashed, blotto, sedated—for four years. But drinking suddenly seemed a luxury in a country so stupid it would actually elect Donald J. Trump its 45th president.

In the wake of that awful, awful night, a lot of pundits are suggesting the Democratic party needs to “soul search” about its loss. Except Hillary won the popular vote by more than 2 million votes. What's the point of “soul searching” for why you lost when by any reasonable measure you won?

That said, the thing the Dems need to work on? Plain talk. And sticking the knife in when you get the chance. They were altogether too classy, too removed; they let Trump hang himself and he didn't. Or when he did, his supporters were there to prop him back up.

This is the bottom line for the divide between the Dems and the GOP, and it needs to be repeated and repeated and repeated:

The GOP wants to give more to those who have most; and they want to take away from those who have least. 

That's it. Say it over and over and over again. Don't be distracted. The discussion isn't the federal government; the discussion is what you do with the federal government. And the GOP wants the federal government to (what is it again?) give more to those who have most, and take away from those who have least. 

At bottom, it's an anti-Christian message. It's anti-Christ. They are anti-Christ. Definite article optional. 

That's my soul searching. I find that the Democratic party has one, the GOP doesn't. Now just make sure people know. 

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Posted at 06:20 AM on Nov 14, 2016 in category Politics
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Wednesday November 09, 2016

I Wanted to Be Wrong: The Morning After the Worst Night in My American Life

I forget which day it was. Last Thursday? On that day my sister phoned me with more news about our mother, who suffered a stroke at the end of September, and we'd been talking every day ever since, working on details: ER, therapy, TCU, long-term care. That day when she called, my voice on the other end was flat and lifeless. “What's wrong?” she asked. “You sound terrible.” I felt terrible. And I felt terrible about why I felt terrible. It wasn't because of our mother, because at least we could do x, y and z for her; we could keep pushing to make things better; we were involved. No, I finally said, it was the election.

“We're going to lose. Donald Trump is going to be president of the United States.”

Pause at the other end. “Nu-uh,” my sister said.

She buoyed me for a time. So did the turnaround on the numbers on 538. So did everyone's upbeat predictions on the final electoral college numbers. So did James Comey's 11th-hour declaration that the other email stuff was bullshit, too. But even that was a problem; that sent a shiver. He didn't say it right and the press didn't report it right. Headlines read things like: “Clinton Won't Be Charged”; “No Criminal Wrongdoing.” Two days before a presidential election.

I'd been feeling the doom since Comey's announcement, his bullshit intervention, on Friday, Oct. 28. That afternoon I took the 1-90 bike route to Lake Washington, then biked around part of the lake to our vet, Four Paws, to get a specific kind of cat food for our cat; I carried it back in my backpack and stopped to gaze at the lake. It was a gray afternoon and I felt gray. I also felt a cold fury inside me. But there was no outlet. There was nothing to do. Later that week I donated money to Hillary's campaign; last Saturday I knocked on doors in Capitol Hill. But that wasn't outlet enough. It felt useless. 

But the day I'm thinking of was probably last Thursday after I spoke with my sister. In late afternoon I took another bikeride, this time down to the Seattle waterfront and through the Olympic Sculpture Garden and Myrtle Edwards Park. I was still trying to shake my sense of doom, but no amount of bike-riding helped. At one point, I just sat on a big rock next to the bridge that snakes over Elliott Ave. Behind me was the old Seattle PI globe, representing a now defunct profession, and in front of me was Elliott Bay, sparkling in the sun. Sailboats were out. Couples walked by with kids; women walked dogs. And I kept thinking, “They don't know. They don't know this awful thing that's about to happen.” It was like a scene in a movie. It felt like everything I was watching was about to get washed away.

I got a lot wrong in this election. I thought Trump would go down after his “I like guys who weren't captured” dig at John McCain in July 2015, and I thought Megyn Kelly got the best of Trump after the first GOP debate in August 2015. I also thought Hillary was the better choice for the Dems although maybe it was Bernie Sanders after all, in this “change” year. 

In the last two weeks of the election, I wanted to be wrong again.

Posted at 11:10 AM on Nov 09, 2016 in category Politics
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Twitter: @ErikLundegaard