Archive | December 2016

America will survive Donald Trump

By Jim Brown

If you’re capable of critical thought you’ve probably not felt entirely right since Nov 8. All because of Donald Trump.

America’s new president is a serial liar and a con-artist who is an accomplished race-baiter. He also has poor impulse control and is prone to so-called “tweet-storms” that would put a Ritalin-deprived ADHD diagnosed youth to shame. The standard line is that he is out for himself and has little or no empathy for others. To say Donald Trump is ill-tempered and horribly unsuited for the office of president is an understatement.
That’s the popular narrative among those who aren’t his lickspittle supporters.  But because it’s Christmas I am not going to dwell on doom and gloom scenarios. I will begin by stating America has been here before. Remember the turbulent 1960s when the streets were filled with hundreds of thousands of protesters, when race riots rocked the nation and cities went up in flames, when blood ran freely and skulls were cracked like eggshells by police batons?

The 6os weren’t just a decade of free love and great vibes. Some serious shit was going down and then Watergate in the early 70s and Nixon’s “enemies list”. What were the odds America would get past that?

And go back a couple more decades and lynchings were commonplace occurrences.

America survived then and it will survive Trump now. Why?

Well, it all does back, strangely enough, to Trump’s trademark vow “to drain the swamp” in Washington. To clear out all the high-powered lobbyists and the corporate parasites that are destroying the economy from within. To root out corruption at the highest levels and give everyone a fair chance to succeed. Of course Trump’s nominees are collectively worth $14 billion, so how likely is that to happen? But that’s not the “swamp” I’ll talking about.
There is another swamp. It’s much, much bigger. Incomprehensively big. It’s that vast amalgam that is America itself. Comprised of everything – the sordid and the glorious, the good, the bad and the ugly all mingled together into a weird kind of stew. Stuff gets absorbed into the stew, gets roiled around, percolates and becomes part of a  larger “whole”.

So Trump and his movement become part of that swamp he is trying to drain. Along with Kim Kardashian and all those reality TV stars, and the televangelists and the Silicon Valley wunderkinds and professional wrestlers and the trophy wives of Beverly Hills plastic surgeons, and, of course medical researchers, environmentalists, gun fetishists and educators, white supremacists and trade unionists and arbitragers and rock groupies and, well, you get the picture. It all goes into the pot, gets mixed around and then each constituent eventually finds a context. So  Trump and his many, many enablers can’t be purged but the damage can be contained.

No other country in the world can accommodate this kind of disruptive chaos. Only America. If Trump were to happen in Russia I’m convinced the entire country would convulse into civil war with unspeakable casualties. In America it’s just another reality TV show that goes on for a few years. It will end eventually, as it always does. The American people will grow tired of Trump and tired of his antics. He will lose his ability to shock and surprise and then the cancellation notice will arrive.

He’ll become just another swamp creature, his threshing noises lost in the sounds of many others.

And that’s my optimistic thought for the holidays.

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Christmas spirit shines in older home

By Jim Brown

I was driving by this beautiful older home in New London on Dec 18 and I just had to stop and take some pictures of it. The spirit of the holidays shone through its faded, age weathered façade. I think it is one of the most magnificent homes I’ve ever seen.

Christmas delight

By Jim Brown

The windows of the A & W Restaurant in Summerside were filled with beautiful winter-themed art, just in time for the holiday season.

Why go to an orchard for apples?

By Jim Brown

I have to say I am just amazed at the thought of actually driving to an orchard to pay for the privilege of picking apples.

Why is that necessary when all many of us have to do, at least those of us who live outside PEI’s major population centres, is walk down the street. Look around, look up, look down and you will find clusters of apples on a tree ready to be plucked, all for free.

You just have to lean over and you could grab a burlap bag full without even straining.

It’s almost like they are begging anyone who runs or walks by to “please pick me!” I live in Stanley Bridge and within a 10 minute walk to the wharf I can pass dozens of apple trees, ripe to bursting, in the late fall. In the winter months thousands have fallen to the ground and have been encased in and underneath ice.

Others have rolled onto streets, shoulders and sidewalks, actually creating safety challenges. I don’t know how many times I’ve nearly rolled an ankle by not looking where I’ve put a foot. So, on PEI at least, why are we wasting such a precious resource that is all around us? Why aren’t we seeing many more of these wild apples in food banks? They can store for days or longer on shelves.

Why are so few taken to food banks, especially when they constantly issue public pleas for more fruits and vegetables to help balance out non-perishable and less healthy foodstuffs. I am a member of a Charlottetown based hiking club and every week we travel to spectacular trails all across PEI, and there’s not a single trail that I don’t encounter an orchard’s worth of wild apples. My New Year’s resolution is to make better use of our natural bounty and I will encourage everyone I know to do the same.

Toxic diet

By Jim Brown

If facts were calories millions of Trump supporters would be on a starvation diet.