So, we hit Florida’s Space Coast last night and whaddya know? Temps in the 40s and the condensation forming on parked car windows threatening to turn to frost.
A needed reminder: Walking through the concourse of Orlando Int’l, it struck me I was at last seeing ethnic people: brown-skinned folks, Cubans and Puerto Ricans, southern Blacks, a Guatemalan or two, New York Jews and Italians. Don’t get me wrong, I love my adopted Bloomington… but it’s whiter, Anglo-er than the audience for a TED Talk on The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers. Or this one:
The Loved One and I are doing the sister visit tour — hers first, here just outside Cape Canaveral and, in a couple of days, mine down in Boca Raton.
BTW: My sis’s crib, it turns out, isn’t all that far from the Florida home of L’il Duce, Mar-a-Lago. The joint’s already been dubbed by the local press, “the winter White House.” The proximity will creep me out.
Anyway, it seems every hotel along the Space Coast features this guy:
He stands uncomfortably close to the front door of the Fairfield Inn/Titusville. As we trudged into the place at about midnight, after getting lost several times on the way from Orlando, we both sort of recoiled as the doors slid open and this guy seemed ready to grab us with his pressure-gloved paws. An exact copy of this life-sized plaster statue stood in the lobby of the last place we stayed in down here in Cocoa Beach four years ago in June. The week of the 25th, 2012, to be more precise. Why do I remember that? Simple. That was the week Anthony Rizzo made his debut with the Chicago Cubs. I’d listened to every game on our rental car’s Sirius XM radio.
[Pencillista Alert: Brief baseball talk follows.]
Rizzo, a Ft. Lauderdale native, had been drafted in 2007 by the Theo/Jed regime when the brain trust held sway in Boston. Jed Hoyer then took a job as general manager in San Diego and promptly shipped off the magnificent Adrian Gonzalez to Boston in exchange for Rizzo, with a couple of spare parts thrown in on either side. Theo Epstein, who’d remained in The Hub, was under pressure from Red Sox ownership to bring in more superstar fan draws.
Flash forward to the fall of 2011. Theo and Jed were reunited in Chicago and the first thing they did was swap the then-pitching-star of the Cubs’ minor league system to SD for Anthony. See, the two dug Rizz so much they chased him from coast to coast. In any event, when the season began they let Anthony rake in the high minors until June when they called him up to the big club. He debuted in Wrigley Field the evening of Tuesday, June 26th, against the Mets. He went 2-4 with an RBI double and from there became one of the best players in the game.
A side note that illustrates the gutsy genius of the Theo/Jed pairing: They brought up Rizzo and ordered then-manager Dale Sveum to play him despite the fact that first base already was occupied by a fellow named Bryan LaHair, who’d be named to the all-star team just a week and a half later. Crazy, right — displacing an all-star with some baby-fat unproven kid. Yeah — crazy like the foxes they are. They knew LaHair was nothing at all special and his all-star nod was a weird fluke based on a deliriously hot May and the dopiness of the all-star selectors. LaHair was out of Major League Baseball by the next season and hasn’t been heard of since.
[Now, back to reality.]
I stepped out of the shower this AM and heard the TV. The Loved One’d switched it on, she explained, because she wanted to find out what the rest of the country was thinking and talking about. We don’t have broadcast or cable TV at Chez Big Mike et L’aimé. We have our echo chamber NPR, the New York Times, and websites that tell us how right and superior we are. But whither the great unwashed Good Morning America-watching plain folks?
L’il Duce‘s trophy-blonde squealer Kellyanne Conway was on, trying to explain away his weekend Twitter storm over the Broadway “Hamilton” incident. The show host was shifting in his seat like a man in need of a gallon jug of Preparation H, clearly made itchy by Conway’s denials of reality.
“Please turn this off,” I implored, “it’s depressing.”
Yeah. I’m still depressed. Three weeks out from this holy land’s most embarrassing election ever and I still don’t believe it.
Then, relief. A door slammed down the hall and the sound of little feet running. A kid giggling. The door reopening and an adult voice, shushing. The kid could neither stop running nor giggling. His parent corralled him and steered him back into the room.
Man, I envy that kid. What does he care that this nation has been taken over by a dangerous boor?
The Dems’ Dilemma
As I sit here typing in the complimentary breakfast cafe, a table full of business travelers sits next to me, their haircuts neat, their shoes shined to a high gloss, their makeup precise yet understated. How many of them, I wonder, voted for L’il Duce? Yeah, the guy with the flashing blue eyes and the dark blue suit with the American flag in the lapel, he did. At least one of the three women at the table. Maybe two of them. And then there was the black guy. He seemed to be the leader of the group, or at least the most talkative and charismatic. Had he voted for the Orange-utan?
His table-mates seem to like him — or at least pretend to because he’s the boss. The odds are really good that three of them had voted for a race-baiting, neo-fascist demagogue yet are comfortable working with and even being friendly with a black man.
Most American whites can tolerate individuals from other races but once you start talking about the other races collectively, they get cranky. Maybe even downright racist.
An interesting quandary for the Democrats as we hurdle headlong into the 2018 mid-term elections and then the 2020 presidential race. How can the Dems persuade the voting populace — which is still overwhelmingly white — that many, many dark-skinned people need social services (to be paid for with tax dollars) while not petrifying them (the whites) by referring to said darker folks as a group? And how do the Dems appeal to the many different dark-skinned blocs of voters without making the whites start wailing and gnashing their teeth that the party has forgotten them?
Two things: 1) I’m glad I’m not a Democratic strategist and 2) America’s whites are the whiniest sons & daughters of bitches on the planet.
One good thing: We still have a president I like and respect.
The Hits Just Keep On Comin’
From folksinger and stand-up comedian-emeritus Larry Rand on the poor whites who trust L’il Duce:
Trump made them bad promises; the Dems made them none at all, just pointed at Trump and went “Ewwwww.”
He was the self-styled voice of the people to whom he bore least resemblance.
If you’re one of those who think I’m fixated on the president-elect, well, you’re right. My only question is: Why aren’t you?