Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Empty Hutch

It's quiet at first. Tater the cat has been swatted off the keyboard or plucked off the newspaper or punted from the quilt-in-progress or otherwise discouraged from expressing herself inconveniently. Minutes slide by.

Then comes the first "plink" from the dining room. Her favorite lightweight battable item, a small wooden chicken on the first shelf of the hutch, has hit the floor. It will be fine. There are three more wooden chickens on the hutch and in due time they too hit the floor. Plink. Plink. Plink.

It is important to not reward this activity by running into the dining room waving your arms and yelling "Potato Brewster, get down from there." There's nothing Tater would love more than to see you do that. That would be the highlight of her day.

There is a pause and then a new sound. The soft thub thub thub of a felted sculpture plummeting from the second shelf. Another pause. Then the scraping of a heavier item being relocated toward the front of the shelf. An ominous thunk and clatter.

At this point the human is no longer working. The human is mentally reviewing the contents of the hutch, and plotting the trajectory of the cat. Then a disturbing rattle is emitted from the dining room, its provenance sussed out, and the next target in line identified as a Steuben glass bud vase. No! The human vaults into the dining room waving her arms and screaming.

Cat, rewarded.

This is how I thought the Trump regime would be. In wave after heartsick wave of insomnia, I visualized the losses, totting up the horrors that would soon enough be coming our way: the demonization of entire segments of our society, the sharpening of the divisions among our tribes and creeds, the erosion of women's rights, the denial of science, the stripping of regulations from the financial sector, the accelerated transfer of wealth to the wealthy, the privatization of schools and public lands, the despoilment, the isolationism, and--the sharpest arrow to my aching heart--the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement and the resumption of headlong investment into a fossil-fuel economy that will undo us all. I imagined each horror as another wooden chicken falling to the floor while the evil agenda churned inevitably through a Congress with an inadequate opposition, and periodically we the faithful would turn out to holler as the next beloved item hit the floor.

I did not think the soulless son of a bitch would clear the whole hutch in ten days.

But in ten days all of that was set in motion. A woman who made her millions undercutting public education is proposed to oversee education. Sheer fiction is employed to encourage Americans to fear each other: Muslims, Latinos, immigrants, protestors, and--oh, let's call them "inner-city types" and wink at Ben Carson. Innocents are scapegoated, assuring future carnage that will then be used to justify war or a police state. A former CEO of Exxon is installed as Secretary of State and already working on easing sanctions on Russia, allowing Exxon to drill the last oil in Siberia. The infamous abortion gag bill is reinstated with repercussions for the health of women worldwide including, not coincidentally, a spike in abortions. Diplomacy is abandoned for belligerence. Oil pipelines are approved and the military marshaled to quash dissent. Any constraint against Wall Street rapaciousness is to be repealed. The Stream Protection Rule is tossed out. Oh, let's slow down and have a look at that last one, shall we?

Coal mining is dying a natural economic death fast, due to better alternatives. The Stream Protection Rule, which prohibits the dumping of coal mining debris in waterways, is the only tool in the bucket for preventing companies from blasting entire mountains into oblivion, burying natural streams, and ruining watersheds for all time. The precious coal itself is all burned up by the time the coal companies haul up stakes and move on, stranding their workers and leaving residents to contend with poisoned water and a lifeless moonscape. Putting the Stream Protection Rule on the chopping block in the first two weeks is not about jobs: it takes far fewer men to dismantle a mountain than to mine it conventionally. It's not about energy, which is cheaper and cleaner any other way. It's certainly not for the health and safety of populations either local or worldwide. It is for the enrichment of a select few who can scrape out that last smudge of filthy energy and turn it into private fortune, and the hell with absolutely everybody else. And it's to give Mitch McConnell the woody of his dreams. That's all.

But none of that was enough. There was also the gratuitous assault on the separation of church and state. There was the transparently specious vilification of refugees for no reason other than to invent a class of enemies and grease the rails for the war machine. There was--could we possibly have made this up?--the elevation of an actual authentic fucking Nazi to the National Security Council--a man who is on record as being devoted to tearing down government and advancing the cause of white supremacy.

The hutch is empty. I don't know where Tater is, but I smell gasoline.

41 comments:

  1. If there is a silver lining to all this, it's that millions of Americans have been galvanized into political action. Ongoing resistance will be very important for the next four (eight?) years.

    Still, I worry that Trump and company will do damage that can never be undone.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dealing with coal ash water pollution right here. The by-product is arsenic. Nice quilt WIP, btw.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's an old picture. I wrote about that particular quilt some years ago, if you want to see the completed item.

      Delete
  3. It's beyond time the rest of the world shuts down this bloody circus.
    I have no voting rights in the USofA, but, if you are going to make decisions that directly and adversely affect me, I'm going to be 'waaay beyond chuckling at a New Yorker cartoon.
    And I think the first step would be to get rid of our current ineffectual leader.Not sure who the replacement could be since the better politicians are dead or retired.But surely some conservationists/scientists could form a, let's call it the Replacement Party, solid opposition and shut this nonsense down before it becomes another bloody war.
    Because we all breathe the same air. STOP IT, AMERICA.YOU DON'T OWN THE WORLD!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This seems to be a worldwide phenomenon, the rise of the right. It would be cool to get a worldwide response from the no-Brexit people and the pro-Merkel people and whoever is fighting the good fight in France. Trump is serving to galvanize the loyal opposition, and not just here.

      Delete
  4. :( :( :( :( :(
    I don't have a key with teardrops on it :(

    ReplyDelete
  5. I clicked back and had a look at that quilt, it's amazing. I tried piecing bits together once and just couldn't get the corners to match up right, so I put the whole thing in a plastic bag and donated it to the local op shop. The only quilt I ever finished was a doll sized one made from pieces of old maternity dresses and it covered my third child's bassinet before becoming a doll's bed cover.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And that is quite the traditional approach to quilting. My grandmother would have been much amused to find out how much I pay for new fabric for quilts!

      Delete
  6. Replies
    1. Weirdly enough, it's the right wing that's afraid. They've had so many bogeymen waved in front of them.

      Delete
  7. Really brilliant one, Murre. This is like a nightmare that just gets deeper, weirder, and worse, and I can't wake up. Anybody still see that beast as a populist? Bueller? Anyone?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At this point, the only argument I find myself having with like minds is whether he's actually smart or is a complete moron. I'm on the moron side of that. Wait, let me rephrase that.

      Delete
  8. A classic! We just got done watching 'The Man in the High Castle' wherein travel between two different realities is possible. I'd like to know how that works.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'll have to ask the Fascist Loofa-Faced Shitgibbon. Oh wait, he doesn't travel back and forth.

      Delete
  9. I believe this might be the first time you have used the word "fucking" in your blog! And, appropriately I might add!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I fucking doubt it. Although offhand I have no way of checking...

      Delete
  10. If your army gets onside with him, hide your gay friends, hide all of your friends who aren't white, hide all your women, buy enough non-perishable food to stock a large pantry for several years, especially if they start wearing brown shirts. I'm only half kidding.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, my dear! WE shall persevere! We will!

      Delete
  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  12. All I can say is--WOW! You really hit the nail on the head this time. And drove it through the floor!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thanks for depressing me first thing in the morning. I was comfortably ensconced with my head in the sand ... let's talk about cats instead. Not my video but it's my song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVbagQZIPPY

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey that's a great song, Jamie! I'll even pretend you didn't say there should be no doors.

      Delete
  14. For those of us lucky enough to have a healthy retirement account you failed to mention the removal (temporarily?) of the Fiduciary law to brokers AND the move toward letting banks once again roll the dice as well as be a bank.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was the "constraint against Wall Street rapaciousness" line.

      Delete
  15. Everything you've said is true and yet I keep worrying that if something happens to Trump you will get Pence as the booby prize ... and I keep thinking that could be worse, because he doesn't reveal his hand to the extent Trump does. It's a mess.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, but I think (because we would continue to Resist) we'd be slightly better off than Pence, who may not be as likely to engineer a war or kiss Putin's heinie or tweet us into an attack of some kind.

      Delete
    2. I wonder how much influence Steve Bannon would have with Pence? He (Bannon) seems to be driving a lot of what Trump has done so far.

      Delete
    3. Although I think Pence is wretched, he is better in some ways than Trump, and that is one of them. He might mess everything up but not BLOW everything up.

      Delete
  16. Murr
    I'm not much of a 'forgive and forget' person, which Cary always reminded me was the correct path to take. Sometimes I wonder what she would have thought of this, and if she'd be the same person that preached love and understanding.
    We were an odd couple.
    when I got back from VN, I joined Viet Vets Against the War (V V A W), the 'chapter, at PSU. Now, I think I might have joined the Weather Underground, were things like this.
    I'm a lot angrier than is good for my 71 year old heart.
    Cheers,
    Mike

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, jeez, watch that heart. Re: V V A W, did you know Fred Kempe a.k.a. Rico Vicino?

      Delete
    2. Wow, names from the past. yeah, did. I think they had a get together in '11 in Portland, got something about it, but I was in Europe.
      What a long time ago that was.....

      Delete
    3. "They" are the same person. He's still in Portland, an old family friend.

      Delete
    4. By 'they' I meant the group....Does he or do you know Al Tooke (Took?). I hung with a group that included him, Sam Stitt, Tom Murphy. Tooke still live there, I think, over in SW.

      Delete
  17. In the words of William Ernest Henley (Invictus), consider the words that helped keep Nelson Mandela going in terrible imprisonment (final two verses):

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds and shall find me unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll,
    I am the master of my fate,
    I am the captain of my soul.

    OR, Arthur Ashe: "Do what you can; Use what you have; Start where you are."

    I refuse to wallow in despair!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or Fats Waller; "One never knows, do one?"

      No despair here either! We're awake! We're going to stay awake!

      Delete